22 Feb 2016


Bright winter landscape

Have you ever felt like you have missed a morning, or day? It has flown by and you just don’t know where the time has gone, or indeed what you have achieved during that time? Maybe you achieved lots and simply can’t put a finger on exactly what you’ve done, or it may be that you achieved absolutely nothing, which is also okay, so long as that is what you meant to do – absolutely nothing!

There is a word bandied around the working environment, and one which particularly crops up in the work which I do around career and performance coaching, and that is “Mindfulness”. For those of you who don’t have a scooby what that means, it means “being present, being in the moment”.

For example, consider when you are asked by your children or your partner “Come and look at this” and your immediate reaction is “Give me a minute”, or “Can’t just now, I’m busy”. At work, a colleague says, “Hey, this is a really interesting article and is very relevant to what you are working on at the moment, why don’t you take a look!”, and, without looking up from the papers you are examining, you say “Thanks but I’m too busy right now, I’ll look at it later”. What is it that we are potentially missing out on? Your baby’s first step? When your toddler rides his first bike? A vital fact for the report you are writing for your boss? This isn’t to say that every time we are disturbed, we should give in to distraction, however, it is to say that we do need to take a moment for the important stuff and allow ourselves to occasionally be “present in the moment”, to increase our awareness of the here and now, and enjoy whatever that brings.

Each and every one of us is busy – some of us are busy being busy! Being in a state of Mindfulness means that we make time to stall the “busy” for a moment and allow ourselves to take in the moment, look around and appreciate where we are at this precise moment in time.   

A colleague of mine recently told me a wonderful story about when she was walking her dog near a loch in the remote wilderness of Scotland. It was a bitter cold day but one of the first when the sun popped through the clouds for long enough to warm her skin.  She took a minute to stand and enjoy the view of the water and the feeling of the sun’s rays on her face. In the peaceful solitude of that moment, she heard a sound which was unfamiliar to her, a unique cracking sound. It was the sound of the layers of ice breaking on the shoreline of the loch when the waves gently lapped against it, softened by the rays of sun. Had she not stopped, become really present in that moment, to take in the view and enjoy the feeling of the sun on her face, she would never have heard the sound of Mother Nature at work. It had a profound and deep effect on her, giving her an inner feeling of peace and wellbeing.

Mindfulness – being in the present, in the moment. How can you, both at work and at home, stop to listen to the “ice cracking”? What benefits would that bring?