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Mindfulness: What’s in it for Me?

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Mon Dec 08 2014

Mindfulness: What’s in it for Me?
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By now, some people have an idea about what mindfulness is and an actual formed definition of mindfulness. (If not, check out my previous blog focused on the definition of mindfulness.)

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For the most part, the word “mindfulness” has transformed from some fluffy-thingy concept of fuzz to something with substance—a definition, a collection of words to describe it, something to put your arms around and say, “Yeah, that’s what I mean.” And once we have a definition of something or learn about something, we naturally tend to continue with questions. Overtly or covertly, we ask:

  • “So what?”

  • “What’s in it for me?”

  • “What value could it possibly have?”

Indeed, many people who contact me to ask about mindfulness feel the same way and ask similar questions. Honestly, I was the same way too. While I didn’t ask, “What’s in it for me?” using those specific words, I did ask:

  • “What could it do for me?”

  • “Why would I want to bother with this?”

  • “Is this reeeealllly going to help me?”

Yes, I had those exact thoughts. I remember the moment clearly. I was beyond my normal stress point and needed to do something. I needed some sort of relief. I needed something to take the edge off, but I needed to keep my edge—just not be ON the edge.

Mindfulness is a skill that is always there

Mindfulness had always been part of my upbringing, but we didn’t call it that. I didn’t even know that there was a formal study in mindfulness until graduate school. But what mindfulness taught me back in the early 1990s is that it’s like riding a bike. Once you learn it, you know it forever. Years can pass, but you can pick up that bike and ride again like it was yesterday. Mindfulness is the same.

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Now, I’m not saying go for a 50 mile ride when not have ridden a bike in 10 years, but you will know how to pedal, keep your balance, and say “to your left” when passing. Mindfulness is very similar. We can pick up and use the techniques, what we’ve previously learned, and experience many benefits.

Bottom line: Mindfulness is like a good friend. It’s always there when we need it.

Mindfulness is the next Blue Ocean

Common knowledge states that mindfulness reduces stress, increases performance, reduces unfavorable coping, and reduces absenteeism and costs in the workplace. In fact, there is a long list of benefits of mindfulness. But we want more, don’t we?

Perhaps mindfulness is a next Blue Ocean? Is everyone familiar with the book Blue Ocean Strategy by authors W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne? Blue Ocean talks about how to develop employees to unlock their unrealized talent and energy. I don’t mean mediocre, status quo, go-with-the-flow development; I mean the same energy, opportunity, drive, innovation, creativity, and focus that resulted in great developments from people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Richard Branson.

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How can mindfulness be a next Blue Ocean? Well, like explained in the book, it’s not about competing; it’s about creating something that eliminates competition. We are aware that there are others, but they have no effect. Wouldn’t that be nice?

It’s doable, but it takes everything you’ve got and means doing whatever it takes. Using mindfulness to create a Blue Ocean for “self” is doable and it also takes everything you’ve got and means doing whatever it takes. It takes commitment—an agreement with between you and yourself.

What does this look like for business? Well, businesses experience a climate of three major components: exclusivity, massive market gain, and immense results. But imagine a life with increased happiness and joy. Really. These are not just words. These are words with meaning—significant meaning. I am talking about a life with exclusivity, massive gain, and immense results!

What would that look like for you? Does that mean happier days and less days of feeling blah? Does that mean feeling physically and emotionally better? Does that mean having more friends? Does that mean being in a healthy relationship? Increased self confidence? Better relationships at work? Does that mean losing weight, finding a great career?

Keep in mind, though, that just like most change initiative, if a person stops using their mindfulness techniques, so do the results. If using mindfulness techniques are halted, then so are the results gained from mindfulness. In other words, you need to use it or lose it.

Bottom line: Just as a Blue Ocean creates exclusivity, massive gains, and immense results for an organization, mindfulness has limitless results for individuals.

Are you ready?

The next question is: What are these defined values worth to you?

If your answer is something like “meh,” then now is not the time to try mindfulness. I am not saying never, I’m just saying don’t try it now. Come back and explore mindfulness when you are more ready for it. When people do something they really don’t want to do, it only leads to resentment and disappointment.

If you’re response is “I’m not sure, but tell me more,” ask yourself these questions:

  1. What is my life like? Really like? Be honest.

  2. How would I like it to be?

  3. If I knew I could do something about it and create that image from question 2, would I? Be honest…would you?

  4. What are the three components (exclusivity, massive market gain, immense results) now worth? If it’s still “meh,” then wait. Hold off on doing work in mindfulness. If it’s, “LET’S ROCK,” then you’re ready to explore mindfulness.

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