3 Ways Mindfulness Can Help Take Your Business to New Heights
I never truly experienced anxiety until I became an entrepreneur.
That might be a surprising statement, but it’s my truth. Even with everything I’d gone through in my life to that point, it wasn’t until I started my business that I really understood what anxiety felt like. Entrepreneurship has been an incredible blessing in my life; it’s allowed me to prioritize my son, Caleb, and pursue my purpose. But it’s not an easy road.
Moving from being a solopreneur to being a full business owner happens gradually over time as your business grows. What starts as a freelancing side-hustle can grow into full-time consulting work and then building a full brand and your own standalone business. And let’s be real here—there are challenges at every stage.
But, no matter where you are on this journey, it is essential that you’re proactive in taking care of yourself because, in the end, the buck stops with you.
I’m here with you in the trenches, my friend. I know that on some days, that feels empowering—you are bringing your vision out into the world and doing the work your heart is called to do. And on some days, the pressure can feel crushing—everything is riding on you and your efforts.
Can I tell you what’s been the biggest factor in my success in this crazy world of entrepreneurship?
The mindfulness habits I started to establish during the healing season of my life absolutely helped me transition into becoming a mindful business owner, and they sustain me every single day. Those same practices that helped me grow forward now help me stay focused, be productive, and remain in flow without becoming a slave to the grind.
In fact, more and more people are talking about the game-changing benefits of mindful entrepreneurship, and I am here for all of it!
Even if you’re not an entrepreneur, all of us need to be able to ground ourselves and draw on our mental wellness to get through the challenges of each day and bring our best selves to the table in our professional lives.
So let’s break it down together. Here are three ways I’ve taken my business to the next level using mindfulness.
1. Mindfulness changes your relationship with distractions.
I’m going to be bold in telling you that I am a successful business owner who does not work 40 to 60 hours a week. I just don’t.
Part of the drive to start my own business was that I needed to be able to prioritize my son and make sure that when he needs me, I can always be there. I just plain do not have time to hustle all day, every day.
That’s why it’s important that I maximize my work time. When I tell you that my time is limited, that doesn’t mean that I’m slacking in my business. It means that I need to be focused, in flow, and productive enough to get everything done in the time I have.
In order to create healthy boundaries around our work time, you have to shift your relationship with all of the distractions that pop up throughout the day. You know, those random ideas and worries and questions that will find their way into your consciousness. Or those text messages and emails and alllllllll the digital distractions that will try to grab your attention and pull your focus away from your present task.
Entrepreneur or not, none of us can stay in flow with six back-to-back meetings on our schedule, 89 tabs open in our browsers, or push notifications pinging us every ten minutes. None of that is sustainable.
The good news is that you can train your brain to notice your thoughts and release them so that you can keep moving forward in a productive way. You can’t eliminate distractions, but you can train your brain to minimize them.
Getting distracted can be as simple as a wandering thought that pops into your head. If you’ve ever tried to force yourself to stay focused on one thought or one activity, you know it’s about as easy as forcing yourself not to think about pink elephants. The harder you try to force out those distracting thoughts, the more difficult it becomes to think about anything else.
Focus starts with learning to be present. But you’ve got to train that focus muscle.
The power of mindfulness is that it changes the way you interact with the distractions that you’ll inevitably encounter every single day. The core of mindfulness practices—whether it’s meditation, belly breathing, taking a walk, visualization—is just finding tools that allow you to be present. And when you’re present, you can give your focus to one thing and choose not to allow our focus to be pulled in other directions.
Learning to be present is a superpower. You can learn to identify and notice distractions—the tough conversation you need to have with a member of your team, the argument you had with your partner last night, the snack for your kid’s soccer team that you need to pick up today, the ClassDojo message from your kid’s school about an upcoming bake sale, all those pink elephants—and then let them go. You become aware that those distractions exist, and then you refocus on the task at hand.
That doesn’t mean you ignore those distracting thoughts; it means making note of them and promising your brain that you will circle back and deal with those thoughts later.
Side note: This Container Exercise is a game changer!
Instead of ending up going down the rabbit hole of that distraction for 15 minutes, you can spend less than a minute setting it aside and stay dedicated to what is in front of you right now.
2. Mindfulness changes your relationship with stress.
Entrepreneurs face challenging scenarios every single day.
That stress will definitely impact your mental wellness and your physical health; the burnout so many business owners experience is so real. Just like distractions are unavoidable, so are stressful challenges.
The make-or-break difference is whether you can face those challenging moments with a calm, composed mind so that you can navigate them with clarity and make intentional decisions.
If you want to achieve long-term growth and success, you must incorporate sustainable healthy habits into your daily routine. We can’t allow the pressure and overwhelm to build up 51 weeks out of the year and then think we will release it all in a one-week vacation.
