This article originally appeared in Forbes.
Focus can be a challenge for business leaders. If you’re an entrepreneur, you no doubt have multiple projects running at one time and a busy staff to manage, all while working to move your business forward. With constantly competing priorities, it can be easy to forget that focus and mindfulness is also key to success in business and in life.
I’m on the road over 300 days a year. I’m also a husband, father, friend and family member. Like most entrepreneurs, I’ve got a million things coming at me at once. Always looking to improve each area of my life, I recently began working with a mindfulness coach. Like a personal trainer, my coach helps me stay focused on what’s important, live a life of gratitude and focus my mind so I can bring my best to every aspect of every day.
One component of my mindfulness training has been daily meditation. Now, before you stop reading (I know some of you are considering it), meditation might not mean what you think it does. No, I’m not cloistered in a mountain retreat for hours a day, repeating “om” while in a yoga pose. Meditation is a very personal experience and different for everyone who does it. It’s been used for years by business leaders to bring focus and allow creative inspiration to flow. You’ve got to find the right amount of time and an environment that works for you, one in which you can relax, breathe and clear your mind.
Here are four ways that meditation will help you run your business and be a better person:
Mediation enables you to step away from your hectic day and just relax. Measured breathing and physical stillness will reduce your heart rate, giving you a moment of reprieve to set your worries aside and focus on how you feel in that moment. Letting everything go for a short time each day will not only improve your focus but your health. Remember, stress is not only distracting — it can be deadly
Once you’ve found yourself in a calmer place, meditation can help you to sort through your worries to figure out why you’re experiencing them and how you can resolve them. For example, you might worry about the health of your company when your sales numbers are down. But are they down because your product is not up to par or because your busy season ended last month? When stress and distractions are high, it’s impossible to see things clearly. From a calmer perspective, you can bring your worries into focus and think about what’s really important.
Not only will clearing your mind through meditation help you identify problem areas, but often, it can help with finding solutions. After all, it’s not enough to identify problems. You’ve got to also identify and take steps to resolve those problems. The best decisions are made with a clear head, and an irrational decision can mean the difference between success and failure. Taking time for meditation will give your mind the space it needs to consciously and subconsciously work through challenges and find positive solutions.
When given time to relax and reflect, you may also find your mind moving to more positive places, focusing on recent successes and dreaming about what’s next. Focusing on setting goals for the future will keep you in motion as a leader and an entrepreneur. You’re less likely to get stuck and more likely to create a plan to achieve those goals. Without all the buzzing and nonsense in your head, you’ll be able to see the road ahead more clearly. Meditation acts as a reset button to get you back on your intended path.
I’ve written here before about the entire year I spent before founding my current business clearing my mind by paddle boarding. You don’t have to spend a year on it, but you do need to be intentional about setting aside time to give yourself the focus you need to be your best and move your company forward.
Start with five minutes three times a week. If it works for you, incorporate it into every day of your life. You’ll soon find that on the days you meditate, you’re more productive, more creative and more grateful than on the days you don’t. Do it today. Your family, your team and your business will thank you.