You might have heard about amazing entrepreneurs and business women like Oprah, Arianna Huffington and even Beyoncé rave about the benefits of having a meditation practice.
And yes, there is a good cause for all this raving as meditation can help with anything from stress management, emotional regulation, improved focus and creativity to boosting immunity and energy.
It is amazing to see how meditation is being so widely used these days in corporate spaces, coaching, sports and athletics, to therapy and incorporated into medical treatment.
The meditation industry is now a $1.2 billion market and growing steadily.
Some of the biggest companies in the world such as Apple, Nike, and Google promote on the job meditation!
So, social proof and research to prove its merits are solid and steadily growing.
But, should YOU meditate, and can it really be for just anyone?
This article will help you explore whether meditation is for you and how it can benefit your business and your life.
I will also show you how you can start a very simple practice for yourself, so you can start experiencing these benefits for yourself. I can promise you now, that I will not be teaching you any complicated techniques or asking you to sit cross legged for hours!
By the end of this article, you will know exactly how to proceed, if meditation is indeed something you want to try out.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents:
- What is meditation?
- The top benefits of meditation for entrepreneurs and business owners
- Is meditation right for you?
- 3 simple ways you can start your meditation practice today
- Common challenges that might come up as you get started
- 3 helpful allies that will help you stay on track
- 3 resources to help you get started with your meditation practice
What is Meditation?
In modern terms meditation can be seen as a set of techniques that can help greatly in developing emotional and mental resilience. One of the aims of meditation is to bring you to a more heightened state of awareness where you are fully present to your body mind and emotions. This self-awareness and presence allows you to show up in your life, with more mental clarity and less reactivity. This, in turn, allows you to more skillfully navigate the ups and downs of life and inevitably the roller coaster of emotions that come with it!
But meditation is not new practice, historically, it has been around for 1000’s of years and has been practiced in one form or another in different cultures all over the world. So, it’s certainly tried and tested!
For the beginner and the busy person, meditation can be made very simple and I will show you how!
The Top benefits of Meditation for Entrepreneurs
- Better focus and concentration
- Lessens stress and anxiety
- Greater emotional intelligence
- Ability to let go of mistakes
- Improves ability to deal with change
- Improves decision making
- Increased feelings of gratitude and joy
- Improves productivity
- Enhanced creativity and flow
Is meditation right for you?
There is a misconception that in order to start meditating, we have to sit for long periods of time cross legged or in some other uncomfortable position for hours and hours, and there has to be humming or chanting or repeating of mantras.
The truth is, there are so many ways that we can use this ancient practice. Yes, there are widely used traditional meditation practices, which are incredibly beneficial and powerful. But, just like with anything in life, we need to find what works for us, and we need to be very clear about WHY we want to do it.
For starters, ask yourself, What am I struggling the most with right now?
And looking at the list of benefits above, what do you long most to experience or to have in your life?
If you’re struggling to focus on your work, and you’re constantly getting stuck in procrastination. You might be longing to feel productive and in control of your daily tasks. By the end of the day, you want to be able to relax with a well-deserved glass of wine without feeling guilty because you know you were focused and efficient when you needed to be.
Or perhaps you’re struggling with an overactive mind that even after working a 15-hour work day and feeling exhausted, you’re still unable to fall asleep at night as your mind continues to race and worry. You might be longing to fall asleep with ease knowing you did the best that you could, and you can spend each night effectively resting and rejuvenating both body and mind.
Find YOUR main reasons for wanting to change what you are currently doing.
And make sure your reasons are for YOU first!
So do you need to meditate for hours in order to benefit?
No, absolutely not!
BUT, it does require a daily commitment. So many courses and products out there rave about their quick fix solutions. But when it comes to creating a strong mindset, there’s really no way around it. I want to be honest with you because you are absolutely worth the time and the effort. You have to do the work to create change!
The more often you do it, the better. Think about it as a muscle you are trying to develop. You don’t just expect to go to the gym once a month and miraculously find yourself with a six-pack. It’s a gradual build-up of consistent commitment and practice.
The good news is that consistency is better than quantity. Start with small doable commitments as opposed to grand goals like start meditating daily for 30 minutes and failing on the first day! I hear these kinds of goals so often from my clients at the beginning of our time working together.
They get so enthusiastic about all the goals they will hit, that they set too high expectations for themselves, and then end up feeling disheartened and disappointed. So, we pull back and temper expectations. For some clients, we start off with 1 minute a day simply to get them into the habit of just stopping for a moment and breathing.
