As business leaders, we are so often called to do things: make decisions, fix problems, manage money. The irony is, the more we do, the less control we have. Effective leadership requires composition, control and focus — skills that are all strengthened by learning to do nothing.
Years of practicing mindful meditation have helped me become an acclaimed entrepreneur, propelling my leadership to new heights. In “DoNothing, The Most Rewarding Leadership Challenge You Will Ever Take,” I share my experiences with meditation and silent retreats, the wisdom of other business leaders who have established meditation routines, and scientific studies that prove the positive effects of meditation on the mind, body and heart. I also teach you how to meditate — the easy part! — and the best ways to turn a daily practice into a lifelong habit.
It’s time to become the strongest, most efficient, and most mindful leader you can be — and all by embracing the ability to do nothing.
The following is an excerpt from “DoNothing: The Most Rewarding Leadership Challenge You Will Ever Take.” Copyright 2018 by Rob Dubé.
It is my goal, in the pages that follow, to help you come to understand the science and methodology of how meditation can help you become a better leader: not 100 percent better but—to build off the title of Dan Harris’s book on meditation,”10% Happier“—10 percent better as a leader.
Here’s the exciting part: as you stay with it, the benefits compound! The more I practice meditation, the more aware and present I become, and the better I am for and to the people I lead, allowing them to be their best, too. I’ve identified four key benefits of my meditation practice, which have taken me to new levels of success as a leader and in business:
- Productivity and Efficiency: As a result of my practice, I have a clear mind on a day-to-day basis, which notably increases my productivity and efficiency. When I first started meditating, my mind began to open like it hadn’t in years. Now when I meditate, ideas start flowing in, and, although I’m not writing them down, the best ones rise to the top, and, by the end of my session or a retreat, I’ve had some real breakthroughs. It might be a new product idea, a problem I’ve been trying to solve, or a solution to a deal I’ve been trying to close. As I deepened my practice, my productivity and efficiency drastically improved, allowing me to train my attention and give my full, complete presence to the task at hand.
- Letting Go of Fear: Whether I realized it or not, many of the decisions or non-decisions I’ve made in business have been based in a deep-rooted fear. It could be a fear of failing or of being outside of my comfort zone. With a regular practice, I’ve come to realize that nothing matters but this moment. I’m an authentic person and, when vulnerable or feeling that I might fail, I’m better able to put my ego aside and do things that are scary: the types of activities that have brought me greater success. And, even when something does fail, I’ve learned to reframe the experience and the story in my head. Was it a failure, or have I gained new wisdom? I get to decide.
- Mind-and-Body Rejuvenation: When I’m on “vacation,” it feels busy. I’m often on the go with lots to do and see. Even if I’m lying on a beach, I’m not just lying there; I’m usually reading and learning. An active mind. A mind that is somewhere other than where I really am. I might be learning about new marketing techniques instead of taking in the fullness of the beauty of Lake Michigan, the feeling of the sand on my toes, and the sounds of children playing. During my daily practice, I’ve learned to build the skill that allows me to be more present wherever I am at any given moment. Meditation also allows time for my mind and body to rest and rejuvenate. I’m a physically active person with an extremely active mind. I’ve noticed that, at times, this can get overwhelming. My practice allows me to notice what I didn’t before.
- Perspective: My practice brings unsolicited perspective. I’ve got the stories of the day, week, month, and my life playing in my head constantly. Time to quiet my mind brings me back to now: what really matters. What if these were my last breaths during this lifetime? Would I be happy with the way it was ending? Was I caught up in a story about something that happened at work, the slow line at the store, or something one of my kids said to me? The perspective that my practice has brought me is that most of these things really don’t matter at a deeper level. It’s love, kindness, and compassion that matter. Time and again, my practice brings that perspective back to me.
“DoNothing: The Most Rewarding Leadership Challenge You’ll Ever Take” can be purchased via StartupNation.com below.