January’s live training was with mindfulness expert and founder of Generation Mindful Fiorenza Rossini, who took us through a guided meditation practice and helped us to reflect on our current areas of chaos.
We discussed the idea of intention-setting, rather than mindless and never-ending goal-setting and why functioning on ‘autopilot’ will not serve your best interests.
Introduction to mindfulness
Fiorenza explained that most of us are operating on autopilot most of the time. Do you ever drive somewhere, for example, and think “How did I end up here? I wasn’t paying conscious attention at all!” This is a scary realisation at times, but many of our day-to-day tasks we complete without any conscious thought behind them. This is where mindfulness needs to come in. Achieving what we want and making more thoughtful decisions requires a level of calmness and thoughtful intention. Mindfulness is a tool that we can use everyday, for a few minutes, to help us reset and focus. It’s an essential for our wellbeing too. (Fiorenza has written an extensive article on this here which is worthwhile checking out!).
Intention-setting versus Goal-setting
According to Fiorenza, setting intentions rather than simply setting goals is important because intentions leak into our goals. Intentions are much more of a feeling in comparison to harder goals. They are positive subconscious thoughts that help us achieve the things we’ve identified as goals. Usually intentions are set in the present tense as they become more powerful this way. For example, “I am calm” is a helpful intention if you constantly feel run off your feet. If your goal is to find a new job this year, a background intention of feeling calm will help you to stay grounded, prioritise time for self-care and help you handle any rejection or obstacles along your way. Other examples of intentions that will help you this year are:
- I am patient
- I am kind
- I am generous with my time
- I am committed
- I make healthy decisions
- I care for myself
Pro tip: Make sure your intentions are set in the positive tense rather than in the negative i.e. “I want to stop feeling X way.”
Fiorenza’s guided meditation
With your intention already, enter this practice below, guided by Fiorenza, which is approximately 7 minutes. If you don’t have an intention in your head, that is OK too; by the end of the 7 minutes you are likely to have something come to your mind. Perhaps you can think more about a useful intention for yourself in the next few days. In this meditiation, Fiorenza guides you to relax and disconnect from your thoughts, so that you create a space for clearer intention-setting and decision-making.
After the guided meditation, the group reflected on how they found the practice and we now invite you to do the same. Was it challenging? Was it easy? What did it bring up with you?
These are the common thoughts shared and experienced by the group:
- Hard to switch off thoughts, but returning to the breath or one of the senses made it easier to return to the meditation
- Intentions became clearer: To have compassion, to have patience, to have healthy boundaries, to focus on health & resting more
- To-do lists kept coming up, but there was a realisation that in that moment there was nothing productive to do
- Nearly everyone said they imagined they were on a beach!
We hope you’ve found this mindfulness technique useful and it shows how effective it can be to give you more clarity – both in your work and personal life. You can follow and connect with Fiorenza on LinkedIn and she would be very happy to answer your questions on mindfulness. When you are trying to make a decision or are feeling overwhelmed, perhaps return to this page or find another meditation teacher and tune into a short practice.