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Self control is a challenging yet immensely rewarding trait to cultivate as a manager and a leader in your organization. This is one quality that pays dividends regardless of your title and responsibility at work.

As a manager you undoubtedly face a myriad of stressful situations on a daily basis. However, I will also say that if you think about it you usually have a good sense of the types of situations that “trigger” you into losing self-control. (Stressful meetings, missed deadlines by your teams, constructive feedback by your manager, upset client, etc). Having this first-hand knowledge of your triggers is actually beneficial as it allows us to proactively plan a response when they do arise.

Our first step then, is to consciously identify and recognize these triggers and accept without judgment that they cause us discomfort.

There are multiple methods of dealing with these triggers, however one method or practice seems to go largely un-noticed. This method is called “Mindfulness”. Simply put mindfulness is “being present in the moment without any judgment”. Easier said than done.

Following are some suggestions that can set you off on your journey on cultivating mindfulness today.

Simply start with taking conscious breaths when hit by a trigger. Gently focus on your in-breath and out-breath, breathe normally like you do, but this time, pay attention to the act of breathing. Chances are as soon as you start doing this, you will find yourself surrounded by random thoughts, this is quite normal and expected. Simply and gently bring your attention back to your breath.

Notice your surroundings, remind yourself to pay attention to what you’re looking at, observe the color of the wall, not just the wall itself, look at the furniture around you. Feel the chair you’re sitting on. The simple mundane things that we take for granted everyday are actually helpful in reminding us of our presence.

Remember, great results begin with great questions.  As the urge for you to lose self-control arises, simply take a deep breath and ask yourself “Is it really worth it?”. The trick is not the answer itself, but having the awareness to ask yourself the question at the right moment. That exact awareness is called being mindful.

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