Meditation and Mindfulness for Success in Business: Part One

Meditation and Mindfulness for Success in Business: Part One

This is the first part of a 3-part series of how to incorporate mindfulness and meditation into your life, and specifically, in order to maximize your career and business decisions.

I’m the first to admit that when I first raise the idea of mindfulness and meditation with my clients, I sometimes get a raised eyebrow in response. Not to be stereotypical, but this has been most true of my male clients who are in high positions (CEO’s, CFO’s, entrepreneurs who own their own companies, surgeons, etc.), and suspect that meditation might be too “woo woo” for them … until they do it. Then, every time, they are also the ones most likely to tell me it has changed their life.

I start by telling them about the billion-dollar hedge fund manager, Ray Dahlio, who is widely considered the most successful of all time in his position, and how he considers daily transcendental meditation to be the one thing he attributes most to his success. Meditation increases mindfulness, which can be most simply explained as “the state of being aware of something.” Mindfulness trains you to stay in the present tense which is where all the best decisions in life are made. In fact, think of every great thing that has happened in your life, and I guarantee it was while you were in the present tense, rather than when you were focused on the past or future. As soon as you are making decisions based on worrying or are ten steps ahead of yourself, you have lost the state of being mindful. Decisions based on fear or anxiety are never as good as the ones you make based on the present moment.

One of my clients told me a great story which highlights this concept. A client came to him offering a lot of money for the type job he does all of the time. His gut sent him warning signals that accepting this client wasn’t the right decision, yet due to the amount of money involved, he took the job anyway. He said the job turned out to be a nightmare which took him a long time to clean up and he wished he never accepted that “great paying client.” He began meditating daily, and soon after, a client came to him with a small job which almost didn’t seem worth the time or money to do the job, but he felt strongly that he should do it. This time, he listened to his gut, and did the job, and the client ended up recommending him to a much larger high-paying client which turned into a huge profit for him. This same client is well on his way to his first multi-million dollar year in income.     

What exactly is meditation anyway?

Meditation is a practice wherein you train your brain to “let go,” and is technically defined as an act of reflection or deliberation. I think of it as yoga for the mind. It brings about a state of relaxation, yet also heightened awareness at the same time. Some people use it along with prayer, but meditation itself is not inherently religious, and it has been incorporated into many spiritual beliefs. It dates back thousands of years and the earliest known record of it is in 5,000 year old Hindu scriptures.

Fact: If people fully understood the power within their brains, they would spend just as much time exercising their brains as they do their bodies. I will present a mind-blowing study which highlights this power in Part 2 of this series.

What are the benefits of meditation?

The benefits of meditation are numerous, but a few key ones include:

  • relaxation
  • increased focus
  • stress reduction
  • helps depression and anxiety
  • enhanced learning ability

One of the best benefits of meditation is stress reduction. When the body relaxes, the cortisol levels in the body drop, and meditation has also been found to increase the body’s “feel-good” neurotransmitters such as seratonin. In fact, many anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications work by boosting the production of seratonin in the brain.

When you are under extreme stress, the stress hormones flood the body to create a “fight or flight” response, which means blood is going to your muscles and away from your brain. Under chronic stress with elevated cortisol levels, we are less likely to make the best decisions because our brains are not functioning at their optimal level. Daily meditation for just 5-10 minutes can make a drastic difference in how our brains work, and helps it to work for us rather than against us.

In next week’s post, we will dive into the science behind meditation (why it’s quite far from “woo woo”), and what your brain looks like on meditation. Until then… 🙂 Kristi

Reduce, don’t re-use, and don’t recycle: Stop the anxiety!

Everyone experiences anxiety at some point in their life, and some experience it much more often than others. Though we’re often aware what makes us angry, happy, irritable, or excited, it takes more work to look beneath these emotions to discover what creates – and maintains – that feeling. Anxiety is one of the core emotions that is directly related to the days of our evolutionary ancestors when humans survived based on their instinct to fight or flee. A person’s response time combined with their physical and mental abilities often meant the difference between life and death. So it stands to reason that those of our ancestors that survived (and passed on that agile chemistry) were either a) good at anticipating likely threats, b) strong, c) smart, d) really, really fast or, e) some combination of the above. It also meant that they responded immediately to their internal emotional system which prompted the need to react in the first place. Anxiety, then, was key to connecting anticipation with a response. More anxiety meant more awareness, faster thinking and quicker (or smarter) response. Anxiety itself is not a bad thing and has many adaptive components.

