To Get Ahead, Hit the Pause Button

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Day two of week two, Mindful Workplace Month. 4 tips for working mindfulness into your work day here.

Here's a simple 2-minute Hit the Pause Button "challenge" for this week:

Let's start with some challenges to our cultural norms about how to be smart, successful and happy.

Eknath Easwaran was the first person to teach an accredited course on meditation at any major university (began at UC Berkeley in 1968). His words ring even more true today.

Somehow in our modern civilization, we have acquired the idea that the mind is working best when it runs at top speed. Yet a racing mind lacks time even to finish a thought, let alone to check its quality. When we slow down the mind, we work better at everything we do. Not only is the quality of our work better; we are actually able to get more done. A calm, smooth-running flow of thought saves a lot of wear and tear on the nervous system, which means we have more vitality and resilience in the face of stress.

OK, breathe that in for a minute. (Your brain may go, "Yeah, yeah, I know this already." And, how are you actually behaving most days? How are you setting yourself up to flourish or fail?)

Next, the icon of smart thinking, Albert Einstein, offers challenges like this:

The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness......the solution comes to you and you don't know how or why.

The true value of a human being is determined primarily by the measure and the sense in which he has attained liberation from the self.

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.

Pause Questions:

What influences you to keep rushing or trying to get things done "faster, smarter, better" ? How are you kidding yourself or self-sabotaging the quality of your work… and the quality of your life?

The next time you might chastise yourself for "wasting time" staring out the window or such– think again.

Don't judge yourself or anyone else. We've all inherited so many habits and ideas about how to be good boys and girls, and still swim in environments every day that don't prioritize pausing. So, please have infinite compassion for yourself and everyone as we give birth to a saner, more sustainable way to succeed.

In this moment, try this. Challenge yourself :-)

 Just hit the pause button for two minutes. Breathe. Close your eyes. Breathe in through your nose, exhale through your mouth a few times.

Reflect on what’s truly important to you. Allow some clarity to come in about what is the next best investment of your precious energy.

2 minutes, 2 questions. Here are two extremely powerful questions (to invoke in your two-minute pause)- if you let them be that for you.

  1. Why am I here?

  2. What's my most important job?

How you answer these makes all the difference in the world for you, and ultimately for the world because of you. Let your deeper wisdom and infinite potential answer, (not your schedule or to do list or expectations of others and all that jazz that normally runs the show) and let the potency of this pause operationalize the rest of your day. Try it every day this week and let me know what you discover!

Hint: If you START your morning this way, that could be Einstein smart, hmm? :-)