Arianna Huffington refers to our patterns of negative self-talk as the “obnoxious roommate living in our head.”
But what if that roommate comes to work with us; constantly undermining us, questioning our every move, telling us not to step up or speak out in a meeting. And what then happens if we have an organisation where everyone is being driven by their “obnoxious roommate.” Where does the creativity and innovation come from when our “obnoxious roommate” is running the show?
How can we help our team to learn they are in charge of their thoughts and their thoughts are not in charge of them? To be able to tell the difference between real concerns or challenges and their “obnoxious roommate;” knowing that some thoughts are just that – thoughts not reality. How do we recognise this, tell that “obnoxious roommate” to get lost, and move on.
First, we need tools to help us to notice our thoughts. A mindfulness practice that helps people to slow their mind down is one tool. So, what could your organisation do to incorporate mindfulness into your day to day? Perhaps you could consider:
· Starting meetings with a mindful minute to allow people to really arrive and be present.
· Take advantage of walking around the office to do some mindful walking perhaps really grounding into your feet, noticing your breath or perhaps with some open awareness.
· Use a cup of tea or lunch as a chance to re-centre by really tasting what we are eating, sensing whether it is hot or cold and what the textures are.
· Perhaps the simplest would be is to encourage our team every time they sit down to notice their feet on the floor, bottom in the chair and their back against the backrest.
· Encouraging people to take one deep belly breath every time they walk through a door way.
· A regular time for a sitting practice supported by an internal champion.
Giving our team the tools to centre allows them to slow down enough to notice their thoughts and this is certainly the first step. From there we can help our team to gain the tools to explore strategies to manage their thoughts perhaps by bringing someone in for an education session. We know from Dr Rick Hanson that people have a negative bias and “our minds are like Velcro for negative thoughts and Teflon for positive ones.” Don’t we want our team to improve some of the stickiness for the positive thoughts to enhance their own lives and to bring a positive voice into the workplace; a voice that is their cheerleader not their “obnoxious roommate.”
Does your workplace value innovation and creativity? Then you better find some tools to tell that “obnoxious roommate” to get lost!