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Melanie Harth, Ph.D., LMHC

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Jeff Bezos Gets Mindful: 10 Timely Tips

Posted: 08/14/2013 4:58 pm

1. "There is no map, and charting a path ahead will not be easy." Developing a practice of mindful awareness -- learning how to pay attention -- is a way to begin drawing your map. Charting a path. What do you want as a result of your business? What do they, your customers, need? How will you find each other? When is it best to do what? Get quiet. Be still. Cultivate awareness.

2. "[Cultivate] the courage to say wait, be sure, slow down, get another source." It takes courage to say wait. Slow down. Get more information. Perhaps even (gasp) ask for help. Begin to unhook from cultural expectations of how to do it (whatever it is), and instead, cultivate the elegant discipline of getting at the deeper truths. Take your business, and your life, into your own hands with a mindfulness practice.

3. "The drive to get the customer to say "Wow" ... keeps the pace of innovation fast." Mindful awareness is not (always) about moving at the pace of a tortoise. Rather, it's about being able to discern right timing. Time to hang out? Or to begin moving forward. Perhaps even pushing the warp-speed button. It's about being in touch with your own inner GPS. You start flying by your rules, not theirs (whoever they are).

4. "[Have the] courage to say follow the story, no matter the cost." Mindfulness can help strengthen your courage muscles. When the rightness of a decision is solid and true, in alignment with your values, it's much easier to hold on when the oft-times inevitable winds of disagreement begin howling.

5. "We'll continue to follow the truth wherever it leads, and we'll work hard not to make mistakes." So often, those howling winds of disagreement are internal. Mindfulness helps you hear more of your truth, making it easier to move forward toward your goals. The ones you've set for yourself because you've taken the time to articulate them. And mindful awareness helps us be just a little bit more... human when we make a mistake.

6. "When we [make mistakes], we will own up to them quickly and completely." Mindfulness teaches a sort-of radical honesty and authenticity and transparency. Placing our choices squarely in our own hands. Tara Brach, Ph.D., has crafted a beautiful book and mediation CD, Radical Acceptance, which I recommend to all my clients. The idea of owning ourselves, warts and all, is that good.

7. "... our energy at Amazon comes from the desire to impress customers rather than the zeal to best competitors." You run a values-based business and live a values-based life as you are able to a) articulate those values, b) make choices from that foundation, c) cultivate patience when it's called for, d) move when it's time to move. Mindful awareness allows you to achieve goals with your eyes open. Gosh, doesn't that seem an easier way to do business, to live a life, than blindly flailing through the days and weeks?

8. "Amazonians are leaning into the future." It takes mindful courage to lean toward our future, rather than hang back in the comfort of what already is. It may be as simple, and unformed, as hearing and responding to the whispered knowing that you've just gotta do this. That's enough. Mindfulness, that deep settling into ourselves and what is true underneath all the cultural noise, can show us when and where to lean.

9. "As a company, we are culturally pioneers, and we like to disrupt even our own business." Disruption -- change, transformation, innovation -- is an essential component in business, as in life. How to know when it's forward movement, or simply unfocused, undisciplined, mind-less, knee-jerk flailing? Cultivate an attitude of mindful awareness, and be way ahead in this game. Need to move? Grow? Change? Right on. Time to innovate? Cool. Mindful discernment can help you rule your world.

10. "There are always shiny things. A company shouldn't get addicted to being shiny, because shiny doesn't last. You really want something that's much deeper-keeled. You want your customers to value your service." Mindless pursuit of shiny things can bring on a tsunami of self-sabotage. Mindful awareness, on the other hand, helps us cultivate the ability to observe our desires, and allow them to pass on by without compulsively reaching for this and that and the other thing, the one right over there.

Mindfulness is such a powerful foundation upon which to craft a business plan, complete a creative project, live one's life.

As one of the great teachers of all time, Dr. Seuss, says, "You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go... " (from Oh, The Places You'll Go!).

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