I firmly believe that good leadership is much more about being good than about doing good. Therefore, good leadership is about personal excellence. A lot of this personal excellence can be developed by being. Not by doing good but by being good. One precondition of being good is to every day take the time to do meditation (or a similar activity such as mindfulness). In this article, I want to share with you why I feel top leaders should meditate.
Life happens to us
The world we live in is hectic, it’s like a roller coaster. Before you know, life happens to you, you feel as if you no longer have a grip on the daily tsunami of information that comes your way. Your mind just reacts and reacts. It doesn’t act from inner strength but it only responds. It responds to the plethora of situations that race towards us. Meditation is a highly effective method to keep an adequate grip on all these situations.
Meditation has a soft image
Unfortunately, many people feel that meditation is soft. But’s it’s not, far from it. Steve Jobs meditates. Mahatma Ghandi meditated, and so does the founder and CEO of Linkedin. They all practice some form of meditation. Meditation plays an important role in the lives of many great leaders.
When you wish to meditate, you don’t need to wear orange robes, or to become a Buddhist. Meditation is only a technique.
To me, meditation means that several times a day, you consciously turn your attention inward. You direct your attention to your thoughts, your feelings, your body or your breath. In this way, you train your focus and develop the habit of having your attention directed inward. The fact is that we tend to have our focus directed outward. But when you direct your attention inwards, you start to connect to what is truly important to you.
Meditation is training the strength of awareness
So, meditation is nothing more than a type of strength training. However, with meditation, you train your awareness. Not your muscles, strength training trains your muscles. Meditation trains your awareness.
Through meditation, you develop a very strong awareness. And as is the case with strength training, your performance improves. You are more present and every day your capacity to take a decision from presence and alertness improves. The strength of your awareness grows and grows!
Effects of meditation
There’s a lot that can be said about the positive effects of meditation. For managers and leaders, two important advantages should be highlighted. Meditation improves your grip on stress and you have a far better handle on negative emotions. Especially this last advantage is crucial because this is what you need if you wish to become a leader of today.
Value driven leadership
For managers of today, it is important that they know how to handle negative emotions such as martyr-behaviour, fear or frustration. Our ego keeps these negative emotions alive. When you meditate, you learn how to let go of the grip these negative emotions have. You then have the opportunity to develop new behaviour based on moral and social values, such as, for instance, compassion, involvement, or wanting to make a difference.
Managers who meditate on a regular basis are more successful. Meditation is not some vague concept but a method that teaches you to develop your awareness. Only then, you can be a good leader.