State of Mind. The ability to influence your state-of-mind determines the quality of all of your other leadership capabilities; communication, authenticity, clarity, strategic and critical thinking, design, decision making, relationship and rapport building, action taking and so on.

A leader who loses their cool, loses functional control. When we are ‘out of control’, not only is our thinking affected, we also use up valuable energy to sustain our agitated/stressed state, and over time our resilience is compromised as well. I’m not talking about losing control of the environment (which in itself is an illusion), I’m talking about losing control of oneself.

The ability to be able to calm your mind in high pressure situations, or when the proverbial ‘shit hits the fan’, is an invaluable tool. The ability to be able to put your defensive ego aside, so as to better understand all available points of view, expands your ability to facilitate true collaboration and innovative problem-solving design processes. These are trainable skills.

When you think about it, your version of reality is all experienced in your mind. You receive millions of bits of information through your senses, and then re-present this information as an internal projection in your mind. The quality of your mind affects the quality of your reality. This also works in the other direction. When you lead others, the quality of your results (communication, influence, compassion etc), is very much flavoured by the quality of your mind prior to and during the delivery of your leadership.

This being said, why would we not spend more time developing the quality of our mind and our ability to self-monitor and calibrate?

Here are some simple suggestions for you to further cultivate the quality of your mind.

  1. Practise mindfulness meditation. This is simply sitting still and observing anything you can notice in the present moment. A few minutes of this each day is thousands of times better than none. @wakingup is a great app for guidance.
  2. Dedicate some time for contemplation. Simply sit and contemplate. I find time/space perspective a good thing to ponder, i.e. where you are in relation to Earth, the solar system, galaxy, universe etc. In actual fact, you and your problems are inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. This understanding has a calming affect.
  3. Practise influencing your mind/body state through measured and focussed breathing. You can train yourself and greatly improve your ability to calm your internal state (thoughts, heart-rate etc) through this practise.

Dedicating time to becoming better at ‘being the driver of your own bus’, is all too often put aside as a ‘waste of time’, or not important. But, all of the leaders I coach who have made this a part of their weekly routine, now swear by the practise and have evidence and countless testimonials from the people around them to attest to this. If you want to be the best leader you can be, you have to work at being the best version of You.