Mindfulness Isn’t Just for Mountaintop Navel Gazing
Contributing Columnist: Nancy Siegel, Founder of Lead, Women
Does negotiating sometimes feel like arduous mountain climbing to you? Does it sometimes feel like an uphill battle to find your voice when you want to express your wishes, desires and/or feelings?
Interacting with others sometimes comes easily to us but during emotionally charged times, like during negotiations when we might have different opinions and/or desires, it can almost feel paralyzing. When you feel voice challenged using tools to self-regulate and calm down can help. And that’s where mindfulness comes in. Mindfulness, or paying attention on purpose, the simplest way that I like to define it, is getting a lot of attention these days. We read about it in magazines. We hear about athletes and politicians practicing it. And in my work as an Educational Consultant, educators and their students are experiencing the benefits of mindfulness in the classroom. While negotiating might sometimes feel like mountain climbing being mindful doesn’t mean you physically have to get to the top of that mountain, sit cross legged and navel gaze to find calm. You don’t have to wait for the perfect setting to be calm. Mindfulness techniques calm down the nervous system and reduce anxiety and that means that mindful awareness is not only for when you are calm, it’s a way to get you there! But how, you might ask? In order for mindfulness to help us in the workplace, and in particular in negotiating, it involves practice, and lots of it. And it is as simple as 1, 2, 3. Done every day. Each day for the rest of your life. But while it is simple, it is not always easy. Here are some tips to get started:
- Choose one thing you will do to be mindful each day. At first it can just be one mindful deep inhale and exhale. That’s it. One breath a day. Or it could be mindfully brushing your teeth. One tooth at a time. Or it
could be one mindful bite of food, slowly savoring and enjoying. Or mindful slow walking. Whatever you choose make it manageable and easy to commit to. Don’t take on sitting in meditation for two hours as your
first attempt at being mindful.
- Give yourself permission for self-care. Like the emergency precaution message on a plane, “In the event of an emergency, put your oxygen mask on first before assisting others.” Literally, if you aren’t breathing you
can’t assist anyone else. Perfect metaphor for mindfulness practice where breath work is foundational and fundamental. So give yourself permission each day to do the mindful exercise you choose (see #1).
- Repeat #1 and #2. Everyday. For the rest of your life. The wonderful effects of a daily, manageable mindful practice will be felt soon after you start if you truly commit to it. When you pay attention on purpose you become more fully present and your life becomes richer and
more fulfilling. Keep in mind that manageable is the operative word. It has to work for you so that it can be incorporated into your daily life. As with anything that is practiced with diligence, a constant practice of mindful
awareness leads to wonderful benefits, one being the ability to self-regulate and control your own emotional reactivity, which means you will be calmer. And we all know that being calmer means we can more easily find our voice in all aspects of life, particularly when negotiating in the workplace.
The WIN Summit is presented annually by The Negotiation Institute. TNI has been providing training solutions to companies across the globe for over 50 years. Under the initiative of incoming TNI Chairman, Jack Simony, WIN Summit was launched in 2015 to empower and educate women through the Art of Negotiation. For more information on the WIN Summit, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Make sure to visit our site and register for the 2018 WIN Summit on May 2nd, 2018 in NYC.