Helping leaders emerge


How to Be a More Mindful, Resilient Leader and Cultivate Joy

With spring in the air and vaccines becoming available there is a renewed sense of optimism in the air, yet I’d like to acknowledge that many of us are still struggling (e.g., fractured productivity and moments of irritation, anxiety, fear, and despair) and share a few practices that client leaders and their teams are using to help self-manage, create balance, and find joy.

Before I discuss practical strategies for managing stress and finding some ease, I’d like to define what it means to be a mindful and resilient leader based on my many conversations with senior leaders and their teams over the last fifteen years as an executive coach.

A Mindful and Resilient Leader is someone who brings out the best in oneself and others by being present, resilient/grounded, compassionate, and able to effectively manage difficult situations. See below for more detail and click here to download the definition.

Brings Out Best in Oneself and Others

  • Inspires and motivates NOT about authority, power or control 
  • In service, connected to higher purpose and vision
  • Uses influence for greater good and impact with focus on people and profits
  • Has positive mindset, despite challenges
  • Vocal about team’s accomplishments


  • Mindfulness: moment to moment awareness of self, others, and the environment
  • Focused on the matter at hand

Resilient and Grounded

  • Resiliency is the ability to bounce back and recover from adversity
  • Shows up confident, decisive, and responsive, NOT reactive
  • Able to be in space of not knowing
  • Has practices to maintain an emotionally regulated and balanced state of mind

Compassionate: Self and Others

  • Pays attention to what self and others are thinking and feeling
  • Committed to well-being and takes steps to preserve
  • Shows up humble and fosters curiosity, kindness, and a nonjudgmental awareness, especially around differences
  • Recognizes interconnection
  • Relational

Effectively Manages Challenging Situations

  • Not surprised by difficult situations and does not avoid them –“bad news never ages well”
  • Skilled at managing uncertainty, change, and/or conflict
  • Embraces courageous conversations – speaks up
  • Has strategies to manage self and others’ potential to become triggered (fight, flight, or freeze mode)

Leaders and Their Teams’ Reframes and Practices

Formal Meditation

  • The mind is trainable
  • Research suggests eight minutes/day* is enough to reap short-term changes to the brain – all at once or several micro-hits throughout day
  • In bed, first thing in morning, before bed, middle of night to fall back to sleep, 12p reset, or after transitions like meals, work, or physical exercise
  • Meditation apps: Ten Percent ($), Calm ($), Insight Timer (free)

Embodied Presence When Triggered

  • Bring attention to body by focusing on sensations of feet on floor, hands on lap, or back against chair
  • Take deep breaths to to the count of ten
  • Practice straw breath (breathe in to count of four and out through pursed lips to the count of six or eight as if blowing through a straw)

Reframe: The 3 P’s: Nothing is …

  • Perfect: Strives for excellence NOT perfection
  • Personal: It is NOT about you
  • Permanent: This too shall change
  • Click here for more information on the Managing Energy and the 3P’s

Reframe: 3 Steps That Make a Difference, Rick Hanson, PhD, author Resilient

  • Be on top of getting over alarmed: self–management
  • Cultivate positive emotion: gratitude
  • Focus on what you have influence over
  • Click here for more information on Rick Hanson’s 3 Steps that Make a Difference

Actual Leader’s OOO Automatic Email Reply…

  • Thank you for your message. Your message is important to me, yet it is being received outside of normal business hours. I will address all messages within working hours, and in order of priority.  Mindfulness is a new way of being, a new way of experiencing life and improving one’s work-life balance.

Other Client Practices

  • Rest. Get a good night’s sleep (emotional 1st aid)
  • Connect. Find people who make you feel good
  • Other activities include exercising & body movement, journaling, being in nature, tending to flowers & plants, painting, cooking, baking, star gazing, laughing, & taking breaks from technology & news.

For information on being a more mindful and resilient leader click here to download latest Zone of Resilience chart (based on client feedback and evidence-based research)!