The pressures of executive leadership can be extreme. Incredibly jam-packed days, responsibilities to different audiences and stakeholders, high visibility. There is often little space to check-in with oneself, to recalibrate if going astray.
And yet, CEOs are finding that the simple practice of meditating permits them to be better at bearing the responsibility and leading themselves and their organizations. A recent WSJ article reported that the CEOs of Tupperware Brands, Aetna, Salesforce.com and others are meditating. I’m not going to tell you that you have to meditate — I am an intermittent meditator at best and running outdoors is my form of meditation — but I will suggest that having some practice that drops you into the center of your being, the place that is calm, where the waters are smooth, is awfully helpful in the midst of the daily. It makes for better leadership and better decisions.
A client once told me that he almost didn’t come to our session. As he was sitting down, he said that he had so much to do, that he didn’t think he could spare the time. And as someone whose own default is to bear down and work harder, I told him I knew exactly what that felt like. I got it. But he did show up. And he continued. Over the course of our engagement, he led his team to revolutionize their productivity in the midst of a storm, at a time of year that was their most challenging, when people were fatigued. They developed internal best practices that removed duplicative work, routed out errors, and ultimately made his job more enjoyable and filled with strategic, future-focused work rather than the grind of micromanaging and monitoring. But that happened because he lifted his head and took the space so that we could identify the areas of challenge, to consider how he could engage his team to solve them, to evaluate what was going well and how to leverage it. His team’s success was his success, and at the end of our engagement he was promoted.
Do you know what it feels like to be off-center and no longer grounded, to be reacting to external circumstances?
Do you have a way to find your way back to the calm place that resides within us all?
Whether you’ve just come through the frenzy and strain of an M&A and you want to build a strong, cohesive team, or you’re in a new role and want to do more than tread water, or you want to take the leadership of yourself, your team, and your organization to new heights in the new year, I’ll have openings for working with me directly in Q1. I work with smart, talented, ambitious senior leaders who aspire to magnificence and care about the work of leadership. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a mutually exploratory conversation.