The Power of Mindfulness at Work


Picture a dog track.  Just humor me for a moment and imagine that you’re there.  The smell of stale beer, the wonder of that hot dog that’s been sitting and rhythmically turning in the rotating heater for god only knows how long.

Focus now on the track itself.  You’ve picked your dog, which you’re sure is a winner because you used your tried and true method of eenie meenie minie mo.  You’re ready to cash in big!

You watch the dogs carefully as the handlers parade them around the track.  Then they load them into their starting cages.  3….2….1 and they’re off!!!!!

Focus on the dogs now.  They’re chasing what appears to be a small mechanical rabbit around a track.  Now, think about this.  Does the dog ever actually get the rabbit, even after they cross the finish line?

You’re thinking, “Well, of course the dog never gets the rabbit, Shelley.  That’s why they run.”

And you’re absolutely right.  They run and they run and they run and they run.  Then they wake up the next day, and they do it all over again.  Day after day.  And they never get the rabbit.

And this is precisely how most of us live our lives.

We’re always running after the next big thing, whatever that may be.  A new job.  A better house.   The next big deal.

And if we actually manage to get the new job, the better house, the next big deal, the happiness is fleeting because now we’re fixated on a new want or a new worry.

And so the cycle continues, on and on and on.


Because this is the dog race your leaders and your staff are running.  And it’s as exhausting as it is unconscious.   

Mindfulness shines light on this unconscious cycle and interrupts it.

Let me be clear.  Mindfulness isn’t about reducing drive or ambition.  Quite the contrary.  When we practice mindfulness consistently, it actually helps us achieve our goals.

It’s about putting our attention where it really matters – on the present moment.  Not the past where we relive our glory days or lack thereof.  Not the future like the dogs chasing the dream of the rabbit they’ll never catch or the busy executive thinking more about the next email to send instead of the current conversation taking place.

The bottom line is mindful people are happier. 

  • They’re engaged at work.
  • They manage stress more effectively.
  • They’re focused and deliberate.
  • They make better decisions.
  • They tap into creativity more easily.
  • They lead more fulfilling lives.

And that’s why mindfulness in the workplace is making waves these days in so many mainstream business resources:

Check out the strong link between mindfulness training, employee engagement, decision-making, and behavioral risk in this recent study conducted by the Institute for Mindful Leadership.

Still curious how mindfulness can add value for you and your organization?  

Download my Demystifying Mindfulness presentation below from the Talent Management Alliance conference where I talk about the power of mindfulness in the workplace.