After a few days of rain, the sun was out, beaming through high-rise buildings and offices. Every now and then a breeze brushed through the treetops. A few leaves would separate, spin and tumble down unhurriedly. The stronger winds were more unsettling, forcefully shaking the small branches, throwing them into frenzy. In protest they made much noise, stroking and clattering their leaves and branches loudly, their whining continued to be heard from some distance away.
We humans are not unlike trees. Outer events and happenings can disturb us too, both mentally and emotionally. Have you noticed how some thoughts intrude and fixate your attention for hours, or spin on endlessly in spite of your best intention to entertain them no more? For instance, a friend, a colleague or a customer’s praise or positive comment makes us feel good, but their criticism leaves us hurt and irritated for days. No wonder by end of the day we feel depleted and exhausted. As long as outside events and stimuli out there determine and influence our thoughts and emotions, like a seesaw up and down we go. And depending on their hold on us, we may prove incapable of finding the off switch.
What is more, the emotions are contagious. Your mood will influence the people around you for better or worse. This is particularly important for those managing and leading teams, as team members get their emotional cues from the ones in the position of authority.
By now the wind had picked up. Looking closely, while leaves and branches were shaken and stirred in the wind, the tree-trunk remained unmovable and grounded. We can similarly learn to be more grounded and undisturbed in the face of what happens around us, if we care to not inhabit our heads or be identified with its thoughts. By directing and maintaining part of our attentiveness with our breath or physical posture, we see that our mind and body work and influence each other. We discover that when we inhabit our bodies, the flow of thoughts, fantasies, imaginations, and worries do not affect us as much. Even more, we learn to work with our mind and not be influenced by each passing event. We can then participate in our daily tasks and work from this calmer, more centered but yet more awake, alert, intelligent and energized state.
Just when the surface of the lake can be disturbed by the blowing wind or throw of a pebble, below the surface the lake remains calm and undisturbed.
Kamran is an International Coach Federation (ICF) accredited experienced Professional Certified Coach (PCC). He focuses on executive coaching and leadership development coaching assignments. He leads a highly engaging and practical Workshop Series on EQ & Self-Reflective Practices for professionals in Dubai, UAE with a focus on Leadership Presence.