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"How you manage your attention today influences your life tomorrow. The great opportunity of our time is to harness our inner technology … to learn to fully optimize nature’s most powerful operating system: the human mind. Mindfulness is a mental discipline for developing personal awareness and mastery of one’s inner life." Bess Gallanis at Ignite Chicago on February 6, 2012.

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  • Let’s dial it down a little bit and get our technology distractions out of the way.Send that textRefresh your emailAnd by all means Tweet that I’ve just taken the stage at Ignite Chicago. Good. Now, close your eyes and take a nice, deep inhale and let it go. ( We’ve just synchronized our mirror neurons, which means that all of us in this room are literally on the same wavelength. ) The great opportunity of our time is to harness our inner technology … to learn to fully optimize nature’s most powerful operating system: the human

    1. 1. Got mindfulness?Bess GallanisPresented at Ignite ChicagoFebruary 6, 2012
    2. 2. PRESENCE IS MY PRACTICELet’s dial down the energy a little and get ourtechnology distractions out of the way.Send that text.Refresh your email.Update your Facebook page.Good. Now, close your eyes and take a nice,deep inhale and let it go.The great opportunity of our time is toharness our inner technology … to learn tofully optimize nature’s most powerfuloperating system: the human mind. Photo by Justin Barbin Bess Gallanis. All rights reserved. 2012 2
    3. 3. PRESENCE IS HIS PRACTICEOne of my personal heroes, Chicago’s favoriteson NBA basketball coach Phil Jackson, says “.. . to have your best performance, you have tobe relaxed.”I’m not going to argue with a manwho ran out of fingers to wear hischampionship rings.1Coach Jackson is famous for tworevolutionary coaching techniques: thetriangle offense and mindfulness training.The parallel here is this: in ourinterdependent world of work, family, lifeand love, technical skill will get you only sofar.There is another half to the performanceequation and that’s what we’re here toexplore.1Basketball coach Phil Jackson, the NBAchampionship record holder with 11 wins. Bess Gallanis. All rights reserved. 2012 3
    4. 4. ATTENTION INTERRUPTUSOur greatest challenge as knowledge workersisn’t time management, but attentionmanagement.We know that a clear and focused mind isessential to peak performance, yet you – allof us here tonight -- live in a state ofcontinual partial attention.2When you multi task, you’re attention is amile wide and a millimeter deep.Attention interruptus is a variation on thetheme. If you are not interrupted by yetanother incoming email, instant message orTweet, you will interrupt yourself.Whatever you want to call it, multi –taskingequals lost productivity, leading to anxiety,leading to stress.2 Linda Stone Bess Gallanis. All rights reserved. 2012 4
    5. 5. CRASH AND BURNStress is the result of too much distress fromyour environment. Everyone has theirunique stress threshold and when you’vereached your limit, the input overwhelmsyour physical, mental and emotional capacity.Your blood rushes from your brain and intoyour limbs to fuel the fight or flight response.Your adrenal glands release hormones ofmass brain destruction. Ergo, stress.The Medieval origin of the word stress is todraw asunder and tear apart. Your brain onstress is in a frenzy.Under stress, your capacity for self controlplummets. Mistakes are more likely and poorcommunication is a given. Your problemsolving ability flies out the window – becauseit’s been torn asunder.Spend too much time in metabolic over driveand you get ... crash and burn. Bess Gallanis. All rights reserved. 2012 5
    6. 6. GOT MINDFULNESS?It was my own crash and burn that led mefrom my yoga mat and meditation cushioninto an executive leadership program at anelite business school.Our first assignment: meditate for 20 minutesWhile most leadership programs focus ontactical skills, this program focused ondeveloping personal awareness and masteryof one’s inner life.I quickly learned that leadership is an insightjob. From grade schools to elite graduateschools, from the US military to members ofCongress, people are practicing mindfulnessto enhance their self-awareness, to learnhow to quickly transition their focus, todetect and rescript negative thinking, todevelop resilience and to recover morequickly from stress and emotional events. Bess Gallanis. All rights reserved. 2012 6
    7. 7. THE POWER OF PRESENCEa way of paying attentionHow you manage your attention todayinfluences your life tomorrow.At any given moment look at where you mindis at. It’s either fretting over the past orfantasizing about the future.Mindfulness is the skill of keeping yourattention focused in the present and on yourexperience of the present moment.It is the mental discipline of systematic selfobservation and self-awarenes. Bess Gallanis. All rights reserved. 2012 7
    8. 8. CHANGE YOUR VIEWself observationMindfulness won’t change the world, but itcan change your world.Numerous studies have documented thebenefits of mindfulness practice toreduce stress, increase self control andpromote more perceptive body/mindawareness.Mindfulness turns your gaze inward, towardyour self. From this insight, you can act withintention to your thoughts and emotionsrather than react without thinking.Through this systematic process, it’s possibleto improve your well being and yourperformance. Bess Gallanis. All rights reserved. 2012 8
