Meditation has been hyped up for decades and sold to everyone from business people to hippies. We all know that it’s meant to de-stress you and help with goal achievement. But does it have any real practical use for improving employee performance or getting you that longed-for promotion?
Meditation is now really big in Silicon Valley. The Aetna company reduced its health care costs by 7 percent by using meditation and yoga to deal with employees’ stress. And lots of successful executives use meditation, such as Ray Dalio, who manages the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates. Dalio has built many of the principles of meditation into his firm’s culture. Other people who have been helped by meditating include former Monsanto CEO Bob Shapiro, Legal Sea Foods CEO Roger Berkowitz, Salesforce.com’s Marc Benioff, and even Oprah Winfrey. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz also uses meditation to help his career progression.
There are many forms of meditation. Group meditation is a Western practice while Transcendental Meditation was popularised in the 1960s and is only allowed to be taught by certain qualified people. Meditation can be used to achieve semiconscious states, trance states and astral projection. It can seem complex- all the hype about chakras and commitment can really put people off. But meditation is something simple and natural that you can do anywhere- even while walking! Walking meditations or meditating while moving (Tai Chi is one example) has been practised for thousands of years.
How To Meditate For Career Success
First you’ll have to learn the basics of meditation- clearing all your thoughts, relaxing, and entering a trance-like state. A quick Google or trip to the bookstore should be all that’s needed- meditation is a very natural process and we all experience trance-like states when we’re daydreaming intently or absorbed in books or films.
The first step in career success is to work out what kind of job you would like to do now. Not in the future, not when you’ve got more experience or self-confidence, but right now at this moment. It has to be the job you want, not the one that your parents or partner would prefer you to have. People who are successful in their career are entrepreneurs. That means you work for yourself (by being goal-oriented and retaining a sense of independence) even when you’re employed by someone else.
Then visualise what it would be like to have your dream job. Imagine your workplace, your car, where you’d live. Be honest with yourself and imagine the cons as well as the pros- you might have way more money to spend on your wardrobe, but will you have the time or energy to go out and party? You might be able to afford the latest gadgets for your kids but will you be able to spend that much quality time with them?
See it in vivid detail, as fact, like you’re really there in your office. It’s best to do this every day for 20 minutes or at least as often as you can. In the morning and before going to bed seem to be the best times. Morning meditations will motivate you for the day ahead and work well after exercising or before breakfast.
Meditation reprograms your subconscious so you might experience freedom from self-doubt or negative thoughts as a result of meditating. Obviously, this will also be beneficial to your career progression.
There are no guarantees that meditation will transport you from serving fries at your McJob to being the CEO of a world-famous company; real-world qualifications and experience are needed too. But it can give you the drive to go back to school or apply for jobs you think you won’t get. It can boost your confidence, mood and self esteem so you perform better at work and at interviews. After all, if there was nothing to be gained from meditation, companies wouldn’t be wasting money on it, would they?