After taking the leap from Managing Partner of a second tier Accounting firm to starting my own coaching and leadership practice, I decided I needed to take a break and to do something that would nourish and develop myself, to further my ability to coach and support others. I am a strong believer in continuous development, so it was a little bit of practice what you preach and take your own medicine!
So, I found myself in Portland, Oregon doing a Search Inside Yourself leadership course and I couldn’t be happier with my choice. Apart from the course that I will get to in a minute, Portland is a magic little hipster city full of craft beer, amazing people (who pride themselves on being a little weird), crazy donuts and believe it or not reasonable coffee.
Search Inside Yourself was developed at Google by leading experts in neuroscience, business and psychology. In a nutshell it is a mindfulness-based, emotional intelligence course for leaders. As with most courses there are the parts that you have seen before which are great reinforces and reminders of the things you are doing and should be doing, and this course brought a lot of great reminders around self-compassion, empathy practices, self-awareness, self-management and the power of optimism. It brought all areas together skilfully and practically and nicely added to my existing knowledge.
Then there is the gold, the little things that get you thinking and exploring yourself and the tools to assist you to change your ways. My gold came in the mindfulness component. Lots of little micro-practice techniques that I can do anywhere, anytime to connect to the present, manage my triggers, improve my open awareness and to increase my ability to focus. And considering we spend approximately 47% of our time mind wandering and have a brain that loves to run on autopilot these are not small things!
My next gold nugget came later when my mind settled, and I started putting all the pieces together. I now have a deeper understanding about what I do and why I do it. My purpose is to improve leadership by helping leaders to be more confident, compassionate and wise, and to have genuine purpose that connects with people. I dream that one day our leaders will be self-aware and selfless and with this the corruption of power and manipulation will be absent. For me the greatest joy is seeing people thrive.
From today I am making a commitment to myself to do a 20-minute meditation session every day to assist me in training my brain to improve my awareness and my ability to focus attention. I was not new to meditation before this course, but I did lack the discipline to practice daily. I do not expect this to be easy, but I have been preparing myself with smaller sessions and I am motivated because I know that this practice will make a huge difference to making me a better leader.
What are you doing to develop and improve your leadership?