In order to become a coach, you are coached in the process. Hence, my introduction to the practice of breathing. I never knew breathing practice was a “thing,“ but between my learning through coaching certification, my adoption of a sitting practice and a recent read, Breath by James Nestor, I am a convert.
It started when my coaching partner suggested I adopt a 5-minute daily sitting practice to which I said in all seriousness, “I couldn’t possibly commit to that. I simply don’t have the time.” She then countered with the suggestion that I take 10 mindful breaths per day, which of course in my then-reality, was simply not possible. We landed with me agreeing to (and doing!) 3 mindful breaths per day because that’s all I could ‘realistically’ fit-in. I was busy, after all, crazy busy.
Fast forward to the present…. I (nor anybody who knew me) would not have imagined 8 years ago that I would be such a strong advocate of introducing mindful presence to the workplace. And, that is in fact where I find myself today, as I focus on People Matter – encouraging every person to bring and be their best self at work.
At Genentech/Roche, Moment To Arrive is being introduced to teams (I also use during my 1:1s), to allow us, literally, a couple of minutes to center our attention and become present through breath and stillness. SAP and Google have been implementing this exercise in many of their meetings, with great success.
Often when we arrive to meetings or conversations, our bodies are in one place, but our minds are somewhere else. We’re thinking about what happened in the past, or worrying about what’s going to happen in the future. I describe it as my “commute from one (Zoom) meeting to another,” clearing headspace for the next topic for discussion.
View this script that you can use as a model for guiding this exercise. As is the case with me, I will often go off-script based on the events of the day, audience, meeting timing and topic... While it may be easier if you have meditated before, this is not a requirement for leading this exercise.
Question: Have you arrived? If not, what is your ETA? Why not give it a try this week?
Nancy is a Senior Development Excellence Leader at Genentech, driving the implementation of cross-functional, global initiatives with an emphasis on culture and people practices. Currently, she is focused on People Matter, where every person has the opportunity to bring and be their best self at work.