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Taking a Mindfulness Moment

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Today is special. Hundreds of emails, Facebook posts, LinkedIn connections, and tweets are flooding to remind me. After years of research, my new book was released today and will be on bookstore shelves by October 4.

It feels like sending your child off to the first day of school. You love Little Samantha with all your heart, but have no idea how she will respond to the world, let alone how the world will respond to her—how she will fit in or be treated.

Little Sam carries with her your hopes and dreams for this wonder you have birthed. I know parents whose hopes and dreams become a burden for Little Sam. The parents’ own self-concept is wrapped up in Little Sam’s success. They push, prod, and drive her to do and be her best—for her sake, they say. But dig deeper and you discover their own needs playing out—their need to be seen as competent and successful, or worse, their hunger for status through bragging rights: My child is _____ (fill-in-the-blank with some accolade).

I have written six books, but decided to put everything I have into this one. It carries my hopes and dreams for how leaders might look at their roles differently, shed traditional practices that undermine people’s psychological needs, and adapt best practices that promote thriving in the workplace. I want the book to sell, to promote this potentially profound idea: Motivation is a skill. I also want to cast a bright light on The Ken Blanchard Companies, which has the most cutting-edge and innovative training in the world to teach leaders and individual contributors this revolutionary skill. I think these are lofty aims.

But dig deeper and on occasion I find my own self-concept wrapped up in the book’s success—gloating at the upward trend of followers and connections, being disappointed if someone else’s book is ranked higher on Amazon than mine, or feeling anxious over what I should be doing to create a bestseller. It became obvious this morning. I needed a mindfulness moment. I needed to reflect on my feelings without prejudice or judgment, but with pure awareness of what I am experiencing. In that mindfulness moment, I recognized I have choices about how to experience today. I could continue being caught up in the numbers, the rankings, and the trappings of success. Instead, I decided to make today special by choosing to:

 

  • Align with my value for learning. (Oh my, what an opportunity for growth and learning this is!)
  • Tap into my profound gratitude this book provides me for fulfilling my purpose as a catalyst for growth.
  • Simply enjoy these opportunities to write—something I have loved doing since I was a child.

 

In my mindfulness moment, I recalled something I learned years ago, but had forgotten: the distinction between being an author and being a writer. I am grateful to be an author, but my joy lies in writing. Maybe today you could join me by taking a mindfulness moment. Today is special. Whatever you are doing, your positive energy, vitality, and sense of well-being comes by choosing how you define special.

What People Are Saying

Michael Phillips   |   09 October 2014   |   Reply

Loved the article Susan on motivation, and your distinction between higher and lower needs. You have a famous name! I like taxonomies

Barbara Harrison   |   30 October 2014   |   Reply

Susan, I can so relate to your honesty and love how you chose mindfulness. Your book has already impacted me and many of my people. Know that your “child” now has a life and mission of her own – you poured yourself into it and I see the results being far-reaching!

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