    9. 9. DEVELOP RESILIENCEresponse (ability)A day filled with stress, ambiguity and changesounds like white water to me.You start the day headed in one direction, ittakes a turn and before you know it, eventsare moving in the opposite direction – andfast. Your body churns with stress and yourmind struggles to focus.This is your fork in the river: do you resist,react or respond with intention?Mindfulness equips you with the tools tonavigate the changes and challenges of yourday – in real time.The more you work at it, the more youexpand your capacity for stress, change andambiguity.Building these capacities is called resilience. Bess Gallanis. All rights reserved. 2012 9
    10. 10. IMPROVE YOUR FOCUSmindful flowIf you stopped to think about, you wouldrealize how much of your mindspace isoccupied by a spontaneous stream ofthoughts. We make a countless number ofchoices and decisions from autopilot mode.Practicing mindfulness helps you build upthe resources and self control to resistdistractions, to better sort the signal from thenoise in your daily interactions and tomanage your emotions and responses to thedaily flow of stuff.Focus becomes less a struggle and moreabout getting into the flow. Bess Gallanis. All rights reserved. 2012 10
    11. 11. EASY BUT NOT SIMPLEnothing to loseThe only thing standing between chaos andcalm in your life are a few tools, includinghow to relate to yourself, your experiencesand other people through mindfulness.You have every reason to give mindfulness atry.You won’t have to eat, drink or smokeanything.You won’t give up carbs or meat.You won’t even work up a sweat.You have nothing to lose but a fewdistractions … and a lot of stress.As Einstein said, “. . . everything should be assimple as possible, but not simpler.”So here I offer you a simple, but not easy,introduction to mindfulness. Bess Gallanis. All rights reserved. 2012 11
    12. 12. BREATHE DEEPLYEveryone take a deep breath.Again.Inhale deeply. . . let it go.I bet you feel better already.Breathing is the killer app of personal andprofessional performance.Your breath is the tool you can use to makesure you have a secure connection to yourinner technologies – your body, youremotions, your thought and your actions.Do this for five minutes every day:Concentrate fully on your breathing andnothing else.Your blood pressure will drop. Your arousalthreshold will drop. You will be more calm.When you are calmer, you make betterdecisions. Bess Gallanis. All rights reserved. 2012 12
    13. 13. MIND AND BODY CONNECTIONWe think of our mind and body as separate.Your head is up here, and it carries aroundyour brain and your thoughts and your eyesthat see the world from on high. Your body islocated below and it just all seemsdisconnected.The reality: mind and body are an integratedsystem. Your body holds information andwhen you listen it will reveal its intelligence.It’s language is physical sensation.Most of us are familiar with the downside ofthis integrated circuitry. Stress pools inplaces like lower backs, necks and shoulders.There are upsides, however. Your gutcontains an extensive network of nerves thatcommunicate with the brain. Scientists call isthe second brain. Performers call is stagefright. Others call it gut instinct. Bess Gallanis. All rights reserved. 2012 13
    14. 14. EMOTIONS HAVE FEELINGS TOOThink about this: when you are in the grip ofan intense emotional experience – love,anger, frustration – what do you feel?That’s right! We experience emotions asbodily feelings. Remember, the mind andbody are an integrated system.The truth is this: when you give your full,mindful attention to the emotion, when youyield to the feeling of the emotion, look at it,observe it, let it roll over you – it loses itshold on you.This pause creates the space you need toconsider a response rather than a reaction toyour emotion. Bess Gallanis. All rights reserved. 2012 14
    15. 15. A MIND OF ITS OWN“Of all the liars in the world, sometimes theworst is your mind and its fears.”Thank you Rudyard Kipling for pointing outthat our minds have a mind of their own.Pay attention to your thought stream for afew minutes and you will notice how much ofyour thinking is automatic. Your intellectualmind applies labels and assumptions to yourexperience without challenge – or even asecond thought.Mindfulness keeps you focused on theexperience – without labeling things, judgingthe experience as good or bad, or judgingyourself. This is what Buddhists call‘beginner’s mind.’When you let go of all your intellectualthinking, ideas are no longer good or bad.They’re just ideas. Absent judgmentalthoughts, you may see how much noveltysurrounds you. Bess Gallanis. All rights reserved. 2012 15
    16. 16. CONTROL YOUR CHOICESThe more you practice paying mindfulattention, the more control you have overyour choices.And who in this room wouldn’t choose more:Calm and creativity.Passion and productivity.Love and laughs.More mindfulness.Namaste, metta, peace! Bess Gallanis. All rights reserved. 2012 16
    17. 17. BESS GALLANIS INC.WWW.BESSGALLANISINC.COM312.659.7572 Got mindfulness?Bess Gallanis is the founder of Speaking withPower and Persuasion, an award‐winningcorporate communication and executivecommunications coaching firm.She prepares senior executives, crisis teams,professionals, business owners and start-upfounders for high visibility, high impactcommunication events – investorpresentations, media interviews, keynotespeeches, sensitive conversations, employeeengagement, personal branding, thoughtleadership and ideas-driven conferencepresentations.Recognizing that wellness is a leadershipissue, Bess challenges business executives tothink differently about the role that mental,physical, emotional and spiritual resourcesplay in their communication skills andprofessional performance.