Last Friday was a bad day for me. I woke up late, missed the gym and didn’t meditate.
None of this was intentional.
I then turned my computer on to do what I do every day: blog. I was not prepared for the whirlwind that followed.
As I opened up my social media channels, there were a lot more than usual, direct messages. I started reading each one and they were from colleagues and friends who wanted to warn me that I had a large amount of hate-fuelled comments on social media. I’m usually pretty good at dealing with hate comments. Not on that day, though — I was having a ‘bad day.’
I turned off the computer and didn’t respond to anybody. In the same week, I’d been told I was now a LinkedIn Top Voice for 2018.
I should have been celebrating and I didn’t because I didn’t feel worthy. If anything, I wanted to give up there and then. Luckily I didn’t follow through with any of these ideas. I knew it was just noise in my awful day.
I went away to sit on the couch and think about what I’d just read. Without really thinking about what I was going to do for the rest of the day, I began thinking about my team at work. There were several leadership challenges that I had to solve.
One was from a customer that was being abusive to female staff. Another was a rejection I had to deliver to someone that wanted to work with us. The hardest part about delivering the rejection was that I’d already said yes.
Despite the day being bad, I made a fundamental decision — to keep doing what I do and not stop. I said to myself “How can I inspire people while simultaneously solving both these challenges?”
I’m a big believer that it’s not what you say that matters; it’s what you do. Talk is cheap. I came up with a bold plan to address both challenges.
I was going to do something that made me see the good in the people involved.
Even if the people in both situations had let me down, I was going to assume they were still good.
I concocted a plan to help both people and try and show them a more positive way to move forward. If I break down the plan, it was about being an inspiration in both situations.
I didn’t feel like being inspiring.
It was not the day to be inspiring.
But it was the only way I could motivate myself to finish off this bad day and wake up the next morning fresh. It’s funny how a good nights sleep takes away all the pain and negativity from the day before.
So, by the end of the day, I enabled both plans. I set out to release inspiration in both scenarios and that was my only focus. I didn’t look at anymore hate fuelled comments or go near social media.
On that bad day last Friday, my actions helped me keep moving forward and not give up.
It’s not about necessarily seeing the good in your bad day.
I’ve read this sort of advice heaps, but it requires a lot of willpower.
“Using your actions to make the day better rather than trying to think your way out of your bad day seems to be a lot easier to implement”
It’s not about the bad day.
Bad days will happen.
It’s what you do on a bad day that determines if you’ll feel the full effect of all the negativity that can potentially knock you out like a Tsunami that comes your way when all you wanted to do was lay on the beach and soak up some sun.
I’ve learned to find situations during a day that’s not working out well for me, to do something good, and often that’s not something that benefits me. If I was to look at it another way it would be “How do I not focus on my own bad day?”
Trying to make someone else’s day good distracts you from your own bad day.
How 8 Minutes of Meditation Can Give You the Productivity Boost You Need
Of all the productivity hacks I’ve tried over the years, none has had as much of a positive impact relative to the time I put in than meditation. Just 8 minutes per day to be precise. Meditation is a practice that has been around for centuries. Once primarily used by practitioners of Buddhism to reach a higher level of consciousness, science has since shown it has a lot of more earthly benefits as well.
As Healthline reports, meditation improves concentration, reduces fatigue and stress, brings a sense of relaxation and improves sleep patterns, among other benefits. All the above reasons explain why some of the most successful people rely on meditation to thrive in their professions. Jeff Weiner, former Yahoo executive and the current CEO of Linkedin says that meditation has made a huge positive impact on his productivity. Similarly, Ray Dalio, who is the founder of Bridgewater Associates, attributes a big part of his success to meditation.
5 Ways Meditation Helps with Productivity
Before I get to my own meditation routine that takes just 8 minutes of my time daily, let me first go over in general how meditation can give you a huge leg up in your career and business, backed by studies.
1. Improves Your Attention Span
There are tons of factors that improve productivity, but one that plays a very important role is the ability to focus. Being attentive enough to complete the task at hand means you’ll finish your work with higher accuracy and better efficiency.
According to Pubmed, several studies have shown the efficacy of meditation in reversing parts of the brain that cause mind wandering and the inability to concentrate. Russell Simmons, the CEO of Rush Communications, says that meditation is one of the things that has helped him focus the most.
2. Increases Neuroplasticity
For a long time, scientists believed that brain development only happened during childhood and then ceased. But recent discovery regarding the neuroplastic nature of the brain concludes that our brains actually continue to change and adapt through experiences. In other words, the brain is continually reorganizing itself by creating new neurons and new connections.