Fast forward to now, and far less of our day-to-day choices directly result in our survival. The decision whether to download that app, make it to the gym, or respond immediately to that email will likely not result in your demise (fingers crossed). And yet we strangely have this inclination to respond to many of our activities as if there is an immediate outcome that we either need to pursue (aka fight) or avoid at all costs (aka flight). And our internal system tells us that anticipating these outcomes will be best for our survival – hence the anxiety.

In fact, many of those secondary emotions we feel (angry, happy, irritable, or excited) depend an awful lot on the underlying level of anxiety we experience beneath that emotion. For example, we might get angry at our young child because we lost sight of them in a store, but beneath that anger is the fear – anxiety – that something could happen to them. We get irritable when we run out of time to get a task done, yet beneath that irritability we hold the anxiety that somehow we either won’t accomplish our task or that we will be perceived by others (or ourselves) as “less than” for being unsuccessful. Think about this with other emotions you feel. When do you feel them? What’s the underlying prompt, and how is that then connected to your emotional reactions? The pattern is there if you can find it.

So where is YOUR anxiety? Not unlike the Princess finding that pea wedged many mattresses below, it is not until we find the underlying issue that we can do something about it. Finding and removing the pea returns our restful night sleep – as does finding and dealing with our underlying anxiety. There are many ways to manage anxiety, enough that it would take another whole blog post. However, a few potential options to consider: self-discovery, mindfulness, & meditation.

Still struggling to uncover or address your anxiety? Let’s find it – and find a way to help you relax again.

DrToddHelvig@gmail.com

Happy 2017: Goal Setting and Career Coaching for the New Year

 

Happy 2017! This is Dr. Kristi here, and I know you’ve seen Dr. Todd’s post about goal setting earlier this week, so this is my spin on approaching the new year. I will admit that even as a very upbeat person, the end of 2016 was rough for me on several levels. I attended several funerals for people who died well before their time (ages 39 and 18 respectively), as well as saw the deaths of many of my beloved childhood icons from Prince to Princess Leia. This combined with the political ugliness of election season made me really happy to see the end of 2016.

Yet, with every ending comes new beginnings, and I believe that going through emotional pain often causes self-reflection and allows you to view the essence of what is most important to you. For me, that has always been family and career, in that order, and where I will continue to put my energy in the coming year. I’m not a believer in resolutions as they don’t tend to stick for a lot of the same reasons extreme diets don’t work. However, I am a believer in creating goals and then taking small steps each day toward reaching them. At the beginning of each year, I create a goal list and then do some reverse engineering to figure out what steps I need to take, and in what order.

One of the great things about hiring a life or career coach is the accountability factor, as there will be days you don’t feel like taking steps. I have awesome (and very honest) clients who sometimes tell me they only took their next step because they knew they had a Skype session with me that week. That’s great, and I’m a firm believer in the notion that ‘slow and steady’ accomplishes a great deal over time. Ask any financial planner about saving for retirement and they’ll tell you the same thing. If I wasn’t married to another psychologist/coach who holds me accountable (but only when I ask him to or we’d have problems), *grins* you can bet I’d hire one too. In terms of my goals for the year, I have a fiction anthology coming out in the Spring, and another completed novel in production now, also for a Spring 2017 release and need to work on a marketing plan for both books. By the end of 2017, I want to have another novel written and ready for production, as well as complete my non-fiction book on career coaching. This means I have to write about 500 words per day, which is very doable.

In terms of personal goals, I want to continue a consistent yoga routine as well as increase mindfulness through more meditation as I feel healthier when I do it, and have found more creative ideas flow easily as a result. I use a tracking sheet to mark my progress in all areas each week, and am in love with the Conquer Your Year planner, and will give more updates as I use this throughout the year. Note: I am not receiving any compensation to endorse this planner; I just started using it myself and love, love, love it.

I hope that you have a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2017, and that you reach all of your desired goals in life, love, and career. As always, please let me know if you have any questions about coaching, and I’ll be happy to answer them for you.

Live long and prosper,

Kristi

Replace those New Year’s resolutions with daily success!

I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. Never have been – never will be. The reality is that very few people set attainable resolutions that they are able to maintain over an entire year. What happens? Life. Daily life provides the twists and turns that can make a day feel like a week or a lifetime feel like a brief moment. It’s meant to be that way. After all, if nothing ever happens…not much fun for Nemo (yes, I’m quoting Dory from Finding Nemo).

