Day: September 7, 2020

V36: Just Being

Although Being may feel passive– just existing – it is actually an active state that we can cultivate. This week, we’re exploring how to do just that by digging into tangible activities, techniques, and processes that can better our internal state for ourselves, our teams, and our organizations. When we give ourselves the tools to Be, we give ourselves permission to imagine, create, solve, and thrive.


What Happens When We Meditate?

Mindfulness isn’t just good for our spirits; it’s good for our bodies. In this one-hour discussion from the Aspen Ideas Festival, filmmaker Perri Peltz and meditation expert and advocate Bob Roth dig into the hard science behind the practice and benefits of meditation. 

As they break down the three different types of focused breathing (focused attention, open monitoring, and self-transcending), Roth identifies which areas of the brain are activated and the brain activity that occurs. The gamma, theta, and alpha-1 brain waves that result from the three different types of meditation are the root of the positive health effects of meditation such as decreased pain, a higher functioning immune system, decreased anxiety and depression, greater attention, and increased self-control. As it turns out, meditation nourishes our minds, bodies, and spirits.

What would result if we gifted our team members with the time for this practice of being? What about our patients? Think you don’t have the time? You do if you make it – it is a choice.

We All Need a Little Blank Space

Designers have a solution for our crazed and overwhelming work schedules: blank space. In design, “blank space,” or negative space, is the purposeful contrast to the art that’s within the piece. Aimed to balance the color, shapes, or movement in design, blank space creates Intention and order — both elements we could use a little more of in our day-to-day lives. So how might this be applied to our schedules? Adding blank space, or intentional empty periods of time into our schedules, can increase our creativity, happiness, and productivity. The unstructured time can be used to do things such as sitting quietly, sitting outside in nature, drawing, meditating, going for a walk, doing a mini-workout, or taking a power nap. This reset for our brains, while seemingly against our traditional ways of thinking about productivity, allows for flow and balance to guide our week instead of dysfunction and stress.

Schedule a “meeting” this week and instead of meeting, give everyone the time as white space. Discuss how your team feels when they are suddenly gifted with time to be.

Put on Your Spanx

One might be surprised to hear lawyer-turned-stress-and-resilience-coach Paula Davis-Laack’s number one piece of advice when speaking with dissatisfied professionals: put on your Spanx for work. Metaphorically, of course. Davis-Laack uses Spanx as a metaphor for how we can reshape certain aspects of our jobs to better utilize our personal passions and strengths. While the act of job crafting may seem elusive to many of us, there are clear steps we can take to reshape our job to fit each of us as individual leaders.

First, take a strengths assessment to understand what you do well. Pick one to two strengths to focus on integrating more fully into work. Next, list out the job demands (the parts of your job that consistently take great effort and energy) and job resources (the parts of your job that give you a sense of meaning). Make sure to include more resources than demands. Finally, use what you learned from the first two activities to create your job-crafting plan. Map out what changes you’re going to make over a four-week period to ensure that you’re not only showing off your most valuable assets and strengths, but also making yourself feel empowered while doing so.

It’s possible that within our organizations there are team members whose strengths aren’t being utilized. How can we reshape their positions to take advantage of their natural state of being to benefit our teams, our patients, and our guests?

The Art of Doing Nothing

Is there something in doing nothing? In Jenny Odell’s book “How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy”  and this companion piece, Odell shares her insights and lessons in the importance of having a place to escape from work –a place to sit, Be, and dream. For her, doing “’Nothing’ is neither a luxury nor a waste of time, but rather a necessary part of meaningful thought and speech.”   Odell meanders eloquently through so many beautiful examples of Being. Depictions of art where elements within a picture are removed to reveal a new story. Spaces like labyrinths or a window to the sky inviting guests to pause, slow down and simply Be. She reminds us of green environments like gardens and parks and public buildings where we become “citizens with agency” and yet are often not seen as commercially important even though they provide so much value.  Even noticing birds helps us pay deep attention to the world around us and who we are Being in this world. We often don’t give ourselves the time and space to escape and yet what healing or new possibilities might emerge if we did?