It seems ironic that I’m writing an article about how meditation and mindfulness has helped me deal with the stress of running a business focused on meditation. Let’s face it, starting a business is stressful, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a meditation business geared at reducing stress or some other business.
When I founded The Compassionate Mind a year ago, I was motivated by my desire to share with others about the life-transforming possibilities of meditation. I had a genuine desire to help people find more inner peace and less stress.
What I didn’t realize was that to accomplish this deep desire within me, I would have to learn something about how to start and run a business. Call me naive but I was initially convinced that it really wasn’t a business, it was just a formality in order to create the structure that I needed to spread the word about meditation.
I don’t recall exactly when it happened, but at some point, I realized that I was going to need to get in the game of running a business if I wanted to make a difference. I realized that saying that I was meant to teach people about meditation and mindfulness wasn’t enough. I had to take action to create opportunities for people to learn and experience it.
Now that I have accepted and actually embrace the fact that I am running a business, I have moved into a different level of awareness. I have become increasingly aware of the challenge to remain internally driven and inspired when I’m in an externally motivated world.
I have become mindful of my relationship with social media, marketing, blogging, renting space, email campaigns, managing a website, facebook pages, google+, excel spreadsheets and the endless other things you need to consider when running a business. Before I started this, I didn’t even know what an email campaign was let alone draft one and send it out.
I’ve come to realize that the business side of living my purpose is a continual reminder about what is important and how I want to “be” in a relationship with this business. On some days, I find I get caught up in the number of facebook likes, the traffic to my blog, the numbers registered for my workshops, the positive and/or negative feedback that I get. In short, always looking for that external confirmation that I’m on the right track. When I’m in that mode, is when I experience stress. I experience stress because I’m caring too much about the results and what other people think.
To be perfectly honest, there have been some days that I’ve been so busy taking care of growing the meditation business that I’m so passionate about, that I don’t take the time to meditate. In those moments, I definitely do some reflecting and often ask myself “what’s wrong with this picture?”
I have come to view these gaps (that fortunately, happen infrequently) in my meditation practice as a gift. They are a gift because when I miss my daily meditation practice, I experience less peace of mind and feel the stress more profoundly. It is those gaps that result in a greater determination and commitment to not have any gaps.
My meditation and mindfulness practices have been the single most effective set of tools to help me not only cope but thrive.
It has been my meditation practice that continually brings me back to what’s important. It is the mindful awareness of my thoughts and feelings that enable me to make conscious choices. It is the time that I spend sitting in silence everyday that recharges my battery, increasing my creativity, ability to focus, and my connection with what it is I’m meant to do and be.
When I get confused about the direction that I’m meant to go, I use the tools that I have learned through my meditation and mindfulness practices to tap into my intuition and reconnect at the level of my heart and soul. I am learning to trust that inner voice and knowing for my direction and then use my intelligent and thinking mind to develop and execute the plan that is aligned with my soul’s purpose.
One thing I know for sure is that when your heart and your head are aligned, amazing things will happen.