From the lowest of lows, to the highest of highs
At the age of almost thirty - Keren found herself in a tough spot. Not sure about her path, without a meaningful romantic relationship she aspired to have, being rejected interview after interview for jobs she applied to.
It was a pit she didn’t know how to get out of - but a book that her father gave her helped something change within her. She realized two things:
1. Love is everywhere - it’s not just in romantic relationships, but in any relationship in her life. She realized how much love exists between her friends and her, those close bonds she didn’t know how to appreciate before.
2. The power of loving yourself - truly - not through a job title, not through a goal she achieved - just by knowing herself and connecting to herself.
To her big surprise, when she listened to herself she learned that actually - she didn’t really want the jobs she was interviewing for. So she went on a journey to find what it is that she has a true passion for, what resonates for her - a process that these days she helps managers and clients of her conduct. Her own search led her to her dream job then, being an organizational consultant at Pilat HR, and also to a wonderful relationship she has till this day. That was only the beginning of her journey of course - but now she knew how to listen.
When I asked Keren what she believes is stopping people from doing this pause and listening to themselves, she answered:
“It’s the survival mode - we’re connected to the fear that we won’t have enough options, money, so we’re contracting ourselves and don’t really adopt the beginners mindset and give ourselves time to explore - to really connect to what WE want - not what our parents, our partners, our siblings and kids wants for us. I think it’s a part of being mindful - to dare to listen deeply to our passions and needs, and to act upon them.”
The power of mindfulness
The classic definition of mindfulness is -
“The ability to be intentionally present here and now, non judgmentally.”
Keren shares about the way she like to explain mindfulness -
“the ability to be aware of an experience we’re going through - it can be a thought that runs in my mind, an emotion that I’m feeling right now, a process that I’m going through, in a non-judgmental way, but also without being managed by it - this is the critical thing.”
This means we can feel difficult emotions, allowing them to exist within us, without being controlled and consumed by them. Instead of being automatically reactive to our emotions, through mindfulness we can have a pause and choose our response.
Our biggest anchor to being mindful is our breath - we don’t even need to dedicate a lot of time to be mindful - it’s enough to take 1-3 minutes in the middle of the day. Even the busiest among us have 3 minutes in a day to stop and focus on our breathing.
What will happen if we stop for 2 minutes?
So how can we embrace mindfulness into our day to day work life?
Keren shares -
“I see it like that - what does it mean to be a leader? to change patterns”.
One of the most difficult but crucial patterns to pay attention to is the way we communicate. In the workplace we’re constantly surrounded by stressors, the need to stay at our pick, and we all experience this weight differently.
Learning how to communicate mindfully, as difficult as it may be, holds the key to better satisfaction, trust and calmness in our workplace, and with our colleagues. Even if we’ll be met with resistance and cynicism from others in the beginning - we know that we show up fully, in our most open and vulnerable self. It’s not common enough in the workspace these days, but there’s a real hunger for that, and in the end, people won’t stay in a place they don’t feel seen in.
When I (Gali) work with founders and management teams, I advise them to use 4 communication components in their meetings:
1. The title - what are we going to talk about?
2. Go over all the details, the information you want to pass to your team about the process you're in right now, whether it’s GTM, adding features in your product, etc.
3. The deliverables - exactly what you’re expecting and what’s the deadline
4. Reflection - asking: what did you understand from what I was saying?
That way, we can know if we have communicated clearly enough, and won’t find out weeks or months later that our team didn’t understand what we really meant and now we’re not meeting our goals. It’s relevant to every faze we’re in.
“Mindfulness at the end of the day increases our productivity, our efficiency, our resilience. We need to listen to ourselves and give ourselves time and nourish our inner world, because if you get to a point where you’re burdened and stressed out - you can't win. Just like you put fuel in the car, you need to fuel yourself.”