What the hell is wrong with you, Shannon?

This was the question that repeated itself, over and over again, for the last 3 weeks or so. It would wake me at night. It would keep my brain racing on my nature walks. It would send me into an emotional frenzy and downward spiral—when just moments earlier, everything seemed fine. (Thought Leadership in action!)

After asking lots of questions around that question, and clearing lots of beliefs and limiting thoughts, AND hiking into a coffee field and chanting from a rock until the energy cleared {true story}, I came to few conclusions:

Nothing is wrong with me {can I get a “hell yeah” for that?}; however, I am going through such a tremendous inner growth spurt that is affecting lots of things: my sleep, my relationship with my sexy husband, the new body of work I am ready to birth to the world, and most scary of all? How I view myself.

And…I believe I am in the right place at the right time.

I picked up a book that may very well have precipitated a whole bunch of inner turmoil, clarity, and growth, so I wanted to share that book with you today.

It has caused me to look deep, deep within my soul and how I work and what I believe. It has caused me to journal pages and pages of thoughts, and it has caused me to make big changes in how I am showing up, both publicly and privately, to lead my team and my company.

Mindful Work and Thought Leadership

Mindful Work, by David Gelles, is a game changer for anyone who wants to do work differently, calmly, and examine themselves on a new level. It is about meditation and mindfulness and how when both are present in a business, everything will change from the inside out.

Today, I’m going to share the top four takeaways from this book, and how I am specifically applying it to my Thought Leader brand.

But first, let’s make sure we have a definition of mindfulness that we both understand.

Mindfulness is about being fully present in each and every moment. Essentially, it requires no multi-tasking, lots of stillness, and lots of non-doing. {Do you know how hard it is for me to be still and practice non-doing? oy!}

Top 4 Takeaways From Mindful Work

1 – The more I practice mindfulness, the more I realize that what I am actually doing is cultivating self-awareness. One day I ate an apple—in a new, mindful way. I took it out of the fridge, admired its color and shape, cut it, watched the juice run down my fingers, and savored every piece. I let the apple roll around on my taste buds. For the first time in my life, I TASTED that apple. I wasn’t doing three things at once. Instead, I ate and tasted and enjoyed the apple. This is the beginning of self-awareness. How many moments in our lives do we fail to notice, because we are pre-occupied? How many opportunities for our businesses are right in front of us, but we don’t see them, because we have a pre-determined plan or we think something has to look a certain way?

2 – I’m learning to separate myself from my company. When I made a decision to take this company to a $3 million dollar company in the next three years, major shifts happened—and more are coming. But the biggest thing I was taught by new mentor? You are not your brand. You are the CEO of a brand. You exist outside of the company. In Mindful Work, you learn to work when it’s time to work, and not work when it’s time to not work. When I was operating from “I am my brand.” I was always feeling the need to check-in on things. This is not the case (if you have the right team in place). What this looks like now is 3 days a week of working—and when the team needs something, they go ask my OBM, not me. Everything is getting done, and I’m not the one responsible for it any more. How would your business change—and grow—if you were NOT the business, and instead allowed the business to exist without your presence?

3- I am cultivating a deeper compassion for others. This has always been a value of mine, but that doesn’t mean I am always successful at it. When I actually take the time to slow down and do one thing at a time, I begin paying more attention to someone other than myself. {gasp! imagine that!} Being more mindful, and more compassionate, starts with a daily practice for yourself, but ripples out to those around your, and eventually the greater world. I found myself sending love and good thoughts to people I don’t like or know. I realized that when I am present, I am not dwelling on the past or planning the future, and compassion has lots of room for growth, and, in turn, I have lots more room for nurturing and loving others. What would be possible if we had more compassion for every single being that interacted with our business, from the ones who land on our website and then bounce off in 10 seconds, to the ones who purchase from us, to the ones who are pains-in-the-butts and cause drama in the background? {Keeping it real here: it happens as you step into a Thought Leader role and become more vocal about your purpose, vision, and mission in the world.}

4 – I am stepping into mindful leadership. God, this is hard, I’m not gonna lie. We’ve been taught that leadership looks a certain way (many forms, based on how you were raised), and I don’t know about you, but mindful leadership is a difficult concept to embrace and implement. But I’m learning, I’m screwing up, and I’m finding my center again each time I get lost. Mindful leadership offers a set of tools that allows us to stay highly effective on the job, without compromising our integrity. When you are mindful, you’re aware of your presence and the ways you impact other people. You’re able to both observe and participate in each moment, while recognizing the implications of our actions for the longer term. {For me, observing and participating in each moment, is the hard part. Those are two very different skills!} As I grow a team and lead it to the vision I hold as CEO, I’m learning that I need five main qualities: focus, clarity, creativity, compassion, and courage. By becoming more accepting, less distracted, and increasing my goodness toward all people, I can more effectively manage my time and expectations, while working toward beneficial outcomes for myself and others. What would be possible for your company if you took on the role of a mindful leader?

As you are called to show up bigger in the world, lead a team, voice your opinion, and develop your own thought leadership around the change you want to see take place, or the conversations you want to change, how will you choose to do it? For me, that choice is simple: I am choosing mindful work and leadership, compassion for all, and full presence. If this speaks to you, I recommend you read the book, Mindful Work. Remember, thought leadership starts from within.

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Whenever you’re ready, here are three ways we can help you develop and market your Thought Leader brand:

1 – Join the Content Strategy Academy. This is self-study, year-long program with a laser-focused, rich curriculum to help you understand how to get your message, marketing, and content branding front and center as a Thought Leader. The most kickass part of this program? The global community that comes together every month for live trainings and Q&A calls. Check it out!

2 – Participate in an upcoming Intensive. If you’d like to work with me on your Thought Leader messaging, marketing strategy, and platform, click here to schedule a call.

3 – Work privately with me. If you’d like to work directly with me to develop your Thought Leader brand, click here to schedule a call.

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