As a business owner, there are a million things you should be doing everyday, right?
You should do yoga so you can be more bendy.
You should write (or draw or paint) each day to keep your creativity alive.
You should read a book a week to stay on top of trends.
You should regularly post to at least 4 social media platforms…
…and on and on it goes.
Which is why I don’t push meditation on my clients to help them be more focused as they build their businesses. I try to gently move them toward it as we work on their business development and strategy. Otherwise, meditation becomes yet another should…and yet another incomplete energy-drain on their already full to-do list.
Add to that the extreme terror my clients sometimes express at sitting down with their own thoughts for any extended period of time…and you’ve got a recipe for a low-carb, gluten-free, slow-cooker, feed-the-whole-family “Hell No!”
So let’s chat about this. And I promise not to push you or “should” you.
The Benefits of Meditation
Meditation, as you have heard, has more benefits than I can possibly cram into one article. Study after study, research after research has proven unequivocally that meditation…
- reduces levels of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline
- changes your brain
- deepens compassion, with yourself and others
- increases productivity
Now, before you get excited, consider this. The challenge of knowing these results is that if you’re not careful, you might begin your meditation practice hunting them down. After all, you’re an entrepreneur. You know how to achieve. You know how to figure shit out. You know how to squeeze the maximum results out of even the smallest to-do.
This means there’s a problem between you and meditation. And that is this: Even though meditation offers countless benefits, those benefits don’t come because your over-used left-brain makes them come. They don’t come because you TRY. In fact, trying is the last thing you want to do when it comes to meditation.
The benefits come simply because you show up. And you show up because it’s a practice. You show up even if you feel like shit. You show up even if the mind is saying things like, “You’ve meditated 10 minutes a day for a month – but I don’t see you turning into Pema Chodron now, do I?” You show up because it’s just what you do. And you WILL notice changes. But simply because you stop demanding them.
How to Start Meditating
I have been meditating for 30 minutes a day for a year and a half now. (Yes, I’m still a total newbie.) I started meditating because my friend, best-selling author and teacher Susan Piver and I were on the phone and she challenged me to make meditation a practice. Not something I did when I had the time or the inspiration. A practice.
So here is the exact step-by-step path I took that has made me an
overnight enlightened master entrepreneur who is more aware, clear and congruent each day.
Steps to Starting your Meditation Practice:
1 – Download a meditation timer app, like “Meditation Timer.”
2 – (Optional and recommended) Play with your new app.
Spend some time fussing with the settings, bells, times and other features on the Meditation Timer app you just downloaded. This will convince your left-brain that you are moving closer to nirvana.
3 – Determine the duration.
How much time you will meditate each day? Note: I started with 5 minutes. Really. I did five minutes everyday for 30 days. Even when I was most resistant, I said to myself, “It’s five minutes. Come on. You can do anything for five minutes.” And I would do it. If you start with 30 minutes, you will not do it. Trust me. I know you. (You know you, too.)
4 – Decide what exact time you will meditate each day.
Set an alarm. Make it non-negotiable.
5 – Show up.
Do it. (Get Susan Piver’s new book for the clearest most compassionate instructions on mindfulness meditation. Or, download an app like “Headspace” that literally walks you through your practice.)
6 – (Optional but recommended) Avoid the temptation to expect any of the following when you begin your meditation practice:
– sparkly lights
– major life-changing breakthroughs
– dollar bills falling out of the sky
– looking like any stock photo you’ve ever seen of meditating women.
I’m not saying these won’t happen. Just don’t expect them.
7 – When you’ve reached the 30-day mark, high-five yourself.
Call a friend and share the good news.
Then, check in with yourself. Do you want to add any time to your practice? Yeah? I suggest no more than 2 minutes. That’s because…come on…your inner achiever is itching to take over. It’ll say, “Yes! Let’s double it! Ten minutes!” And this beautiful blossoming practice will now become a little too much. Maybe not next week or the week after – but it will become too much. I recommend that you add one minute, maybe two minutes. Then, show up again.
Continue for another month. See how you are doing. Increase time gradually. I made the jump to 30 minutes after 3 months, when I felt locked in and fully committed.
The True Benefit of Meditation for Business Owners
Entrepreneurs need to create space for self-awareness. That’s because we serve others, we make lots of decisions, and we move fast. One of my new Uplevel Academy clients just told me, “I’ve gotten more done in the last four months than I have in the last four years!” What she’s saying is that she has made decisions and taken action. When you run a business, that’s what you do. But if you are not clear, congruent and centered, you’ll create chaos. Meditation provides a sacred pause and brings you back to center.
So, get started. And go slow. Soon, meditation will become your go-to soul practice.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: My friend Susan Piver has just released her highly-anticipated new book “Start Here Now.” It is the quintessential, street-smart, simple guide to meditation – especially for tired wired busy business owners like us. I can’t recommend it enough. Click here to get it now.