I must admin... I suck at meditating!
I am usually checking for new emails, accomplishing tasks, replying to new leads and sharing on social media... so it is hard for me to sit still and do "nothing". But as a bold founder and busy entrepreneur, I'm noticing some significant 'issues' arising from my lack of stillness. Lately, feelings of overwhelm, emotions of guilt or fear and a "busy" mind that keeps me up late and sleeping less.... all things I know are indicative of a troubled busy mind.
Meditation is something we now know for a fact is a great habit (Benefits of Meditation on Google = 33.2M answers) one I can leverage for a clearer, more productive and calmer mind. Some experts and business leaders claim it may even be the #1 habit to cultivate as an evolving self-aware leader.
So, I have now committed to using the Headspace app for 10 minutes for 10 days and I just completed all 10! Big whoop right?
I started writing this before day 10 (day 8 was really inspiring for me) and now have the personal satisfaction of completing a goal. Like a health body cleanse, you never know what day will feel best, for me it was day 8. Below are mobile app screenshots from the Headspace app (day 8) ... and what I will describe as a Blue Sky Meditation for Entrepreneurs, as well as business owners, founders, moms... and anyone who is managing a lot in this busy modern life!
I recently had the opportunity to hear the Headspace founder speak at HustleCon, a founder and entrepreneurs live conference in Oakland. The founders are two inspiring Brits, who have landed a great new app (and business model), just right for the busy modern world. The app 'brilliantly' injects short videos (screenshots above) to help you visualize what meditation is doing inside the mind. They used the example of sitting by a roadside and letting your thoughts, experiences and emotions be the passing cars... but visualizing traffic was not working for me... since I despise traffic!
On Day 8, I watched the video and they used the example of a cloudy sky to represent our busy thoughts, deeper emotions and life experiences... this resonated! The natural example really 'sat well' (a meditation pun) with me, as I relate more easily to natural processes better than mankind ones. Below* is an example of how we feel when burdened by our busy mind states.
They use the example also of when you're flying (I've been on flying for work lately) and the blue sky is always above the clouds... it is always there, but many days we can't see it.
Below are some ways that I can now visualize my mind shifting when dealing with the following... (they're geared towards entrepreneurs and founders).
1. Feeling Overwhelm - The business is all on my shoulders, forcing me to ask myself... am I always DOING ENOUGH? Enough to keep it afloat, completing my tasks, am I falling behind, am I delivering enough value, and am I producing at a level I 'should' be proud of. Often this feeling diminishes my personal integrity, productivity and inner confidence. Now meditation is helping me to reduce this feeling. It does not remove the feeling (surely not in 10 days) but offers me the freedom to choose it and not be at the mercy of the feeling.
2. Thinking Fears - The base of these thoughts represent deeper fears, can I DO MORE? These thoughts for me usually reside around finances... by bringing in enough monthly income to not only cover the expenses, but produce a profit (crazy idea). The fears of clients leaving, clients upset, months were bills can't be paid... you can see where this is going! It is easy for me to fall into this mind trap, so the meditation allows me to see this dark stormy cloud for what it is... just a future fear thought!
I can see the possibility that I have the choice to allow these thoughts to cloud my day and block out the 'blue clear sky' thus the sunshine (sun represents ideas, positivity, lightness). Again, it does not 'remove' all the fears, I am sure they will move back in... but I gain some 'elevated' perspective on them now. I can rise above them into the blue sky and look back on them as I leave that mind state and head towards another place.
3. Experiencing Doubt - This experience as I have it is about an inner doubt, can I BEING ENOUGH? As a founder and entrepreneur, we're tasked and asked to do it all... create, inspire, leadership, organize it all, sell it, develop it and of course PRODUCE results! These feelings for me all relate to levels of 'enough'. The days I fall behind, I feel the fears of the unknown and experience this doubt, it can be paralyzing, producing the opposite effect of were I need to be. This Blue Sky Meditation assists me by visualizing these 'doubts' as a grey day... one that makes me sleepy and down. I have to remember that there actually is a vibrant blue sky up there... past all the enveloping 'gray' that feels everywhere!
Look I realize I'm but 10 short days into what for many is a life-long practice, one I know will assist me as an entrepreneur, but insights can often come quickly... thus I share!
I hope these can help you gain more freedom, confidence, productivity and even calm in your busy life too. How do you use meditation, mindfulness or relaxation to make you a more effective business leader?
*All images are from the Headspace app