Running a business and running an ultra-endurance event both demand a heightened sense of mindfulness, but running a business is a lot harder. It's higher risk, and the finish line can reach you before you reach it. You can call all the shots, do everything right and the "race" determines your run has come to an end. Scary stuff, right? As with endurance events, a major factor in running a business is developing, honing, and actually using the skill of mindfulness.
Your business is a reflection of you. You have to operate clean, but get your hands dirty. So toss "Cleanliness is next to Godliness" to the side (for now) and go with, "Mindfulness is next to Godliness." Here are six ways to run a mindful--and successful--business, many of which are lessons I've learned from friends.
Find your why. Marc Von Musser is the Director of Coaching for Tony Robbins--one of the most successful life coaches and motivators on earth--who firmly believes that once you find your "inner why," you can do anything. "Success is not a matter of resources. It doesn't matter if you're born poor or born rich," Von Musser says. Success is more about making decisions that reaffirm your actual purpose and that remind you of why you chose what you did. "Once you have your why, you then backload it with intelligence-inspired action."
Risk taking is the recipe for success. "If you're sure you can do something, it's not a challenge by definition--it's just going through the motions," says Dan Edwardes, Founder and Director of Parkour Generations in London. Trying something and not achieving it is not what matters. Having the courage to take a chance is what does matter. What does success look like? According to Edwardes, parkour has taught him to be happy with his choices and constantly work towards the goals he sets. Set goals and use your energy to focus on what you want to achieve, rather than complaining about what you lack.
Sit with the small choices. Mark Divine is an ex-Navy SEAL who runs SEALFIT, a military-inspired training program. "It was those times sitting in silence that allowed me to consider the path I was on. It's a choice whether you become a SEAL. Your life is made up of the quality of the small choices you make, not the big ones. The essence of mental toughness is to develop enough control to notice when you are making those small choices wrongly."
Meditate before you mediate. My mother taught me to reset my frame of reference by meditating. To others, it may have looked like she was just sitting there but, in reality, she was thinking and strategizing through deep focus. Each day, she recalibrated her thoughts, tapping into creative ideas and, if necessary, tackling the tough decisions after extended thinking. Running a business necessitates constant reflection--both on yourself and your choices.
Master repetition and persistence. There is a footrace called the Self-Transcendence 3,100 Mile Race, which was founded by spiritual leader, Sri Chinmoy in Queens, New York. Racers have 52 days to negotiate one extended city block repeatedly to accumulate the 3100 miles. Chinmoy aimed to unlock runners' perceptions to discover their limits and attempt to surpass them--skills that anyone running a business will begin to refine over time. The challenge is that the urge to quit becomes more real when things get tough while those who persevere usually reap the rewards. And those who succeed must find peace and motivation despite--or through--the repetitiveness of the challenge
Running a mindful business takes effort. The lessons we must learn are seldom learned overnight. Oftentimes, it takes years of persistence and personal development to make progress. Successful people learn from others who are on the path they themselves aspire to be on and running a successful business is just as much about the journey as it is the destination.