Is mindful business planning an oxymoron?

Let’s look at these two concepts…. Mindfulness is about being in the present moment. Business planning is about forecasting, creating future strategic plans and looking beyond the present. It seems contradictory that a mindfulness program would be beneficial in business planning, and yet combine the two concepts and you get a healthier business owner, and a business plan that will get incredible results.

I see many advisers sharing a similar situation at the moment. Running an advice business is a tough gig. On top of wearing the many hats of a small business owner, you have the added challenges of an onerous – and often changing – compliance regime. You’re faced with media and public scrutiny, and you have to stay abreast of constantly changing legislation affecting your clients.  The very role you play in a clients’ life brings with it serious responsibility and pressure, but you do it because you love helping people. I know you. You didn’t need legislation to force you to put your clients first because you do that everyday, sometimes to the detriment of your own health and wellbeing.

The problem with that is, doing what you love every day, especially when you’re really good at it, can actually have a negative effect. I’d even go so far as to say that constantly being in a state of ‘busy’ is very dangerous to your business, to the quality of the service and advice you provide your clients, to your personal relationships, and often to your overall wellbeing. If you’re finding yourself too crazy busy to take time out, if you feel like you have so many ideas and opportunities flying around in your head but you don’t have the clarity – or the time to act on them; if you feel like you don’t have time to stop and do some strategic planning for your business? It is at that point that you (and your business and clients) will enjoy greater success by doing the opposite of what you have been doing so far. Instead of working harder and longer, how about you actually slow down instead?

It feels counter intuitive doesn’t it?

We think that to be more successful we need to grow, service more clients, do more and be busy. When you’ve already achieved a good measure of success you pull out all stops to take care of the clients you have. (super contribution changes anyone?) Yet when we’re too busy, we stop seeing the bigger picture, we miss things, and business starts to get harder.

Over the past few years, I have experienced first-hand, the power of mindfulness. I’ve always been a passionate advocate of business planning, and I’ve now discovered the secret ingredient to the most effective plans.

Think for a moment… what if you were able to step away from your business for a few days, to reconnect with yourself (and perhaps your business partners), and learn how to reboot and re-energise your mind and body?

When you do your business planning in this state, ideas flow better, solutions to your current challenges or growth aspirations become crystal clear, and areas in which you were stuck begin to release. You are able to make intentional decisions that will have lasting positive effects both personally and for your business.

I love that this concept means more than just improving business results, it also improves the health and daily lives of the business owners, as well as those around them. (Yes – including their staff, clients, their family!). That’s no wild claim – the practice of mindfulness and the techniques to achieve it (meditation, yoga, breathing) are scientifically proven to improve our overall wellbeing. Our mental clarity and cognition improves, anxiety levels decrease and an increase in our productivity is accessed through mindfulness. By improving the brain’s ability to focus and reduce distractions, we can apply this to servicing our clients, staying compliant, growing revenue, and managing staff. These are all key drivers of greater success. No doubt this is why we are seeing large organisations throughout the world adopt Mindfulness programs. (Think Google, Apple, LinkedIn among others).

I feel like a kid in a candy shop with this knowledge. But instead of eating all the candy myself, I want to bring others into the candy shop with me! If nothing else, I hope that readers of this article will start looking into how they can access mindfulness training and techniques and incorporate them into their life, and their business planning.

For those who want to embrace this sooner than later and get their 2018 FY plan designed in the most powerful way, we’ve collaborated with a wonderful partner to create the Mindful Business Planning Retreat from the 15th to the 19th of August.

As an advice business owner herself, Lea Schodel is quite simply brilliant at helping pragmatic, intelligent business people tap into Eastern philosophies and learn to incorporate mindfulness and self-care practices into their everyday life. Lea’s partner practitioner, Ranjith is coming down to join us from India for what will be an absolutely brilliant four days in the luscious rainforest of Ubud in Bali. I’ll be there to guide our guests through their business planning process and support them as they map out their plans for 2018 and beyond.

The nature of this style of retreat means that our numbers are strictly limited, so if you feel like this is just what your mind, body and business needs at the moment, explore it further at www.mindfulbusinessretreats.com.au

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