Last week, we hosted the first in a series of Redington Retreats, the overarching aim of which is to share different views of the world, which we in turn use to help us make tough decisions and deliver better outcomes for our clients.
One of the speakers was Jay Shetty, a man who has the job title of “Urban Monk” no less, and who champions the practice of mindfulness in the work place. This gave me plenty to think about (oh irony!) in terms of my own work life balance and what it can mean in a wider industry context, which I will share below.
Five months into my role here as an investment consulting analyst at Redington and having just graduated from university, I have found the structured schedule that underpins full-time occupation to be both satisfying and challenging; and certainly a different rhythm to that of uni.
More challenging than the work itself, however, lies in developing the ability to switch off away from work. Busy personal lives combined with an “always on” culture driven by the smart phone revolution make this a particularly challenging – not least when our consulting team are in their ‘busy period’ preparing for the Trustee meetings that are not too far ahead. As per the title, work can become all encompassing.
When our lives are ultimately divided into a contest between work-life and our personal-life, this greatly limits our ability to properly reflect on, and manage, either. A point highlighted by Jay during his talk, was that practicing mindfulness allows us to step outside of this internal conflict and take a “bird’s eye view” of our lives.
Jay touched upon providing ourselves with the ability to create space in our minds to be more focused and creative through Mindfulness and I am building upon that by suggesting that practicing Mindfulness enables us to be ‘more proactive than reactive’.
Harvard Business Review recently ran an article on how spending 10 minutes a day on Mindfulness subtly changes the way we react to everyday situations. The article describes this as creating a one-second mental space between an event or stimulus and then responding to it, ‘a one second lead over your mind, your emotions and your world’.
For Trustees sitting in a board room, being presented with a crucial strategic decision for the pension scheme that they govern and the security of the member benefits that they value, making well informed decisions are vital. It is a powerful strength to have within any meeting to have calm and empathetic discussions and ensure that everyone understands the effects on any outcomes that arise. Being able to step back from frustrating and high-pressure situations within meetings is key to achieving positive result.
Could practicing Mindfulness on a regular basis be the key to unlocking this in both our personal and professional lives?
It’s worth a try in my mind.