Richard Branson, Brad Feld, Marc Beinoff, Larry Page & Arianna Huffington do it. Tim Ferris puts it down to one of the secrets to his success.
No, it’s not yacht sailing, agile programming or even masterminding with other entrepreneurs.
It’s something that is free, you don’t need any fancy accessories for and you can do right now.
Before you disappear from this post thinking ‘ what has that got to do with making me a better entrepreneur or marketer?’ Stick around, as it has everything to do with it.
In this post I’ll give you a very high level summary of why meditating is important for entrepreneurs, and two easy steps how you can try it out yourself.
My introduction to meditating was a skeptical one – I was raised in a traditional Irish house as far away from the ‘Californian, meditating hippy’ stereotype as you can imagine. As an example – my mother banned my sister from doing yoga because she thought it was evil!
About two years ago I started hearing more mentions of the power of meditating in entrepreneurial books and blogs posts I was readying. Now if these mentions were from sense’s or Buddhist monks I would have likely ignored them, however these recommendations were from Entrepreneurs – first from Jonathan Fields in his excellent book ‘Uncertainty’, then and even from one of our investors.
At first I ignored the mentions, but after hearing about it repeatedly I started to take notice. After all, I was reading these books to learn from people more successful than me to learn what it is that makes them successful, so disregarding it all as rubbish them would have been pretty naïve of me.
In all these books, they all raved of the benefits to entrepreneurs that included:
– Feeling more balanced, even if you’re juggling 50 balls in the air
– Being happier, even if the shits hitting the fan
– Ability to remain calmer, even when
– Helping them be successful
All fighting words….So this year I felt I got to try it (and made a note to myself if I’d started wearing robes into the office in a month’s time I’d probably taken it too far)
So this January, I did some research on the best meditating app out there (I found it to be Headspace, which I definitely +1 on the recommendations), downloaded Headspace and got started.
I’ll admit, starting to meditate when you’ve never done it before (like I hadn’t) can be a strange experience. To meditate you need to effectively control your mind and keep it calm for 10 minutes – seriously challenging for an ADHD entrepreneur.
So as I was taking deep breaths and looking for zen my mind would keep filling with thoughts such as:
– ‘ I wonder how I should run that meeting tomorrow’
– ‘ Shit, I didn’t email back that investor dude’
– ‘ Why isn’t there an ‘uber for cats’? that would be a great idea’
But the great thing about Headspace app is that it starts you at meditating 101 and talks you through exactly what to do (I’ll leave you to check out the app yourself, rather than me explain it here).
If your co-founder sees the app on your phone just say you’re checking it out for an example of a great onboarding / activation strategy (which it has)!
But training the mind is no different that training any other muscle in the body, the more you practice the easier it becomes!
Four months later…..
So four months on from mediating for 10 minutes (so ‘don’t have time’ isn’t really an excuse) every day (well almost, I did miss some, but only a handful), what have been the results?
- I feel calmer when shit hits the fan in Adludio (hey, even if you’re Elon Musk in Telsa…shit will always hit the fan sometimes!)
- I believe I’m more ‘present’ when in meetings/speaking to people – I enjoy the moment rather that be thinking of the 20other things I have to do that day while I’m in a meeting
- I feel happier, more appreciative of wheat we’ve achieved, and more excited about what’s coming up over the next few years.
Dan Harris, a co-anchor at ABC news says that mediating makes him 10% happier and more effective. If there was a way to make your sales cycle / team / conversion rate 10% more effective you’d do it straight away right? So why would making yourself 10% more effective be any different?
Although meditating is still a niche (largely to it being associated with wearing robes and becoming a Buddhist monk I think), I strongly believe we will see it growing more and more into the mainstream over the next few years.
Impossible? Remember that exercising was seen as strange until the 1950’s, until the health benefits were recognised – and how many of you agree that exercising makes you more effective?
Beginning to meditate could be one of the best things you do to improve your focus, balance and happiness….and make you a more effective entrepreneur / marketer.
Two resources to help you get started:
Headspace App (first x days free) – just download and go. The first 10 days is for absolute beginners to start you on the journey
Book: 10% Happier (written by an ABC news anchor who goes from drug fuelled parties to meditating daily, and becoming more successful as a result – so definitely not The Power of Now or another book from Oprah Winfrey 😉
Let me know how you get on!