I am extremely excited to attend this year’s Wisdom 2.0 conference in Silicon Valley this week! The conference brings together leaders from companies such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Paypal and eBay along with speakers such as Eckhart Tolle and Jon Kabat-Zinn.
“Many high performers would rather do the wrong things well than do the right thing poorly.”
~ Thomas J. DeLong and Sara DeLong, “The Paradox of Excellence,” Harvard Business Review, June 2011
Leaders are high achievers who continually grow as professionals. But in many organizations, there are high achievers who are floundering. They’re smart, ambitious professionals who aren’t as productive or satisfied as they could be. Many ascend to leadership positions and reach a plateau in their professional growth. I encounter high-achievers frequently in the work I do coaching. It’s one of the driving reasons people come in for private coaching.
The Restlessness Experience
As explained in Carrol’s book, The Mindful Leader, at some point in meditation we experience our mind’s restlessness—a strong desire to be somewhere else, doing other things. You’ll be reminded of matters that need your attention.
When you experience restlessness, you’ll come to realize how you shut down your sense of “here and now”—your own presence in the world as it really exists. It’s easy to become distracted, yet hard to sit and be still with ourselves.
This is when we begin to discover how we interact in the world: by shutting off the here and now, distorting our sense of purpose and missing opportunities to appreciate our true environment. The ensuing anxiety prevents us from being open.
To become a mindful leader, you must understand the distinction between trying to improve yourself versus experiencing who you already are:
As a mindful leader, you acknowledge you’re already open (not trying to be more open).
You may have been selected to be fast-tracked for more responsibilities because of your high potential to lead others, or you are already at the top tier of leadership in your company.