Life is full of distractions. People send 204,000,000 emails, Facebook users share 2,460,000 pieces of content, Twitter users tweet 277,000 times, and 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. This is mind-boggling!
If you’re an online entrepreneur who’s just starting out, it can be especially distracting when you’re trying to figure out how to grow your business. You may not know where to start or where to focus your efforts.
If you’re the leader of a large organization, you may be easily distracted (along with your employees) with the plethora of things – such as meetings, responding to emails, or tending to the thousands of tasks just mentioned – requiring your attention.
While doing one task, the mind often wanders to the list of other things that still need to be done later in the day. Multitasking has become the norm. But not only is it ineffective, but it also encourages stress that can lead to fatigue of your mind and body.
Practice Mindfulness Over Multitasking
Mindfulness is the ability to be present, to be fully aware of what you are doing and feeling at any given moment. When you bring awareness to what you are experiencing through your thoughts and emotions – without reacting – you are being mindful.
Mindfulness is a practice that is available to you at any time. The key is practice in order to reap the benefits.
One of the easiest ways I practice mindfulness is to slow down and find stillness through my breath. You too, can experience it in any ordinary moment of your day.
1. Focus your attention on the sounds around you right now.
Listen and acknowledge sounds all around you. Try to grasp how near or far they are. Accept the sounds as they are.
2. Shift your attention to your body and notice how you feel physically.
Are there any areas of tension in your body? Feel the contact of your feet on the ground, or your bottom on the chair. Accept the sensations as they are.
3. Bring awareness to your breath.
Focus your attention on your belly and allow it to soften and relax. Slow down your breathing and deeply inhale for three counts. Pause for a second, then exhale for a count of three. Pause again, repeat.
Notice when your mind pulls you away from this breathing activity, and then bring your attention back to your breath.
How Mindfulness Can Help You Build a Better Business
A mindful approach can be applied in your day-to-day life as well as in your business. Here are three ways to use it to help you build a better business:
1. Know Your Purpose
Want to start a venture but you’re not sure which is right for you? Looking to build a better business but don’t know what to do next?
Having a clear idea of what you are here to achieve and what sets you or your company apart helps to harness your creative energy and that of your team.
Start with Your ‘Why’
At the time, I decided to pursue a coaching training program I had been working in the corporate world for 15 years. I already had a small business teaching yoga and running retreats, but I was seeking something more.
I knew I wanted to connect with others on a deeper level; to help people reach their full potential in life and business.
What Gives You Joy?
It wasn’t enough for me to set an intention to help others to reach their full potential. I had to get clear on my ‘why’. I figured out my ‘why’ by paying attention to what interactions or activities lit me up and brought me joy.
When running retreats, I felt good knowing when people made personal breakthroughs that I was a part of. I felt honored and happy that I was able to support their growth process. I wanted to serve in the business world through my coaching and help entrepreneurs succeed, to make an impact.
When you understand your ‘why’, you are better able to determine those opportunities that best align with you, based on where you are now and where you want to go in your business.
2. Evaluate Where You Are At Now
If you don’t fully understand where you are now, how will you know the next step to take you where you want to go?
Be Present and Take Stock of Yourself and Your Business Today
When I first launched my coaching business, I felt overwhelmed about where to begin to market my services. Having some experience in marketing, I jotted down a rough strategy. Then I created my website, launched a Facebook business page, and updated my LinkedIn profile. I even experimented with Instagram.
A few weeks into my new business, when the sales weren’t flooding in, I found myself wondering if my strategy was correct. Was I focusing on the right channels? I had to evaluate what was working and what wasn’t.
The lack of sales led to self-doubt. I even questioned the value of my services. The sheer amount of options and data available today, plus the confusion around the myriad of choices was a reflection of what was going on in my mind – too much noise.
Get Out Of Your Mind and Into Your Body
I decided to stop thinking of my next marketing campaign. I got out of my mind and into my body – to look within to fully see where I was at and what I wanted to accomplish with my business.
I looked within by practicing meditation. By taking a few minutes each morning to sit quietly, to ask questions and to journal, I found myself getting clarity after a few days. Some days I would begin my practice with a simple question, such as, “what do I need to know today?”
The Answers Will Come
By listening to my inner wisdom, I discovered that I needed to spend less time online and more time connecting with others in person. I began meeting people at events and networking sessions. This led to better connections and referrals.
Eventually, my business started to grow. To keep growing, I had to step up and evaluate my beliefs.
3. Examine Your Beliefs
Do you believe you can build a better business? Can you grow it and take it to the next level? If not, what beliefs are holding you hostage?
Fear and doubt are often rooted in your beliefs, which are formed at a young age. Beliefs continue to be formed throughout your life, based on your experiences. They can become a self-fulfilling prophecy – which is great if they are positive and lead you down the right path for personal growth. But when beliefs are negative or false, you take yourself down a more challenging or painful path.
As my business was starting to take off, I had two limiting beliefs:
(a) I had to do everything on my own, and;
(b) I had to work really hard to achieve.
When I took the time to examine my beliefs, I realized that it was OK to ask for help. To build my brand, I needed to seek out additional support for online marketing activities.
I also took stock of how many hours a day I was working and how often I was taking breaks. When I restructured my schedule to allow breaks and go outside every day, I found myself more focused and productive.
Mind Your Beliefs by Watching Your Thoughts
With my daily meditation and journaling practice, I became more discerning of my thoughts. I was able to recognize that my previous over-achieving habits had roots of fear – fear of being judged for not working hard enough! When I was able to detach from my thoughts and self-imposed beliefs, I was able to relax and enjoy my days more.
The more you practice mindfulness and meditation, the more you will realize that you are NOT your thoughts. You have control over what you choose to focus on. Repetitive thoughts become beliefs. So be mindful where you place your attention.
The ‘Busyness’ Culture
In today’s distracted society and culture of ‘busyness’, when you are constantly running around at top speed, the mind becomes overworked. Seemingly small fears and anxieties can easily balloon into major problems if you don’t pause often to take stock of yourself and your situation.
Developing mindfulness practice builds emotional awareness. It’s a continuous learning process. When you catch yourself being distracted, slow down your breath, bring yourself into the present moment, and inquire what’s really going on in your mind.
With a mindful approach, you will find yourself – and your business – expanding in a focused and positive way.