By Melinda Fouts, PhD
Many of my clients are very successful in business and yet, their personal lives suffer. When considering a successful life, it should be in all areas of our lives and that means, by living a balanced life. I often hear, I need to balance my life so I can have more time for my family, and for myself.
When I am told this, there is a personal angst, a suffering of sorts which ends up diminishing feeling successful. Their lives are out of balance, and instead of slowing down and evaluating how to have more time for themselves or their family, they keep doing the same daily routine. How does one stop living on this hamster wheel? Specifically, how does one get off? This is where a mindfulness practice and a coach come in.
Mindfulness is often equated with a meditation practice where you sit still, and pay attention to your breath, breathing deeply. While sitting, you also become aware of the mind chatter that robs you of quieting your mind. As beneficial as this is, there are other ways to be mindful and many of my clients do not want to take the time to practice this type of mindfulness.
Being mindful encompasses being aware of your thoughts, minding your thoughts, and taking a break from your thoughts. It is a disciplining of your mind. When you can take an extended break from your thoughts, you can increase clarity and focus. You also increase emotional intelligence because it makes you less reactive by managing your emotions, which then can increase decision making.
Being mindful can help you become more objective of yourself with a goal to stop negative self-talk and maintain a positive mindset. How does this bring about a more balanced life? How does a mindful practice bring you more time for your family and for yourself?
With more clarity combined with a quiet mind, you use less mind space, less energy on getting work done. You become aware of what you are thinking instead of the quagmire of being your thinking.
Awareness of what you are thinking allows you to be more objective in your thinking and more objective in your emotions, so the awareness of what you are doing and where you are putting your attention makes you more in control. This objectivity gives you space and time to choose to take care of yourself and be with family without compromising your success.
One of my clients was working 60+ hours a week. After adopting a mindfulness practice that we designed to fit his lifestyle and comfort, he ended up working half the hours and became more successful financially. A big part of the change was the clarity in his thinking and objectivity to his emotions which gave him awareness to be more selective in the types of customers he chose to bring into his practice. With this change, he was freed up and enjoying working with this clientele.
What kind of mindfulness practice is right for you? With the client I mentioned earlier, it was a three-part process beginning with being aware of emotions triggered by others, feeling the emotion and then let it go rather than getting caught up in the emotions. When you can let the emotion go, you can refocus your attention on what is important.
The second biggest component was bringing awareness to a negative belief and seeing where that belief was in the driver seat in all the decisions he made. When we started working together, he was not even aware of this negative belief. Once he had the awareness, his mindfulness practice was to observe when it showed up, and instead of believing it and giving it power over him, he merely observed it, noticed how it was driving him to make a certain decision and instead of acting on it, made note of it.
This aspect of his mindfulness practice was instrumental in removing himself from being his thinking to being aware of his thinking. Until he became aware of this belief, nothing was going to change. This is the heart of a mindfulness practice, using it practically.
In my work, I offer my clients what I refer to as a mindfulness practice designed specifically for them, a designers mindfulness practice that is practical addressing what needs their attention and awareness. This practice becomes a daily discipline as this negative belief is often ingrained and shows up periodically, undermining their being fulfilled and successful in all areas of their lives.
Tips to start your practice. Is there a negative tape or belief in you that shapes your lens of perception? If so, can you get to the root of it? Next, once you uncover this belief, start observing where it shows up and when.
Finally, do not give into it, and this is the hard part because often it is doing nothing which can be very uncomfortable. Feel the inner struggle of wanting to act on it and let it go. Then, you are on your way to a more balanced lifestyle
WHEN YOU CAN TAKE AN EXTENDED BREAK FROM YOUR THOUGHTS, YOU CAN INCREASE CLARITY AND FOCUS.
Melinda Fouts, PhD / 970-274-3130
email@example.com / www.successstartswithyou.net / www.linkedin.com/in/melinda-fouts/