Some of my best ideas have come to me while meditating. Which makes it sound like as long as you meditate, then the ideas will come. Right?

Maybe, but there's a catch. People don't meditate in order to get great ideas. We don't meditate to "clear our minds" either, or to become more calm. Those are all positive by-products and commonly-touted outcomes of meditation, but it isn't actually why we do it.

Though I started to meditate with these "by-products" in mind, I've come to understand over time that it's the practice and not the results that matter. The practice of meditation is the inquiry rather than the outcome: sitting still while turning inward simply to get curious about emotions or a current state of mind.

It's a fine line and a nuanced distinction, but an important one. Here are three opportunities to meditate along the entrepreneurial journey, when the time is right for self-inquiry to enhance the experience.

After a Mediocre Performance

A few weeks ago I gave a talk at a conference and, candidly, it could have gone better. I was off my game and I knew it. Rather than brood over the mediocre performance, as I would have likely done before I was introduced to meditation, I took some time alone to sit and close my eyes.

Then I got curious, about what exactly I was feeling (disappointment? frustration?), and whether those emotions were "real" or part of some narrative that may or may not be true.

It took some time, but that time for self-inquiry smoothed my bristled nerves. Partly it was the physiological benefits of taking a few minutes away from the clamor of the conference to sit quietly and breathe deeply, and partly it was taking inventory of what I felt after the talk.

Those were the outcomes of the meditation, however. The intention was simply to get curious about post-performance emotions. Distinguishing those two things-- intention and outcome-- is, perhaps, the most important takeaway from a meditation practice.

Before a Big Meeting

Maybe the meeting is with a potential investor, or the leadership team of an important partner, or an advisor/mentor to whom we need to "report" results. They're all likely to be common milestones along our entrepreneurial journey.

Take a few minutes to quietly take your inner temperature. Are you feeling anxiety? Excitement? Trepidation? Sit with whatever the emotion is, or even with the frustration of not being able to identify exactly the emotion we're feeling.

The important thing to remember is to observe that sensation without making the effort to change it. That action creates a healthy distance between ourselves and our attachment to the outcome of the meeting.

Do we want the meeting to go well? Certainly. But will our psyche remain intact even if the meeting goes awry? Also certainly, and that's where the self-inquiry of meditation is especially useful.

When You're Feeling Less-Than-Inspired

"When you start to list the things you're grateful for, and it changes everything."

That's been the pinned tweet to my Twitter page for a few years now, and it remains as relevant today as it did when I first posted. The "everything" that changes when I remember gratitude, and to list the things I'm grateful for, is my mindset and my perspective on my place in this world.

These are, almost every time, the first four things I'm grateful for: my health, that I love and am loved, that I get to live this life as an entrepreneur, and that being an entrepreneur is a unique and exciting way to express who I am as a person. From there, inspiration about my business is practically inevitable.