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Wise Words That Will Make You Love Your Work

"Consider your work and your workplace to be sacred. Do not think of it as a burden or tax." Michael Carroll is an American-Irish author famed for his book, “Awake At Work”. He also works with large American corporations like Disney, training its top executives in how to be a more mindful leader. Here are highlights of his insight shared recently in the NCR.

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You cannot lead until you stop misleading yourself and start being absolutely comfortable and confident in your skin.

“Sometimes when I’m conducting a workshop for your archetypical business-minded, career-driven person asks me, “Is there a bottom line to all this mindful leadership stuff?’” I usually get these groups of people to sit still. Just be completely silent, and at ease. Do not fidget. Do not look at your phones. Give your mind some breathing space, give it a break from thinking.”

“The amazing thing is some get nervous, some get anxious in the stillness, some felt like things are about to unravel. Don’t you think that’s odd? You just had 48 seconds of psychological space and you panicked. Isn’t it interesting that you panick when u have some space.”

“The issue here is that all these very wealthy, very successful and driven business leaders aren’t comfortable in their own skin.”

Carroll reiterates again that practicing mindfulness is not about achieving the goal of mindfulness. But rather should be embraced as a way of life over being driven to achieve, achieve, achieve.

“I tell these big white collar executives that these practices aren’t about achieving anything and smoke come out of their ears. We tend to come here trying to get all the benefits of this practice. I am not here to sell anything, and it shouldn’t be practiced with the aim of reaping benefits. If you are, you’re misunderstanding the concept. Nor should mindful practices be forced on anyone. That’s now it works.”

“Mindfulness practices are simply about becoming utterly familiar with yourself, it’s about being okay with the experience that you’re having right here right now. So that whether you are in a silent space, or in a fight with a colleague, or pressured by looming deadlines, you are not anxious and distressed. I truly feel that it can make an actual difference in having healthy society.”

For example, If you’re a stressed out CFO to the point that everything starts looking like a number, then that means that you have forgotten how to turn off this persona. Once you start practicing mindfulness you realize this mindset of “CFO” is flexible and you can turn it on and off, and let go when necessary.

Above all, the larger message Carroll shared was that the ability to be mindful will help you love your work. “Often you hear people complain about how much they hate work, how they wish didn’t have to go into work on a Monday morning.”

“Why does work have to be toxic or depressing? It should be liberating. Your workplace is sacred. It is the one place that helps you express your creativity. Your work is sacred. It’s not an inconvenience or a tax you must pay.”

So what are the ways to practice mindfulness? As some of the mindful leadership experts we have featured in the past say, they are very simple things.

Being pleasant, saying “Have a beautiful day”, is the essence of mindful leadership. It’s about inspiring the best in others especially when they are at their worst behaviour or feeling down. Important to remember is that anyone can be a mindful leader, that includes a CEO, a waitress and a small child. It’s about being a decent human, anywhere, anytime, anywhere.

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Mindful Leader Mindfulness Michael Carroll Awake At Work

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