I was just interstate in a humble Perth airport suburb. Not quite the exotic tourism location you’d put on your bucket list. None the less, I’m here to support the International All Round Weightlifting Competition. Being the support crew for a competitor isn’t exactly the holiday itinerary of the free living global traveller. It’s food planning, logistics monitoring and total selflessness because you’re there to help make a champ (yes, for once it’s not about me).
A moment free and I’m having a coffee in the local mall, resting my feet and chatting away. In that wee small moment I realise I feel as relaxed as If I’m on holidays on a beach somewhere blissful. A moment of being in that liberated mindset where everything is good and I’m content with the world. How could this be? I’ve got grocery shopping to do, I’ve had terrible sleep, got to visit the comp organisers, survey the location and I’m sitting in the middle of a suburban concrete belt having a mug of long black coffee. (For those who aren’t Melbourners a mug of long black is a sacred breach of coffeeology, and we’d generally rather drink from the Murray River than have one.) Experiencing a sense of mindful liberation in such a contradiction really took me by surprise. This liberated mind experience is a weird symphony of feeling free of stresses and thinking openly of possibilities.
I take a deep sigh and lose any lingering tension and let the concerns sit aside. I mentioned how grateful I was to have a small moment to feel connected to life, present and even happy to have a mission to get on with. I felt totally calm regardless of the chaos going on around me. My toes tapping away to a silent rhythm of contentment.
I use to believe those moments were exclusive to holidays or to when “i get everything done”. You know, when its ‘done’ I’ll rest, when the bank account is filled rich I’ll relax, when I’m fit I’ll have fun…when? When? When? When is not enough nor never likely. And I certainly have a lot on my backlog, much of which is put on hold to help make this comp happen.
Those moments of feeling liberated in our lives are worth experiencing all the time. Those moments of feeling relaxed, open to possibility and burden-less can be triggered any time and practiced regularly. Conditioning the mind to act on command isn’t a new science and I believe it doesn’t have to be a science for all of us to benefit from.
The Liberated Mind is generated by;
1. Breathing Quietly
2. Graceful Acknowledgement
3. Mindful Moment
Try these out once a week at least, every day if you can. Even do these in moments of stress as they are boosters to help us get through challenges. I attribute my calm nature when all else is chaos to these very techniques. Yes, it will be hard to sometimes not lash out, to remember to breathe and they are the very moments to do this.
Breath Quietly - always count in, hold and breathe out for at least 1 second longer. The US Navy Seals often practice a 6 - 2 - 7 count to bring their heart rate down. I tend to start with a 4 - 1 - 5 and go from there.
Graceful Acknowledgement - this varies ritually for people. What’s important is to simply start with ‘i’m grateful for….’ And always find something, even if it’s you’re grateful for the ability to breathe. I can tell you at times, i’ve been desperate to think of something so my ten toes are very well thanked.
Mindful moment - no, this isn’t about being cross-legged and chanting your way to blissful ignorance. It’s a simple statement of ‘there is no other moment like now’. Lift your head up - yes physically - and observe the situation at hand. There is no moment like now.
A liberated leader is free-from the constraints of the environment, conditioning and experience. Such leaders act powerfully regardless of the tornado around them. Becoming one starts with developing the liberated mind free-from the constraints of the environment, conditioning and experience. The irony is that ‘freedom’ isn’t free, well it’s certainly not given without paying your time in practice. Practice to shape your environment, condition your response and create the experience you want. This is the path to leadership mastery. Mastering the ability liberate your mind regardless of the situation so that you may act as the leader who calmly guides during chaos, appreciates and actively acknowledges the team at hand and finally you are mindfully aware of the impact of the situation at hand.
For now, practice the 3 techniques personally so that you are skilled to be able to leverage them professionally.
- Brain Cain: Author of Elite Mindset for sharing the Seals breathing cadence.
- Catherine Dorrestyn: for inviting me to support you to break 11 world records at the International All Round Weightlifting Championship