It's not all zen.

Mindfulness as a subject seems to have been everywhere in the media in recent times and not only as a subject which has been described as a key part of traditional Buddhist practice. Today mindfulness is described as being a much more general approach that we can all take in our busy lives as a way of living more successfully in the present and being healthier and happier in our lives in general. This even applies in our business experience and as a result mindfulness training courses and coaching has become commonplace in many companies of all stripes. But like so many approaches, is this just another passing “fad” or is it a key tool from which we can gain real and ongoing benefit in business and therefore something that every leader should practice and even encourage?

What is Mindfulness?

In its essence mindfulness is about paying attention to our thoughts and feelings as they are actually occurring without passing any judgment of them—without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts should therefore be completely in tune with what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than bringing up events in the past or imagining the future. Even more simply put, it is fully concentrating on the here and now.

Whenever there is a positive change in leadership behaviours and attitudes a bunch of new age aficionados come along and taint it for everyone else.

Recently, one of my clients raised his concern that the practice of being mindful would be “too introspective”, and that his people might “think he was a hippy.” It was all a bit “too touchy-feely.”

I asked him if he preferred to ignore his own feelings and intuition. If taking a moment to reflect over the impact of his thinking and actions was wasteful?


Mindfulness is much more than the daydreaming you did as a kid in that boring school lesson. With practice, you won't be “stuck in your head” but able to rid your mind of toxic thinking and help you get a grip on reality.

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