Monthly Meditations: July 2019 Issue

Monthly Meditations is a series that I started in order to catalogue my thoughts on various subjects. I write and share these with somewhat of a consistent schedule on LinkedIn. I decided that it would be a good idea to put all of these thoughts in one place. That way, you don’t have to consume more information on social media (hats off to you), and you can catch up in one sitting over a nice cup of coffee. I try to encourage engagement and discussions on these topics, so feel free to comment on LinkedIn, in these monthly entries, or reach out to me personally. Enjoy!

To be a great manager you must be a great coach.

People are looking for psychological safety, personal development, clear goals, and a life purpose.

Helping your people check boxes and jump through hoops faster does not support these ideals.

As your success increases, your ability to make those around you successful must increase too.

Compassion, transparency, and empathy should be used to create a community that thrives.

Constantly nurture your community by genuinely caring about your people.

Be aware of where your mind is.

As often as possible, try to notice and name the thought you have with what you’re feeling.

- What thought am I witnessing?

- How am I feeling mentally and physically?

Cultivating a positive resting state in your mind begins by becoming aware of your current thoughts.

If any thought does not add you value, or help you in anyway, you need to acknowledge that thought, but you don’t have to accept it.

Instead, replace it with one that is more uplifting. Rewiring your brain in this way is a skill, and it is never ending.

The goal is not: Never have a negative thought again.

The goal is: Notice where my mind is now, and understand what to do in order to bring more positivity and value into my perspective.

“If you cannot find peace within yourself, you will never find it anywhere else.” - Marvin Gaye

Movement is a powerful language for every cell in your body.

You are designed to move. It is a large piece of what it means to be human.

By doing so, you give your body a stimulus for positive growth, and rejuvenation. Otherwise you decay, mentally and physically. Schedule in exercise time every single day.

Make it non-negotiable. Defend this time wholeheartedly. Find activities that you inherently love.

If you are older, and/or getting closer to retirement, you need to move more if you want to increase your health expectancy (years absent of disease, injury, and sickness), and your life expectancy.

Moving is a part of your life’s work. It gives you a purpose to continue living. And to do so with vibrant energy and vigour for years to come.

Exercise is about purpose, and empowerment.

When we move, we are giving our bodies a stimulus to continue on. Just as you need to purpose in your work, your body gets it through movement. Thus, exercise must also be a part of your life’s work.

Do something. Every. Single. Day. It’s what our bodies have known for thousands of years. Yet it has been exponentially removed from our culture over the last 150 years.

Living longer, and living well requires us to put daily exercise back into our routines.

In Dare to Lead, Brené Brown talks about “painting done.” What does the end goal look like? What’s the entire picture? How will you feel? What will you have? Why is your goal, and the reasons to support it so important to you?

Create deeper meaning and context around exercise to hold yourself accountable to your actions.

“The answer is always in the entire story, not a piece of it.” - Jim Harrison

Do not neglect training your mind.

It’s easy to focus on our bodies, as physical progress is fairly straightforward to track.

But the mind needs stretching as well. It’s just difficult to see the reward right away, as it manifests in so many different ways - mostly all of which are intangible.

Meditation, deep breathing, journaling, reading, podcasts, hobbies, etc.

The idea is not to do more, but to do better. Our mind’s are fighting enough distractions, and external forces vying for our attention as it is.

Pick one thing, and focus.

How are you training your mind today?

Give yourself time and space. You’ll need more than you think.

It takes a long time to change habits and perspectives. And time is a resource you will never get back. So invest in that time wisely. Patience, my friend.

But what often gets ignored is space. There is more space in our universe than matter itself. Yet we are trying to surround ourselves with more people, more places, and more things.

Remember the last time someone you loved went away for a week or maybe longer, and they came back and the love was so much stronger?

Or when you walked away from a problem and the answer came to you from seemingly nowhere.

Without giving yourself space, you don’t allow the deeper parts of your mind to open up to the world, and potentially offer you solutions.

Do the work, and then step back.

Love, and then step back.

Laugh, and then step back.

Stepping back does not mean to disengage. It means to observe sensations and to fully inhabit their presence within and around you.

Complement Sandwiches are a terrible communication strategy.

The issue at hand needs to be resolved with transparency, clarity of intent, and psychological safety for everyone involved.

Don’t play games with matters that require a high level of courage and vulnerability to move forward.

Otherwise you create an environment of dishonesty and manipulation.

What’s the intent? To complement the other person? To bring the unresolved issue to the surface by softening the blow?

No, the intent needs to be: Speak about the real issue at hand in an honest way, without belittling the other party.

You build trust by respecting yourself, respecting others, and having the courage to share your feelings without beating around the bush.

Trying to follow a meal plan is like trying to play a song before learning chords and scales.

When learning an instrument, we must first learn the foundations:

- How to orient and position ourselves
- Chord shapes
- Scales
- Tempo
- Clarity of notes

Learning a bunch of small skills helps us build the menu from which we can create songs. We can’t just make a song without learning these skills.

We must break our meal plan down into smaller skills which can be quantified easily.

- Learn to cook with basic tools
- Practice eating only until satisfied
- Eat one serving of vegetables at every meal
- Drink one glass of water upon waking

Make a habit of practicing one thing at a time. Focus means to Follow One Course Until Successful. This is how skills are built. Once we string together a bunch of skills, we can form and follow meal plans with less resistance and greater adaptability.

Don’t have enough time, or things just seem to keep coming up? Create and follow Lifestyle Minimums.

These are habits with the bar set just high enough that you can step over consistently everyday, no matter what happens. You get to control how high you set this bar. Just make it attainable. Celebrate the small wins.

Pick something small in each category: Nutrition, exercise, stress management, creativity.

- I will eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, no matter what.
- I will walk at least 6000 steps, no matter what.
- I will meditate for at least three minutes, no matter what.
- I will practice a hobby for at least 10 minutes, no matter what.

A common obstacle that a lot of us face on our health journeys is a lack of time, or the fact that things come up. Life happens.

So it helps to set expectations before undergoing any sort of program.

Expect that things aren’t going to go perfectly. Things will come up. Moods and perspectives change. Outside sources of influence will put extra constraints on you.

What good can you realistically expect? Expect that you will show up and do your best everyday. Expect that you will learn from obstacles.

“Compare yourself to who you were yesterday - not to who someone else is today.” - Jordan B. Peterson

Thank you for reading my article. I hope you found it helpful or at least thought-provoking. If this post did help you, consider sharing it with someone you think it would help too.