Life – is fast and can get chaotic. We charge our phones, refill our gas tanks and clean our homes, yet we often put our own wellbeing after “things”. Caring for ourselves actually helps us be better, if we invite our heart.
Try to pause, remember to breathe and reconnect with heart qualities (care, compassion, connection). Start with one minute. You don’t have to be a “meditator” to practice. Pause, breathe feelings of care and appreciation and feel your heart. Your magnificent heart. Start with one minute. a quick 60 seconds. Build from there. Because in the words of Sharon Salzberg,
So if you have to wait in traffic, or before your next meeting… MOP with heart. MOP – Moment of Pause – with Heart to help calm and regulate your racing nervous system. When you feel better, you perform better, from a place of balanced focus instead of frenetic multi-tasking chaos. Which will you choose?
Last week I asked someone to describe their pre-shot routine. They responded with, “what’s that?” Our conversation was about gaining greater confidence and impact with a variety of audiences. Exploring methods of preparation nudged the pre-shot question. Before we could focus on the answer, we detoured a bit to talk about golf.
Who could have imagined that maneuvering a ball, with a bag of clubs/tools (choices) over carefully manicured grass could be so _______ (fill in the blank) fun, challenging, rewarding, humbling, etc.? If you have ever stood over a golf ball, you understand. From a distance, golfers appear to be competitive yet composed. Cool, confident, and calculating. Precise. Until you get IN the game – it’s easy to be fooled. It is only when you bring your own bag of clubs and begin to play, you gain perspective and appreciation. Golfing – up close and personal is not effortless and frequently is anything BUT calm. Professionals make it look easy. That’s why so many like to watch, critique and judge the pros … and convince ourselves we can do that, maybe even better. Afterall – the courses are beautiful and there are so many cool gadgets that we believe we can play almost like the pros… until we don’t.
Professionally and personally life is a lot like golf. Desire and determination are the book ends of discipline. Discipline is an ongoing practice with a clear focus. We don’t show golf who’s boss. Golf doesn’t care. It’s a game of balance… an internal and external work in progress. A dance of sorts. We golf in pairs, but each player must manage their mental, emotional, and physical energies to sync up and move a 42.67mm ball from one place to another. Here’s the rub; frequently what you want and what you get are different. Simply put, you get the “right” club and “know” what to do, but the ball does something different. It lands someplace that we did NOT see. That IS how the game gets played… in golf AND in life. The plan, the event, and the surprises. There are 3 basic components:
Before: Practice and prepare
During: Strike the ball
After: Observe, Recover and Respond
We get seduced by high hopes and rush through step 1 so we can hit the ball. The total number of ball strikes IS what gives us our score. Yet, without a consistent and disciplined pre-shot routine, we’re going to spend a lot of time and energy chasing miss-hit golf balls through a sea of frustration. “The pre-shot routine is almost as important as the actual shot.”, says Brian K Shaver, a PGA Professional and head golf pro at The Abaco Club.
A routine is a sequence of consistently followed actions, that can become a habit. Habits can be supportive or unhelpful. Evaluating our routines elevates our awareness and opens the door to greater understanding. We cannot adjust what we do not notice. Intentional routines lead to intentional habits, behaviors, and results. A pre-shot routine is a patterned sequence of thoughts and actions prior to (the impact / main event) striking the ball.
Why the big deal about routines? According to Shaver, “a pre-shot routine is important to ensure your thoughts are organized, without a good Pre-Shot routine you’re opening the door for tension and anxiety to creep in which are both killers of the golf swing.” *
The basic premise is to synchronize your beliefs, thoughts, and emotions. To get your SHIFT together you need to eliminate or reduce distractions and move into a state of mental, emotional, and physical coherence. If you want a specific result, you need a specific routine. A specific and productive routine happens with practice.
Professional athletes all have intentional routines because of intentional practice. (i.e., Annika Sorenstam’s pre-shot routine is said to be 24 seconds every time.) Why? They understand that how they believe, feel and think is linked to their performance and success. Good routines lead to good actions.
Whether we are golfers, bankers, janitors, or food-service professionals – we are all human. That means our attitudes, emotions and intentions drive our interactions. We are complex beings with varied tasks and ambitions. We are different, yet similar in many ways. If you want to improve your results – in ANY venture or arena, find your authentic and consistent pre-shot routine, then practice it. That routine will become habit and eventually improve your ability to show up balanced, focused, and be present. If you tend to rush – you may need to slow down. If you tend to be slow, you may need to accelerate a bit. “The key is you have to be consistent and do exactly the same thing every time in a pre-shot routine.” And “All these things are geared toward your nervous system to try to keep your nervous system and your heart rate at a nice, level heart rate,” according to Butch Harmon, American golf instructor and former pro player.
Before your next meeting, conversation or golf swing, evaluate your pre-shot routine. Ask for feedback from a trusted source and hire a coach. Create YOUR unique routine, then practice and be consistent. Over time, it will become your habit. Don’t expect great results until you are willing to engage with the rigor of routine. You can practice your routine and manage your thoughts, beliefs and emotions, otherwise they will manage you. Move into a more coherent state and you may discover increased ability to navigate surprises and recover from disappointment. It all begins with what you want, what you decide and what you do.
