Working experientially with horses you are on the fast track to mindfulness without even knowing it.
Standing in the field, with his hands resting softly against the horse’s neck, I saw the shoulders of the man relax down from where they had been hunched. At last, the horse had allowed him to approach. It had taken around an hour for this to happen.
Initially the mare had kept away because horses need to feel safe around people. They seek calm, consistent energy and tend to avoid anyone who is tense or stressed. Working with these magnificent creatures you are on the fast lane to mindfulness without even knowing it, with the fresh air, peaceful countryside and the impressive, grounding presence of your equine coach.
From the primary school classroom to the upper echelons of senior management the popularity of mindfulness continues to grow as an intervention to improve mental health, well-being and effectiveness. Many organisations are incorporating mindfulness or meditation into their corporate training offerings in order to reduce sick absence, improve engagement and productivity and help people to cope with the increasing demands of their job.
Mindful leadership starts with the individual discovering how to find stillness for herself or himself, when it is required. Being present in the moment like this is so powerful because it begins to connect us primarily with ourselves. Resilience, productivity and improved focus are useful bi-products of mindfulness, without a doubt. However the most transformational aspect is this clarity of SELF from which flows a renewed sense of core values and heartfelt purpose. And these are the things which bring real inspiration to leadership and which will flow effortlessly through a team or organisation.
The mindful leader also cultivates the ability to simply notice: their own needs and emotions and those of others. When this awareness is fully harnessed robust emotional management follows, enabling responsive instead of reactive behaviour. Thus a constructive, compassionate culture can emerge, building trust and respect in equal measure.
Far from simply being an antidote for surviving stress and improving performance, when absorbed into the leadership ethos of an organisation, becoming mindful can identify and tackle the root causes of systemic anxt and burnout which might exist, promoting relationship and becoming a catalyst for change in itself.
Join us at Equest for our Open Day on Friday September 29th 2017 to find out about our approach to developing Mindful Leadership. Venue: Suddene Park, Burbage, Wiltshire.
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