Meditation is one practice capable of changing your brain’s structure and functions. In fact, Harvard Researchers at MGH have shown that meditation increases grey matter volume in your brain. What this means is that it causes more neurons to accumulate in one space.
Another theory that explains how meditation boosts neuroplasticity is that it increases cerebral blood flow (CBF). By placing you in a state of relaxation, blood is able to flow more freely leading to better oxygenation and nourishment in your brain. With increased neuroplasticity, your ability to acquire new skills and positive habits increase.
3. Sharpens Your Memory
A major benefit of mediation is that it boosts one’s working memory capacity. The working memory determines how much information the central nervous system can hold and process at any time. It’s like the Random Access Memory in a computer.
A study was done to investigate the effect of active meditation on individuals’ working memory capacities. Researchers had the participants take part in a 45-minute meditation exercise twice per week. After a couple of weeks, they recorded the results and discovered that the respondents’ working memory capacities had increased by more than 30%. Put simply; they could hold and process 30% more information than the average person.
The study proved that meditating increases the working memory capacity. With a larger working memory, you can take on more sophisticated tasks and handle them efficiently.
4. Improves Cognitive Thinking
As you age, your cognitive functioning deteriorates gradually. The resulting deficit weakens your ability to reason, remember and process information. All these are factors that can make you less productive at work and in other areas of your life. Good news is, practising meditation and mindfulness can help with that.
To examine the impact of meditation on cognitive function, researchers from the University of California at Santa Barbara conducted a study. They asked 48 undergraduate students to attend one of two classes: a nutrition class or a mindfulness class. The result? Those who attended the mindfulness class saw marked improvements in their exams afterwards, while the nutrition group saw no statistically significant improvements.
One factor that can explain this outcome is that meditation improves the balance of the left and right sides of the brain. Synchronizing both brain hemispheres allows for greater processing power and neural communication.
5. Reduces Stress
Stress is something that people experience on a daily basis, and more so at work. According to the American Institute of Stress, work-induced stress is the most common form of stress. Based on a recent survey they did, at least 80% of Americans experienced stress at work, hampering productivity and leading to mistakes.
Thankfully, having a meditation practice as part of your routine can lower stress and make you more productive. It goes beyond just stress reduction, however. According to the Journal of Behavioral Medicine, meditation has been shown to reduce the symptoms of social anxiety, paranoid thoughts, obsessive-compulsive behaviors and panic attacks.
How 8 Minutes of Meditation Daily Has Changed My Life
My personal journey with meditation has been nothing short of life changing. What if I told you there was a productivity hack that only required 8 minutes of your day, and as a consequence, will double your attention span, mental stamina, and ability to function under stress? What if I told you, thanks to just 8 minutes a day, a once self diagnosed ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) sufferer now frequently loses track of time as he ticks off one item after the next on his daily to-do lists? Yes, that’s what meditation has done for me, and I believe it can do that for anyone.
The meditation routine I follow is based on the best selling book “8 Minute Meditation” by Victor Davich. As a meditation guru, Victor sought out to devise a meditation program that fits in with the ultra busy lifestyles of Westerners while still delivering the main benefits the practice at its fullest provides.
Here is the gist of the “8 minute meditation” that I practice every day right before I go to bed:
- Set a timer for 8 minutes.
- Find a comfortable sitting pose. This could be in a cozy meditation chair or sitting with your legs crossed on a yoga mat
- Close your eyes slowly as if you were planning to sleep. Avoid squeezing them or shutting them involuntarily.
- Next, start taking slow, deep breaths.
- With every inhale, envision that you are breathing in light. Follow the light as it enters your body.
- With every exhale, imagine breathing out all the tension and negativity that you have been harbouring. Relax every muscle from those on your face, chest, back, legs all the way to the tips of your toes.
- As you breathe in and out, your mind will most likely start to wonder. Do not get upset. Just slowly bring your awareness back to your breathing. Imagine catching a fish and just letting it go.
- Continue this until the timer goes off. Then, slowly open your eyes again..
A big part of the magic happens in meditation when you do it consistently. For me, with every day of practice, my ability to stay focused on my breathing and stay present increased during those critical 8 minutes. And as my ability to do those seemingly simple things improved, that’s when I started to notice all the tangible benefits of meditation I mentioned earlier.
Meditation is not a new concept. And it doesn’t require you to invest anything that you don’t already have. This is one of the greatest benefits of meditating; it doesn’t require any special equipment or registration for training. Essentially, you have nothing to lose but so much to gain. To me, meditation dare i say is the greatest productivity hack of all time.
6 Surefire Ways to Motivate Marketers in 2019
If your company did well in 2018, you must be sitting there challenged with a thought inside your head – How can I continue the streak and keep up my marketing game this year? You have knocked yourself enough to meet your 2018 goals, and all you need now is a boost of morale to face all that 2019 has in store for you.
