Many professionals show up to our peer coaching groups wishing their minds were more alert and less distracted. People think that there is an ideal mind and that their mind is not living up to the standard.
The truth is that everybody’s mind works differently. To support somebody to access the full potential of their mind, we need to let go of our ideas about how they should be. Instead, be curious about what is happening for this individual, what might high-level function for their mind look like?
In this blog, we will learn how to empower clear seeing by:
- recognizing four qualities of mind and how to develop them
- exploring practices that you can do to see with a clear mind
Four Qualities of Mind
Think about yourself, or someone you’d like to support and feel into, “What is possible for this mind? What is the highest potential for this mind?” Consider which of these four qualities of mind is the strongest and which might be their weakest.
- An aware mind
- A powerful mind
- A heartful mind
- A visionary mind
An aware mind
The strength here is seeing from different perspectives, to read people and situations and see around corners. The aware mind notices what is not obvious and finds out about what we might be missing. For this quality of mind, what some people think of as distracted is actually beneficial. You deliberately look from a different perspective. You look at yourself through different eyes, you look at what the world looks like from different sides. You’re willing to look at your own shadows, your own quirks and mistakes.
A powerful mind
The strength here is focus. The powerful mind sees what needs to be done. Prioritizes the next most urgent step. Makes simple what we’re talking about, so everyone gets what is in focus. We see what the goals are, what resistance is present, and how to get where we want to go.
A compassionate mind
The strength here is emotional connection. The compassionate mind perceives what you and others are feeling at a deep level. It empathizes with pain, sadness or loss in a way that makes a person feel deeply received. Emotional perceptiveness also informs you of the impact you’re having on others and, by speaking needs and receiving support, allows people to feel closely connected to you.
A visionary mind
The strength here is creating the future. The visionary mind engages what it looks and feels like for a compelling, positive opportunity to be fulfilled. Views the present from the future, which invites and attracts others to follow and help. The visionary mind sees people’s gifts and draws forth their contribution. Celebrates and appreciates what good looks like.
Your Growing Edge
Which of these qualities of mind are you strongest in and which do you find most challenging?
Here are three practices you can experiment with to grow your experience of seeing with a clear mind.
We normally suggest releasing pent up emotions before trying to quiet the mind. Begin this practice with a vigorous activity to release the agitation that might be distracting the mind. Then you get the benefit of the deeper quiet.
In your own space, just shake it out. Stand up and walk around for 2 minutes and shake it off. Take some deep breaths, big sighs, jump up and down a bit, swing your arms.
Then sit quietly for 5 minutes.
Afterwards, notice the quality of your mind.
Next time you are aware that you feel distracted, find the root of the distraction. Notice what is taking your mind away from stillness and write about it.
A helpful question to consider here is “What am I protecting?”.
We encourage people go deeper than just stream of consciousness. Start with a question and pursue a train of thought to uncover ingenious solutions.
For example, your question might be about resolving a difficult choice. Write the question. Then you might write out the choices you have considered so far. Are there any other options? Perhaps list what you need to know to make the best choice. Actions that will help you get clearer. By when are you going to choose? Who can support you?
Enjoy your mind as it is
It is most important to enjoy your mind as it is. Even in meditation. We’re not trying to escape to an alternative state. We’re trying to be with what arises exactly as it is. The only distraction is giving up because you wish you had a different mind. Everything else can be used, as it is.
You can learn more about these directions and other practices that are helpful for them here.
David Lesser is an executive coach and confidant to senior leaders in a variety of fields and is an active player on the board of directors of major growing businesses and non-profit institutions. He has an MBA from London Business School. Formerly CEO of a $100 million London-based real estate and construction group and executive director of a $40 million worldwide not-for-profit operation, he combines a strong management pedigree with perceptive facilitation skills and clear insight in working with people.