Being a leader in business means facing challenges, both emotional and mental. It’s parr for the course, and your ability to go through this experience is what will set you apart over your (hopefully) many years in the business.
There’s being a proficient technical operator. Even a talented one. Then there’s middle of the road, leading into senior managerial roles. If you want to do it right, there’s no getting around the staggering workload that comes with this kind of growth.
And, even when you get to the top tier you’ve been working toward for so long, you become responsible for larger numbers employees. More clients. Bigger contracts. The scope of your role only gets more dramatic as you become more successful, and you have to be ready for it.
This is a perfect incubator for that self-doubt. You may end up second-guessing yourself and wanting to go back to a simpler time. This kind of self-doubt can spell the end for your foundation if you let it creep into your day-to-day.
Now For The Good News
Your brain is actually constantly keeping you safe. As humans, it’s hardwired into us to operate according to a negatively biased mindset. Psychology researchers like Professor John Cacciopo of the University of Chicago have conducted extensive research into this. Increased cerebral cortex activity within the brain when comparing the effects of negative with positive stimuli is actually easy to spot.
Of course, without any intervention to keep these thoughts in check, it can be tempting to let yourself go right off the rails. Mindfulness is crucial during these moments. Make the active decision to give yourself non-confrontational intervention, choosing to pivot your thinking and stop unhelpful thoughts before they grow.
Let’s take a closer look.
Mindfulness is a framework popular with therapists treating negative mindsets. You’ll see it at play with elite athletes, increasing resilience and reducing stress in performance-driven fields. These are trained professionals using an active awareness of their own negativity to compose themselves and stay stable under pressure.
Mindful meditation rests on two main pillars within our brains in order to be effective:
- Thoughts, feelings and emotions are fleeting, changing from moment to moment depending on the person and on external factors.
- Objective information and data can be collected about these thoughts and used to spot patterns in your thoughts and self-reflection.
In this way, it’s possible to listen to the process of our feelings, even ones that are out of our control. It’s a method of noticing negative thoughts or self-criticisms and, by noticing them, stop them in their tracks.
Observers take the mystery out of a feeling, de-escalating negative feelings by turning them into entries in a journal. You’ll increase your ability to control your mood in this way by assigning a driver’s seat and then sitting in it, permanently.
Don’t Believe Me? Here’s The Evidence
Dr. Gaëlle Désbordes’s 2012 study used functional magnetic resonance to compare the brain’s amygdala during mindful-attention training and normal daily activities. The results were reduced activity after they had completed a two-month mindful-attention meditation training session. Following this is an improved emotional and mental response to the stresses of everyday. In other words, a more relaxed and emotionally stable daily life.