The thrill of running your own business. Adrenalin pumps faster and creative juices flow freely. Your plans to build, shape and achieve all that’s in your head makes you feel almost invincible – perhaps more than once you’ve had that ‘I could take over the world’ feeling?!
While there is no boss breathing down your neck, there are still pressures and stresses; they just shift, the proverbial buck stopping with you! And if you’re initially a ‘one-person’ company, then you know the feeling of wearing all those different hats, right?
One key skill that you won’t find featured in any traditional course, seminar or training about running a business is that of being able to handle stress, manage emotions and deal with pressure… the sheer grit and mental toughness that gets you through those crucial times.
With the turbulent economy of the last few years, doing business has got a lot tougher and with it comes its own roller coaster of emotions. But news of businesses closing is not necessarily in direct relation to the economy. It can often be to do with the resilience of the business owner.
One of the key areas of resilience is perspective, when we’re right up close to something it can be difficult to see things differently and limits our thinking and choices.
“When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change”. [Tweet this!]
Not to say the challenge or situation suddenly disappears but the intensity of it defuses to help us better manage the situation.
Resilience is essential for business owners to ‘roll with the punches’ so to speak. One of the major flaws of humans is our resistance to change, it’s just not something that comes naturally to us and can create negative emotions like anxiety and internal conflict.
Stress, pressure, overwhelm and fear constricts the brain and limits the flow of creativity, clarity of thought and the ability to rationally handle situations and challenges. Thinking too much about too many things at once just leads to overload, overwhelm and productivity shutdown. It’s as if the brain snaps shut like a steel trap, limiting your ability and under-optimising business performance.
Finding more appropriate ways to deal with change and overcome resistance opens up creative channels and ensures flexible thinking to alternative solutions. It was once said:
“It’s not what happens to us in life, but how we deal with what happens to us that’s important”. [Tweet this!]
One of the short-term and temporary solutions many business owners use to achieve all on their ‘to-do’ list (and you may be the same), is to multi-task – simple right?
Wrong! Women are supposedly known for their ability to multi-task. But it is not a solution for either females or males as a long-term solution.
Perhaps the most stark and candid research conducted on office workers in London in 2005 was the unequivocal effects of multi-tasking on the brain. Using MRI scanners to monitor brain activity, the average workers IQ dropped 10 points – and here’s the shocker – this is more than double the drop that occurs when someone smoked marijuana!
This is undeniable evidence that multi-tasking slows the brain and stuns productivity – ironically, you think you’re saving time, but you’re actually wasting brain power and arresting the ability to perform at your optimum.
In simple terms, more than one task prevents total focus. As much as we’d like to believe otherwise, we can only fully concentrate on one thing at a time.
Try and think of two separate things at exactly the same time and you’ll understand what I mean.
It’s not uncommon for resistance to creep in here; ego can be the fr-enemy (friend/enemy) of performance and best walked away from! You may think you can push against the grain and achieve more by doing more – because our fast paced lives have conditioned us to believe that’s how business should be.
Mindfulness Enhances Business Performance
As you may have seen already, Mindfulness is getting a high-profile in the media with celebrity endorsements and top companies such as Apple, Google, NHS and even the Bank of England using it to help alleviate stress and increase productivity. Mindfulness has been proven to help with mental and physical wellbeing, increase clarity, creativity and focus.
The misconception is that it’s sitting cross-legged, blanking the mind so everything’s perfect – when that’s just not reality. It’s not a belief system but an outlook on life and way of using your mind. It’s far more than just positive thinking. It’s a “be here now” approach to life.
So what about that worry that never materialised, or the concern that never came to anything? That’s how the mind can distort time, reality and perception. Thoughts can create a deception of perception, most things in life take place only in your mind!
Mental toughness and mindfulness in business helps you deal with stress that could be holding you back and overcome the lack of confidence that loses you opportunities. It’s a simple, proven way to eliminate stress, handle pressure with ease and develop greater resilience in business, and increase profits.
Here’s something to think about:
- Whether at home managing family or at work with a to-do list or action planner – choose just one thing at a time, fully complete it or to the point of where you want to be.
- Then and only then move to the next thing.
- Notice any differences in your level of focus, natural creativity and energy.
- At the end of the day/week/month how much more have you achieved and more importantly, how much better do you feel and how much more time do you have?
Clear thinking gives you better choices on how to respond, act or react, feel and achieve what you want. We all have mind ‘baggage’ relating to business, family, events, challenges, etc. that affects our thoughts and behaviours. But we can let it go.
When you want to concentrate your mind, want clear thinking and focus, try this…
- Quieten the Mind. Stand or sit quietly for a few moments to regulate breathing and prepare yourself. Begin to breathe more deeply but naturally into the lower abdomen, breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. Just start following your breath by finding a rhythm that suits you. Just follow your breath without following your thoughts or inner voice. Any thought that comes to mind, accept it’s there, acknowledge it, but do not follow it.
Repeat the following affirmations. Recite aloud or in your head. Practice with feeling, power and with belief:
- i Release
- i Flow
- i Let Go
Using Mindfulness in your business creates a visible and measurable way to improve mental focus, motivation and wellbeing.
Annette Du Bois
Annette Du Bois, author and Mindfulness expert uses simple and practical Mindfulness techniques to help adults, kids and stressed out executives. She works alongside her husband Ian Fox, a well-established and experienced mental toughness/mind-body expert, providing practical, usable and attainable Mindfulness techniques and Mental Toughness skills to Corporates, Executives and Business Owners, from the top down.
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Or for more information on Mental Toughness and Mindfulness for Business, you can contact Annette by Email