You can’t give what you don’t have, so invest in yourself first!

3 of the intrepid PurpleBeach team, Tanya Cordrey, Olivia Gribaudo and Orlagh Hunt gave their views on the hot topic of Mindfulness recently at the third annual Everywoman Forum: Advancing Women in Technology. The forum welcomed over 600 delegates from around the world who came to hear from some leading thinkers in the international technology world. We caught up with the team to hear a few of their insights..

So mindfulness, is it a fad or relevant to our current challenges?

Olivia shared “In my view it’s critically important at a time when all around us in the VUCA world things are constantly changing at such a fast pace, so much is being asked of leaders in terms of demands on their time, decisions they need to make, the role they need to play in engaging and inspiring their people, all in the context of a work environment in which we are “always on” and often distracted, to find a way, a legitimate way to tune in to what is going on inside of us, to manage it and to channel our energy accordingly”.

Orlagh continued “In my experience leading big change programs, the starting point needs to be ensuring that our own needs are being met before we can give to others. It’s one of my favourite take aways from Brene Brown “we cannot give what we don’t have” so a key message would be to Invest in people first before you ask for more. This investment can come in many forms, but I have found tools that help individuals to manage their own energy and capacity can be really powerful. Applying them helps us to create the opportunity for pause or stillness where you can think clearly and check in with yourself. These moments can pay huge dividends in terms of the clarity of our decision making, our impact on others and our ability to find creative solutions. The risk is that if we don’t take this time we can end up being as chaotic as the world around us.”

Tanya added “We are all trying to solve more complex and connected problems so the opportunity to pause also allows you to unlock your creativity and innovation so that you can formulate better solutions. In this digital age human leadership is becoming even more important so tools that help you to be centred, to show up more authentically and demonstrate empathy to those around us are even more critical going forward.”

So how do the team apply mindfulness personally?

Olivia told us “I was initially a sceptic, I had the same attitude towards it as I had to doing yoga or eating goji berries, I knew it was good for me but imposing it on myself out of context would frustrate me and actually have the reverse effect!! For me it’s about finding the moments in your day which offer a chance for mindfulness (whether it’s running or even ironing or washing the dishes) when you can tune into your inner self, understand what is really going on within you and sometimes even come up with your best ideas.”

“For me the breakthrough happened when I came upon the science of habit formation” said Orlagh “this tells us that it’s about repetition so it takes doing something 21 times to make a habit and 90 times to become a lifestyle. My learning is to pick one small change and embed that fully before looking to build the next one. Also be realistic, we all have weeks when we fall off the wagon and when you do it’s about being kind to yourself and getting back on!!!”

If it’s so powerful is this something organisations should be rolling out?

Tanya started “We would not advocate this as a top-down “let’s all be mindful” day! However, when mindfulness is introduced as part of a broader change or leadership program and people are given the tools to work with, permission to use them in a work context and the freedom to explore and learn for themselves they landed very positively in my experience”

Top tips from the team

Be curious, find an approach that intrigues you and that you want to try out, there are loads of resources available and it’s about finding something that works for you.

Stick with it, remember it takes time and repetition to build your mindfulness muscle.

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