How Mindfulness Meditation Helps Me Be a Better Entrepreneur
September 18, 2013
I’ve been an entrepreneur for 15 years. Nothing has helped me become a better entrepreneur as much as meditation. In this post I’ll be sharing why meditation helped me so much and how you can get started.
The Benefits of Meditation for Entrepreneurs
- Patience. Being an entrepreneur requires a lot of patience, especially when dealing with people. Meditation is great for this, because nothing makes you more patient than being alone with your thoughts. I used to have serious anxiety episodes, and after three years of regular meditation I don’t really feel anxious anymore. The cool thing about meditation is that it works beyond the time you spend meditating; it impacts everything you do in your life.
- Clarity. I always joke that I have the coolest job in the world because I get paid for thinking. Once you’re past the initial stages of starting a business and can hire people who are smarter than you to take care of different aspects of your company, your job is to define the vision for your business, get the right people on the bus and make sure the plan is executed as you expect it. So, basically, you spend most of your time thinking.When your job is to think, problem-solve and make decisions, the more clarity you have the better your decisions will be. I’ve found that meditating often allows me to remove distractions from my mind and find solutions to problems I’ve been stuck with for a while.
- People like you more. I’ve found that meditation makes me happier, and the happier I am the more others like me.
- Compassion for others. When you’re angry at someone, meditation can be very helpful because it makes you focus on the problem instead of the person. It gives you a lot more patience and clarity. These are two very important skills to have when managing people.
- Compassion for myself. I used to be extremely self-critical. I thought I was doing it to challenge myself to be the best I could be. But when you beat yourself over every mistake you make all you’re really doing is decreasing your self-esteem. An entrepreneur with low self-esteem can’t succeed. Being compassionate to myself allowed me to learn from my mistakes without putting myself down every time. I now understand that I’ll keep making mistakes my whole life and all I can do is learn from them.
- Better understanding of myself. Entrepreneurs need to know themselves the same way Formula 1 racers need to know their cars. Mindfulness meditation helps you become much more self-aware.
How to Practice Mindfulness Meditation
There are hundreds of different meditation techniques and I’ve experimented with about a dozen of them. Different techniques have different benefits. Mindfulness meditation is, in my experience, one of the best techniques for entrepreneurs and an excellent way to get started with meditation. Here’s how it works.
- Make sure you’re comfortable. It doesn’t really matter if you’re sitting, kneeling or laying down. Forget about the rules. Don’t worry about your breath or how long you meditate for.
- Meditate somewhere quiet where you can’t be interrupted.
- Mindfulness meditation is about observing without judging. For example, if I’m feeling anxious I’d say “This is anxiety. This is what anxiety feels like.” Then I observe how it feels in the body and the mind. Is my heart beating faster than usual? Is my brain picturing scenarios where I lose everything I have? Remember: don’t try to make it go away. Just observe.
- Look at your fears right in the eye. Let yourself feel fear, anger or any feelings you’d normally label as “bad.” Don’t try to control where your mind goes. Let it go anywhere it wants to go and just observe what happens.
- Soon you’ll start realizing that your brain plays a lot of tricks on you. You’ll start seeing what’s real and what’s just your imagination. You’ll be able to see what you can do to influence certain situations and what you don’t have control over, so you can let go of those things.
- Don’t expect anything to happen. You’re not supposed to be doing anything. Meditation is about being, not doing or accomplishing anything in particular. Just be and observe.
Do you have questions about mindfulness meditation? Just post your questions in the comments section and I’ll be happy to answer them for you.
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