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Month #1 – Diary of a Mindless Leader (turning Mindful!)

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Wow, what an incredible first month I have had with the Inner MBA. I am currently being taught by the leading ‘Mindfulness Gurus’ of this world and feel so humbled to be part of this program.

These gurus have rigorously trained with Buddhist monks and followed their path on a journey of self-discovery. I, clearly, am just scratching the surface but already feel I am scratching the right itch am excited about what lies ahead.

Top 2 things I learned the first 4 weeks

Firstly, I learned how mindless I am (or how mindful I am not) and secondly, I learned how to create an “Immunity to Change” map (say what?!)

Are you sufficiently curious? I was fascinated. Here are some statistics to ponder:

1. The cost of mindlessness

  • 90% of people are on autopilot
  • 95% of thoughts you are having today are the thoughts you had yesterday
  • 9% of the time, your mind is wandering somewhere else
  • less than 1/3 of people know the emotional state they are in if asked in that moment
  • people with a lack of self-awareness have only a 4% chance of successfully managing themselves

Are you feeling mindless right now? Ask yourself, where did your thoughts just go?

Perhaps you’re still stuck wondering, “What on earth is an Immunity to Change map?”

2. How to create an “Immunity to Change” map

An Immunity to Change map is a road map to understand what I need to change about myself. What are my goals, and what am I NOT doing to achieve them? The challenge is to pinpoint my competing commitments and what big assumptions am I making about not being able to achieve these goals.

It’s a strange feeling to bare my soul to a community I hardly know and reveal what it is that I need to improve.

What are my blockers. What is my kryptonite right now?

There are two main challenges that I am trying to ‘fix’:

  1. My business is growing rapidly and well, which means I am doing the right things, but I still wish I had more confidence as an entrepreneur and business owner.
  2. Now that I’ve hired an amazing team, I want (and need) to get better at letting go of some control and delegating responsibility. I know that I can’t do it all.

Why did I focus on these goals? Because no one has taught me how to remedy them! No schools, no degrees (of which I have 3), no community (although I do have good business coach and guiding me). These are things that can’t be taught, they have to be felt, they have to be felt through being mindful of my mindlessness. I know I need to wake myself up from the slumber (or autopilot) we all experience as leaders and be more present in the now.

My biggest take away so far is that learning the ‘inner stuff’ is hard work! It requires commitment and training, but the reward is that it opens your mind to all possibilities. As business leaders we benefit from training our thoughts to help us achieve goals while being mindful of who and what is around us. It is an impactful lesson on my ‘why’ — why do I do what I do and why do I continue to do it.

Here are some learning tools I thought I’d share for you to try:

  1. Where are your thoughts when your employees are talking to you?
  2. Where are your thoughts when your kids are laughing and telling you a joke?
  3. If someone asked you right this minute, “How are you feeling?” – what words come to mind?
  4. If someone asked you, “What are you afraid of?” – what is the answer?
  5. If someone asked you, “Why haven’t you achieved your goals yet?” – what would be the main reason?

Stay tuned folks for the second month as that is going to go far more in depth.

Read Kim’s first blog about the Inner MBA here:

Our CEO, Kim Simmonds, embarks on an Inner MBA at MindfulNYU

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