So it’s a Saturday afternoon, and it’s supposed to be my ‘day off.’ Well, strictly speaking I was going to have it as another work day. I’m out on the evening with my friends and family, so today I thought I’d get ahead with some extra things as I have no plans in the day. (Yup, it’s either work or do something- there’s never really a middle ground for me!) However, after an intense week, working 12 hours each day, with crazily long to-do-lists that I actually managed to get through (wahoo, success!)- when I woke up this morning I just felt completely and utterly drained. I tried working still, but found my work rate was so frustratingly slow because I just couldn’t concentrate properly or go at anything with the same level of focus, which then only made me more frustrated that I was stuck in this kind of state where I was neither working nor chilling… Because where’s the benefit in that?! If I was going to chill, I was going to have to learn how to do it properly! But I guess that’s where the challenge lies, and perhaps you struggle with this too as an entrepreneur…
How do I actually switch off?!
Sitting around not doing anything is not normal to me; and when it comes to letting my brain take a break- well nuh-uh no can do! Ideas, thoughts, things I want to get done- just constantly flow around in my mind. It’s almost like I need a button that says BREAK NOW, where you just press it and it puts you into this different state, releasing it again when you need to get back to business! Because it’s kind of like this right…
Are you ever actually being mindful, or is your mind just full?! Without mindfulness, you can’t fully appreciate what’s going on around you, you can’t properly relax and you’ll therefore not as productive: because everyone needs a chance to re-fresh! And that’s when I thought about the importance of mindfulness meditation for entrepreneurs. I’d heard a little about it before. I also remember a mini session I did before the South African Entrepreneur Programme, when we were all in London and one of our mentors had taken us out of the city towards the park and was talking about how he tried to meditate at least once a day- just for 10 minutes; to get level-headed, de-stress, get re-focused. He explained how it all worked and at the time I remember thinking, wow- that’s amazing, I really must try it! Yet I never did, because well- life takes over doesn’t it?
But, with an afternoon of neither work nor play, I thought- well, there’s no better time than now. Which leads me up to the present moment after just trying this short 20 Minute Guided Mindfulness Meditation Tape…
If you’ve not already listened to it, try it. You need to get somewhere you can really relax so if that’s not the case right now- set an alarm and make time for it later, but make sure it’s in the next 24 hours, because the chances of actually doing it otherwise are very slim. (I know what it’s like- I do the same myself, even with the best of intentions!)
After listening to the Guided Meditation and actually doing it properly, I genuinely feel so much better! Honestly, I’m not just saying it. It was kind of funny too, because I came into my room to lie on my bed to get away from any distractions and -call it crazy- but just as I was finishing and opening my eyes, the clouds outside had brushed away, letting the sunlight shine in and it’s pretty metaphorical for how I feel! I’ve not tried any other videos, but I really like the style of this one- relaxing you initially, taking you to a good place, then speaking empowering words before you come back to the present moment!
One of the biggest challenges for me when trying things like this is actually getting my thoughts to stop. I find it the same when I’m having a massage- you know how you’re lying there and should be thinking of nothing, yet can’t seem to stop that inner monologue from talking?! Well it’s the same when trying to meditate I find- but the great thing about this, is it says-“Any thoughts that enter your mind, acknowledge them, then let your breath push them away…” I like this process. It means I don’t have to just shut my thoughts out as they come in so that when I do push them away, they stop coming back so easily! This meditation also makes you visualise a place to go to in your mind to relax further, which also helps push away my thoughts as I have something else to focus on… very effective! And the last bit with the empowering words: so up-lifting! It’s like you’re not alone. You’ve got someone else rooting for you! And it’s something you can tap into whenever you need -or better yet- start utilising into your week so that these start to become positive behaviours in your life. It’s certainly something that I’m going to use more now. Just 20 minutes a day if I can, even once a week to begin with- but imagine the impact it can have!
Three small, simple things you can try to make your life more mindful…
- Get into a route: re-group and re-focus: So I mentioned above utilising the mindfulness meditation tape more regularly. This will be a new habit to get into, but if you’re not quite there with it just yet- simply commit to 5 minutes every morning to get focused. Your focus really does determine your reality. So when you wake up in the morning before you leave for work, or perhaps once you arrive, just before you take that step out of the car and into the office- have that short focused time to think,”Okay, what am I going to achieve today?”Set yourself a few goals for each day if you need to get clear. But have a real focus, and know what you’re going to do. By doing this, you can carry it on through the day. It will mean you stop getting dragged into distractions so easily, and ensure you make that progress you really want and need. Maybe write it down, and keep checking back in with it throughout the day to sustain that focus. It will pay back, I promise you. I’ve even started with this one and I can see the results with my own eyes!
- Escape your inbox: I know, it’s hooked up to our phones, it pops up on our laptop, it’s like we can never get away! But this isn’t always healthy. Just like with social media- we need that break. We need to know we don’t always need to respond to it instantly, and can put it aside to not only get our work all on track actually, but also switch off out of hours. Add time slots in your day where you won’t look at your emails or social media accounts- can’t look at them even, completely get away from it. And I guarantee you’ll start to feel the benefit, just from that.
- Set-aside “thinking time”: Sometimes we’re just so BUSY, working through to-do-lists, getting everyone done, we don’t actually have time to think and reflect. It sucks out our creativity, and a lot of the fun! I used to take ‘thinking time’ in the car, as I hated wasted time and driving to me was exactly that! Although the best time you can take is when you have no distractions, nothing else you’re doing – it’s just you, a comfy chair and your thoughts. Just imagine what you could innovate!
I for one can certainly see the potential and benefits from mindfulness and meditation for entrepreneurs. We can undoubtably have to deal with a LOT of stressful situations, feel a huge amount of pressure and it really does start to take its toll of your health, mindset and wellbeing. Mindfulness Meditation for Entrepreneurs -in my opinion- is a powerful yet essential tool. It’s new for me and if it’s new for you, I challenge you to try it!
Buddha was asked, “What have you gained from meditation?”
He replied, “Nothing!”
“However let me tell you what I lost…
Anger, Anxiety, Depression, Insecurity, Fear.”
If you’re interested in learning more, a few courses I can recommend (in the following order):
- The Art of Mindfulness Meditation: Mindfulness Made Simple
- Mindfulness Meditation for Real Life
- 15 Minute Mind-Body Workout for Recharging & Reducing Stress
- Meditation for Racing Minds
- Mindfulness Meditation For Everyday Living
Give it a go with me! I’m excited to see the impact mindfulness and meditation has on my life, but that’s all for now- because it’s time to take some time for me!
Bye for now!
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