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Article written by Joanne O’Malley

Are you facing another ‘crazy busy’ day? Are you always rushing, trying to get it all done, working flat out just to stay afloat, dealing with problems and distractions non-stop yet hardly ever getting to what is important because the urgent always gets in the way?

Mindfulness enables optimum performanceWhat if you could just hit PAUSE, step back and take a few deep breaths? What if you had the skills to calm yourself, so you could return to facing your challenges when you had regained clarity, relaxation and focus? And what if you worked in a way that was deeply fulfilling, connected to what matters most to you and allowed you to enjoy real connections with real people along the way?

Working Harder is not always Smarter

That’s why I started Mindfulness at Work. I could see how colleagues who worked endless hours, often in a state of agitation and ‘continuous partial attention’ were not productive, creative, capable of managing themselves or leading their teams skillfully despite a lot of rushing around. Now, the research supports this:

“The overwhelmed employee us the most significant human capital challenge for Irish organisations. Information overload and the 24/7 work environment are contributing to reduced productivity, reduced decision making and lower levels of engagement.”
Deloitte Human Capital Trends 2014, Engaging the 21st Century Workforce

In 2005, Harvard Business Review stated that overloaded circuits make smart people underperform and

“firms that ignore the symptoms of Attention Deficit Trait (ADT) in their employees will suffer its ill effects.”

And Gallup’s massive study in 2010 shows conclusively that this prediction is now a costly reality, given the powerful relationship between wellbeing, employee engagement and profitability (The state of the global workplace: A worldwide study of employee engagement and wellbeing)

“70% of employees are disengaged, leading to lower productivity, innovation and wellbeing and only 8% of people strongly agree that they experience overall wellbeing because of their work.” – Gallup 2013

So, it makes sense that the workplace becomes a place where you are ‘tended to’ as a ‘human being’ rather than a ‘human doer’ and encouraged to thrive. Does’nt it? But, how?

Mindfulness enables optimum performance

“Mindfulness is a foundational skill that underpins the inner factors of growth: self-awareness, self-management, and emotional skills.” Google

Working / leading optimally in today’s complex environment isn’t about rushing around or checking off more tasks. The value we bring is based on our ability to bring our mind and heart to the job so we can attend fully to what is needed moment by moment as well as ensure that what gets done connects with what matters to us. How well we use our minds so we can focus and attend fully, how self / socially aware we are so we can connect with our deep intelligence / wisdom as well as with the clients and colleagues we interact with matters. We need to be flexible to meet constantly changing circumstances yet maintain a clear purpose and vision. Mindfulness trains all of these skills and can be learned by anyone.

Mindfulness enables optimum performance – That’s why leading companies…

Mindfulness trains you to ‘pay attention’ with acceptance of ‘what is’. This training alters how you relate to experience. With practice, you become able to ‘catch’ yourself in challenging moments, so instead of ‘loosing it’ or becoming ‘a victim of circumstance’ you stay steady. Then, you are able to respond in an empowered inspired kind of way to whatever shows up instead of reacting with conditioned patterns of blaming (yourself / event / other people). This self awareness means thoughts and emotions inform your actions rather than hijacking you.

It is self-awareness, asserts Daniel Goleman, in his groundbreaking book “Emotional Intelligence,” that is the foundational competency for emotional intelligence, now accepted in the corporate world as more important than IQ for superior performance and outstanding leadership.
Mindfulness enables optimum performanceThis is why some of the world’s most successful companies including Google, General Mills, Ford, LinkedIn, KPMG, Apple, Nike are training Mindfulness skills. Healthcare firm Aetna reports that is has saved about $2,000 per employee in healthcare costs, and gained about $3,000 per employee in productivity with the implementation of a program for its vast workforce.

Mindfulness enables optimum performance.  People say “LIFE CHANGING”   

I’ve been practicing ‘taking a pause’ and mindfulness / awareness for almost 20 years. It has changed my life dramatically and this is the most common feedback I get from participants. The wandering and distractibility of mind that is most peoples’ default position produces stress, fear, anxiety and worry whereas Mindfulness encourages the development of concentration, clarity, emotional positivity, and a calm seeing of ‘what is’ with acceptance.

I challenge you to consider any work activity that would not have a better outcome if you were relaxed, composed, centred and attuned to your inner knowing rather than tense, rigid with fragmented / scattered attention and a dull, tired mind-set?
This article was written by Joanne O’Malley for Women Mean Business, see original article here.
Mindfulness at Work was established to help people train their minds to be fitter, calmer, more open, flexible, resilient and vital so that they can thrive and be at their best. We’re passionate about helping businesses empower their workforce for success.