Key Point: Every day presents new “old” leadership moments. Our daily life provides you and me with opportunities that may be “old” by routine but “new” if we’re mindful of the unique leadership opportunities they provide. Are you mindful and present enough to take advantage?
An interview with Ellen Langer (a professor of psychology at Harvard University who has studied the illusion of control, decision making, aging and mindfulness theory), by Harvard Business Review contributor, Alison Beard, notes the following :
“Over nearly four decades, Ellen Langer’s research on mindfulness has greatly influenced thinking across a range of fields, from behavioral economics to positive psychology. It reveals that by paying attention to what’s going on around us, instead of operating on auto-pilot, we can reduce stress, unlock creativity, and boost performance. Mindfulness is the process of actively noticing new things. When you do that, it puts you in the present. It makes you more sensitive to context and perspective. It’s the essence of engagement. And it’s energy-begetting, not energy-consuming. The mistake most people make is to assume it’s stressful and exhausting—all this thinking. But what’s stressful is all the mindless negative evaluations we make and the worry that we’ll find problems and not be able to solve them. We all seek stability. We want to hold things still, thinking that if we do, we can control them. But since everything is always changing, that doesn’t work. Actually, it causes you to lose control.”
Walk with me into your daily workplace setting:
1. You see the receptionist or first team member you run into… What do you say? How do you say it?
2. Your first email… How do you respond?
3. Your first meeting… How do you contribute? How do you add value to others? The agenda?
4. How you choose to spend the time for the rest of the day? Are you making a valuable, positive difference?
Our day is filled with nothing but moments. Your leadership call to action is this: BE a leader by being mindful of the instants around you and making them matter!
Professor Langer profoundly goes on to say: “It’s going to sound corny, but I believe it fully: Life consists only of moments, nothing more than that. So if you make the moment matter, it all matters. You can be mindful, you can be mindless. you can win, you can lose. The worst case is to be mindless and lose. So when you’re doing anything, be mindful, notice new things, make it meaningful to you, and you’ll prosper.”
Character Moves: (Leveraging Ellen Langer’s 40 years of research).
- Remind yourself that life consists of moments… Nothing more. Take advantage of them all.
- Be PRESENT and MINDFUL. You are in control of your leadership contribution if you are PRESENT and MINDFUL of those moments. Make them matter!
- Notice the new things! Everyday moments have something new to offer. Notice what’s NEW! Recognize the new and be mindful of the implications.
- Remember that everyday you walk into your workplace provides new and unique considerations to leverage as a leader. Be PRESENT. Be MINDFUL. Be a LEADER!
Mindful moments in The Triangle,