There is no ‘right’ way to breathe? Change the verb from ‘breathe’ to ‘allow’ – let the breath come and go on its own, and pay attention to it. That’s your access to calm & mental clarity.

The Wisdom of Incremental Shifts

I am noticing a trend. My clients are being asked to produce more … more content, more results… in less and less time. My husband has an expression for this – drinking from a fire hose. Collectively we seem to be living in the interpretation of reality that says “in this world of exponential change we have to react quickly … or perish. This is an accepted assumption in organizations and individuals within them.

This atmosphere of urgency plays out in how our days are structured. Back to back meetings, as if we could magically move from the second floor to the sixth in the blink of an eye. 30-minute meetings that have fifteen agenda items, or that don’t have an agenda at all. 20-minute presentations that have 50 slides. Requests to immediately mobilize a team on a new project. All urgent.

So… we are dominated by this atmosphere of urgency – a rhythm that isn’t anyone’s – seemingly embedded in the walls of the building.

I don’t see this changing in most organizations. The bigger question for us, as individuals, is this … How do I find a way to thrive within this reality? How do I find my own rhythm, and still respond powerfully to external demands?

We could look to the big response – the ever-unattainable work/life balance – or look to the micro. There is an ever-present rhythm occurring in your own body. Always. You are breathing. That breath is creating movement. That movement has a rhythm that is always responding. It is you. Unique.

What if an incremental shift of your attention – for a moment – could produce sustainable results – in your energy and in the ease with which you enter your next meeting, or have that difficult conversation?

Try this, as an experiment – use moments of transition. You finish a call. Stop. For a moment. Choose to shift your attention from thinking to simple sensation. Sense your feet. Notice your butt on your chair. Place your hand on your upper abdomen, where your ribs curve up. We’ll call that your Core. Notice that there is movement there. Hallelujah! You are breathing. Notice the movement. That’s it. Then make that next call.

Elapsed time? 5 seconds. In those 5 seconds you have space. And therefore renewed access to your inner resources – clarity, focus, responsiveness, energy.

Those spaces are everywhere. In the walk from one meeting to another. In the transition from one task to another. In the space between thoughts. We just don’t notice. Our attention is on what just happened or what’s about to happen. On the chatter between our ears.

What if noticing yourself in your body, for a moment, could increase your efficiency exponentially? That incremental shift?

Here’s a little formula to experiment with:

When you are sitting:            Feet, Butt, Core (Breath is moving!)

When you are standing:        Feet, Knees (let them soften), Core (Breath is moving!)