We often think about mindfulness as a technique that benefits our personal lives but have you ever thought about applying mindfulness practices in your professional life?
Did you know that throughout our career we can spend up to a 1/3 of our waking hours with those outside our social circle…?
That’s a lot of time to spend with colleagues, clients and building professional networks!
Even if you are not “with” people physically, you’re still emailing, videoconferencing, on chat, on messenger, on twitter, on social media, on the phone and just generally switched “on”….
No matter the career stage you’re at or whether your efforts are paid, a hobby or voluntary, it’s just as valuable applying mindfulness practices for our professional as well as personal development…
Firstly, what is Mindfulness?
We know there are ways to breathe mindfully, eat mindfully and even walk mindfully but how can being professionally mindful enhance our career prospects…?
Mindfulness means different things to different people, but in essence it’s about being in the moment and non-judgementally aware of thoughts, sensations, emotions and feelings (and yes, emotions and feelings are considered different things).
How is Mindfulness even possible in the corporate world?
When there’s deadlines to meet, stress and conflict, it can be hard to think about being “in the moment”.
We’re just striving to be “professional” when these things occur, but what does being professional even require if all the word means is what we do for a living?
So while we won’t need to bring our yoga mat to work or give anything up to be mindful in our career… we will need to choose a specific way of thinking or mind-set.
To be professionally mindful we need to:
- Think consciously and make a real effort to be aware of what we’re saying and how we’re coming across to others
- Observe our actions (what worked, what didn’t) and be aware of our behaviour patterns – especially around people we want to work with and for
- Avoid self-absorption because if we only ever thinking about ourselves and our agenda, we’ll rarely pause to consider anyone else’s
- Use language carefully and remember that words can be very powerful!
- Learn the art of handling disagreements with diplomacy and negotiation which means being confident, clear and assertive (not a pushover, insulting or aggressive)
- Deal with frustrations and obstacles, so when there’s problems, reach out, speak to someone who can help rather than ignoring it, complaining and letting it impact our performance
- Stop judging, not just because it’s wrong, but because empathy (seeing a situation through another’s eyes) works better when the goal is to understand someone’s actions
- Embrace diversity and respect cultural differences by understanding and accepting everyone has a wide range of values, beliefs and behaviour and we can all co-exist and thrive!
A note in regards to our values – as they ultimately define our behaviour:
Values are what we believe is important in our lives.
For example, if we place a value on honesty, commitment and punctuality then we’ll apply these qualities throughout our career.
Other highly regarded, positive professional values to develop include:
- Accountability – an ability to explain, justify and take responsibility
- Integrity – being honest and willing to follow ethical and moral convictions
- Consistency – maintaining principles and work ethic over time
- Personal growth – continually striving to improve
- Trust – having belief in the reliability and truth of others and inspiring others to see this in you
- Excellence – striving to be outstanding and extra-ordinary
- Achievement – being successful in tasks that require effort, skill and courage
We all have values, beliefs and patterns of behaviour that affect the way we live and work and when these values are positive, great things happen!
Just imagine if everybody practiced mindfulness in the development in their career – what a friendly, respectful, positive environment would be created and how much more effective and efficient could we be!
Mindful Development of your Career has been adapted from Fitness Institute’s Certificate IV in Weight Management and Diploma of Fitness training materials by Fitness Institute’s National Training Co-ordinater, Kristine Beissner.