“What a lousy day,” says the golfer.
“What a great day,” says the greenkeeper.
“It’s raining,” says mindfulness.
Much has been written about mindfulness and leadership. Yet in all that I have read there is an element that is lacking or missing altogether that is key in moving from mindfulness to leadership. And so I join the throng to offer another perspective.
Intentional and objective awareness
“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way;
On purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”
One of the keys in this classic definition of mindfulness is intentional awareness. Another key is to be nonjudgmental. Mindfulness creates for a leader an intentional and objective awareness of the world as it is, seeing the current situation unfettered by perceptions and expectations. This is critical because you can’t get to where you want to go if you don’t have a good understanding of where you’re starting from. The journey begins with being aware and present in the moment.
“The practice of mindfulness is, at its essence,
making the effort to be fully present
with what we’re doing or whom we’re with right now.”
A keen sense of situational awareness and self-awareness also helps you see where your gifts match up with the needs of the world about you, presenting opportunities to serve. This service lays the foundation for leadership. Service builds trust. Trust builds leadership.
Crank up the judgement!
That brings us to the piece that I feel is the missing link. In order to move from mindfulness to leadership you have to come to a point where you turn the judgement back on AND CRANK IT UP! If you feel uncomfortable with the word judgement use the term assessment. However you look at it, add your personal perspective to your mindful observations by beginning to question the current situation.
How does the situation align with your beliefs and values? What about the beliefs and values of others involved? What do you feel about it? What do you think about it? What about it makes you excited, scared, curious, confused? What about this situation is beneficial or harmful or challenging to me or to others around me? What about the current situation should be preserved or changed? Is the current situation as good as it needs to be or should it be improved upon? Can it be improved upon?
Reflecting then on these kinds of questions opens one’s eyes to opportunities to serve and opportunities to lead. If there is indeed an opportunity to lead ask yourself if you’re the one that should take the lead or if you should lift up someone else and follow their lead. If this is your time to lead then begin to articulate a vision of how things can be.
Having a keen awareness of what is and a powerful vision of what can be – Lead On!
Mindfulness one rainy day
Now imagine the golfer and the greenkeeper discover mindfulness. One rainy day they sit down together in the clubhouse and share a pot of coffee. They talk about the weather, accepting it for what it is. Then they discuss the opportunities offered by such a day and how to make the most of it. From that conversation comes a new program. On days when the weather is too inclement to be out on the course golfers can help out in the shop. Even if they’re not chasing the ball into a hole they can still be at the golf course, and they develop a sense of ownership. For the greenkeeper it’s a chance to get to know the golfers better and learn what they would like to see on the course. A mindful moment can lead to great things.
Mindfulness teaches me what is
that I may serve.
Reflection teaches me what can be
that I may lead.
Image courtesy of iamharin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net