Practice 1: Love the Work
- Ask yourself: What brings me alive, and what really brings me alive?
- Explore your values, or what you love, by naming the people you admire and the values they represent.
- Practice four types of love: loving kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity.
- To cultivate mindfulness and see more clearly, practice meditation.
- Get to know the “three apes” inside yourself, which represent your fears, dissatisfactions, and need for connection.
- Acknowledge your ground truths and identify creative gaps: What are yours?
- Tell your “way-seeking mind” story (in a journal or to a friend). What brought you to love this work?
Practice 2: Do the Work
- Implement or continue dedicated mindfulness practices: Create a regular routine of meditation, walking meditation, and journal writing, in any combination.
- Implement or continue an integrated mindfulness practice. Ask, “What is the appropriate response?”
- Listen for facts and for feelings, and practice generative listening.
- Practice self-compassion; experiment with kindness.
- Whenever you feel triggered or reactive, pause, evaluate the appropriate response, and cultivate emotional awareness.
- Whenever you fear change, identify your ground truth or creative gaps, and act to seek alignment.
Practice 3: Don’t Be an Expert
- Adopt “beginner’s mind,” or seeing without assuming, anticipating, or judging.
- Embrace failure. Practice “I failed” when things don’t go as planned or expected.
- Practice seeing things as if for the first time, such as your hand or while walking.
- Notice mind wandering and rumination.
- Bring awareness to your experiencing self and to your remembering or storytelling self.
- Notice your filters. What stories get in the way of listening?
- Avoid assuming you know what others feel and think; instead, listen to learn what is “invisible” to you.
Practice 4: Connect to Your Pain
- Face and connect with pain and discomfort, since this helps us learn what is most important and meaningful to us.
- Remember that emotional pain, like physical pain, is a helpful signal about a problem that needs attention.
- Practice meditation as a way of exploring discomfort.
- Notice when your life gets out of alignment; listen to your intuition and feelings of dissatisfaction or discomfort.
- Explore your story and your understanding of positive and negative events by creating a timeline.
- To avoid denial and compartmentalization, occasionally feel miserable on purpose and connect to our shared human condition.
- Practice “one less breath” to appreciate being alive and not taking anything for granted.
- Maintain perspective by not turning away from painful situations.
Practice 5: Connect to the Pain of Others
- Remember that a leader’s job, by definition, is to cultivate community and connection.
- Recognize the “Four Horsemen” that seek to avoid connecting to the pain of others: criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling.
- Practice seeing similarities and offering kindness.
- In conversation, look under the hood of others by asking about difficulties and challenges.
- Practice tonglen, or giving and receiving meditation.
- Foster empathy in order to inspire, and lead with, acts of compassion.
Practice 6: Depend on Others
- In your role as a leader, explore and focus on coaching, empowering, and listening to others.
- Notice your resistance to depending on others and embrace interdependence.
- Meditate with and for others to help develop a regular meditation practice.
- Do a brief audit: Who depends on you? And how do you depend on others?
- Consider your work style — visionary, organizer, people person, or doer — and the work styles of others when building a group or team.
- Seek to cultivate positive group norms of psychological safety, structure and clarity, dependability, meaning, and impact.
- As necessary, change the way meetings are conducted to foster mindfulness and a collaborative, cooperative, supportive environment.
Practice 7: Keep Making It Simpler
- Explore letting go of your to-do lists, plans, and projects, just for a few minutes each day.
- Practice greater acceptance. Experiment with turning toward difficulty, accepting it, and letting go of blame.
- During any activity, practice being alert and relaxed.
- Meditate to practice letting go of extra effort.
- Explore being more focused, engaged, and spacious as an antidote to busyness.
- Notice your routines and add new ones that foster mindfulness.
- Go on regular retreats.
- Consider that you have one career: cultivating awareness and helping others.
- In any moment, simplify using the three breaths practice: focus on body, breath, and what is most important.