May 7th, 2015
By Glenn Watkins
As a child I can remember from around 8 years old the feeling of excitement and happiness of “going into the wild” (adventures in the countryside!) The anticipation of hearing or seeing something unexpected, experiencing the pure beauty of his natural environment made me feel – and act – care free, creative and curious.
Around the same time I also loved fishing – I think it took me a couple of years to catch my first fish! (It didn’t help that I was using a huge sea fishing hook I found on a beach while on holiday, I thought it important I use large hook to ensure I caught a large fish(!) I lived in Birmingham at the time so not too many coastal lines to hook a sea monster…)
I also fell in love with motorcycles a year later, I was taken to the Isle of Man TT races with my best friend and his dad – the speed, noise, crowds, excitement was everywhere! Having ridden motorcycles for over 40 years, other words such as freedom, beauty, art, peace, absolute presence, balance, unity and happiness are all my experiences on two wheels – the same as I feel when “in the wild”.
These are experiences I have enjoyed all of my life, yet on some level the two are apparently poles part (slow and fast, safe and dangerous), yet for me, both enable the same feelings of being fully present, content and blissfully happy – especially when riding in the wild!
Discovering and practising mediation 15 years ago has enabled me to enjoy many other, differing, aspects of my life and business – feeling as I do when sitting, walking or riding in the wild. I love the feeling of calm energy, deep creativity and “connectedness” enabled when I choose to practice regularly and live a more mindful existence.
There’s a huge movement now taking place – we appear to be really “waking up” to the benefits of Meditation and Mindfulness, see the Huffington Post’s:
and watch the video The scientific power of meditation
Last month I was on the panel of London’s first ever Mindfulness Summit for business leaders, I was pleasantly surprised by the mix of the audience, there were Directors from the BBC, IKEA, Harrods, Pret a Manger, Bacardi Martini Corp, Google Ventures (here’s a great article (and video) What’s it like to take Googles Mindfulness training), mixed with leaders from the charity (Marie Curie, Just Giving, Jewish Care) and health sectors, along with business owners and entrepreneurs.
There’s some great photo’s of the event which demonstrates the emphasis on the experiential learning for ongoing and accelerated personal and leadership development.
The overriding message from the summit was “just do something – make a start!” Here’s a useful and simple guide.
It’s a bit like gym membership (after all, it’s fitness for the mind) – it’s about participation! Tough at first to get into the habit, though once you’ve started you soon feel the benefits when done regularly, little and often.
It doesn’t mean you have to meditate every time either, being mindful means you are aware to simply pause, to look around, take notice with a few deep breaths and smile 🙂
I’ve experienced these techniques producing insightful thoughts, questions and outcomes when we’ve practiced mindfulness meditation when running my experiential Academy for Chief Executives peer groups. As leaders we tend to “dive in” to solve issues and create more opportunities, taking time to enable silence, to create some space, before working together has proved very beneficial.
I believe all successful leaders have an ongoing thirst for learning and an appetite for sharing, I am discovering when this thirst is also directed inwardly to pause, to be still, to de-stress, to be in a more creative space, this enables better knowing and understanding of oneself.
Over time this develops an awareness, feeling and experience of “being in flow”, which when happens on a regular basis, the path of least resistance unfolds.
After all, without peace, where is happiness?
My passion for leadership development and entrepreneurial business growth have resulted in my business as Academy for Chief Executives Chairman where, having “walked the talk” as a CEO member, I’ve created select London peer groups – Academy 88 and Academy 08 to focus on holistic leadership development, thus business and personal growth for progressive leaders.
Love Leadership – Love Learning – Love Life