I recently did a training on enabling self-organised teams with managers of all levels from a medium-sized online-based business here in Hamburg, and took a big step, for me, with them:
I meditated with participants in a training!
I included the meditation unit in the training with a view to the change in management roles the leaders would be going through when enabling their teams to work in a self-organized manner and as a method to support their mindfulness practice and well-being in this process, as well as a potential resource when dealing with letting go, for those who were having difficulties with it.
I vividly recall proposing the idea of including meditation to my customer contact in people development when designing the training, and sensing her mix of enthusiasm and trepidation, whether the leaders would go along with it. I argued my case, said the meditation would be presented with a minimum of mumbo-jumbo, and as something that I have used in order to benefit my management, leadership and coaching and training activities for more than eight years now.
How did I end up meditating?
I was leading a large department, with more than 30 employees and the same number in free-lancers and people working on work-packages, as well as a double-digit million Euro project at the same time and discovered that it might be a good idea to be able to create a noise-free zone for myself and specifically my brain (which is a part of me, for those wondering out there 😊). Being an archetype, cliché engineer, I did not exactly warm to, in my mind, the idea of mediation involving scented candles, incense and gong-like esoteric music.
So I read up a bit on meditation (you were expecting that, weren’t you?) and decided I would try to work my way towards 20 minutes a day, without music, without Ohhhhmmmmmming or anything like that, just focusing on my breathing, and trying to just let any thoughts that came to my over-worked mind go, letting them pass, like I was watching them, but not engaging with them. I had been to yoga before (you weren’t expecting that, were you?) and decided to take the breathing exercises we had done there. For those of you out there wondering, this is simply breathing in deeply, through your nose, filling your stomach area with air (metaphorically speaking, I think), and breathing out as slowly as possible, also through the nose.
My first discovery: 20 minutes are a very very very very very very long time!
My second discovery: I’m no good at breathing in and out through my nose, so I decided to settle for breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth, in order to lower the initial hurdle.
And off I went, practicing, and practicing, and practicing…. You’d be amazed all the things your brain can come up with in 20 minutes when you’re trying not to think about anything specific. I think at this point I have had everything from an extraordinarily itchy ear to considering what my customer might need at our next meeting to what to have for dinner the next day.
SO, not easy. Until, about two months later, I started to feel the effects of meditating regularly. I felt more in balance, more connected to what was important to me, more at ease at juggling all the balls thrown at me. That doesn’t mean meditation always worked, and it certainly isn’t some magic tool that will relax you and turn you into some Buddha or Jedi Master-like (sorry if the references cause offense) person in no-time-at-all, but it has given me my personal super-power of being able to stay centered in situations that used to distract me from that, and that is a gift I do not want to miss anymore.
And how did things go with the training, you ask? They all meditated! From the team lead to the director, all joined in for 5 minutes, and two rounds of meditation, which blew my mind. I was expecting us to be doing 1 to 2 minutes maximum, and after all the warnings I gave them that this will not automatically lead to immediate calm, the immediate benefit and potential benefits of meditating were clear to this group of leaders, who all juggle so many balls in their daily work routine. I am grateful every time I get to work with people like this. Thanks for trusting this complete meditation autodidact and making for such a great training!
You and your team wish to fulfill your potential?
Sie und Ihr Team wollen Ihr volles Potential entfalten?
Ich bin Ihr Business Coach und Trainer in Hamburg in Sachen Führung, globalem Teamwork und Expat Management .
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