That stress will drag down your productivity. It will disrupt your motivation and your passion. It will wear you down so that you’re making important business decisions from a reactive state. And it will kill your health.
Building mindful recovery breaks in your day will help you change that relationship with stress.
Let me give you a personal example here.
The other day, I had back-to-back podcast interviews scheduled with an hour break in between. I could’ve told myself that I’d just plow through that time and try to stay in the zone—use that hour to sit down at my desk to send emails, build this blog post, and brainstorm ideas for social media. I mean, that’s what being productive looks like, right? Putting your head down and pushing through to get it all done on the most condensed timeline possible?
Absolutely not, my friend.
I finished my first interview of the day, and I just knew that I needed to get my body moving, to get my energy flowing. Otherwise, I knew that my day would just pile up on me, and I wouldn’t be able to bring my best to that next interview.
So instead, I texted a friend and asked her if she had 30 minutes to get outside with me. I met her for a quick power walk, came home, changed my shirt, drank some water, and hopped into that next interview feeling clear, focused, and excited. That break made me more productive because it allowed me to bring my best to each new interaction and new task.
As an entrepreneur, you’ve got to be proactive in preparing yourself for the stressful moments. The way we take care of ourselves on a regular basis shapes the way we turn up when emotions are running high. If we’re eating garbage, we’re not giving our brains the fuel they need to think clearly when we need to make clutch decisions. If we’re not getting enough sleep, we’re not allowing our brains to rest, release toxins, and process new knowledge, and that will keep us from showing up as the composed, intentional professionals we know we need to be.
These small, mindful habits don’t just impact your mental wellbeing. They’re also so important for your physical wellbeing as well. All of that impacts your decision-making skills. Being proactive about caring for yourself, mentally and physically, is going to save you from making rash, impulsive decisions that will only create more problems and more work in the long run.
Fact: Making the time to rest so that you can respond from a composed place is a time-saving, success hack like no other.
3. Mindfulness changes your relationship with negative thoughts.
Becoming an entrepreneur is one of the most fulfilling, freeing, life-affirming choices I’ve ever made. I spend a lot of time talking with other entrepreneurs, and they are some of the most optimistic, purpose-driven, positive people I know.
BUT suddenly becoming a business owner can also come with crushing levels of self-doubt, the spiral of second-guessing your choices, and straight-up impostor syndrome. Entrepreneurship means putting yourself out there in a way that can be empowering and also leave you feeling raw and exposed.
Mindfulness helps you build new mental frameworks so that negative thoughts don’t need to consume you. Stop & Shift is one of the mindful practices that has carried me through my entrepreneurship journey.
Confidence and self-trust isn’t about immediately shutting down negative self-talk. It starts with noticing our inner monologue and then consciously finding a new perspective.
To do that, you have to train your brain to hear that voice inside your head and choose what you do with those thoughts.
When I was first starting out as an entrepreneur, it felt precarious. My business wasn’t growing as quickly as I’d hoped. Financially, things were tight, and because this business was how I cared for Caleb, I was overwhelmed with worries about money. I started to focus on all the things I thought he was lacking, like the fact that I couldn’t afford to sign him up for any extracurriculars. I really started to question whether I’d made the right choice when I decided to step into entrepreneurship.
All of that negativity I was directing at myself was wearing me down, and it was tugging at my attention all the time and keeping me stuck.
But you know I practice what I preach, so I carved out some space to sit with those uncomfortable thoughts and feelings and see if I could shift my perspective a bit.
As soon as I did, I realized I was telling myself a story about all of my failures when really, I was incredibly successful in meeting my original goal. I started this journey so that I could be free to be there for my son when he needed me. I needed the freedom and flexibility to create healthy boundaries around my work so that I could always be present for him.
And I was doing that every single day.
That was enough to help me reset my focus. I could beat myself down about the amount of money I was making, but my income was only one metric of my success. I was succeeding in creating a life where Caleb knew he was loved, safe, and healthy.
Once I realized that, I could let the negative thoughts flow through me. They didn’t disappear completely, and I knew I wanted to continue to work towards creating a steadier flow of income. But when that self-doubt crept in, I knew I didn’t have to let it consume me. Those negative thoughts weren’t mine to keep, they were just passing through my brain. I could choose to let them go.
If I could give one piece of advice to all my fellow entrepreneurs and business leaders, it would be to: incorporate mindfulness into your business strategy.
It will help change your relationship with distractions, stress, and negative thoughts. The practice of being present and training your focus muscle helps minimize distractions and get more done in the time you have. Mindfulness also helps you create new mental skills that help you work through negative thoughts, so they don't consume you. It is the secret to navigating all of the ups and downs of this wild ride and unleashing your full potential and all of the success you truly deserve!
I’m telling you, friend, this practice could be the one that propels you to new heights of freedom in business and life.