Corporate Mindfulness - Part I

Corporate Mindfulness - Part I

We’re hearing the term 'mindfulness' more and more in the mainstream.

Many of us have wondered what it is, and more of us are taking up the practice.

For those not yet in the know we interviewed specialist corporate mindfulness coach, Nathalie Heynderickx.

Nathalie is Founder and Principal of Zen High Achiever. She is also a senior corporate mindfulness coach with global consultancy Potential Project.

Prior to her coaching practice Nathalie worked in senior roles in the corporate world, including with IBM, Accenture and Ernst & Young.

To start with, what is mindfulness, and how is it practiced? 

For better or worse, the term mindfulness has become quite mainstream. As a result there’s a lot of confusion out there about what mindfulness actually is.

Simply put, mindfulness is the ability to pay attention to a particular object, a task or a person, in a point in time. It’s our ability to remain focused, to concentrate.

Mindfulness is a state of mind that can be attained by training our mind.

A great resource I’d recommend to anyone interested is “Mindfulness in Plain English” an absolute classic with 20 editions. Its PDF is freely available on the web – a short, simply written and easy to read book (you can find it here). 

What is corporate mindfulness? 

It’s essentially the application of mindfulness in the workplace.

Many of the Fortune 500 organisations have realised over the past five years that today’s workplace dynamics, particularly in the landscape of the information age and digital revolution, are truly challenging and can negatively impact employees’ performance and wellbeing.

Forward-thinking organisations such as SAP, GE, Google, Accenture and Nike have invested time, energy and money to skill up their employees in mindfulness.

Corporate mindfulness has been adopted by a range of industries for different reasons.

At Potential Project we have clients ranging from large law firms and banks to not-for-profit organisations and government departments. Objectives vary from improving office workers’ engagement, retention, wellbeing and performance, to improving blue collar safety employee on site.

Some interesting facts I learned while attending the Mindful Leadership Forum last year:

#1 SAP has reported a 200% ROI from its mindfulness program, which reduced sick leave dramatically

#2 GE is taking Mindfulness so seriously that they hired Debbie Jeremiah, the former CFO of Ferrari to manage their Mindfulness Program

How has practicing mindfulness shaped your life and career? 

I’ve been practicing mindfulness for over 10 years. But I only got really “serious” or more disciplined about it 5 years ago.

I was facing issues at work and shared the situation with my teacher, a mind training expert and senior Buddhist monk. He compassionately pointed out that the situation I had come to be in had been driven by my ego. While I was blaming the environment and those around me, I had the power of choice.

I had the choice on how to react, or even better, how to respond to each situation. I also had the choice to stay and remain part of this particular environment.

That interaction was a turning point. It had a domino effect on my career path, and every personal and professional choice I have made since then.

I gradually became more disciplined with my mindfulness practice and developed equanimity, or the ability to experience inner peace regardless of external circumstances. I think this is one of the key benefits from training our mind. I started to take full responsibility for my experiences, my environment and my relationships.

Mindfulness practice has had a huge impact on my emotional intelligence, which has a flow on effect across all areas in my life. I became a better daughter, partner and friend.

Mindfulness has helped me to recognise my own blind spots, and allows me to become a better human being every day.

Experts & Insights: Corporate Mindfulness continues in Part II here

For those curious about corporate mindfulness, click here to find out more about Zen High Achiever, or here to connect with Nathalie on LinkedIn. 

 

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