Emotional Intelligence and Mindfulness are the current trend in professional development. This is exciting, as the ‘centering’ I’ve been teaching for years is a pathway to both.
These traits aren’t an accomplishment by ‘doing’ as many business people are so accustom. It requires more of an ‘undoing’ to be present or in my language, centered. And, there are layers, layers and more layers to explore.
The ability to quickly become the calm eye in the storm – centered requires practice, time and focus.
An inspirational quote, a couple breaths, a sound bite, or a glance at an app are supportive, however, they don’t develop a solid center. Spreadsheets aren’t the answer either, although you can track center practice, if you’d like.
Frequently, clients will learn about centering then notice their lack of centeredness when a conflict or challenge occurs. I say, “BRAVO!” as awareness is the first step to changing behavior. When you experience how your centered presence positively impacts your ability to deal with difficult situations, influence outcomes, and expand your perceptions it becomes a want! To improve relationships, health, and creativity is becomes more than a want, it becomes a need.
As a serious student of my own work, I even sometimes find centeredness a little bit elusive. I’ve noticed even with the best of intentions, I can feel a bit edgy. I’ve discovered a few things I’d like to share with you. Some of these may surprise you!
• Do you dedicate space and time? There is no substitute for space and time when it comes to centering. Sure, we can squeeze in center breaks throughout our day, but taking time to breathe and/or meditate for at least 15-20 minutes cannot be replaced with sound bites, or even my Strength your Balance and Focus while Driving.
• Are you magnesium deficient? Magnesium relaxes muscles and counters calcium, which contracts muscles. I noticed last fall I felt a little edgy in spite of my best centering efforts. Low and behold, it appears I was low on magnesium. Leg cramps and muscle spasms led me to this knowledge. Some of the literature shares that as many as 70% of adults in the US are magnesium deficient. See Article
• Are you on purpose? Frequently, someone will ask me if I am busy. While that is likely a benign question, it seems busy has become a goal for many people. Now, my response is, “I am on purpose.” If being busy is your goal, re-think that. Is your activity supporting your intentions or purpose? Or, are you doing a lot of things that take you off purpose?
• To much Joe? My morning espresso conjures wonderful memories of time spent in Italy, which up to a point is very centering. Although, less is more in the area of caffeine. It’s really difficult to notice caffeine’s effect until you back off.
• Is food drugging you? – I am not sure if I am blessed or cursed, as I am very aware the affect food has on me. I believe it has an effect on everyone, just some of us the impact can’t be ignored for long. Experiment! That morning bagel or sweet roll may be getting in the way of your center!
• How does your environment affect you? When I am centered, I can handle just about any environment – even concentrating at the Apple Store! However, if there is constant distraction taking you off center, perhaps there are changes you can make. Sound can be a big distraction and like everything different sounds and music impact people differently. I enjoy the work of Julian Treasure on this topic.
While the ROI of center practice is difficult to calculate, the increased awareness, lower stress, and ability build authentic relationships are priceless. So simple, yet, not so easy.