Meditation isn’t just for people who want to find enlightenment anymore. If you want to get ahead in your career in terms of performing at your best or getting that promotion then meditation can make it easier for you to achieve those goals.
Athletes have known it for years, the great basketball coach Phil Jackson used meditation with the Chicago Bulls and the LA Lakers as they won 11 Championship titles. Their goal was not to find enlightenment or have some sort of mystical experience, it was to get their whole life – on and off the courts to a peaceful and relaxed state so that they could compete at a higher level.
Slowly, corporations have caught on to this cost effective resource to increase employee engagement, happiness and, of course, productivity. Companies like Google, Apple, Nike, Proctor and Gamble and Goldman Sachs all have departments devoted to this practice or they bring in leading Mindfulness Teachers (like my friend, Nina Purewall of Pure Minds) to teach their employees the power of meditation. Steve Jobs swore by it stating that it brought him more clarity and increased his ability to be creative and innovative. Sounds intriguing doesn’t it?
Obviously there are a slew of health benefits of meditation but what tends to be overlooked on the individual level is the benefits it can have to our careers.
Well, easier said than done huh? Well enter Dan Harris and his book “Meditation for Fidgety Sceptics”. I’ve spoken about Dan before and his first book 10% Happier and the impact it had on me finding my career happiness. Since then I have had an “on and off” relationship with meditation, until recently where I have now entered 4 months of meditation every single day.
In his new book, Dan explores all the “reasons” why people don’t mediate and comes up with some actionable advice, and even some guided meditations to help individuals create this new habit.
Joining Dan is his friend and meditation teacher from Toronto (!), Jeff Warren as they travel across the States interviewing everyone from Josh Groban to Police Officers and everyone in between as they get to the heart of why people don’t meditate.
What makes it very easy to read is that it is a how to book/memoir/road trip romp filled with Dan Harris’ self-deprecating humour, his “childish” illustrations, Jeff’s incredible guided meditations with cheat sheets and the laughs that come from describing the good, the bad and the ugly of a cross country road trip in a bus.
You don’t need to have read his first book to understand this one, Dan does a good overview of what led him to meditation (an on-air panic attack to an audience of roughly 5 million people) and the positive impacts it has had on not only his life but his career too (not counting the Best Selling Book and 10% Happier App and Podcast!).
The book tackles all the objections, myths and misconceptions that get in the way of people starting or maintaining a meditation practice in their own sections.
Some of the objections I have faced myself in the past were covered wonderfully throughout the book such as I don’t have enough time, my mind just isn’t designed to settle or my “running” is my meditation. Now I know that even a minute of meditation can reap the rewards and that meditation isn’t designed to slow down your thoughts it is designed to have you recognize your thoughts – so I wasn’t doing it wrong after all!
On February 25th I mediated before bed. Then the next day and the next. My goal was to meditate 5-15 minutes every day. I amended that to 1-15 minutes because there are just those nights where 1 minute is all I can fathom as I want to get to sleep! So for the past 150 days or 4 months, I have meditated every day. And I don’t plan on stopping.
I am seeing all of the benefits listed above – I’m responding not reacting, I am handling stress better, I am seeing my business with a new level of clarity increasing my ability to come up with new ideas and most importantly to my career, I feel like I have become a better coach.
If you want another tool in your Career toolbox then Meditation is a free and relatively easy one to add in. If something is stopping you (like time, or feeling weird or losing your edge) then I highly recommend picking this book up.
My free resources are some other tools that you can add that are also free and relatively easy!
Sara Curto, Career Management Specialist. Working with you towards Career and Job Search Success.