The first two months of the year can be really sluggish when it comes to sales success thus adding on to the reason why marketers fail to show enthusiasm in their endeavors. Staying motivated is easier said than done. So how can you actually push yourself to give your best marketing efforts?
To keep the force alive, here are six proven ways that help you keep the focus on the path that you are in:
1. Create a calendar to see what lies ahead
It is only reasonable that marketers are going to feel anticipation and anxious at the thought of the hurdles that they might have to face in 2019. Therefore, the first step to motivation is to create a marketing schedule that can spread out all the trends that they can expect in 2019 evenly throughout the year. Once they have an understanding of the trends of the year, they can immediately start working on their strategies to make the most of the New Year.
The list can help you get excited about what’s coming down the road. They can start to think about the kind of technology and processes that can help them succeed this year. They can also evaluate what went wrong in the last year, learn from the mistakes and come up with a foolproof plan. The calendar can state out the Do’s and Don’ts for the year.
2. Freedom in experimentation and implementation
Marketing is all about experimenting and no one really knows what will work and what won’t. And the only way to hit the right note is to implement as much as possible. Marketers need the freedom to experiment their way through different types of campaigns. It is through the ability to experiment, that they are likely to find success. Trying out new tactics can keep things interesting.
Marketing is all about creativity and innovation. Every marketer is a creative communicator at heart and therefore having the freedom to try out things according to their taste can keep their chin up. This way even if they fail once, they will have the enthusiasm to pick themselves up and make another attempt.
“Always trying new things is always more fun, and it can be scary, but it’s always more fun in the end.” – John Krasinski
3. Measure success and improvement
Unless you get an idea of how your tactic is working, you will not make the necessary changes. When a marketer sees that one of his/her designed campaigns is yielding the desired results, he or she will get a reason to work harder. Marketers will give their best only when they get constant iteration.
Tracking the progress and being able to understand the overall impact on business success will help them utilize their passion. This way, they can create a business strategy that has great market potential. Moreover, measuring data to track progress will help them understand how close they are to their goals.
4. Focus on the previous clients
Right at the start of the year, your business is bound to be slow, and it can take a month or two for things to fall in place. Instead of trying to bring in new clients, target your existing customers to build a stronger relationship with them.
Marketers can even try and push new products to the existing clientele and reconnect with the ones who have been inactive for a while. This will help them understand the customer’s psyche and increase the rate of customer satisfaction.
5. Freedom to choose the work environment
Right after the yuletide, it is normal to miss the holiday season and work in the sluggish winter months. The sheer task of getting yourself up from bed in the frosty morning and dragging yourself to the office can be quite challenging.
When marketers enjoy the freedom to work from home, they feel more comfortable which in turn increases their efficiency. With the prerogative to choose their shift timings and work whenever and wherever, they are at their productive best. Providing them with the freedom to choose their work environment can bring about significant improvement in their performance.
“We like to give people the freedom to work where they want, safe in the knowledge that they have the drive and expertise to perform excellently, whether they [are] at their desk or in their kitchen. Yours truly has never worked out of an office, and never will.” - Richard Branson
6. Take a pause
Marketing comes with its share of rejection and failure, so you must have the attitude to accept it. Even when your marketing assumption goes wrong, you must see the bigger picture. Even through failure, you can learn something that may get you closer to the goal. Since marketing keeps on evolving, you get to explore and learn new channels and tools.
Don’t be too hard on yourself when you fail. Take a break to determine what you want to do, and realize that everything you do cannot go right all the time. What is most important is that you remember to enjoy the things that you do.
It is imperative to keep marketers motivated because it is their productivity that can drive a company to the zenith of success. A motivated marketer can work harder and be more creative with their ideas. In the end, remember that as a marketer you must be true to what you do and work ethically! Have the patience to see your dreams come out in tangible results.
Follow This 2-Step Process to Stay Motivated When You Feel Like Nothing Is Going Right
The dialogue in your mind is the battleground where your motivation lives and dies every day. In every moment, your words are either lifting you or sabotaging your success. Unfortunately, most people are losing this battle within themselves. They are using their most powerful asset — their mental energy — to beat themselves up, play victimization games, or stop themselves from sharing their passion.
The amount of time and energy that is wasted on self-doubt and self-sabotage is way higher than the amount of time and energy it takes to take action and share your gifts with the world, and yet still we continue to talk ourselves out of it.
You can see when a person is full of self-doubt. It shows across the contortion of their eyebrows, pursed together in a pool of worry. It screams of insecurity in the way they slump their shoulders forward, covering their heart from possible pain whenever they are asked to speak about their ideas.
