Fast Company

Prediction—Meditation Becomes a Core Competency

Meditation?  Yes, you read that right.  In the future, I predict that meditation will be a core competency not only for successfully managing your work+life fit, but for innovation in the workplace.  Why?  Because meditation is simply about being quiet.  And for those of us operating at an unsustainable pace, we desperately need to find some quiet, not only for our own peace of mind but for bringing the best, most innovative part of ourselves to work. 

Few people are aware of the power of meditation, and have little understanding of how to incorporate it into their lives.  But, I’m beginning to think that might be changing.  I’ve meditated for about 15 years, and it wasn’t until I met a reporter named, Judy Martin, that I found someone dedicated to making meditation accessible to businesspeople. 

I met Judy when she interviewed me for an excellent story on workplace flexibility for NPR called “Embracing Flex Time Takes Work, Firms Find.”  We discovered our shared belief that meditation is one of the most important tools for connecting with what you want for your work and your life.  

Why?  Because we keep frantically looking for “the answers” outside of ourselves when the truth is that those answers are often inside, if we would just listen.  But we don’t listen.  This is why I get blank stares when I ask people, “What work+life fit do you want?”  They honestly don’t know.  And how do you get something you can’t define?  The answer requires introspection and self-reflection which is exactly what meditation is all about.  It helps you meet yourself, perhaps for the first time.   

An entire chapter of my book, Work+Life: Finding the Fit That’s Right for You, is devoted to meditation as a way to define your unique work+life fit vision.  Over the years, many readers have commented, “What’s meditation got to do with this?”  My answer is always the same, “Everything.” 

And it’s not just about work+life fit.  I believe meditation is one of the keys to organizational innovation.  Imagine how many creative ideas would emerge if people were encouraged to quietly and regularly connect with their intuition.  In fact, in Columbia Business School professor (again, you read that right—business school professor), William Duggan’s new book Strategic Intuition, he talks about “presence of mind” and Buddha as examples of successful strategy development using intuition.  The best way to connect to that “presence of mind,”and “intuition” is meditation. 

Want to start meditating?  Check out Judy Martin’s website.  A long-time practitioner, and a seasoned reporter, Judy has created a CD of meditations called Practical Chaos that is very straightforward and not “too out there” as Judy would say.  Here’s the description from her site:

After two decades in the newsroom, and years of volunteer work with people living with life-challenging illnesses, Judy knows a lot about conquering chaos.  In PRACTICAL CHAOS®: Reflections on Resilience, Judy shares three breathing exercises to help consume the chaos of daily living. They can be applied to any belief system and are specifically designed for work/life integration issues.

Do you think meditation will be a core competency for success in our 24/7 world?  Have you, or others you know, used meditation to guide your work+life fit choices, or to drive innovation in your workplace?  Let me know.      

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1 Comments

  • Mark Zorro

    I don't like reading articles, for the first thing I want to do is meditate on what is being said. I think the Buddhist idea of "No Mind" is excellent in this regard. The key at the end of the day is whether we have accelerated our individual understanding - because IMHO meditation isn't about avoidance or adding to knowledge but I think all great leaders meditate to a great extent for the ability to gain intelligence rather than try to be intelligent. One outlook is emergent and therefore more likely to be intelligent, the other is a forced (because the trying becomes unhelpful) which may serve to suppress intelligence. Sounding or trying to look intelligent and actually being intelligent therefore are two very different states of being in my view......M.