I have totally been lying to everyone for months.
Ever since I started using a meditation app, Insight Timer, back in February my sessions have been immediately broadcast on my Twitter account afterwords. When friends and business acquaintances bring it up I’ve been feigning ignorance, acting almost embarrassed that I haven’t turned that feature in the app off yet. The truth is I need that feature, or I probably wouldn’t be meditating.
Although the moment I close my eyes and focus my attention on my breathing is completely private and personal, sharing the details through social media has been a way of keeping me accountable. So far I’ve managed 136 consecutive days since late February. That would not have happened if my streak wasn’t there on Twitter for everyone to see. For me, it was a way of turning a new practice into a regular habit, and it’s brought all the benefits I’d long heard about — benefits I think many people in B2B firms would enjoy.
Unlike the consumer world, where you might be interacting with customers in real life on an everyday basis, working in B2B often means connecting with customers at a digital remove. It’s easy to get bogged down with data, engagement metrics and other areas that largely speak to short-term impact. When you are actually sitting down face to face and talking with a customer in B2B, on the other hand, the experience is often memorable because you hear things that might get lost via e-mail, chabot conversation, social media post or blog comment. You notice things. That’s all mindfulness is, really — noticing things that might otherwise get overlooked, and appreciating them in a more relaxed way.
I realize, of course, that not everyone is comfortable meditating or enjoys it, which is why I wanted to make July — a time when many of us take vacations — our Mindfulness Issue on B2B News Network. We’re going to look at different tools, techniques and ideas from experts on how to be more present in our everyday work, in order to notice things that could make us better at what we do, more engaged, more fulfilled.
Technology can play a surprising role in mindfulness. Until about a year ago, for instance, I never used image-based social tools like Instagram, preferring the text-based platforms like Twitter and Facebook. As I got more accustomed to Instagram, however, I found myself lingering over buildings, people, or street scenes I passed on my travels. I would consider stopping to take a picture for Instagram, or a video for my Instagram story. I started noticing visuals, appreciating them and wanting to capture them as a way of slowing down time.
Mindfulness isn’t just relevant for business professionals because it’s good for our mental health, but because it can give us the perspective we need to develop the right strategy. Short-term execution is complemented a greater ability to see the big picture. But to see the big picture you have to notice what’s in front of you. You have to stop. Look. And take a breath.