Mindfulness is simply observing in the moment without judgement. Nothing woo-woo about it.
Given the way mindfulness is commonly represented, to some people this sounds flaky and New-Agey. It is presumed that mindfulness means being yogi-like, airy-fairy, spiritual and ethereal all the time.
I can’t say I blame them for assuming that my work is way out in woo-woo-land, all mystical and magical-like.
Mindfulness is not mystical nor magical.
It’s true that mindfulness can contribute to increased tranquility, contentment with life and a sense of well-being, which may seem to the outside observer as ‘woo-woo’.
However, as a practical, tangible concept, mindfulness can also induce heightened presence, laser-focus and more abundant energy physically, mentally and professionally. This doesn’t look “woo-woo” at all.
Mindfulness does not require one to be guru-like. It is not always peaceful and Zen-like.
Mindfulness is simply being conscious and aware in any moment. It is a practical way to be present, no matter what is happening. It is being where your feet are. Paying attention to whatever is showing up, without judgement.
Mindfulness is a practical tool to approach life as it is, without the often incorrect filter of the stories we tell ourselves. It is simply seeing things the way they are, not the way we assume them to be. It’s all about the facts, not our assumptions. In this respect, mindfulness is a skill which paves a pathway within toward greater peace.
Having said that, mindfulness may include meditation, quietness, retreat and repose as practices in which to foster being fully present. However, they are not exclusive of one another.
Mindfulness in business
So, if mindfulness isn’t all about woo-woo stuff, and it isn’t just about meditation, what is it? What do I mean when I say it is a practical approach to life?
I mean that anyone in any walk of life in any situation could benefit from increased awareness of themselves and their surroundings.
I recently spoke with a man in corporate sales who practices mindfulness by closely and quietly observing his customers’ body language, reactions, and tone of voice upon arrival to guage the direction of his sales pitch. He goes in prepared; his mind is not on what the customer ordered last nor on how breakfast was a little burnt this morning. He is not thinking about what heap of product information he’s going to pile on the customer. In fact, in these moments he’s not thinking about the products at all.
He simply watches his customer. Observes. Is open to whatever is happening in the moment.
As a result, he is able to make a more personal connection with his customer, and tailors the sale to their more precise needs. I’m told that he has won awards from his company for best customer service, better productivity, and highest sales – all benefits of being mindful.
This man didn’t meditate, but he was practicing mindfulness. Nothing woo-woo here.
How mindfulness helps
I have practiced mindfulness when in a disagreement with someone. I’ve practiced it while walking down the street. (So many times I’ve noticed things I’ve never seen before on the same route I’ve taken for years.) I practice mindfulness while eating, while walking, while listening to a piece of music, while looking out the window.
Mindfulness has allowed me to move through grief, depression, and disability with grace. I am able to be present with those I love, and I am able to love more deeply.
No matter how mindfulness is practiced, it creates a greater sense of ease and calm within so that we can move forward in every moment of our lives in a more sustainable, healthy way – mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.