The Mindful MBA
When I started my MBA program at W.P. Carey, I didn’t have a full appreciation for the onslaught of fear, uncertainty and insecurity I would experience. The constant grind of prioritizing (read: adulting) and re-prioritizing (read: frantic, absurd amounts of list making) is truly indescribable.
But I was prepared… because I have a super power.
I started practicing mindfulness in 2013, and since then, my practice has experienced so many different phases. I’ve read books upon books and journals until my eyes were bleary. Podcasts, apps and technology galore. Lots of Oprah and lots of Chopra. Headspace, Insight Timer, you name it. (Nothing works better for classes than Inner Explorer).
In my program, mindfulness helps me to stay focused and shows me the light and silver linings I would otherwise miss. If you’re a planner, you probably know what I mean when I say we planners can worry, anticipate, over-analyze and hyperventilate with the best of ’em.
Mindfulness gives us (especially the planners) space. It gives us room to breath. It shows us that extra 4.5 minutes we were looking for sandwiched between meetings. It allows you to be comfortable asking yourself, “Do I really need to rush on this?” It also makes you more effective in the times when the answer to that question is “Yes.”
BYOS (Build Your Own Superpower)
Whenever I realize I’ve dropped off from my usual mindfulness regime, I try to come up with ways to build it back in like my own personal little Hoover dam. Hopefully these tips will help you build your own dam:
1. Tiny habits. Use a tiny habit to remind you when you need to practice.
2. Visualize. Set your phone screen saver or lap top or something you see every day to a quote or picture that reminds you to practice.
3. EVERY. DAY. Just do it. Just sit and breath.
4. Forgive yourself. Have compassion when you miss a day. Mindfulness is a lifestyle change, just like working out or flossing your teeth. You have to love yourself enough to do it, and you have to love yourself when you forget.
5. It’s not the length that matters. Trust me. Even if it’s only 16 seconds. Sometimes, it’s the intention that is the most important piece.