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Mindful Leadership

Mindful Leadership in Action – Tip of the Week – Use Mindfulness to Widen the Gap Between Stimulus and Response

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Widening the gap between stimulus and response is critical in order to make decisions that are sound and decrease the chances of being impulsive.  As we move through these challenging economic times all eyes will be on you as a leader.  People around you will be looking for cues as to how they should interpret the impact on their futures.  What will this mean for their jobs, the way in which they should develop business, how clients should be serviced, even how staff should be treated.

As a leader you may be experiencing the impact of the stress yourself, but your responsibility is to maintain the course and keep your organization stable.  At these times sound judgment is imperative.  When you are able to widen the gap between stimulus and response it gives you a chance to decide what is appropriate in the moment.

Start by proactively creating short breaks throughout your day.  A minute or two suffices. In these breaks or gaps in your day be conscious of attending to your breath.  If it is shallow and rapid, lengthen the breath and slow it down for several breaths.  That may be all you need to gain control and come back to the present moment.  You will notice that when your breath is shallow and quick that you are generally not in the present but rather worrying about the future.

Additionally, if you “catch” yourself worrying stop yourself and again bring awareness to the breath.  Think of the breath as your gift, your connection to the present moment.  The more you practice this tip the more you will notice that the gap between stimulus and response will naturally widen for you, eventually without even trying.

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