By constantly dealing with the pressures of everyday life at breakneck pace, we put ourselves under plenty of stress. In these chaotic times of this VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world that we live in today, the feelings of busyness, tiredness, as well as being distracted and overloaded can be overwhelming, to the detriment of our physical and mental health. This means we need to be non-judgementally aware and feel what is happening in the present moment all around and inside ourselves, which is also known as mindfulness.
Last month I attended a networking breakfast organised by Professional Liverpool. Held at the Cotton Exchange, this was delivered by Nicola Forshaw of Mindfit, which looked at mindfulness. I was curious to learn about how I could personally incorporate mindfulness into my everyday life. A second reason for attending, was I also saw this as an opportunity to develop a mindful approach to leading and helping others.
Nicola was a superb speaker with a great passion for her business. From start to finish, Nicola delivered a talk that was succinct, easy to understand, clear, knowledgeable and reassuring for the entire audience. Indeed, I was impressed with how Nicola clearly showed her expertise with a smooth tone and flow, leaving myself and everyone mesmerised.
There was plenty that I learned from Nicola. From using mindfulness personally in everyday life, as well as using mindful leadership to cultivate, nurture and support others, I learned and gained an understanding of mindfulness.
Below are some examples of what I learned about mindfulness:
- Mindfulness is a practice of living in the present moment without consciously passing judgement.
- If you worry or dwell on the past and future, you will miss out on the present.
- Drop into the present to get a sense of calm.
- The threat is in the mind most of the time through overthinking.
- Overthinking makes you ill.
- Meditation is clear seeing of the mind.
- Mindful listening involves being comfortable, connected and happy. This is required as you need to feel able to express yourself thorough your presence, clarity, focus and compassion to others.
- The quality of your presence has a diverse impact on another person’s thinking.
- Mindfulness is not a quick fix, as you must be committed to it for the long-term, and it requires patience and practice.
- Being a mindful leader not only improves your resilience, but also improves complexity, communication and collaboration with others.
From the above, I now understand that is important to make the most of the present, and not worry and overthink about the future. The latter is especially true with some things in life and business that you have no control over, as it is easy and understandable to feel concerned about what may or may not lie ahead.
To summarise my thoughts, I found the event to be a fascinating introduction to mindfulness. From this I have learned plenty of interesting points on mindfulness and mindful leadership, and how I can apply this to my own life and to assist others. I can honestly say this has been extremely useful to me as part of my personal and professional development, and I have since been trying to apply mindfulness in my daily life, by applying a few minutes every day to practice.
Overall the event was excellent. From meeting Nicola who was delightful to speak and listen to, from networking and catching up with several familiar faces including Chris Burgess, David Wafer, Lee Parry and Leon McCowan, there was plenty of conversation and opportunities to strengthen networking relationships. The breakfast provided was also delicious with fresh fruit, bagels, cookies, croissants, meat, cheeses and plenty of tea and coffee, giving a cultured and continental taste.
In conclusion, I would like to thank Nicola for being a wonderful speaker, and for opening my eyes and ears to the power of mindfulness. My thanks also go to Alex Clark, Emma Rittenberg and Keri Stanistreet of Professional Liverpool for putting together a fine networking event, and I certainly hope my fellow attendees got as much out of it as I did.
Thank you very much!