Here at Sklar Wilton & Associates we’re thinking a little differently about employee engagement. We call our approach “Spirit of 32” and this blog series will chronicle our journey. We’ll share what we’re learning along with resources you can leverage. We’ll be your test bed so if you have ideas, please let us know.

By Amber Hudson

[Click here for Part 2, and read about our first attempt at meditation]

After laying the foundation for what mindfulness is and surviving our first company-wide meditation we started to explore a very common theme in mindfulness:  Presence.

Hersh, our guide through the world of mindfulness, explained to us what being present really means.  I love this line in particular:  Life is entirely made up of present moments. When we are mentally wandering in the past or the future, we are not present to experience our life in all its richness.  Being present in the moment does not require us to change the way we live our life or the things we do. It is simply a shift of awareness, a conscious decision to be present in this very moment.

In short, just because you showed up doesn’t mean you’re present.  You have to work at it.

In today’s time crunched and distraction-heavy world being present when talking to someone is increasingly important.  It seems so simple, but it’s actually quite hard.  How many times have you been speaking with a colleague / spouse / your kids and your mind flits over to what to make for dinner.  Or that red light on your phone taunts you for just one more check of your email…and you give in.  All the time, right?!  And before you know it the other person is asking “what do you think” and…busted!  But we learned with mindfulness practice you can train your attention on the person you’re speaking to and have a much richer experience (and a much better answer to their question).

Our challenge (and now yours) was to pick three people in our life and be present for each of them for a minimum of five minutes. Try it, it’s quite eye opening (and hard)!

In this second session we also attempted another 10 minute meditation.  We once again focused on the breath with full attention on each inhale and full attention on each exhale.  And when thoughts / distractions popped up it was suggested that we acknowledge them and then put them aside.  We spent some time discussing how on earth one does this and came up with some cool ideas:  you can put them on a cloud and watch them float away, or put them in a box labeled with the type of thought it is.

And with that we officially sound bonkers.

But it works!  We made it to the full 10 minutes.  Still lots of rustling around the room though.

Our next stage in the journey:  learning about Judgement and Effective Emails.

For more information on the Potential Project: