Using Mindfulness to Overcome Potential Blind Spots

Why is this important?

The brain is hard-wired to make quick decisions that draw on assumptions and experiences that influences how we evaluate & interact with people. These potential blind spots can undermine the best of intentions – especially when it comes to diversity and inclusiveness.

Mindfulness is a skill that can improve your ability to be present and aware without judgment – instead of operating on autopilot.

What does it look like?

  • Mindfulness is a skill that can be developed by practicing techniques that train our brain to pause, recognize thought patterns without judging them and create the in-the-moment awareness we need to be more intentional in our actions and less influenced by automatic assumptions in our behavior.
  • To begin training your brain, explore a few techniques you can try with resources noted for further exploration.
    • Mindful Breathing
    • Mindful Intention
    • Mindful Walking or Stretching
    • Mindful Meetings

Mindful Breathing

  • First notice your breathing. Is it shallow or deep? Are you holding your breath or hunching your shoulders? 
    • Exhale completely through your mouth.
    • Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
    • Hold your breath for a count of even.
    • Exhale completely through your mouth for a count of eight.
    • This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths. 
  • Briefly introduce the areas of responsibility and why you are delegating to this Person
  • Discuss and agree on the responsibility
  • Discuss and agree on the level of autonomy for each element
  • Discuss and agree on the support needed for each element.

Continue to focus on your breathing. If your mind wanders, gently come back to the breath – without judging yourself for momentarily losing focus?

Mindful Intention

Intentions are thoughts directed toward a desired outcome. It’s the realization that our consciousness has the ability to create our reality.

Choosing an intention each morning or at the start of a meeting can help you stay focused and centered. If you get off track, come back to your intention to help you be present in the moment.

Mindful Walking or Stretching

Intentionally focus and be aware of your breath with each step or stretch. Mindful exercise will increase blood flow, bring oxygen and nutrients to muscles, increase your ability to focus and boost your energy.

You can practice mindful walking anywhere, even in a crowded city or between business meetings.

Mindful Meetings

Leading meetings in a mindful way can help you check your potential blind spots and maximize engagement:

  • Encourage team members to reflect on where their attention is currently and prompt them to be present in the moment
  • Clearly state your intentions for the meeting beyond agenda items (i.e. chance for people to connect) 
  • Meetings can have multiple parts – distinguish for participants which part they are in
  • As you wrap-up, make the time to be intentionally clear about agreements and next steps