As human beings, we seem to be having a constant, ongoing, and sometimes quite distracting internal conversation with ourselves.  At times it may feel like our own endless, private, social media feed extravaganza: ideas, quotes, pictures, concerns, worries, hopes, fears, and so on and so forth. In essence, we seem to be constantly assessing threat, opportunity, fear, potential, danger, success, or failure from different angles and from seemingly contradicting internal positions as a result of some form of innate survivalist tendency.

This wonderful brain of ours has done an extraordinary job projecting and anticipating survival issues when it comes to our evolution and has successfully brought us this far. Nevertheless, some of us are now wondering if this innate, hardwired survivalist inclination is still relevant considering our existing situation. It is easy to see that when we are concerned, worried, anxious, and apprehensive, much of the energy we can offer our work and those around us ends up being consumed by these same internal survivalist processes rather than being used to fully engage in the task at hand.

You don't need to sign your team up for meditation or yoga retreats. Developing mindfulness can be achieved through simple methods that resonate with your unique organizational culture and style

Shifting our energy and internal resources from a survivalist/projective mode into a mindful, creative, present, and engaged mode does not come with the flick of a switch, but then again it may be easier than you think.  You don't need to sign your team up for long meditation or yoga retreats; developing mindfulness - understood as our ability to first notice our internal experience and then choose creativity, presence and engagement instead of projection, anticipation and anxiety - can be achieved through simple dedication and practice in the workplace using methods that actually resonate with and support your unique organizational style or preferences.

Teams that acknowledge, validate, and cultivate mindfulness, creativity, presence and engagement soar when it comes to clarity, communication, trust, and goal achievement

Teams that allow for survivalist/projective behaviors to permeate their culture are generally plagued by distrust, doubt, reactionary tendencies and a short-term gain mentality.

As an example on how to develop mindfulness at work you can follow these 3 steps the next time your team is tackling a particular challenge:

  1. Make a list or do a whiteboard exercise where your team answers the questions below. These questions will help us differentiate between grounded issues and unfounded projections and concerns.
      a.  What do we actually know? (Facts)
      b.  What are we assuming? (Conjectures)
      c.  What do we need to know? (To Do’s)
      d.  What are we afraid of? (Projections)
      e.  What do we prefer that happens? (Hopes)
  1. Have an open, honest, team conversation on how is this issue relevant to each of the individuals in the team, to the team itself and to the organization in general. This allows for ownership, clarity and responsibility to manifest.
  1. Identify at least three strategies for each of the questions below.
      a.  How are we going to get creative to address this issue? (Specifics)
      b.  How are we going to be present and show up as a team? (Descriptors)
      c.  How are we going to engage, and with whom to address the issue?     (Strategies)

If you would like to learn more about bringing mindfulness to work in ways that support your organization’s unique culture and style, feel free to get in touch.



Dr. Pedro Cortina is CEO & Managing Partner at the Innerland Institute  He is an author, speaker, counselor, facilitator, trainer, transformation specialist and leadership consultant. He is the author of Curflexion: Living the Infinite Space of Being, a guide for moving away from our underlying human experience of separation and unfulfillment. Curflexion is sold through