This post is part of our Weekly Tips series.
Charlie and I wrote about specific ways to accelerate trust-building in The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook, and excerpted a list of 15 favorites. The last on the list, about which I’ve never before written here, might just be the most powerful.
It’s this: “Relax your mind.”
I do realize this potentially sounds much too zen-woo-woo-airy-fairy to be worthy of attention, or to be considered practical enough for the business world. Give me a few short paragraphs to see if we can find a way past those concerns.
What we originally meant. “Relax your mind” was intended as an imperative to train your brain to notice its random, incessant chatter—the kind that brings your focus toward you and away from others, especially in conversation. (We all have a little internal voice that yammers on. Yours might have just now asked, “What little voice?”) One suggestion: Take a long, slow, deep breath and refocus on the person at hand. This is similar to the practice that experienced meditators use when “monkey mind”—a mind that jumps from thought to thought like a monkey jumps from tree to tree—takes over.
How I see it now. I’ve come to define “Relax your mind” as all that plus. I think it’s an even broader imperative to stay grounded and centered, to keep stress levels as low as possible, and to maintain perspective in general. I know too many professionals who are tired a lot of the time, often to the point of feeling burned out. We have to do something about that if we want to be at our very best. But what?
Some people actually do meditate. Others get regular exercise. Hobbies are an option: music, dancing, cooking, art (making mosaics is my own meditation). Any form of play is fabulous. A gratitude practice can work wonders. The possibilities are numerous. The key is to find something that works for you and to regularly apply it.
Service providers of the world need to take care of ourselves so that we can do what we’re called to do and make the difference we all want to make. If that’s zen-woo-woo-airy-fairy, well, so be it.
This week, in the spirit of the new year, choose a practice to integrate into your regular routine that will help you take care of you—either something new or an old favorite. Who might you invite to join you?