When you enhance your breath, you connect to your mind and body, and this connection allows you to be in sync with your positive and strategic thoughts to “breathe your goals to life.” With mindful breathing, you’ll begin to access everything inside you that will have you performing at your highest level, feeling a sense of control and limitless potential. It will bring more value than you can fathom at this moment. Improving your breath and mindset is what leads you to finding and exemplifying attributes of success. Qualities like patience, persistence, confidence, nonjudgmental behavior, clarity, creativity, and compassion are easily accessible through breath and will help tremendously in business. When you’re moving from a place of inner strength and positive intentions, you solve problems easier, make better decisions, have clearer lines of communication, and build a culture of respect that leads to long-term success.
Breath can be your closest comrade in the battle of business. It will always be with you as a first level of defense against what can be the most brutal force on the field: your own (negative) mindset. Breath facilitates that connection to finally liberate you from feeling driven by habitual negative thoughts and emotions. There’s a vulnerability that entrepreneurs face while trying to juggle all aspects of a business until we have the means to either fully learn a process or bring in people who are strong where we are weak. Until then, we have to learn to roll with the punches as new and unusual situations arise daily. We can find empowerment from Breathing Like a Boss to get back up each time we feel defeated When others tell you that your ideas sound silly and ridiculous, when the manufacturer that you need is nowhere to be found, when your comments aren’t being heard in a meeting, when you’ve been overlooked for a promotion, when someone else got the sale or took the opportunity, when you get that sideways look that makes you feel completely inept or ignorant when you’re just trying to learn something—breath is the tourniquet.
Enhancing your breath from the automatic shallow breathing pattern allows you to control your energy by connecting to the corresponding part of your brain that regulates emotion. Tal Ben-Shahar, PhD, says, “Shallow breathing is a reaction to the unyielding stress of modern life—and is itself a cause of further stress, which leads to more shallow breathing.”5 You may lose many fights, but you’re in it to win the battle, right? You can begin to fill the well of doubt or negativity with each deep breath. Shallow breathing brings shallow results.
Sure, it seems that most people want to meditate; they like the idea of it, but there’s a real disconnect between wanting and doing because of the time and effort involved to just sit still. Meditating for a full session every day is a difficult sell for many, let alone the stereotypical Type A’s with short attention spans or an overworked and time-crunched employee, corporate leader, or entrepreneur.Breath is the first step. Meditation is frequently thought of singularly in regard to finding enlightenment and feeling Buddha like—calm and chill—but it’s so much more. One deep breath can be considered a meditation. It’s science; it’s not mystical. Breathing Like a Boss covers a big swath that includes not only calm and chill but also a plethora of other positive emotions to help you take charge, accomplish your goals, and up the ante with productivity.
Enhancing your breath is ground zero, the perfect place to begin to feel the benefits of meditation without having to reserve a chunk of time or master the art of stillness. It meets you where you are. Mindful breath is meditation at the speed of today’s on-demand business lifestyle. There’s abundant power in even one deep breath, but 3DB is still my go-to several times a day. It’s my reset button and nobody’s even the wiser. You can be completely inconspicuous while you’re regrouping your energy. 3DB is an easy way to begin to experience the power of your breath and the freedom and strength that it brings. Imagine how much better and more productive your work will be when you begin to take advantage of mindful breath. With each deep breath you inhale, you can bring in something positive while letting go of what’s holding you back with every exhale.
As with meditation, many different types of breath techniques are available as well as endless ways to enhance them. You can begin and end with 3DB (three deep breaths) and still have life-changing results. Or you can dive deep and go wide. I look at breath practice in the same way that I see entrepreneurship: we all need to find our own unique way by doing. I hope to open your mind to the idea that owning your breath can be completely transformative and easily integrated into your day to add a sense of ease in reaching your goals and enjoying your journey to full-blown success— whatever that means to you. We all have different ideas of what success is, so be true to yourself. Finding clarity on your meaning of success will also become easier with breath practice.
Breath will meet you right where you are. No need to hold onto the stress, anger, or frustration and wait for the evening gym workout, run, or yoga class. You’ll still get there, but you can begin to manage your situation right away with breath. Nobody knows exactly what you need to hear in a challenging moment better than you do. Begin to silently speak up to yourself in the moment. Show up for yourself. Tell yourself that you’re going to be fine, that you can do it, breathe slowly and deeply with the intention of mustering up your inner strength.
It’s in there; breath will bring it to you. Exercise classes are awesome—I’m a big fan of the collective energy of a daily yoga class—but for the other twenty-three hours of the day, you are your best teacher and biggest supporter. Take the inspiration from classes and personalize it. That’s where the “aha” moments happen; the real transformation happens inside. You are in control of your thoughts and emotions. 3DB and you can “turn on a dime.” No need to wait for an outside source to recalibrate and turn a bad situation into a win.
When you learn how to be self-aware (coming up in this chapter) and upgrade your breath, you’ll make mindful business decisions rather than hasty ones. You’ll build meaningful long-term business relationships rather than simply conduct transactions. You’ll tap into your creativity instead of just working from random or mediocre ideas. You can expand your energy and mindset by activating different kinds of breathing techniques and swapping your automated shallow breath for higher-performance oxygen while detoxifying your body at the same time. Breath is the catalyst that will begin to change the way you reach your goals. You’ll communicate with your brain and instruct it to help your mind and body think and feel in a way that will lead to expansion— more success, more opportunity, more abundance. You can take control. It’s hard to imagine how something so simple can be so transformative.
Adapted, and reprinted with permission from Career Press, an imprint of Red Wheel/Weiser, Breathe to Succeed by Sandy Abrams is available wherever books and ebooks are sold or directly from the publisher at www.redwheelweiser.com or 800-423-7087.
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