However when life happens, typically the first thing that gets chucked out the window are those nagging annual resolutions. Sure, you meant to get in shape, planned to be more understanding of others, or were going to save more “safety net” money in your account. But when life happens we revert back to the same thoughts and behaviors that we’re comfortable with – like that comfy old sweater you keep on your shelf despite the holes – and how it looks. Face it – we are truly creatures of habit.

A much more productive approach, however, is to wake up in the morning and focus on 3 truly achievable goals for the day. Three things that you know that no matter what happens you will find a way to complete. Some people like to write down their goals for the next day the night before. That’s fine. As long as your first act of a new day is to focus on your 3 achievable goals and visualize how you’re going to get them done. You may even want to close your eyes and do a little meditation on it. This should only take 5-10 minutes – and believe me – it will be the best spent 5-10 minutes of your day because it will set you up for being successful. Each time you do this – and follow through on your goals – you’ll be reinforcing new patterns in your life. Patterns that extend from your thoughts and behaviors through your emotions right down to your very physiological makeup.

Now, instead of worrying about what may happen throughout the week that may get in the way of your “resolutions,” you are focused on specific goals that you can begin to look back on – and take credit for. You are building confidence in your daily success and creating meaningful change in your life.

Give it a try, and let me know how it works for you!

Find mentorship and take another step towards success!

Mentors raise the tide for all boats, big and small.

What is a mentor? While there are many definitions of what exactly a mentor is, the general concept of a mentor is someone who shares their knowledge and experience with another in an effort to assist and expedite growth and development. Sometimes mentors are specifically sought for a purpose – such as mentoring a new business, a new employee, or a new board member. At other times mentors appear in the form of colleagues or associates who step into the role more informally based on their general experience.

What’s fascinating is that when you take a hard look at successful people, especially those who pursue personal and professional development, you consistently find they have mentors. Some people find an experienced mentor that has walked the path they themselves want to emulate. Others have a few mentors that specialize in certain areas of development. For example an investment mentor, a relationship mentor, a spiritual mentor, etc. Yet others participate in an organized forum of mentorship where the work is accomplished collectively – such as a Mastermind group.

The power of mentorship is undeniable. I would challenge you to find a single successful person who has not had one form of mentorship or another. Receiving guidance by someone who has been successful – as well as made mistakes – is invaluable to someone who is walking a similar path. That’s not to say that all of the hurdles and pitfalls will be avoided with the assistance of a mentor. Rather, an effective mentor demonstrates choices that lead to success, and ways to recover and rebound when missteps occur. They also tend to offer trusted, confidential support and encouragement with direct feedback that a mentee would find difficult to obtain from (arguably biased) friends and family.

On a personal note, I can attest to the fact that some of the biggest steps of growth and development I’ve had in my life and career have been when I’ve had mentors who took time to provide their insight and guidance. Likewise, periods in which my growth has plateaued or stagnated have been in the absence of good mentors.

While some people are blessed with mentors who step into their lives at just the right time and offer guidance as a form of altruism, others look to professional mentors – or mentoring groups – for what they need. My impression is that either may work as long as there is trust and a combination of valuable knowledge and experience to be shared.

What’s the takeaway? If you’re at a point in your life that you’re looking to make significant personal and professional strides – look for a mentor or mentoring group. Search out someone who has developed what it is you want to develop, has earned what you want to earn, or who has accomplished what you want to accomplish. A mentor (or group) will help keep you focused on your goals, will give you honest feedback, and will challenge you to consider opportunities or choices you otherwise wouldn’t even consider.

With a new year quickly approaching, there’s no better time for personal and professional development. Want to find a mentor, but don’t know where to begin? Let’s start the conversation today!

Contact:  DrToddHelvig@gmail.com

 

Tags: Mentor, Mentorship, business, business success, entrepreneur, success

It’s time to join Business Masterminds and step up your game!

 

  Business Masterminds

Who:       Executives, Business Owners (new and experienced), & Entrepreneurs

What:      A facilitated business advisory group.

Business leaders consistently find that they become like those with whom they regularly associate. So why not surround yourself with other leaders with whom your collective knowledge and power will grow exponentially? Business Masterminds is, by far, one of the most powerful tools available to assist business leaders in maximizing both personal and professional potential. Discuss, learn, guide, and grow by joining others who share your vision to take this business you’ve been building to the next level!

