Mindfulness as part of an overall business strategy is most commonly associated with developing a daily meditation practice. The idea is that such a practice will, over time, lead to more creativity, greater clarity and focus, increased productivity ...
There’s a new success consciousness that’s in its earliest budding stage, and it's called mind sentience. Mind sentience is a flow state where spontaneous action is guided through a collaborative and active heart-mind synchrony and where the results are laser-focused and exponential. Mind sentience is the bridge that connects the process of strategic thinking with the practice of mindfulness. When you act from a state of mind sentience, you are neither in process nor practice. Rather, you are coming from a place of prescience.
For the last century, strategic thinking has been the superpower of the high achiever. In short, strategic thinking is the ability to develop a long-term plan, establish priorities, set milestones and determine steps toward a big-picture vision. Strategic planning may sometimes necessitate sacrificing short-term gains for long-term benefit.
Today, one of the fastest-growing leadership trends is mindfulness. On any given week, you’re likely to see at least one major business publication touting mindfulness as the golden ticket to exponential success on its cover. It's the new strategic thinking.
Mindfulness as part of an overall business strategy is most commonly associated with developing a daily meditation practice. The idea is that such a practice will, over time, lead to more creativity, greater clarity and focus, increased productivity, improved communication and decreased stress. In other words, mindfulness is good for the bottom line.
Leah Wise, Ph.D. and author of How We Work, defines mindfulness as “the intentional use of attention” and emphasizes that mindfulness is something we can engage in at any time by anchoring our attention in the body, feeling our sensations, becoming aware of our surroundings and unitasking instead of multitasking.
The question is: how exactly does the process of strategic thinking connect with the practice of mindfulness when they are, at their core, polar opposites? Strategic thinking in business is largely about planning. And planning requires looking at the past to create a blueprint for the future. Mindfulness is about cultivating such a heightened state of presence that all your attention is focused and directed on what’s here and now.
In a state of true mindfulness, there is only awareness of the now, rather than thoughts that look back or move ahead. From that state, we can experience extraordinary lucidity, brilliant insight and almost clairvoyant perception. Yet, how do you implement that guidance and intuition if you’re also married to the step-by-step strategic plan that was created last week, month or year? The answer is mind sentience.
Mindset strategy governs the mental realm; mindfulness governs the heart, and mind sentience governs the channel that runs between the mind and the heart. So, the new definition of success should be: mindset (process) + mindfulness (practice) + mind sentience (prescience) = success. You can't access mind sentience without mindfulness, and you can't act on it without strategic thinking.
Assuming you are already using both mindfulness and mindset strategy in your business, cultivating mind sentience is relatively easy -- although it may involve letting go of a few die-hard procedures that are well past their expiry date.
1. Allow at least one part of your strategic plan to be structureless and free-flowing. The key to mind sentience is the ability to take spontaneous action that is directed from a state of mindfulness.
2. Be prepared to radically change, if not throw out, even the best-laid plans. If plans become misaligned with what is being perceived in the present moment, don't be afraid to alter them.
3. Get comfortable with uncertainty and not knowing. The mind is always trying to conclude and interpret. It wants to know the road ahead, especially in business. But there is more room for success when you allow the deeper non-contextual knowing to arise from an internal state and take action from there.
4. Restructure meetings to talk less and listen more. For every topic that requires a decision, briefly describe the issue, outcome and purpose. Then have everyone close their eyes and be quiet for five minutes, focusing their attention on their intention to resolve the topic. When the five minutes is up, have everyone present what has arisen without soliciting feedback, and make a decision immediately from that state.
When acting from a place of mind sentience, it is critical that you don’t get back into a long discussion before making a decision. It's similar to waking up and remembering a dream immediately upon rising and then forgetting it within five minutes.
5. Cultivate a state of coherence using the Quick Coherence Technique. Created by the Hearth Math Institute, this three-step process only takes a minute: 1) Focus your attention on your heart. 2) Begin heart-focused breathing. Imagine that you are inhaling and exhaling through your heart instead of your nose or mouth. 3) Access a positive feeling, such as love, gratitude, joy, appreciation or excitement, and continue to breathe that feeling in and out.
The purpose of this exercise is to bring the heart and mind into a more aligned state at the physiological level, which in turn creates a flow state where heart and mind are communicating with each other.
6. Throw out any plans that have lost momentum or stalled in getting off the ground. Trust me on this. The more you hang on to old or stale ideas, the more you are blocking the flow of new ideas that are trying to come in.
7. Don’t be afraid to act on a crazy hunch, even if it results in 'failure.' It may seem like a failure to the mind, which is always measuring success by what it already knows, but it is actually success being redefined and reformed. Don’t block it.
Mind sentience is ultimately about changing your internal operating system so that you are completely present in the moment and taking inspired spontaneous action that is aligned with the overall strategic outcome. It's about feeling ideas before thinking them, and it is the ultimate collaboration and partnership of the known and the unknown. It is the new success consciousness.
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