Forbes Coaches Council
It's easy for stress to knock you off balance, leaving you reacting to changes rather than pushing forward toward your own goals. There is simply too much noise in daily life, and while any one issue may not matter too much, when taken as a whole, it's draining.
Centering yourself allows you to gain perspective on what's going on, reign in any emotions that may not be helping, and take a second look at how you want to handle a challenge. Centering yourself can give you more emotional strength to take on specific tasks, like an unfriendly meeting or a challenging client.
There are more options than meditation for finding your emotional center, each with their own advantages. Gardening, travel and exercise all create visceral experiences, which can help break you out of thought lock.
Below are some methods that members of Forbes Coaches Council recommend in order to become centered. Try some, and see which hobbies or approaches work best for you.
Members of Forbes Coaches Council discuss the hobbies that are most centering.
1. Listen Without Judgement
Practice listening without judgment. When engaging in conversations, try not to analyze the other person's perspective or yours, just listen and be present in the moment. Try doing this with individuals with whom you have a strong relationship. Ask if they noticed anything different about the conversation. Likewise, reflect on how you felt. It will increase your inner and outer awareness. - Alan Trivedi, Trivedi Coaching & Consulting Group
2. Practice Yoga
I've been practicing yoga for about six years. Not only do I feel better, but I perform better, both athletically and mentally. I see it as moving meditation. Yoga cleanses both the mind and body. I am routinely amazed at how far I have come in my practice in such a short period of time. And I've seen how yoga has benefited so many different people from all walks of life. Outdoor yoga is the best! - Ed Krow, Turbo Execs, LLC
3. Keep A Journal Of Successes And Mistakes
Keeping a journal helps leaders keep their goals in focus. When leaders reflect on their past mistakes and trials, they gain valuable insight into their patterns and can avoid future landmines. And by reminding themselves of past successes and accomplishments, they're able to remain centered, confident and overall present for the journey, - Amanda Miller Littlejohn, Package Your Genius Academy
4. Write As Soon As You Wake Up
Although the practice of dumping your stream of consciousness on paper first thing in the morning may seem pointless, it’s a powerful tool that helps you reload your brain, get focused, and experience revelations that can get you out of the thinking dead end. There are just three rules: It has to be longhand writing, done right after you wake up, and you have to fill exactly three pages. Try it! - Arno Markus, iCareerSolutions
5. Take The Mirror Test To Stay Centered
Once leaders have identified their core values, they can take the Mirror Test. In the morning, when brushing your teeth, look yourself in the mirror, think about your day, and commit to living according to your values. At the end of the day, when brushing your teeth again, assess how well your commitment worked out. Don’t worry about any shortcomings because you start fresh the next day. - Kelly Byrnes, Voyage Consulting Group
6. Give Yourself A Recess
In the world of public education an experiment happened not too long ago that removed recess and play. That experiment backfired, and now the trend is to encourage recess and play. Many career professionals do the same. Find a way to play inside and outside of typical working hours, without being tethered to your phone or electronics and with the people you care about. - John O'Connor, Career Pro Inc.
There's nothing quite like physical exercise. What's even better is intense physical exercise. When your body is exhausted, the clearest thoughts enter your mind. I make some of my best videos while still dripping with sweat from my crossfit workout. Clear the body of extra energy and the mind will flow easier. - Ryan Stewman, Hardcore Closer LLC
8. Carry A Totem
Many leaders I work with find a tactile item that represents their purpose or values is a helpful tool. One client chose a marble to keep in his pocket that symbolized a metaphor for building trust. He regularly touched the marble to center himself before connecting with some people, and as a reminder during difficult conversations. Whatever you choose, find a way to create a habit around it. - Jenn Lofgren, Incito Executive & Leadership Development
9. Practice Gratitude
Want to get in touch with your best self, feel centered and focused? Practice gratitude. Most of us spend so much of our time in reaction mode — responding to emails, voice mails, texts, and more — that we very rarely carve out space to express gratitude for the life we have, the people who are important to us and the simple gifts we take for granted far too often. - Billy Williams, Archegos
10. Know And Use Your Strengths
Start with a list of what you know to be your greatest strengths. Keep it visible, so that every day you can find ways to make good use of those strengths, remind yourself of them in the moments you may be feeling down about daily challenges, and leverage them to work around harder moments. We tend to mentally focus on our shortfalls, which becomes a barrier to being our greatest selves. - Bonnie Davis, Destination Up
11. Serve Through Mentorship
Mentoring is an act of servanthood that can save lives and have generational impact. It's the gift that keeps giving, especially when you mentor those who are disenfranchised. Stepping outside of your norm and into the space of someone with a different background, learning their path and identifying how to add value to their life, will humble you. Then you will gain a new perspective on your self and life. - Tameka Williamson, Celestial & Associates Consulting
12. Embrace Gardening
There's nothing like playing in the dirt. We feel grounded when our hands are digging in soil. Our childlike, playful sides come out when we select beautiful things to plant. We feel nurturing when we can grow flowers, trees and bushes. We're even doing our part for the environment. The stretching and moving are good for our bodies, and our brains can get clear doing such a simple task. - Sandi Leyva, Sandra L. Leyva Inc.
13. Educate Yourself
Education is a great way to become more centered and self-aware. Choosing a medium that you enjoy — whether it's seminars, individual coaching or reading — is important to initiate change. Self-awareness and self-regulation lead to being your best self, so develop these skills. - Frances McIntosh, Intentional Coaching LLC
14. Put Down The Phone
Being present sounds like an overused concept, yet so few leaders have mastered it. To be present and grow as a leader, consider how much your phone takes you away from the people in front of you. Walking down the hallway, riding in elevators, standing in lines, waiting for meetings to begin — all with your phone in your face. Turn over your phone and focus on eyes, not your iPhone. - Leila Bulling Towne, The Bulling Towne Group, LLC
15. Travel To New Environments
As a leader who is hearing many different opinions as to how to solve an organizational problem, sometimes it is as easy as a quick getaway to regain focus and hear your own voice. Whether you can take a few hours off for lunch at a local park or a week at the beach, take the time to put yourself in a new environment, recharge your batteries and let your creative juices flow away from your desk. - Ilean Harris, Ilean Harris