Features of the forum:

1. Discuss, learn, & plan alongside others with knowledge and experience to share

2. Designed by a Licensed Psychologist (Todd Helvig, PhD) who has extensive business

and organizational experience.

3. Includes planned reading and assignments to enhance learning

4. “Get out as much as you put in” model

5. Enhanced intuitive learning (Level 5 Listening) for business

6. Speakers on a variety of topics intended to enhance the collective experience

Group/Forum Parameters:

  • Closed group / confidential meetings
  • Active participation from all group/forum members
  • Commitment to attend, participate, and support peers
  • Get honest feedback, a broader perspective, and remain focused on your personal and professional goals!

The best part is that you don’t have to pay tens of thousands of dollars annually (as commercial corporations of “Mastermind” groups would have you do) to be a member. The Business Masterminds group is a reasonable, affordable opportunity to making those personal and professional gains that you’ve been ready for.

When: Group/Forum meets twice Monthly for 2 hours per meeting.

Where: Two Mastermind groups starting January, 2017 in Denver, Colorado (DTC area).

How: Contact Prosperity Consultation to see if a Business Mastermind group is right for you!

 

Email: DrToddHelvig@gmail.com

Phone: (720)612-0244

*Business Masterminds was designed by – and is affiliated solely with – Prosperity Coaching and Consultation, LLC.

Executive Development: The “What” and “How” of Masterminds

e2asharing

I have found Mastermind groups to be an amazing format to build executive excellence. In case you haven’t attended a Mastermind group, I’ll tell you how and why they work so well. It starts with the group leader or chair hand selecting executives who have the right mindset and motivation to work collaboratively. The leader is generally an executive mentor of some sort, and the best leader is someone who has years of experience working with executives both individually and collectively. After the leader selects 8 to 16 executives from various industries, the group begins to meet – either once a month for between 4 and 8 hours, or twice a month for 2 to 4 hours. The idea is to have each executive delve into some of their goals and challenges as they grow their organization. The members listen, and then assist in the problem-solving by sharing their own experience, providing referrals to other experts, and supporting each other as the discussion unfolds. I should also mention that the group is in a confidential, closed-door atmosphere where honesty and integrity are the foundation of candid, open discussion. What happens in mastermind group, stays in mastermind group.

Additional features of the Mastermind approach that depend highly on the leader include: 1) Specialized training or instruction by external professionals covering a range of topics – often based on the needs and requests of group members. 2) Prepared topical readings pertaining to relevant aspects of business such as leadership styles. 3) One-hour, Individual “intensive” meetings between the mastermind leader and each group member at least once per month for laser-focused support, guidance, and processing. 4) Possible social gatherings for group members outside of the mastermind setting to get to know each other and strengthen inter-group relationships. 5) Visits to each member’s place of business to get a firsthand look at the setting and dynamics of each member’s company. Other possible options to build the group, teach, train, and learn are at the discretion of the group leader. I will note that mastermind groups rarely include any/all of these features, however the Executive Excellence Accelerator (E2A) program I’ve developed does.  Check into it here:

Executive Development & Mentoring

As you can imagine, given the parameters I’ve outlined, over time this group of executives learns to rely quite heavily on one another and I’ve witnessed amazing insights and breakthroughs occur in such groups. The members build respectful, trusting relationships that they otherwise would not have found within a truly collegial environment. Not only are they building their own businesses, they are giving each other lessons from their experience to selflessly guide, advise, and support. It is incredibly powerful to have a group of peers holding each other accountable for both their participation, and for making progress towards their goals week in and week out. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard that the highlight of each member’s week or month is getting together with their group and tackling a new goal.

If you’d like to learn more, shoot us an email at:  info@prosperitycoachingandconsulting.com 

 

Executive Development, Executive Leadership, Organizational Development, Leadership training

Emotional intelligence during periods of organizational transition

ei-circle-graph

I sat with a group of CEOs who were all commenting on the state of their respective organizations.  Interestingly, each of them discussed how their company was “in transition” as it applies to reorienting within the scope of the marketplace.  The upshot of which was that each company was looking at their leadership and employment structure in an effort to maximize efficiency while streamlining for performance.  As a result, some of their leadership was going to transition up into stronger roles within the organization, some were going to need to transition laterally within the company, and some were going to need to transition out of the company altogether.  A few of the CEOs took this period in stride; They’d seen their company go through this process of organizational transition during former times of growth and change.  Others were (to be honest) scared – and rightly so. How this period of transition takes place can either thrust the company ahead with increased organizational enthusiasm, or send it into a downward spiral leading to months of re-stabilization and recovery.  So what was going to make all the difference in the world?

