As entrepreneurs, we’re constantly tasked with managing high-stress situations – both professionally and personally.
“I can’t guarantee much about starting your own business, but I can guarantee that it’ll be stressful,” a pharmaceutical legend told my freshman class on eager-beaver business students.
Managing stress isn’t an elective – something entrepreneurs can just “get around to” whenever everything else calms down – it’s an essential part of every day.
Chances are, that if you’re an entrepreneur, you’re an extremely hard worker, driven by high ambition and possessing an insanely high pain tolerance. While those characteristics of the self-employed may present many benefits, they also can set you up for disaster. Those of us that work, work, work, work, work often fail to recognize the messages our body may be communicating to us – signs of exhaustion, insufficient sleep, negative work environment, unhealthy diet, etc.
A key component of mindfulness training is practicing self-awareness – aka listening to our body. By asking yourself, “What is my body telling me?” entrepreneurs can gain valuable information regarding self-management strategies that lead to success.
Maybe your body starts to tense up any time a particularly obstinate client calls.
Maybe you start to get nauseous every time you think about completing service X.
Maybe you start to get headaches from staring at a computer screen for hours.
Listen up – your body is trying to tell you something:
- Ditch the toxic client.
- Condense your service offerings
- Take a break.
We all live in a digital world.
While technology is by no means necessary to practice mindfulness, it can be extremely useful when trying to implement new strategies into your current lifestyle.
Like most marketers, I like apps. Here are three of my favorite apps when it comes to mindfulness:
If you’ve got more than 5 minutes day to commit to mindfulness training, I recommend exploring online course options that are great for newbies. Personally, I’m totally sold on Oprah & Deepak’s 21-Day Meditation Experience. You can also find some great mindfulness courses on www.udemy.com .
Take it Outside
My very first mindfulness class way back in 2008 took place in a creepy old classroom that had been “converted” into a meditation room (apparently, with no decorating budget) by university staff.
It was cold, drab, and downright ugly – not exactly prime placement for feeling inspired…
No one says mindfulness has to be practiced in a dull and dark room! Go outside – mindfulness training is all about living the moment, experiencing the joy of life, and drinking in the beauty of the world all around us. Take a midday walk, sit outside on a bench for 5 minutes, pause on your daily commute to check out the new bird’s nest forming outside the parking garage.
I refuse to let myself sit in a meeting or at the computer for more than an hour without getting up and going outside. Even if it’s just checking on my dogs or taking a short stroll down the street – anything that makes me get up and go outside. There’s something so therapeutic about feeling the warm sun on your face and wind in your hair. Being outside can be a great way to jumpstart your mindfulness training and a more healthy way of life.
While they may not teach mindfulness training in business school or include meditation in Wall Street movies, it’s an essential part of long-term business success for today’s busy entrepreneur.
When focused on growing our business and career, it’s easy to fall into the faulty thinking of, “I can take care of myself later.” Truth is, in order for there to be a “later” you must take care of yourself now. Mindfulness training provides you with the perfect opportunity to start balancing out your busy life and practicing much-needed self-care.
How has mindfulness training influenced your life?
Share YOUR story in the comments below!