“The Art of Self-Management as the Foundation of Managing Others.”
A student who was a manager once asked me: “My work environment is so negative. Would it be healthier for me to find a more positive place to work?”
My simple answer was: “No.” Life flows from inside out. Change your inner environment first. The outer is but the manifestation of the inner. Try to change to a more positive environment within, and see what magic flows from that practice.
Changing positions would gain you nothing at all. There is no guarantee that your next workplace will be any better. The most important thing is to search deep within your heart to discover the source of negativity.
Why not work for better self-management? Why not develop a more positive outlook about everything in life?
Your first task is to discover why you are so frustrated. Are you being singled out and meted with harsh treatment? If the answer is yes, then you need to know why. There is a cause-and-effect chain in operation in the Universe. Inquiring deeply into this in your current circumstances and learning how to work creatively to rise above the negativity, is the pathway to true freedom, strength, and wisdom.
I have seen this approach work miracles again and again. We forget that we continually trigger the negative within our own mind from our preconceived notions and expectations. We ourselves may be suffering from reactivity and myopia. We need to check the glasses through which we see before trying to change the world around us.
The question is: “How do you manage yourself and your own internal environment better?” Try these tools. I guarantee you will see the difference.
Calmness for self-management
First, pause for half an hour before you go rushing off to work. This is the essence of good time management. By taking this extra half hour to organize and plan your workday, instead of rushing, you achieve certain calmness. With that calmness, comes clarity. You remember what your tasks are and what needs to be done. You will be able to perform mindfully, without much stress.
Doubts will flee and the agitation at play in your mind will disappear. This planning and organization will make things much easier. And the easier they become, the calmer you will become. The calmer you become, the more you will achieve.
Breathing and meditation for self-management
Regardless of how much you pre-plan your day, the unexpected always happens. Whenever you are agitated, take the first free moment possible to just sit, with your back straight. The tip of nose and your naval should be aligned. Suggest relaxation to your body from the top of your head, every muscle in your face, neck, shoulders, hands, chest, abdomen, thighs, knees, calves, ankles, toes and the soles of your feet. Let your body receive your full, loving attention, however briefly. Just drop everything else from your mind.
With your body relaxed, bring your mind to your nostrils. Take a few slow, deep breaths, consciously making them longer and deeper. Allow the abdomen to inflate as you breathe in and to deflate as you breathe out. With every breath, be aware that you are filling your body with infinite, cosmic energy, with the harmonies of the universal intelligence that is the source of Creation.
As you focus on your breath, begin to breathe normally. Bring your mind to the rim of your nostrils and watch the air coming in and leaving. Let your focus be very deep. Let your mind surf the breath. Let it dissolve into the breath.
Experience deepening calmness, and soothing relief as you become one with the breath. Then visualize being shielded by an aura of light and know that you are safe.
Release any resentment about your work, and any politics and negativity at play there. Feel things are happening as they have to happen. You are just watching as an observer, a witness. Withdraw from any judgments to cleanse your inner mind.
Thank the Universe for all its blessings and protection. Visualize yourself returning to your peaceful home and know that the need for conflict is withering away. Affirm that all is well.
Positive thoughts for self-management
You cannot transform negativity with negativity. You cannot fight darkness with darkness. Only light can do that allimportant work. Light is what is needed. Light is your ally.
As a manager, do not battle against darkness. Appreciate the different manifestations of human nature, the different shades of darkness and light. You are being given another opportunity to hone these skills at work. It is easy to manage machines. Humans are not so easy. Remember, the first three letters of the word management spell “MAN.” Human beings are the focus of true management.
When you are reactive, you are already angry. With anger and negativity, you cannot trigger positive energy in others. Try to understand the cause of your co-workers’ negative behavior. If you approach the situation with acceptance, openness and appreciation, then you can help those who are negative to see the value of being more positive.
You don’t always have to correct a person then and there. Wait for the right time. A friendlier situation might allow you to raise the issue and address the cause with more ease and harmony. Rather than imposing, wherever possible, create an energy field more conducive to a negative person to being open to the positive.
Don’t talk spirituality in the workplace unless you are certain the other person shares your philosophy. You can always dwell in the positive and move with compassion, understanding and calmness to open the hearts of others. Then you are living your spirituality rather than talking about it.
To be authentically positive, to be genuinely in service to the other person and the situation, is to be a source of light.
Generating the energy of joy, understanding, and appreciation in the workplace is the greatest source of accomplishment.
A mother has to be loving and forgiving, but she also needs to be watchful of the child. She needs to discipline the child, not through abuse, but through persuasive conversations and instilling faith, loyalty and confidence.
To be a productive manager and leader, you need to be anchored in your positive spirit. There are times though, when you will need to show your toughness as an administrator. You cannot allow the work to suffer. Laxness encourages lower efficiency.
