Over the holidays I read the book,10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story, by Dan Harris. There’s also a podcast and an app by the same name and with the same intention: to get all of us meditating.
I read the book because I had recommended it to one of my coaching clients and she liked it. In full disclosure, I hadn’t read it when I suggested it, but I was transparent about that detail. Since my client liked it, I thought I should catch up.
I am a meditator, sometimes — not always. Sometimes I’m able to tame the “monkey mind.” Sometimes not. Thus I do not meditate consistently every day.
My one-word mantra for 2020 is “consistency.” I recognize that I am a work in progress. So are you. It’s part of what makes us human beings.
Dan Harris is a correspondent for ABC News, a former anchor for Nightline, and co-anchor for the weekend edition of Good Morning America. In my opinion, he is also a cynic and a talented writer. In the book, Harris shares his path toward creating his own meditation practice and the skepticism he experienced along the way.
Here are just a few takeaways from the book:
- Meditation has many health benefits.
- Meditation will make you less reactive and more approachable.
- Many people you respect in all kinds of industries are benefiting from meditation.
- You can meditate.
- All it takes is a willingness and being still.
- The act of stillness is meditation.
Before I read the book, I already had compiled a list of some of my favorite online meditations, if it is helpful to get you started: http://karensnyder.com/services/participants-only/ — the magic code word is “meditation.”
One of my mentors told me, “It’s easy to be zen when you live in a monastery with other peace-loving friends, focusing on bringing serenity to the world. The true test is when you wake up at 5am to a screeching alarm, step on dog vomit on your way out of bed, endure a horrid commute, and open your computer to 43 urgent emails at the start of the day.”
All of us can benefit from meditation. If you feel you are too busy to start meditating, or too unfocused, or too important, this blog is for you. Let me know how it goes.
I was delighted when at a weekend party a friend told me that she had enjoyed my recent blog, What Will Your Colleagues Say At Your Funeral?. That blog actually got a lot of feedback, and some responses were quite funny. One of the most humorous was:
“Many are coming to pay their respects. I’m coming to make sure he’s really dead.”
When I replied to those lighthearted responses, I asked, “What do you want your colleagues to say at your funeral?” But no one had a serious answer.
Here is my answer to this question: I want my work to have meaning. I want to improve the organizations where I work by empowering individuals, often one person at a time, and by helping them to be successful, regardless of their positions or titles. I want the changes that they make at work to improve their personal lives as well.
Take the exercise a bit further. At this time of fresh starts, think about what impact you want your work to have. What adjustments can you make now so that your colleagues will recognize your efforts, and maybe even tell you before your funeral?!
During this time of New Year’s resolutions, there’s a proven strategy that is more successful than creating a long list of goals and resolutions.
It’s the one word commitment.
The technique is simple: instead of traditional resolutions, choose just one word as your objective. The rationale is that one word will help you focus and can be easily remembered throughout the year.
I invite you to throw out pages of goals this year, and instead focus on just one word. My one word for 2020 is consistency. What is yours?