Here at SW+A we’re thinking a little differently about employee engagement. We call our approach “Spirit of 32” and this blog series will chronicle our journey. We’ll share what we’re learning along with resources you can leverage. We’ll be your test bed so if you have ideas, please let us know.

By Amber Hudson

Travel back 100 years and you won’t see anyone lifting weights or going for a run with the sole purpose of improving their physical health. “Working out” wasn’t seen as something that was healthy or necessary….they were naturally active in their typical day. Fast forward to today and we all know how critical physical training is given how sedentary our lives have become (“Sitting will kill you!” – CBC, CNN, Time).

Unlike 100 years ago, even 20 years ago, we are also dealing with an incredible amount of mental overload – there is so much competing for our mental attention we’re all feeling a bit fried. Well, now there is a wealth of information out there on the importance of training not only our bodies but also our MINDS. You might think, hey I AM training my mind: I think through tough challenges, I learn new skills. True, but there’s opportunity to do so much more.

There is empirical evidence that mindfulness, or mind training, will help you become more focused, more creative, less stressed. In fact, most of Silicon Valley is incorporating mindfulness. Nike, Ikea, Amex, General Mills have all introduced corporate mind training to enhance performance and well-being.

Here’s an example of mindfulness in action. The Seattle Seahawks had been to the Super Bowl only once, back in 2006 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. And they lost. Since then Coach Pete Carroll worked to completely overhaul the team: changing the roster, beefing up the defense, bringing in young talent. But the secret weapon appears to be the introduction of mindfulness. They brought in sports psychologist Michael Gervais who leads them in regular meditation to help the players with focus, awareness and clarity. Russell Okung is quoted as saying, “Meditation is as important as lifting weights and being out here on the field for practice…” Wow. Then in 2013, what happened? They won the Super Bowl. In 2014? Well, they got close. 1 inch close.

We at Sklar Wilton & Associates think there’s something very cool happening here.

So we started digging around and came across a company, the Potential Project, that specializes in Corporate-Based Mind Training (CBMT).  I attended a 2 day session with the Potential Project in November and walked away so inspired and excited about what I learned that we all agreed we just HAD to bring it to the team.

So we are going to share with you our journey into the world of mindfulness. Are some willing to jump right in with blind faith? Yes. Do some think we’re bonkers? Most definitely. Will everyone walk away with at least one way to bring mindfulness into their work and home environment? You bet.