My Meditation Journey as a Leader

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My Meditation Journey as a Leader. Having tried relentlessly to meditate for over a decade and eventually experiencing burnout when working in a senior leadership role for a large FTSE100 tech company, I thought meditation just didn’t work. But several years after the burnout wake-up call, having left employment and set up my own business, a good friend told me about a course called ‘Effortless Meditation’. I got curious and signed up. Best case maybe I’ll crack it after all, worst case, I’ll be able to confirm there is indeed no such thing as meditation for mortals.

After the introduction into how it worked including the science bit, we settled in ready to try and practice. I found the mantra vibrational and it was helpful to have something to focus on. Eventually I felt my stress lift and my shoulders drop, like being in a steady elevator going down. After a few moments I felt like my inner eyes (or the elevator door) opened and it seemed like I was stepping inside my mind. It was so spacious! I noticed the thoughts, the familiar overthinking coming to tease me, and I quickly returned to the mantra. After a while, I felt another layer strip back and I can only describe what happened next as a feeling of taking flight. My to do list was nowhere to be found.

Then the timer went, and I suddenly understood. Meditation was not about emptying your head of all thoughts, it was about finding the flow and going with it whilst simultaneously letting go energetically. I was hooked.

My favourite saying, ‘there is no right way to do it, and you can’t get it wrong.’ Do it for five minutes, 50 minutes, it doesn’t matter. Twenty minutes a day is ideal and if you’re really stressed do it twice!

The benefits have been many. I’m more grounded and more present, meaning I’m less tempted to be pulled off course by others or external events. My thinking is clearer and more focussed. I feel less overwhelmed when there’s a lot going on. I’m more connected to my body, a sense of harmony between body and mind. I’m less likely to get agitated by other people, finding the flow more readily.  I have a tool I can steady my heart rate with, wherever and whatever I’m doing. I’m more accepting, and non-judgemental and way less interested in drama, both mine and others.

As a business owner, I noticed a switch to focusing on what truly matters, a greater capacity to notice any wrongdoings and the courage to call it out respectfully from a place of being grounded. More powerful relationships with others, more honesty and greater intimacy. I seemed to make more time to just be, which in turn empowered others. I got better at letting go and started to let more good stuff in. 

I’m absolutely thrilled that Jo who taught that eye-opening course has become part of the Frankly team as our in-house meditation teacher and that we’re now offering a regular group experience for leaders and managers. It’s a foundational tool on which all other tools should be learnt.  

I’m not suggesting meditation is for everyone. It wasn’t for me for many years, but future fit leaders need to be able to find their presence in these increasingly VUCA times and we’re on a mission to unlock the talent of as many leaders as we can. Meditation, I believe is a crucial skill for the toolkit!

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CEO and founder of Frankly, a business for businesses embracing change through their leaders. Jennifer is an inspiring, experienced, and accomplished culture consultant and leader development expert. Her work enables leaders and organisations to see and commit to the bigger picture and gain clarity on the essential activities required for a healthy and sustainable future.  Jennifer has worked as part of the Exec team in a FTSE 100 company for more than 15 years and knows first-hand the challenge leaders face ‘getting the job done’ versus ‘preparing the business for the future’. She is an Executive Coach, working to challenge performance and restore balance and often works with boards to develop leaders and implement empowered cultures.  Frankly takes a common-sense approach to developing leaders and has been working to support leaders at all levels for more than ten years.