Setting intentions is a the initial step of goal achievement. Clear intentions are the foundation of how we decide. What happens AFTER our decision is what determines our success, impact of our connections and ability to stay the course. Mindfulness reconnects us with our intentions. It’s the space ~ of our discipline to show-up and follow-through.
Are you experiencing overwhelm, frustration or loosing your composure? Do you want to show up “better” than you have been? How is your ability to show-up brave, alert, precise and composed?
Mindfulness and meditation are often mistaken as conveniences and too much “woo-woo” to consider. However – it’s the ability to stay, to sit and sustain focus that make the difference. There are tools and techniques to help get you started, keep going and deepen your practice, so you are at your BEST more often.
3D Living Center delivers virtual mindfulness sessions for individuals, groups and variety of teams. We are here to help you Get Your Shift Together. Mindfulness is part of how you SHOW-Up – at your best. Intentions will get you started. Discipline – Mindfully engaging – will help you SHOW-UP more in alignment with your goals/intention.
Contact us for more information. We’d like to help.
Distractions, disruptions, and managing the information highway is part of life. It can be delightful and frustrating. Balance is a tough to find.
Technology helps us manage schedules, our communications and our time. Whether we plug in for email, texting, social media, scheduling, working on projects or playing a game, etc. technology is BIG. Tt can also create mayhem. How do we manage our distractions before they overtake our best intention?
Each of us have an average of 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot of internal traffic! Thoughts can trigger emotions and we experience roughly 400 trigger events a day. More internal traffic. With such a crowded internal space, it’s no surprise when we see soo much “unusual” behavior. It’s not so much that we’ve LOST our minds, but we may need help in finding our way through them.
Mindfulness is a helpful navigation tool. It reminds us to redirect ourselves inward to gain better composure and effectively manage our responses. We may like or dislike some behavior better than others. However – behavior is an “end product”, the result of the internal experience. So, if you want different behavior, you’ve got to start internally with thoughts, attitudes and emotions.
Managing behavior is an inside job. Let’s call in our IT (Internal Technology). Internal chaos shows up in chaotic behaviors. When someone else is “misbehaving”, we too, can get distracted. Venting about behaviors is also distracting. So how do we manage all of the distractions? Ah – so glad you asked!
Whether distractions are coming from your technology, interruptions, disruptive behavior of others, or one of your 70,000 thoughts, it is not hopeless. Maybe you’ve heard of mindfulness. Working with mindfulness helps with improved focus/concentration, emotional regulation and a slew of other scientifically proven benefits.
A friend recently went for some mindful meditation instruction, only to walk away fuming. The instructor told her to:
Follow her breath
She did that. Now what? Nothing. They told her to keep sitting, relaxing and breathing. Furious she said, “So I’m just supposed to sit here and do NOTHING?!” You can probably relate. We get so use to being busy, mentally, visually, emotionally and physically busy that we feel completely LOST with nothing to entertain us.
Mindfulness is a practice, like any other habit or repetitive behavior. It’s a choice. We start by noticing that we are often mentally in a different space than our body. Does your mind wander when someone is talking to you or when you are driving? Do you look at your phone while driving or in a meeting? Do you work on your computer while you are on the phone? Is it possible to do one thing at a time and be fully present? Try it. See what you find.
Mindfulness begins with noticing. Observing. Slowing down. Breath is a necessity, which is why we so often use it as a tool to focus our attention. Start with the breath. Follow your breath – inhale/exhale cycle for 6 cycles. See how long it takes before your mind ditches you and goes off into the distraction fields of numbing excitement. Begin again. The challenge is to stick with it for 6 cycles before doing more. If we want others to notice and/or pay attention to what we have to say, we have to start by paying attention to ourselves for 6 breath cycles. How will you do?
Sharon Salzberg said, “Mindfulness isn’t difficult. We just need to remember to do it.”
Schedule 1 minute of practice each day. See what happens. The next time you hunt for distractions to fill up the empty space, see what you find in that space. Breathe into it. Give your mind and heart some oxygen and breathe for 1 minute. Then go back to your busy. You may even feel better.
With so many options available, why is it tough to get what we want?
How do you invest your attention? Are you easily distracted? What gets most of your energy? Do you plan well, and hustle only to find yourself in the same space – day after day? Are you easily distracted?
We crave something more or different than what we have. Have you ever noticed how much time and energy is given to complaining, talking about what went wrong – or ALMOST went wrong, and who’s at fault? Wishing, worrying, complaining and blaming are all huge energy drains. They deplete us and wear us down. After awhile, these are habits that keep us unfulfilled and unhappy.
What if you exchanged your old habits for some that provided you with better support? How can you get MORE of what you DO want and less of what you don’t? It’s not complicated. It takes some coherent focus, intentional and repeated practice, but it’s possible. Here’s how:
Identify what choices are available. Brainstorm with friends or colleagues.
Get clear on what you want.(Get as clear about this as you are about the things you do NOT want)
Pick one thing. Make a decision – write it down.
Go and get it.
When you get distracted, remember what you want. You chose it. You are in charge of YOU. Be on purpose…