Heading off the plane last week at La Guardia Airport after a restful few days in Florida, my mind had already begun creating the rundown for the next day. I had meditated on the plane and that’s when I’m at my best. Those moments of shutting down and just allowing the creative juices to flow.
Even at close to midnight, I was ready for action. And then I ran into a billboard for a new book, The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working: The Four Forgotten needs that Energize Great Performance. The next day I went out and bought the book. Rare. The title speaks for itself. I was taken with it because you don’t need a sledge hammer to drive home that message. Our WorkLife Nation is undergoing great transition as is the rest of the planet around the working and living experience.
In The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working by best-selling author Tony Schwartz, he simply and articulately hits upon fundamental core values: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. But it’s how he expands those categories with research and solution oriented ideas that suggest there is some hope in the quest for work life balance.
Using the “S” Word
Schwartz even goes out on the limb of using the “s” word; “spirituality” in the context of boosting employees’ energy and engagement in the workplace. And he also writes about the benefits of the breath. But he just skims the top of the huge topic of meditation and deeper spiritual values without going into a dogmatic or woo woo place. Ultimately, his ideas are not airy fairy. He’s really talking about grounded concepts like appreciating your employees, allowing for some downtime, working with purpose and passion and fostering an overall shift in the workplace culture. In an earlier post this week I wrote about a new book on the elements of a Meaningful Workplace. Obviously there’s a trend here. Many of us are fed up with the status quo and we’re just plain tired.
The Energy Project
The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working is the brainchild of Schwartz and his team of experts in organizational development. The theory is that human beings are not programmed to continually work at the speed of light, but that we rather pulse between intense focus and rest. This makes perfect sense. When we don’t refuel, we shut down and burn out. While no one has come up with the perfect formula to make that fluctuation between those states of consciousness seamless, this book is a nice way to start.
This team has been working on their formula for quite a few years in some of the most prominent and progressive workplaces, like Google, Ford and Sony Pictures among others. The concepts are easy to digest, seem like no-brainers and makes one wonder why more corporate leaders aren’t making more of an effort to value and engage employees when the benefits are so clearly written on the wall.
The Breath & Meditation
Schwartz writes about the benefits of using the breath to recharge. I’m in agreement with that idea, and the need for core values and purpose to be embraced in the workspace, but let’s take it a step further. For the last decade I’ve been instructing business executives in breathwork and meditation techniques. The breath is a great way to calm the mind, body and soul.
Seventy percent of our waste is eliminated through the lungs. It’s hard to argue against the benefits of breathwork to detox the body, but we forget it can also be used to detox the mind. And when we do that, all kinds of benefits emerge. Once the body is on that path of detox and relaxation it allows for the calming of the mind, and as Swartz writes in his chapter Cultivating the Whole Brain, better use of the entire right and left brain. The left brain mastering the more cognitive and intellectual response and the right brain governing the creative response.
The Benefits of Calming the Monkey Mind
In stillness, with fewer stimuli battling against it, it’s easier to focus the mind. Better conditions are set to allow more creative thoughts to emerge. That calm fuels overall energy inside and out. The meditative qualities of that state-of- being recharges the inner core of who we are as human beings physically and spiritually, and sets fertile ground for better choices. A refueled grounded state can also reignite what might have become stale passion.
When we stop our busy chaotic 24/7 sensory overloaded lives, even for a moment of the breath, it allows us to remember who we are, why we’re here, and stretches us to ask,” How can I be apart of something bigger than myself.” What are your thought on meditation in general? Have you ever meditated at work? Do you think that corporate America is ready to hear more about this or is it an exercise for entrepreneurs? Please share your thoughts!
For more information: JudyMartinSpeaks.com WorkLifeNation.com