If you’re familiar with our conceptualization of these processes, then you know that my response is going to be: Emotional Intelligence.  An executive’s approach, the executive team’s approach, and staff approach to transition will likely determine how effectively transition can be implemented.  It will determine how many staff members step up to the challenges ahead, and how many bail out.  It will determine how efficiently transition can be implemented across the organization, and how resilient teams within the organization can be in rolling with necessary changes.  And the outcome can be measured by what gets saved, what gets left behind, and what get’s lost – financially or otherwise.  When done right (with strong emotionally intelligent thoughts and behavior), the benefits of transition will strongly outweigh the costs.  When done poorly (without emotionally intelligent thinking and behavior), the costs can be so damaging that it will take months or years to regain stability within the organization.

This prompted a wonderful discussion among the executives at the table.  I’m fairly confident that if these 7 or 8 CEOs were feeling the process of transition occurring in their organizations, then there are many more dealing with similar circumstances.  Nicely, none of this needs to happen in a vacuum.  The skills for emotional intelligence can be learned, enhanced, maximized, and optimized so that any transition can be managed to increase the benefits and minimize costs to the organization.  Believe me, those CEOs who displayed emotionally intelligent thoughts around the processes were much more confident in the outcome than were those to whom emotional intelligence was a new conceptual framework.

We are here when you’re ready to move ahead confidently.

 

Until next time,

Todd

 

organizational transition, emotional intelligence, CEOs, leadership development, organizational development

Mindfulness Matters

mindful-employee

My cell phone rings, and I look down to see 7 new voicemails. As I check to see who’s called I see 108 new email messages, 5 appointments on my calendar, and my bloated “to do” list. I can feel my stomach tighten as I consider where and when I’m going to fit in everything. All while I’m preparing for a meeting that will invariably lead to 5 or 6 new projects…

Sound familiar? Life in the info-tech age keeps getting faster and faster. Sure, you can choose to ignore it, but what opportunities (or problems) just popped up that ring of urgency and that you just can’t miss?

However, I’ve learned over the years that when I feel my stomach tighten, my temples throb, and my mind races while I prioritize and organize that it’s time to take a short break. It’s time to center myself. I turn off the devices, the tablet and laptop (yeah scary, right?), tap Pandora on my phone to find my favorite station, and find a comfortable sitting position. I close my eyes and step out of my thoughts. As each new stress-related thought pops into my head, I imagine putting it in the basket of a hot air balloon and watching it float away. I run through a tension-relaxation exercise while keeping my mind open and free. If I’m close to my belongings I’ll pull out a soothing scent and allow my mind to wander through all of the wonderful, calm memories that are prompted. I try not to focus on time, but rather recognize my level of relaxation. On a scale of 1 – 10 (10 meaning high stress, 1 meaning no stress) I may start out an 8 or 9, and I take the time to get myself to at least a 3. Sometimes that happens in 10 minutes and sometimes I need 20. Then I slowly bring myself out of the exercise noticing how I’m feeling and imagining my feet firmly planted back on the ground.

Have I wasted valuable time that I could have been responding to emails, returning phone calls, or reorganizing my calendar? No, I have not. With renewed energy I’m much more efficient at organizing my thoughts. I’m more effective in responding to the messages I’ve been sent. I feel as if I have better control over my thoughts, feelings, and emotions – and with that control I can make better decisions. Even more impressive is that I’m calm and relaxed when I walk into meetings, and am better able to listen to others, and focus on what others are thinking and feeling. This means I’ll be even more mindful about how I interact and inspire others to action.

This IS mindfulness. And the nice thing about mindfulness, is that as you practice skills related to mindfulness your emotional intelligence peaks as well. You don’t have to follow the example illustrated above – but it’s a template for a few strategies you may use if you haven’t tried others you prefer. Take the opportunity today and give yourself those 10, 20, or 30 minutes you need. Then spend a little time throughout your day noticing anything that happens differently.

And if something amazing happens, don’t be shy. Shoot me an email – because I love amazing stories!

Until next time,
Dr. Todd