How meditation got me a promotion
In many ways, meditation is a lot like physical exercise. It can be uncomfortable at first, but once you break through the initial ‘barrier’, the benefits on offer speak for themselves. Just look at Melbourne writer, JAMIE WILLIAMS. After a year of regular mindfulness practice, he not only started to experience a greater feeling of calm and serenity, his career took an upward turn in an unexpected direction.
I can honestly say that without meditation I wouldn’t have the job I have today. In early 2017, I was promoted to the role of Senior Copywriter in a fast-paced, dynamic advertising agency. I’m sure there were other things that helped me secure my position (hopefully my ability), but that aside, I believe the process of sitting on a cushion and focussing my breath for five to ten minutes per day really had the biggest impact.
If meditation was my solution, what, then, was my problem? This is a good question. I guess the simple answer is anxiety. I seem to have a mind that races towards the worst-case scenario in any given situation. If something goes wrong at work, I’m prone to freak out. If I don’t feel I’ve got total control, I can become panicky and overwhelmed. But when meditation began to help me manage these situations better, my boss felt I was ready to take on larger projects and more responsibility.
Meditation works when absolutely nothing else does. Not only does it calm me down in the moment, its cumulative effects actually make me a cooler, more considerate person on a day-to-day basis. Ringo Starr put it best when he said, “At the end of the day, I can end up just totally wacky because I’ve made mountains out of molehills. With meditation, I can keep them as molehills.”
This sums up exactly why I got my big break at work. Advertising agencies are stressful environments. Without the ability to make quick decisions, handle unexpected situations, and provide my colleagues with the support they need, I wouldn’t be equipped to do the role. There’s so much more to being a good employee than just performing the bare bones of your job. People don’t want to work with reactive loose cannons. They need a colleague they can rely on – someone who’s not going to let them down or lose their head. For me, meditation is the key to doing this well.
My practice is pretty simple – just five minutes in the morning and 10 minutes before bed. It’s a great way to start and finish the day as it helps me stay focused on what’s important, like being present at work, showing up to my relationships and connecting with what I’m really thinking and feeling.
Apps are a good place to start. But there are many other amazing resources out there. When I first started meditating, I used a range of meditation apps on my phone. More recently, however, I’ve started exploring a range of techniques and philosophies, such as Tonglen meditation and Kundalini. I’ve also attended meditation retreats, learned more about a range of religions and read a number of books. It’s not essential that you do any of this, I just want to experience more of the good stuff on offer.
There’s a whole world of amazing teachers out there. Thich Nhat Hanh, for example, has a lot to say on mindfulness, as does Andy Puddicombe, the entrepreneur behind Headspace. Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche is a master of applying meditation to everyday situations, like work and relationships. Pema Chödrön (my personal favourite) has written heaps of books on the subject of becoming kinder and more compassionate in everyday life. If you’re looking for inspiration, there’s plenty out there.
I know I have a long way to go, but the truth is, meditation has made it easier to go with the flow. Getting a promotion was just a bonus. Yes, it’s great to have goals and aspirations, but actually, the point of meditation (for me at least) is to let go of the outcome and live one day at a time, without the frenetic panic and overwhelming anxiety that comes with modern life.
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