Leadership posts

Search Inside Yourself

Posted by Laurie J Cameron

Search inside yourself. That is what we asked 80 Googlers to do when they carved out two days from their intense work life to attend the acclaimed Search Inside Yourself program in Zurich. In a high-performance culture like Google, minds were open to discover the "secret sauce" to increasing effectiveness, focus and well-being. I co-taught the Search Inside Yourself (SIY) program with a British SIY colleague to a highly engaged group who traveled  from all parts of Europe for the program with a long internal wait list.

Both personal and professional effectiveness begin with the same thing: self-awareness. The degree to which we know our own strengths, triggers, emotional reactive patterns, habits and tendencies is directly related to our ability to cultivate self-mastery. Self-mastery is our ability to recognize our emotions and intuitive assessments at their earliest onset, to identify what is happening, to create inner calm and clarity, and to have the space to choose our response.

Self-awareness can be trained, developed and deepened over time. The founder of Search Inside Yourself, Chade Meng Tan, had the epiphany to use mindfulness to train self-awareness, and to share the latest neuroscience that reveals what wisdom traditions have long known - we can change the structure and function of our brains through mental training.   In the crisp cold air of Zurich, we shared the insights, practices and strategies for getting beneath the noise, and finding space to lead oneself, and then others, even in business cultures of engineers, global virtual teams, and uncertainty.

Here are two practices you can do today:

1. Take a mindful pause 3 times a day.

Set an intention to give you brain, body and nervous system a well-deserved 2 minute break. You can set an alarm on your calendar, or program a mindfulness bell to sound at certain times. Sit or stand in a posture that is alert and comfortable. Feet flat on the floor. Nothing in your hands. Take three breaths: long, deep inhales and slow, relaxing exhales. If you mind wanders, just bring your attention back to the breath. Notice how you feel. Smile.

2. Start your day with a self-awareness intention.

Begin to increase self-awareness by setting your mind to it. See if you can observe yourself as if you were a journalist, watching your experience in the moment.  Then go inside - notice what narrative or internal commentary is playing during key moments of the day - what thoughts are you having? Just noticing our experience, the thoughts that are running in our minds is a big step in creating space in our heads- and in realizing that we are not our thoughts - they are just passing through. Over time you will start to see patterns in how you show up in situations, in how you feel with certain people or types of challenges, and your awareness of your inner landscape starts to have more clarity and detail. This is the foundation for mastering how you relate to others and to your experiences in life.

Mindful breathing and bringing your attention to your experience in the moment are foundational skills for self-mastery and increasing emotional intelligence. I will continue to share teachings and practices that you can try in simple, practical ways in your real life, now. It is part of the search inside yourself that allows you to show up outside of yourself in ways that align with what you love, value and how you want to be.


Back to News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *