Meditation used to be considered a swear word within the business community but over the last five to ten years, the idea of meditation from small business owners has shifted significantly.
Why are business owners leaning into Mindfulness?
Thoughts on the benefits a small business owner can expect when meditating a few times per week
One of the big questions you get after telling someone you meditate is, “what do you get from it?” and my answer is always the same…
I find a quick 10 minute meditation mid-day when my brain is chattering at full blast will bring me right back to a place where I’m:
- Looking at what’s left to do in the day 🤔
- Looking at how much time I have left to do it 🕝
- Prioritizing appropriately 📝
- Diving into deliberate productivity with a focused head & mindset 🏊🏻♂️
But the truth is, the results have been much bigger than that.
Meditation & Mindfulness provide magical answers to my business issues, obstacles and problems
While practicing meditation – or, more specifically ‘mindfulness’ – your mind wanders (as does everyone’s that’s part of the process), and you’ll find your brain flickering answers to questions you’ve had within your business.
Of course… During the session you can’t do anything about it. You have to persist. Or as Gary Vee says…
Meditation & Mindfulness save my eyes from unnecessary damage from staring at a bright computer screen all day
When doing a meditation in front of my computer, I always turn the brightness off on my monitors – the last thing I want while trying to settle my chattering brain is my computer blasting a bunch of light, notifications, and sound at me.
Low and behold when my session is done…
I invariably only turn my monitor back up to the first- or second-lowest lever of Brightness. I love that a few minutes of focused ‘down time’, my eyes simple don’t need that much stimulation anymore and wonder how far that will ripple through my life.
Dipping your toes into the water: how to get started meditating today
The good news is, it’s a lot easier than you’d think. You don’t need any fancy apps of software (though, you can use one if you want), you don’t need any books or lessons (though, you can use one if you want), you just need to commit to 10 minutes right here and now.
Are you up for it?
You don’t need much to meditate, but here’s what you need to know
While practising meditation and mindfulness is simple, it’s not easy. Here are two concepts that I think are vital to understanding what you’re looking to do as a small business owner looking to get into meditation.
- Concept #1: The goal is to clear your mind
- Concept #2: The goal is not to clear your mind
Okay, so that sure looks confusing… let’s dig in a little further so you can see what I mean.
The concept of having a clear mind, as it pertains to meditation
Conceptually, the idea is to have a clear mind, and while this concept is easy for people to understand – it’s likely something the majority of my readers will already know about mindfulness and meditation – it misses the point of how attainable that is for the average person, at that juncture of their life & meditative journey.
Yes, the goal of meditation is to clear your mind of the chatter… but the over-arching goal here is to practice meditation. The time spent practising is the point of meditation.
The point to mindfulness and meditation, as I know it:
- To sit in the present moment
- To be in the here & now
- To be mindful, and mentally balanced
While a clear state of mind may be the ultimate, end-all-be-all goal of meditation, taking the time to sit down and practice is every bit as valuable.
The concept of not having a clear mind, as it pertains to meditation
Here’s the thing… you know that “clear mindstate” thing that you’re after with your meditation?
A lot of people would argue it’s entirely unattainable.
Which is why I wrote above that your goal is not to have a clear mind. Your goal is to sit down for 10 minutes, and try to let those thoughts go.
Things to avoid in mindfulness and meditation, as I know it:
- Not being lost in thought
- Not being distracted
- Not being overwhelmed by difficult emotions
Mindfulness and meditation is less about “silencing the mind” and more about stepping back, and seeing the thoughts and emotions clearly – not with judgement, but with a relaxed, calm, mind.
The dirty secret of meditation that no one talks about
You are human. Your brain is active. Your brain will continue to be active, even if you sit with it for ten or fifteen minutes.
Just because you’re here to practice calming your inner chatter down, and focusing on… well… nothing, doesn’t mean that’s your metric for success. You aren’t supposed to get there, whether you reach calmness, and your thoughts melt away, and you sit in serenity, or whether you keep thinking of that song you were just listening to (and the groceries you have to buy, and to get to the dentist on Friday, etc) it makes no difference on the effectiveness of the meditation; you’ll feel better afterwards, no matter how ‘deep’ you get.
The thing is, this theoretical ‘inner silence’ that people relate meditation techniques to isn’t particularly helpful in the real world, for you and me. Sure, a few buddhist monks may or may not have caught a glimmer of clarity after 80 years of solitude and a gram and a half of hallucinogenic mushrooms, but for most members of ‘modern’ society, we gotta focus on what’s in front of us.
Once you can get past the ethereal ‘inner silence’, then you can get to just doing the damn thing, and I bet you feel a lot better about your time spent, once you do.
A dead simple approach to meditation and mindfulness that will have huge impacts on you and your business
This may surprise you, but I don’t recommend any fancy apps. If you have a smart phone – and let’s face it, you’re probably on it right now – set a timer for 10 minutes and go.
Personally, I have this 10 minute timer, and this 15 minute timer bookmarked in my web browser, so when I want to get back at it, I just click one or the other (during a work day it’s always the 10 minute version), turn off computer screens, silence my phone, sit up straight, plant my two feet on the floor, uncross anything (arms, feet, legs, hands… anything!), close my eyes, take a deep breath, let it out, and then start focus on not thinking.
- Focus on your breathing. In and out in quiet, but deep breaths.
- Don’t think about your breathing. You are not here to think. You are here to exist, to both notice things, and perhaps even understand them… without thinking about them.
Invariably, this will be very hard in the initial few seconds/minute or so. Fight the urge to be upset by that! It’s totally natural. Remember, the potency of sitting in silence has no relation to how quiet your inner chatter is. When thoughts enter your brain, let them. Then let them go. It’s okay to think about things, that’s a brain’s job.
Here’s a great video that dives deeper into the power of meditation, and how to achieve Focus, Calmness, and Clarity.
Things to look out for when you first start meditating: A focus on ‘mindfulness’
When you catch your brain reeling off towards some thought, or when you catch yourself thinking of something… just stop. Let it go. Let it wash over you and return to breathing.
Don’t beat yourself up over it. That’s not the point of what you’re doing. The point is to stop from judging, and thinking about stuff.
This will have a profound effect on you over a few sessions. For me, it took 5-10 sessions before I got comfortable, so here are some other thoughts:
- Don’t get weirded out by the woo-woo; give it an honest shot
- Don’t be rattled by the inner chatter
- Don’t be surprised when you feel agitated, having sat down to do nothing when your brain’s in high gear
- Don’t be surprised or annoyed when a single thought keeps coming back to it
With these tools, I hope you decide to give Mindfulness a shot. It’s had huge impacts on my business, my relationships, and my life. 🔥