At Elation we talk a lot about mindfulness.
But, I still find myself asking questions like, “How do you do it?” and “What impact does it have anyway?”
Mindfulness has been defined by many well known people. Take a look at this article by UC Berkley and the included video featuring Jon Kabat-Zinn if you need more information about what mindfulness is about.
I am a computer geek and software tester working with a U.S. based software development team. I can wrap my mind around abstracts–like mindfulness often appears to be. But at the end of the day if abstract doesn’t lead into something concrete I haven’t done my job properly.
So how do I do mindfulness? FOR REAL!
For me, the answer came in the definition of mindfulness about judgements. When you’re being mindful you don’t judge or label the thoughts you are having as good or bad. You simply observe them.
Take a situation where an end-user has come up to you and has a problem with your app after you just pushed out an update.
My thinking typically goes something like this:
“Oh great! Here we go again! We did all this great work and they still aren’t happy! Why can’t we get this right? Why can’t they just appreciate all the effort we put in?”
On and on and on, while I nod, smile, and say, “Thank you so much for pointing out those issues. I’ll be sure to log them and let the team know.”
How do I convey the feelings of deflation, frustration and lack of motivation that flood my brain because we didn’t get it right…..AGAIN!
Best I could do.
Could I reframe these thoughts as my coach might suggest I do? Sure. But reframing isn’t exactly being mindful in that moment.
In that moment, when the end-user is telling me how my app continues to fall short of the mark, I get a chance to recognize my thoughts. I get a chance to recognize that I’m feeling deflated. I get a chance to see my thoughts as they are right now…black letters on a white page, with absolutely no emotion or judgement attached to them.
And that helps. It helps me anyway. It isn’t perfect. My brain is still going to attempt to add all the emotions I have been hard-wired to feel in that situation. But I also get to recognize what is happening in that moment. I get to take note and use the opportunity to see the facts of the situation more objectively.
Can you feel my growing acceptance with the interaction? It isn’t bad, frustrating or negative. It just is. It happened and I had a chance to observe myself. I had a moment to be mindful.
Does this help your understanding of mindfulness? Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. Regardless, you’ll have to excuse me. I have some bugs to fix.