We are so busy, wearing multiple hats, answering to many masters, and trying to advance our careers, we fall further and further behind in what were initially reasonable deadlines. Frustrated suppliers. Cost overruns. Errors with significant budget impact. What has happened to us? Is there a solution? How do we stop the madness and rediscover the joy that brought us here in the first place. 

We propose a simple shift in perception. Shifting perception requires a change in your priorities and attitudes. This kind of change isn’t easy, it requires an enormous amount of mental discipline.

How to cultivate mental discipline? That’s the $64,000 question…


yogi-on-hillHarvard Business Review did an article called “2 Things That Are Killing Your Ability to Focus” where they suggest practicing mindfulness. There’s a reason for that.  A meditation practice is proven to lower stress levels, improve cognitive functioning, creative thinking and productivity.  It’s not just for yogi’s and Trappist monks, no, a lot of astoundingly successful business people employ a regular meditative practice.

Open Awareness

We also need to practice open awareness, that means not getting caught up in one particular thing, don’t judge , sensor or tune out, simply perceive. Ex: being in line at the airport, instead of being frustrated that the person is taking too long to get through screening, simply being aware of the other travelers around you. This openness sets the mind free to uncover creative solutions while also reducing the everyday stressors that steal your ablity to focus on what’s important.


We know, it sounds silly. How many times have you heard, “Take a deep breath.” It’s because deep  breathing actually slows the heart rate and lowers blood pressure.  When we are stressed we need to lower our heart rate and blood pressure.  So stop, breathe and then go back to work.

Adopt a service mentality 

How can we help? Harvard Business Review on “The Focused Leader” where they explored how the focused leader was not only focused on himself (self awareness) but also focused on others. If we really want to be effective in our work we all need to practice empathy and compassion. Where is that other person coming from? When we tune into our colleague’s or our client’s needs then we are able to better serve them. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our selves and what we need to do that we get all twisted up when our colleague or client asks for help.  This ‘twisty’ feeling can be eradicated by a shift in focus.  We are in the service business, let’s be of service.

Take pride in what you do, allow for mistakes, both from yourself and from others, and breathe through the stress.  Let’s rediscover the joy in the work.