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Mindfulness Meditation-Creating Awareness of Habit

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindful leaders know that in serving others as opposed to treating employees as servants is the key to better business results, greater team involvement, happier followers and a sustainable future.”

- Dr. Maynard Brusman, San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coach

Act Mindfully

Many of the leaders I see in my emotional intelligence-based executive coaching practice of over twenty-five years are working long hours and are stressed-out. Some of my clients complain of low energy and exhaustion. They frequently are sleep deprived. Getting adequate sleep is an enormous help in restoring mental clarity and the drive to succeed.

My holistic approach to coaching is to work with the whole person, so upon request I weave into my leadership development work the importance of stress resiliency, mindfulness, daily meditation practice, exercise and proper nutrition. I recommend clients see their physician if they have specific health concerns, and make referrals to nutritionists, fitness trainers and other health experts when appropriate. "Meditation is not evasion; it is a serene encounter with reality." - Thích Nhất Hạnh

Act mindfully and savor your relationships at work and at home. Create the powerful habit of “pacing” yourself to restore energy, build resiliency and create well-being.

To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.
- William Blake

The Power of Habit

Watch this video!

In his thought provoking book “The Power of Habit”, Charles Duhigg, an investigative reporter for The New York Times, tackles an important reality head on. That is, people succeed when they identify patterns that shape their lives--and learn how to change them. This idea--that you can indeed change your habits--draws on recent research in experimental psychology, neurology, and applied psychology.

Duhigg looks at the habits of individuals, how habits operate in the brain, howcompanies use them, and how retailers use habits to manipulate buying habits. The author's main contention is that "you have the freedom and responsibility" to remake your habits. He says "the most addicted alcoholics can become sober. The most dysfunctional companies can transform themselves. A high school dropout can become a successful manager."

"The Habit Loop" explains exactly what a habit is. According to the author, habits make up 40% of our daily routine.  The process within our brains is a three-step loop.  First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which behavior to use. Second, there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is the reward.

Your daily habits create the foundation of your life–your health, wealth, happiness, productivity, quality of relationships, and energy level. You can become more mindful creating the intention to interrupt patterns that don’t serve you. Establish positive habits that lead to a happy and prosperous life.

You create habits as an efficiency mechanism. Neuroscience research tells us that the brain quickly transforms as many tasks and behaviors as possible into habits so that we can do them without thinking. This frees up the brain to deal with new challenges. But first, we have to integrate the new habit and that can feel challenging.

Creating Awareness of Habit

Think about when you start a new activity. Your brain works hard to integrate it into your life, processing huge amounts of new information as you progress through the activity. As soon as you understand how it works, your behavior starts becoming automatic and the amount of mental effort required to perform the activity decreases.

The best way to approach creating positive new habits that will last is to take baby steps bringing them into your life one at a time. This gives you the opportunity to repeat the habit over and over until it is a part of your automatic behavior, and also allows you to focus the extra brainpower required for the habit on one or few activities so you aren’t overwhelmed. Then when your habit is automatic, you can add another one.

It might seem counter-intuitive, and that this approach will bring slow results. But, when you consider that studies show most people only make changes for a short amount of time before giving up, this approach actually brings results fast. Mindfulness mediation can help you become aware of your habits and interrupt patterns of behavior that are no longer serving you.

Mindfulness Meditation

As Suzuki Roshi, a great contemporary Zen master, wrote in his book now classic book, Zen Mind Beginners Mind:

"When you are practicing Zazen meditation, do not try to stop your thinking. Let it stop by itself. If something comes into your mind, let it come in and let it go out. It will not stay long. When you try to stop your thinking, it means you are bothered by it. Do not be bothered by anything. It appears that the something comes from outside your mind, but actually it is only the waves of your mind and if you are not bothered by the waves, gradually they will become calmer and calmer . . . Many sensations come, many thoughts and images arise but they are just waves from your own mind. Nothing comes from outside your mind . . . If you leave your mind as it is, it will become calm. This mind is called Big Mind."

Many of my clients aren’t really sure what mediation is or how to practice it. Meditation is a very general term. It refers to contemplative practices that developed in all the world's great wisdom traditions. The practices of mindful meditation are about recognizing and liberating ourselves from our delusions, confusions, and unrealistic views of reality that lead us to act in ways incongruent with who we truly are.

Meditation helps us recognize and free ourselves from our patterns and habits. It opens the way to begin to discover and realize the true freedom of the mind, and allows us to awaken to and realize our true nature and our highest potential.

As we come to see the true nature of ourselves and reality more deeply, mindfulness meditation allows us to live in harmony and be congruent with the way things truly are. There is a deep compassion, kindness, non-violence, peace of mind, and a sense of reverence and devotion for the mystery of ourselves and the world in which we live.

When we awaken to a deeper sense of our connectedness to everyone and everything else, then we awaken to the realization that we are a part of a single body, and to hurt or harm ourselves is to hurt all beings. Practicing meditation helps you create a deeper sense of empathy and connection with people.

We don’t sit in meditation to become good meditators. We sit in meditation so that we’ll be more awake in our lives.” ~ Pema Chödrön from When Things Fall Apart

Are you working in an organization where executive coaches help leaders practice mindfulness meditation to improve their self-awareness and empathy skills? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to learn how to have self- coaching conversations? Enlightened leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Do I practice mindfulness meditation to become more self-aware?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help develop mindful leaders.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help leaders build high performance organizations. You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage  and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman
Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach
Trusted Advisor to Senior Leadership Teams

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

For more information, please go to, write to, or call 415-546-1252.

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