Have you ever heard of mindful leadership? I hadn’t until I first started following Emily Bennington, author of Who Says It’s a Man’s World: The Girls’ Guide to Corporate Domination and the host of Ready To Lead: Mindful Wisdom @ Work.
Her work deep dives into what Stephen Covey famously referred to as “the space” between stimulus and response where she challenges professionals to choose intentional, values-centered action. Emily has led training programs for numerous Fortune 500 companies and has been featured in business press ranging from CNN, ABC, and Fox, to the Wall Street Journal, Glamour, and Cosmopolitan. She is a featured blogger for Huffington Post and Forbes Woman and was recently included in the Forbes list of “100 Best Websites for Women”. You can find her digital sandbox online at emilybennington.com.
Q: For those who are unfamiliar with the term, what exactly is mindful leadership?
A: By itself, mindfulness is paying complete attention in the present moment without judgment. So the idea is to condition your mind to look directly at any situation – strip off the emotion – and see it as it is versus as you want it to be. Where mindful leadership comes in is when you say, “Okay, now how do I respond?” – and I always encourage people to consciously respond in alignment with their values. Those who do this well have extraordinary leadership presence.
Q: When you say “respond in alignment with values”, is this similar to the virtues, intentions, and goals (VIG) life you talk about in Who Says It’s a Man’s World?
A: Yes. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that if you want to be fulfilled by your career – and we all do – you have to understand what’s driving you. Most people automatically assume this is related to a “what.” In other words, WHAT goals do they need to meet to get one step closer to conquering the world? The difference with Who Says It’s a Man’s World is that I ask readers to find fulfillment based on virtues, meaning the “who.” WHO do you need to be to achieve all that you want for yourself? You’ll still end up one step closer to conquering the world, but you’ll enjoy the journey too.
Q: What are your relationship to goals now?
A: Good actually. I have big dreams and big goals that I want to achieve, but mindfulness has taught me to focus on giving my best to each task in the moment while letting the future take care of itself. I can’t overestimate how much this process helps release anxiety. It’s truly incredible.
Emily also wrote the foreword to my book, The Professional Women’s Guide to Managing Men, which you can read here.
Thanks for the interview, Emily!
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