The Art of Being Present


The Art of Being Present: Building a Company Culture Rooted in Mindfulness

February 10, 2016 — Posted By Victoria Heckstall

Building a company will be the hardest challenge of your life.

Entrepreneurs commonly struggle at this state because they can’t understand why everyone isn’t as passionate as them when it comes to making the company work. The reality is nobody will be as passionate as you.

But to be a successful business owner, you have to make people work hard. You have to be able to react to change and come up with creative and innovative solutions. That’s where building a company culture rooted in mindfulness comes in.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a philosophy that arose out of the Buddhist tradition many centuries ago. But you don’t have to convert to Buddhism in order to follow this philosophy.

It works through becoming aware of your surroundings and yourself. You observe what is there. You are aware, but you don’t react to them with a snap reaction.

Everything you do when you follow the mindfulness philosophy is carefully considered. The easiest way to compare this to something is by looking at the autopilot setting on a car.

The goal is to get to a point where you no longer react to events as and when they happen. For a company, this can have huge benefits.

The Importance of Building a Business Culture

Research from New Deloitte stated that employee retention is one of the main issues of this day in time. One of the reasons why companies fail to keep their employees is they exist in an environment where they are under constant stress.

Each time something new happens, the entire workplace is shaken up.

This may work for a huge corporation like Apple, but for everyone else it’s the wrong way to do business. Building up a business culture of mindfulness will ensure a less toxic environment and a higher chance of keeping new talent.

Furthermore, the employees already working for you will have higher morale.

Related Article: Motivation First: The Steps to Building a Mindful Company Culture

Slow Down

Entrepreneurs are convinced that they have to move at a hundred miles an hour. It makes sense when you think about it. They’re determined to get one over on their competitors and achieve success as quickly as possible.

The problem is your urgency filters down to your workforce, and this is where imbalances happen.

I had the chance to talk to Nate Matherson, who is the Founder & CEO of LendEdu, and he confirmed that slowing down is very important to build a successful company.

He told me, “I found that when we were overcome by emotions we would frequently not achieve what we wanted to achieve. But when we actually reduced the amount of work we did we achieved more.”

This is a telling statement. It shows that the amount of work done is not what matters. The culture of mindfulness advocates working smarter by slowing down. Here are some tips for slowing down and taking control of your life:

  • Don’t start working as soon as you reach your desk. Just sit and breathe for ten minutes. Daydreaming is not only okay it’s encouraged.
  • Spend more time with your colleagues in a person-to-person setting. Make some time to have lunch together every week.
  • Advocate the importance of a healthy work and life balance. This goes just as much for the business owner as it does everyone who works for that company.

Start with yourself and lead by example. You will find that even making small changes in your life can have a big impact on how you work.

This is how to begin creating a culture of mindfulness at work. And that’s how you can begin reaping the many benefits.

How Meditation Can Transform Your Company Culture

Meditation is difficult to understand for people who haven’t participated in it before. To beginners, it is about breathing in and out and concentrating on your breath. For regular practitioners of meditation, it’s a tool to prevent the mind from wandering to unwanted places.

Begin practicing it yourself in the privacy of your home or office. Spend five or ten minutes with your eyes closed breathing in and out. Make sure your breaths are slow and controlled. Focus your mind on your breathing at all times.

Note when your mind starts to wander. Your only thought should be on the slow, steady movement of your breath going in and out.

Over time, you will be able to increase the duration of your meditation sessions. You’ll steadily grow more proficient until it alters your life forever and you can no longer live without doing it on a daily basis.

But how do you transfer this to your company’s culture?

To start with, you will absolutely see the benefits in the way you go about your business. You will find the principles of mindfulness impacting you constantly. This may take you weeks to realize, but it will be there. Once you reach this point, it’s time to infuse it into your company’s culture.

The best way to begin is by taking some time out of the day to teach the principles of meditation to your colleagues. Hold a group meditation session as often as you feel is necessary. A good number is once or twice per week.

Good Health Leads to Mindfulness

Health is everything in the Buddhist tradition. It’s about keeping the body and mind in balance. Meditation will not overcome the bad habits you may already possess. You should aim to alter the other parts of your life that may be making you irritable and emotional.

For example, you really are what you eat. If you don’t have a healthy diet of at least five pieces of fruit and vegetables per day, plus lots of water, you have far too many toxins flowing around your body.

There’s nothing to purge them with, and this has a huge impact on your mood.

Advocate healthy eating in the workplace and practice what you preach. This won’t lead directly to mindfulness, but it will supplement your desire to bring mindfulness into your company’s culture.

Related Article: 7 Simple Mindful Tactics to Reduce Stress for Leaders

It Takes Time

Mindfulness may sound like a radical change to the way your company works, and it is in many ways. But master the art of persuasion and ask your colleagues to give it a try.

It will take time, to see any positive results, but a company steeped in mindfulness has a huge advantage over its competitors.

You may also discover that whenever a new employee joins the company, the culture overtakes them without any prompting. Indirect peer pressure can lead to change without a person even knowing it. That’s how powerful mindfulness is in the long-term.

How will you begin practicing mindfulness in your company?