More encouragement and appreciation must go hand-in-hand with toughness. Toughness is your last resort. The collective good cannot suffer due to the negligence of one or two members of a team. So, be positive, be clear as to the standards, and be fair. Recognize and celebrate everyone’s contribution while being alert and you will be the beacon for your team. Then they will work joyfully, without fear, and will perform their duties well.
Recognizing the true purpose of work
Work is a means of self discovery. You are constantly seeking and searching for your “Self.” Your work is not just “work.” It is a tool for reaching higher planes of conscious awareness.
The purpose of your work is to scale new heights of insight and wisdom while engaging in the mundane, routine materialistic dimensions of life. Become conscious of the purpose of your work and ambitions, so that they match the aspirations of your Soul.
Treat your workplace as a working environment for your spirit. You spend so much time there interacting with others’ thoughts and actions. These energies create patterns in your own thoughts and emotions, for good or ill. Become more conscious of your own thinking, your own emotions, your own actions and reactions. If you always move towards the highest possible ground, there will be a quantum, qualitative change in your own thoughts and actions. You will see that your workplace is providing you with the opportunity to elevate your entire life. The more positively anchored you are, the more creativity and productivity you will be able to generate around you.
Ego clashes in the workplace can become open and reactive if the culture is not one of tolerance and perseverance. You can always be a positive trendsetter and earn good karma in the midst of negativity. Relax, do your part, keep your heart open to the Universe and allow the egos to roll out their karmic games. You do not have to get caught up in them.
You are here to be free of the mind’s conditions, not to be the slave of a negative work field. The Universe is your ultimate boss, your ultimate teacher in how to transcend negativity.
Team management brings optimal efficiency
A good manager inspires the team to embrace even the most difficult task as a challenge and works to create group harmony. One simple, powerful practice for developing harmony is that of briefly sitting together in silence before a meeting. Have everyone relax from head to toe and then focus on the breath for just 90 seconds. They become more centered. This releases tension both inside and outside the body. It develops a positive relationship within your team and fosters a positive group dynamics that brings forth the best results.
As a manager, you have to create that discipline through which each person understands their job responsibility, makes their contribution towards the common goal, and is rewarded for it. Your positive energy, your encouragement and appreciation, your help when needed—all contribute towards harmonious teamwork.
Encourage your staff to be straightforward and honest, while you become more aware of their thoughts and personal modes of expression. Group work demands that you be bold. Say what you have to say, but also watch your words to assure that everyone is encouraged to fully, creatively participate. Words that are too sharp buy the wrong karma. Everyone has their own opinion, so compromise is necessary. The goal is to get the best from the group as a whole.
Expect your group to work in more harmony, using the language of restraint, respect, understanding and persuasion, rather than undue pushing. Encourage positive attitude and language.
Management by consciousness
With the evolution of consciousness, survival is more that of the wisest than the fittest. To be wise is to be conscious and mindful. It is no longer individual survival, but the survival of the planet and the survival of all beings that is at stake.
We ensure survival today by becoming more conscious of our interconnectedness, our interdependence, and our interrelationships. With our eyes and our heart open to all that is, we become bathed in the light of consciousness. With positive energy surrounding us, with the light of wisdom guiding us from within, we live for each other. We love, we care, and we share. All work, small or large, creates the opportunity to succeed in the highest sense: in the growth of consciousness, in creating a stable mind, in expanding the harmony of our peaceful co-existence.
“Conscious Management” or management by consciousness, demands our awakened self, our enlightened self to lead our way from within.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna defines true action, “You have rights to the duties, but not to the rewards thereof.”
We are each born with our individual responsibilities. The more we become mindful, the more awakened we are, the more we realize that we are not the one doing any work. We are not the one who is managing. The true manager is the flow of universal intelligence. The true manager is the wisdom from beyond that guides us from within. We manage best when we are instruments of the infinitely powerful designer, when we offer ourselves and our work to life’s intentions. When we surrender the results of our actions, the infallible intelligence of the Universe will take over, and we will discover an ease and grace in our work that is beyond our capacity to imagine.
Sri Sri Shuddhaanandaa Brahmachari informally called “Baba” is a renowned speaker and philosopher. He has authored several books, including the biography of his spiritual master Baba Lokenath – The Incredible Life of a Himalayan Yogi; Words of Pure Bliss and others. “Making Your Mind Your Best Friend” represents his core teachings and will soon be available in the United States. Baba has worked relentlessly for the emancipation of women and children in the slums of Kolkata and the remote villages of West Bengal. He founded Lokenath Divine Life Mission (LDLM) in 1985. More than 200,000 patients are treated each year at the Mission’s outdoor medical clinics and mobile medical vans. The Mission is also leading West Bengal in forming Farmers’ Clubs to promote eco-friendly agricultural and village development. Baba was a delegate at the Millennium Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders of the World organized by the United Nations in August 2000; and he was a presenter at the World Parliament of Religions in Montserrat (Spain) in 2004. www.babalokenath.org