Self-doubt haunts even the smartest, most conscious and most awake business individuals and thought leaders on the planet. Unless you know how to free yourself from the prison inside your mind, you will never fulfill the deepest desires of your soul or make the impact you want to create on the planet.
There are a lot of books and seminars on motivation. While you’re reading them or attending them, you’re filled with the state of euphoria which takes you out of your patterns of self-doubt and insecurity. In this state, you feel no fear or worry. However, what happens when the book is done and the seminar is over? You go right back into your old patterns of self-defeating self-talk.
If you’re looking for others to lift you up when you aren’t motivated, then you’re on an endless loop. According to an article I read in Psychology Today, “when you can make yourself whole, you stop looking to others to validate your self-esteem.” Making yourself whole and being kind to yourself with the words and images you play in your mind is a worthy endeavor. You will find that your motivation skyrockets.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” – Steve Jobs
When you catch yourself beating yourself up or playing out a nightmare over and over in your mind, follow this simple 2-step process to talk to yourself back into a state of positive motivation:
Step 1. The Mystery Behind Forgiveness
When you catch yourself in this self-sabotaging loop, don’t beat yourself up even more. Many people are trapped in this net. They try to force themselves to stop thinking the self-defeating thoughts, which only makes the fear and anxiety more powerful. It’s essential to stop and be kind to yourself about where you are in your relationship with yourself.
Forgiveness is one of the most powerful forces known to humankind. It’s up there along with words like love and faith regarding how the power of forgiveness can transform even the darkest thoughts into a portal of light.
The practice of forgiving yourself can be as simple or as complex as you need to make it. The key is that you honor the ritual of forgiveness as a sacred practice whenever your self-doubt or insecurity comes up.
You may find there is some part of you that does not want to receive forgiveness. Perhaps you have a past traumatic experience of putting yourself out there only to not get the reaction you wanted, or maybe you spent your entire life struggling without getting results.
The frustration described above is an even greater opportunity for self-healing. As the philosopher and poet Rumi says, “The wound is the place where the light enters you.” See this wounded part of yourself as an aspect of your personality, your heart, your psyche, or your body that is calling out to be seen and recognized at this moment.
Go deeper into the practice of forgiveness. Write on a piece of paper what emotion is coming up for you — fear, worry, judgment, loneliness — whatever you’re feeling. Then say out loud, “Even though I am feeling [insert name of emotion here], I still choose to share my authentic gifts with the world.”
Releasing these emotions will give more power to the intention of your honest self-expression — to reach more people, share your products and services at the highest level of your talents with the people whom you are meant to serve.
Step 2. Reframing Can Make You Invincible
Your self-talk has the most significant impact on your motivation (or lack of motivation) than even the smartest psychological tactics or most cutting-edge self-help rituals. It’s imperative that you get your inner world handled so you can make the impact you want to make with your life.
According to another article in Psychology Today, how you talk to yourself can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, so it is imperative you become aware of this right now to prevent the disastrous effects on your motivation.
In the field of NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) there is a tool called “reframing” where you put an idea in another frame just like you were to reframe a photo or a painting. When you can see your words in another frame, it changes the meaning you have about the image in the frame. Play this reframing game with yourself. Once you have forgiven yourself, it’s time to replace the negative self-talk with something that is positive and uplifting. You can play a game where you say, “If I were me, what would I say to motivate myself?”
Now, of course, this is an absurd question. You are yourself. The way the question is phrased is akin to Zen Buddhism riddles which play a game on the mind to twist it until it releases, bringing freedom and space inside the brain. When you can turn your mind into another state, you will find there is freedom to see things in a whole new way.
“Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going.” – Sam Levenson
Imagine you are giving yourself advice on being motivated. Haven’t you noticed how easy it is to always advise other people on what to think, say and do when it comes to their motivation?
Well, that’s what you’re doing here with this simple mind game. Give yourself advice as though you are the one receiving your words of motivational wisdom. What would you say to yourself at this moment? When you can reframe your perspective of who is talking and who is receiving, you will find that your words of negative self-talk no longer have power over you.
By practicing this 2-step cycle of forgiveness and reframing, you will see that you can stop damaging self-talk from destroying your ability to implement. Your desires to move forward in your life and career start by sharing your gifts and talents with the world.
All great leaders have discovered that it’s not the elimination of self-doubt, but the courage to act regardless of what self-limiting thoughts are present. The action is what accomplishes your goals.
With this 2-step cycle, you will find you have more motivation to move forward with your intention because you’re no longer using all your mental energy on self-doubt, self-defeat, and self-sabotage. When your mind is free of this negative self-talk, you will discover the unlimited power inside of you to achieve all your dreams and desires in life.
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