Then we can build it up to 2 minutes, then 3 minutes, then 2-3 min several times a day.
Baby steps are the key towards making long term sustainable changes in our life.
Here are the 3 very basic steps to meditation that my teacher and trainer taught me
Here are 3 ways you can start your meditation practice today
As you try these out keep in mind the 3 steps to meditation that I shared above.
- Before getting out of bed in the morning, lie on your back with your body in a straight line. Bring your hands on your belly and take 10 deep conscious breaths. Do this every morning for the next week.
- Additionally, you can add deep slow breaths to fall asleep at night. You can do this lying on your back or on your stomach. Take deep slow breaths in and out of your nose as you lie in bed. Pay attention to the full breath moving in, and focus on expanding your breath all the way out. Then slowly breathing out, feeling your stomach fall back down. You can continue for 10 breaths or keep it up until you fall asleep!
- Set your alarm for 3 times a day – morning , midday and afternoon. Each time your alarm goes off, you stop what you’re doing, close your eyes and focus on your breathing for 1 minute each time.
The key is in creating the habit of stopping and allowing your mind to rest from its frantic activities by focusing on one thing at at time.
More powerfully you are training your mind to focus exactly where you want it to be. Very useful in entrepreneurship I can tell you!
You may not notice any changes initially or you may feel an instant relaxation. You may feel nothing for weeks and then suddenly one day, when you‘re in a situation, where you would normally react or get stressed out, you’re able to calmly take a breath and respond.
Just like that out of the blue, your meditation practice shows up for you!
It’s an amazing and wonderful experience, when you realise that you are in control, and your body and mind support you.
So, keep an open mind as you take the first tender steps in pausing and building that meditation muscle.
Here are some helpful allies, when the critical thoughts come in about whether it’s worth it to continue:
- Be patient with yourself. Renowned meditation teacher Jack Cornfield likens training your mind to meditate, to training a little puppy. We tell the puppy “sit” and very soon it runs off somewhere all excited. We bring the puppy back and say “sit” and a second later, it goes off again. But, we don’t get angry or frustrated at the puppy because we know that this is just what the puppy does when it is untrained. Similar to our mind, there’s no need to get frustrated, impatient or angry because constantly thinking, planning and troubleshooting is what the mind does.
- Kindness. The second ally is showing yourself kindness and grace. Instead of frustration, be kind, be loving to yourself.
- Have a beginner’s mind. This is the kind of mind that does not judge or criticise. Look at things with an open mind, and be a learner again. This is after all, one of the crucial skills as an entrepreneur and business owner. We need to be open to learning. We need to be comfortable with not knowing everything, and with having to find the answers, having to create or find the path, as we walk on it.
This is what learning to train your mind is – a student’s path.
Some common challenging thoughts you might come across as you start:
- I don’t have time. My friend, you can always find 1 minute.
- I don’t have the energy. Lie in bed and take 5 deep breaths. Why not take 5 deep conscious breaths, as you’re watching your favorite Netflix show or as you’re taking a shower!
- What’s the point, it doesn’t work! -To be honest, I don’t always know what the immediate benefits are of taking vitamins or eating kale, but I know it’s good for me regardless. Trust me, taking a few minutes out to cultivate a calm mind will have its long term benefits.
- Meditation doesn’t work for me. My mind is too active. Most of us struggle with a restless mind. Unless you train your minds to work for you like the puppy, then it will continue to run off and make a mess in the corner. Be patient. Call in your 3 allies: patience, kindness and a beginner’s mind and lastly, be consistent.
Starting my entrepreneurial journey has taught me so many things: the importance of humility, that I cannot be perfect, that I cannot have all the answers all the time, that sometimes, we need to act before we are ready.
If you’re still unsure if meditation is for you at the end of this, then it’s time to stop thinking and stop analysing.
Take a moment to stop right now.
Put your hands on your belly and take 10 deep slow breaths.
You are already breathing, what is there to lose?
Here are 3 of my favorite resources to start a meditation practice:
- Insight Timer App – The best FREE meditation app on the planet with over 90,000 free meditations and community where you can connect with other meditators
- The Power of Now by Echardt Tolle – This was my introduction to the ideas of mindfulness and meditation. A must read for greater self-awareness and emotional intelligence.
- Get a Journal– and start writing about your meditation experience, as well as any thoughts and emotions you have as you practice. This is a great resource to help you process and understand any difficulties you might have in your meditation as well as help you release negative emotions and thoughts.