By Mark Creedon
The 4 M’s
I was having a conversation the other day with Louise Bedford from The Trading Game. We were talking about how people have coped during all of the uncertainty and turmoil of the last 12 months.
Louise came up with a concept she called the four M’s and I really liked it. There is no doubting the power of positive psychology but sometimes just thinking positively isn’t enough.
What we need is a framework. A framework that helps us structure our daily life so that we have a set process to focus on what’s working and to bring positivity into our daily existence.
Here are Louise’s four M’s.
There is plenty of research about the power of meditation. Most of us know that meditation can help us relax, focus and generally draw a more positive experience from life.
What we don’t do often is set time aside to actually meditate. Now I don’t know about you, I’ve tried meditation over the years price and found myself struggling to relax enough to focus on the meditation.
I guess I was seeing it like a task that had to have all of my attention rather than simply letting it happen. What I learned was in order to let it happen I didn’t need as much of a process as I needed a structure.
So, now to meditate I do to simple things.
Firstly I set aside dedicated time in a dedicated place.
Secondly I use technology. Sounds a little bit counterintuitive doesn’t? To think that the concept of meditation is to take us away from technology, away from the pressures of day-to-day living and especially away from the pressures of our work and our business.
But here’s the thing I discovered that by cleverly using technology I could create a structure which enabled me to meditate quickly and effectively.
I mean let’s be honest wouldn’t be great if we all had time to don a saffron robe and sit cross-legged for hours simply pondering our navels would staring deep into our souls to find a true meditative state?
Who has time for that? Would I need is a way to find a meditative state, to get there quickly and then to get the most benefits from it.
That’s where technology came to the rescue. The truly great news is that now we are spoiled for choice. I really like Headspace but also used Calm.
Jump onto your app store or Google play and have a look at both. Geez while you’re there have a look at whatever apps you think will help you to find your meditative state, your inner peace and then set some time aside to use it.
Downloading the app is one thing, using it is another. Set some time aside in a place reserved just for you and tap into whatever app you’ve chosen and fine how quickly guided meditation can help you relax refresh and renew.
I think Louise’s first M is great advice!
Louise defined mindfulness as the practice of paying attention to the present moment. She described it as intentional and nonjudgemental.
How many times have you been involved in a wonderful experience but find yourself thinking about your To Do list or all those tasks that are in your calendar that you haven’t got to?
In our Business Accelerator Mastermind we often talk about the importance of stopping and taking stock. We always spend time every month focusing on what we’ve achieved for that month.
You see I think that we are often so focused on the next task or the next goal that we forget to just stop for a moment and appreciate what we’ve achieved and what we have and that’s exactly what mindfulness is about.
Caroline and I are very lucky, we live by the water and most days will spend our mornings walking on the beach taking a swim in the ocean but I remember when we first moved there standing on the beach checking my emails.
I’d forgotten to stop and take stock of what was around me in the moment. I was so focused on what I had to do that day, what was outstanding that I missed what was right in front of me.
That’s what mindfulness is. It’s realising and appreciating what is in front of you, what is around you. Caroline called me out on it that very day and I have since been very grateful.
If you’re struggling a little bit with the concept of mindfulness or how it is the going to practice this magical process, have a look at www.projecthappiness.org.
There are some great resources there and even eight simple habits you can practice every day to increase your mindfulness.
Sometimes just taking dedicated time to sit, in the morning and think about not what you have to do that day but about you and your surroundings and maybe even practising gratitude.
I was so glad when Louise added Mates to her list. The power of friends and engaging with friends is I think often underrated.
In business, especially in a small business it can be really lonely and if you don’t have friends who are also in business then it’s often difficult to share some of the fears, frustrations and aspirations you have.
I’m sure you’ve heard the comments. “How lucky you, you’re in business for yourself so you can do whatever you want whenever you want” ha ha, if only that were true!
Having made to understand you identify with what you do is incredibly valuable. It’s one of great benefits of being involved in a mastermind and it’s one of the things I love about our Accelerator Mastermind group is that we have this real collective momentum.
Finding mate to understand the pressures you’re under, fears and frustrations you have and aspirations that you have will help enormously in getting through can sometimes feel I could only grind.
Don’t get me wrong this is not just for people in business having good friends around you will have the same benefits for everyone.
I think it’s really cool about the concept is that will help you by having a mate but you will help others by being a mate.
I actually wasn’t expecting this to be the last of Louise’s four M’s but on reflection it makes sense.
You can practice meditation and mindfulness and you can have mates around you but if you don’t stop and just focus inwards and spend some me time then what’s this all about?
Me time is different from meditation time or mindfulness time this is a time to do something that’s just for you. Now maybe spending an hour meditating is just for you or maybe at setting up a reward buying yourself something nice or something cool.
Maybe it’s an experience. Maybe at spending time with loved ones, walking the dog, cuddling the cat.
The Oxford dictionary actually defines me time as time spent relaxing on one’s own as opposed to working on doing things for others, seen as an opportunity to reduce stress or restore energy.
What a great definition! This this is what it’s about. Finding some time to focus on you, something that is going to make you happy. I don’t think it has to be time spent alone by the way.
I think “Me time” is simply about doing something that feeds you so that spending time with others that I think you should go for it.
I love taking my dogs for a walk on the beach and “Me time” for me sometimes locking myself away my music room playing the drums or trying to make something melodic on my ukulele.
I think the important thing is to work out what it is for you and then make it happen.
Like most things, the success here lies in the follow-through. It’s great to identify what “me time” is to you then you have to dedicate time to engage in.
So there’s Louise’s four M’s. I hope that identifying those four M’s will help you to bring a little more peace order and structure as we start to close out what has been an absolutely chaotic year.
Oh, wait. Louise had a fifth M. She said her fifth M was Mark because of how much I’ve helped her. Isn’t that sweet. Thanks Louise!
Mark Creedon is the founder of Business Accelerator mastermind by Metropole and business coach to some of Australia’s leading entrepreneurs – helping them build a true business, not a job.
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