As a leader, when you master your mind to the level that you can consciously choose to have mindful moments, you create expanded possibilities and can then make higher conscious choices and decisions from these possibilities.
When you are being mindful, you might transcend rational thought and engage with your own subconscious mind, which is far more powerful and wise than your conscious mind. It can fully take over, allowing you to be in your absolute highest state of mindful consciousness.
The thoughts and actions of Leymah Gbowee are a great example of this. The mindful moment in which she decided to strip off her clothes to get the attention of the men who were not listening to her and continuing to perpetuate the Second Liberian Civil War not only helped to stop this 14-year conflict, it earned her a Nobel Peace Prize.
“I earn my paycheck about once a quarter, for an idea that I have or decision that I make that significantly improves the company,” the founder and CEO of a high-tech firm once shared with us. He added, “It is usually an idea that comes to me as I’m staring out the window or playing my mandolin.”
You don’t need to be fully mindful at all times
It is good to have many important functions of your mind on auto-response, because there is no need to think deeply about any action you’re going to take. One is taking care of our basic physical needs; if you’re outside on a hot summer day and are thirsty, just drink some water. This choice does not require mindful thinking.
A very different brain function occurs when you have specifically trained your mind and body to perform a certain way and you want your midbrain to take over and perform the way you had practiced.
As freestyle world champion skier Jeremy Bloom said, “What I would do is look at the six inches in front of my face and say, “That’s the single most important turn. That’s all I need to focus on. If I make a good turn there, I know my skills will carry me . . .’”
Being masterful with his mind, Bloom knew that by choosing a very simple initial focus, he could keep his mind relaxed, even though his frontal lobes were activated. Then, once he made his first athletic move, at his first turn, instincts gained from his years of training would take over and he could be in his midbrain and allow his mind and body to be relaxed.
Bloom knew that to create the ideal performance state, or flow state where he as an athlete would be his best, he needed to use a simple cue from his executive brain (the first turn) to allow him to switch into his midbrain where his skills were hardwired.
What about you? What steps, or exercises, or practices, do you use to enable your brain to relax so you can perform at your best? Thanks for sharing.
For questions about this post or for information on becoming a fearless leader, contact Dr. Cathy Greenberg and The Fearless Leader Group at (888) 320-1299 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.