I am Sharmin Banu, Leadership and Career coach working with mid-level technology leaders to bring more growth, purpose and joy.
On the first day of my coach training class the instructor gave us a meditation exercise. The purpose was to be ready and present for the session. As someone coming from the high paced, left brained, hardcore technology field I was not able to appreciate it much. Noticing my breathing and the body parts seemed totally nonintellectual! To make things even worse, she asked us to imagine forming a circle with our ancestors and dance with them – I totally checked out and waited impatiently till she came back to reality.
4 years after, as a coach and a workshop facilitator now I have learned to appreciate the value of mind-body connection a little more. Learning from my initial reaction, I have adopted a much simpler version of it though. Sometimes as simple as 3-4 focused slow breathing helps me and my clients to be more calm and present. The other day my client Steven, a mid level manager in a high-tech company reported, “The mind-body connection has helped me to be more effective in stressful situations, at work and even at home with my 3 year old”. Steven is a very goal oriented, hyper active, high-achieving individual like most of you.
In case you are raising your eye brows in disbelief and thinking, “oh yeah, not for me”, I totally get that. However, if your life challenges are at least the same or more than my 10 year old, you may want to pay attention to this part.
Last week my 10 year old missed a few days of school. The pending homework made her little overwhelmed, none of the math assignments seemed comprehensible. Quite frustrated and irritated, she came to me for help. The frustration was contagious. I almost jumped into “solving” the problem in my usual way… luckily, an idea stopped me in the middle. Maybe we could use some focused deep breathing this time.
You can imagine how a 10 year old would respond to my request – she resisted. I calmed myself down with a few deep breathes then hugged her firmly. I gently invited her to leave the worries for a moment and only focus on the breathing process. In a minute or so I felt she was calming down, and then all of a sudden she started weeping. Very unusual of me – I remained calm, I let her weep as I compassionately wrapped her around with my arms. And it was over within another minute or two. She washed her face and finished the rest of the homework smoothly.
Only a few focused breathing turned the cranky situation into a graceful positive experience for both of us! Now I know, no matter how big or small the situation is, the mind-body connection can be a great optimizer. If a 10 year old can do it, so can you!
Book suggestion: Search Inside Yourself, written by a Google Engineer!
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