Meditation, mindfulness, and self-care are all the rage these days. There's an endless selection of books, apps, and programs to choose from, maybe you've even tried out a few yourself! But you don't often hear a correlation between meditation and personal injury practice.
"I love to move people from a state of suffering to a state of knowing that everything will be okay. And what better way to do with them with meditation and recognizing that the suffering is false." — Rick Console, Console & Associates
On The Rankings Podcast we spoke with New Jersey's Rick Console from Console & Associates. Rick had an intriguing and fresh take on meditation that described benefits that would make a skeptic think twice. We all want to be the best leaders we can be. So, how can meditation apply to attorneys, and what are the benefits? We looked to some of the top thinkers on the topic for inspiration!
"Comparison means you feel dissatisfied and disappointed with what you have. So the only thing that makes you feel better is feeling you are better than others. It's a recipe for failure." — Jay Shetty, author of "Think Like A Monk"
If you're running your own firm, it's impossible that you haven't been visited by that niggling voice of self-doubt every once in a while. It could come in the form of imposter syndrome, or just an internal critic pestering you for attention. Sometimes that self-doubt can become pretty persistent and loud, often in an attempt to shield us from failure. So, how can mindfulness hope?
Well, according to experts, the act of meditation can help you to distinguish which thoughts are real but not necessarily true. That means that unhelpful and negative cyclic thoughts can be identified and seen for what they really are: just noise (most of the time!). Popular podcaster Jay Shetty advocates mindfulness in the way we compare ourselves to others. Of course, it's impossible not to compare the outcome of your firm with your closest competitor. However, when those comparisons become more personal, it may be time to explore a little mindfulness for yourself.
Learn To Live With Uncertainty
“Striving is fine, as long as it’s tempered by the realization that, in an entropic universe, the final outcome is out of your control. If you don’t waste your energy on variables you cannot influence, you can focus much more effectively on those you can." — Dan Harris, author of "10% Happier" and "Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics"
As attorneys and entrepreneurs, a little bit of uncertainty can be healthy. Just ask John Morgan, who famously said 'only the paranoid survive'. We create our own paths and there is no guarantee that things will go according to plan! Contrary to popular belief, practitioners of meditation and mindfulness rarely claim that uncertainty is to be avoided, but the way we process it is different.
Mindfulness advocates making room for difficult emotions but choosing where to channel your focus. In fact, Dan Harris claims that by being 'wisely ambitious' you can do everything in your power to succeed but are not overly attached to the final result. That means that if things go wrong, you're able to pick yourself up and get back out there to try again.
"Concentration is a cornerstone of mindfulness practice. Your mindfulness will only be as robust as the capacity of your mind to be calm and stable." — Jon Kabat-Zinn, Professor of Medicine, University of Massachusetts
Nowadays, there is an abundance of things clamoring for our attention. We've got notifications pinging at all hours, calls to answer, social media at our fingertips constantly, and the pandemic lockdowns have only made this worse! All of this distraction is not conducive to running a business. As our minds are pulled from one thing to the next, it becomes increasingly hard to focus on the big things.
Professor Kabat-Zinn explains that mindfulness and meditation can have a powerful effect on your concentration. Meditation has been described as allows us to develop an internal kind of monitor for where our attention lies. Perfect for if you find your eyes drifting away from that Zoom call one too many times! A regular meditation practice helps you to develop an inner witness that monitors your attention. Over time it’s like an inner coach who points out behaviors, thoughts, or actions that are at odds with your goals or values. With mindfulness, you are more able to stay on task.
Get Your Creative Hat On
Some of the leading organizations in the world have introduced meditation and mindfulness to their employees. And they're big names too - we're talking Google, Medtronic, and even Goldman Sachs. So, what value are these market leaders drawing from the practice?
Well, according to their executives, meditation can be used not only as a stress-reducing tool but as a creativity enhancer. The idea is that by creating a zone of quiet, you allow the mind to decompress. Removing that personal and technological overload, we are really left to our thoughts. A clear mind will let your thoughts run free. That might sound a little scary for some, but leaders from these companies are convinced that this is how innovation is born!
Be A Master Communicator
“There’s plenty of fantastic evidence that shows we can gain huge benefits from altering the way we view our daily stresses.” ― Rangan Chatterjee, author of "The Stress Solution: The 4 Steps to Reset Your Body, Mind, Relationships, and Purpose"
If you can't communicate, you can't lead a team. It's a non-negotiable for many of us, yet it becomes infinitely more different when we're under stress.
Author and podcaster Rangan Chatterjee explains that, under stress, your communication skills go out of the window. The main reason is to do with the ancient flight or fight response which is driven by the amygdala. This is your brain's warning system that fires off if there's a predator close. The problem is, our modern life is now triggering the same response!
Regular meditation has been shown to increase the thickness of the pre-frontal cortex which is associated with calming down in times of stress. This has an undoubtedly positive effect on the way you communicate with the rest of your firm. It might even help you to delegate and elevate! And if there's a calmer work environment as a result, then your company culture will get a boost too!