Mindfulness This morning I had the pleasure of participating in a Google Hangout on Mindfulness At Work with Author and New York Times journalist David Gelles, Chairman of the Learning Technolgies Conference, Don Taylor…hosted by Dreamtek.
The invite from Don came in on Wednesday. I had returned home from a MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) course I have been attending at The Haven for the last 7 weeks, and which concludes this coming Wednesday. So how serendipitous!! Don knew absolutely nothing about this!! I’ve also been utilising Goggle Hangouts a lot more in consulting with clients privately, so I was really excited to get the opportunity to pop my live Google Hangout cherry on a subject that is particularly pertinent to me at the moment. However, its not just me…as David stated in the hangout, and as many of you are probably aware. Its a ‘buzz topic’ at the moment. Madonna and Gwynyth Paltrow probably did it years ago…but now the rest of us are catching on 🙂 This means that it sometimes gets a bad rap, as another craze (probably from LA) and this means many people write it off. However, I personally know of a couple of close friends and family who had recommended the practice to me having done it themselves…knowing that I can get quite stressed and can often feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of things I can find myself engaged in at any given time. That my friends is counter-productive behaviour. My work as a Learning & Development consultant, running my band Bastedo, taking care of family, participating in sporting activity and on. I’ve been told by more than one person on more than one occasion, that they feel exhausted just listening to me talk about the amount of things I can have going on. So I am a prime candidate for mindful practice…but we all are.
David Gelles – Author, New York Times Journalist
David doesn’t claim to be a mindfulness teacher, but he came to the practice a long time ago, so knows his stuff. He spent 2 years researching and writing this book, which was commissioned when he wrote and article on his practice a few years ago. Read one of his articles on the subject here. David explained how Mindfulness has been studies using something called the Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. We all have a small part at the base of our brain, The amygdala, which controls our stimulus responses. When we respond to stressful situations in an unhelpful way, its because it is being flooded with cortisol. I remember Simon Sinek talking about this earlier this year. See my post on that event here. David says this is a lifelong journey, so I for one am really excited to be how I will feel a year from now. What difference will mindfulness have made to my life.? Will I become all Zen? Let’s wait and see. David’s book is out in January 2015, and he’ll also be back appearing at Learning Technologies in January too. Good, good. So how have I personally found practising mindfulness? For me its been a revelation. Its helping me to slow down. To quieten my mind. To become less overwhelmed. I’ve had a lot going on of late, and it just all seemed to get on top of me. This workshop and the practice I have been learning has provided me with a sanctuary accessible by my own mind and body, available to me at any time!! Who knew!! It’s not just me… the amazing ladies and gentleman who I have been practising with, many of whom are currently undergoing treatment for cancer…are seeing real benefits too! We have been under the expert tutelage of a lady called Caroline Hoffman. She is Clinical Director of Research at The Haven and was trained by the great John Kabat-Zinn himself. If you don’t know who he is…look him up. Mindfulness doesn’t always come easy…and at first it can seem counter intuitive. Its difficult to focus, breathe and notice whats going on in your body, when you are used to going ten to the dozen. However, after a few weeks, I really started to notice the shifts taking place in how I respond and react to external stimulus. It is definitely something I shall continue. Or else I’m probably doomed 🙂
Urban Vitality Entrepenuer Health Summit
On Wed 12th November I attended a The Entrepeneurs Health Summit with special guest Speakers Tamara Norton-Hill, founder of sportswear retailers Sweaty Betty, and nutritionist Jo Scott-Dalgleish. The event was hosted on by John Limpus from Urban Vitality. These powerful ladies shared their personal stories of how they started and grew their respective businesses and brands. They each spoke for around 10 minutes, the we the audience had the opportunity to participate in a Q@A session with each of them.
Tamara Hill-Norton – Founder, Sweaty Betty
Tamara detailed why and how she got into the sports retail business, and how after a couple of years of building the business realising that to grow, she would need to create her own apparel, and not just resell other brands. She spoke of how she did this with the support of her family, and how she manages to juggle this with being a wife and mother to 3 children! It became clear even before she spoke, that she lived her brand. She confirmed this by telling us how has always selfishly stuck to a weekly routine that incorporates running, yoga and pilates. She also ensures her family get away at weekends together participating in quality family time, rather than each being stuck to some device or other. She extends this philosophy to her workforce, by making sessions available at lunchtimes or after work in various stores and offices. This is a lifestyle, not just a business. She responded graciously to Q&A. I asked how she keeps her routine in times of extreme business or personal stress. She admitted it was difficult, but that her routine was kind of non- negotiable…unless absolutely necessary. She’s formed these habits over a long time, and now they are just second nature. She even wears, her running gear to bed on a Friday night so she can just get up and go for her Saturday Morning run…now that is a woman living on purpose!
Jo Scott-Dalgleish – Nutritionist
Jo gave up a successful corporate career to become a nutritionist. I think she could also do some comedy because she was funny as hell! Jo told a knowing audience of how she existed on Starbucks coffee and muffins for breakfast. Coffee throughout the day, to keep the energy levels going. Grabbing a late sandwich for lunch, leaving work late, eating the spreads at corporate functions or perhaps grabbing a Subway or even (sharp intake of breath) Burger King on days when she was not schmoozing with clients!! I THINK there may have been a fair amount of alcohol at these corporate events too. We all knew the drill well. She was good at her job and enjoyed it, so this was success right? Well…this treadmill eventually lead to a crash, which caused Jo to re-evaluate her life. She enlisted the help of a life coach, and decided that she wanted to be a nutritionist. She changed her diet, retrained, started actually using her gym membership, dropped 2 stone, and now runs a successful business assisting her clients to help them make good nutritional choices, which are suitable for them. Altogether it was a very inspiring evening attended by some lovely people running various businesses. I met the woman who runs a tea brand Teapigs. Then I saw when them in Waitrose today when I was buying my lunch. For those of you who know me well…you’ll know I am obsessed with the lunchtime BBQ chicken legs. I’m sure Jo would disapprove!
Rollcall @s0ngb1rd http://www.davidgelles.com – @dgelles http://www.learningtechnologies.co.uk – @LTUK15 http://donaldhtaylor.wordpress.com – @DonaldHTaylor http://thehaven.org.uk – @ http://urbanvitality.com @urbanvitality http://www.nutritionsolutions4health.co.uk @joscottd http://www.sweatybetty.com @sweatybetty http://itsbastedo.com – @itsbastedo