What We’re Reading…

mindfulness

Vacation and travel are over and the Leadership Matters folks are back in the saddle. We thought we’d start off with a reading list just so you know we haven’t been idle. Here are some things we’ve enjoyed.

In the book department….Finding the Space to Lead: A Practical Guide to Mindful Leadership by Janice Marturano. Yes, mindfulness is everywhere, and no it’s not all about breathing and meditation. Think purposefulness. And it’s less than 200 pages so it won’t take long to read.

And if you listen to Matt Killingsworth’s Ted Talk on happiness, you will realize how mindfulness, purpose and happiness are linked. If you are a leader, you will also discover that roughly 47 percent of our time is spent with our mind wandering and that when it wanders, we’re not happy. So a staff, a team, a department who can focus with purpose is likely to be a happier group of people. So listen. If you want to be part of Professor Killingsworth’s study, go to www.trackyourhappiness.org/

While we’re on the subject of mindfulness, you might also want to read Ozy.com’s article on Sharon Salzberg and Robert Thurman’s book Love Your Enemies. Again, we’re not advocating one religion over another, Thurman and Salzberg are Buddhist teachers, but if there’s anger–big or small–in your workplace, reading their book may help you. What leader doesn’t need to not be victim or slave to their emotions?

On the other hand, if you want to think about leadership not in the context of work and management, but rather as it exists at America’s elite colleges, we suggest you read Tara Burton’s Atlantic essay.

Because we’re always encouraging you to read everything you can about leadership, not just museum articles, not just business and leadership web sites, but as they say in education, “across the curriculum,” here’s a poem as well.

Before We Leave
 
 
Just so it’s clear—-
No whining on the journey.
If you whine, you’ll get stuck
somewhere with people 
like yourself. It’s an unwritten law.
Wear hiking boots. Pack food
and a change of clothes.
We go slowly. Endurance won’t
be enough. Though without it
you can’t get to the place
where more of you is asked.
Expect there will be times 
when you’ll be afraid,
Hold hands and tremble together
if you must, but remember
each of us is alone.
Where are we going?
It’s not an issue of here or there.
And if you ever feel you can’t
take another step, imagine
how you might feel to arrive
if not wiser, a little more aware
how to inhabit the middle ground
between misery and joy.
Trudge on. In the higher regions
where footing is unsure
to trudge is to survive.
 
Stephen Dunn

 

And one last thought, if you’re a member of the double X chromosome group, go get a copy of Debora Spar’s Wonder Women: Sex, Power and the Quest for Perfection. We think there’s a lot of food for thought.

 

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