The one habit that can improve almost every leadership skill
There is a simple practice that can improve nearly every component of leadership excellence and it doesn't require adding anything to your busy schedule. In The Mindfulness Edge, you'll discover how a subtle inner shift, called mindfulness, can transform things that you already do every day into opportunities to become a better leader. Author Matt Tenney has trained leaders around the world in the practice of mindfulness. In this book, he partners with neuroscientist Tim Gard, PhD, to offer step-by-step, practical guidance for quickly and seamlessly integrating mindfulness training into your daily life—rewiring your brain in ways that improve both the ‘hard' and ‘soft' skills of leadership.
In this book, you'll learn how mindfulness training helps you:
- Quickly improve business acumen and your impact on the bottom line
- Become more innovative and attract/retain innovative team members
- Develop the emotional intelligence essential for creating and sustaining a winning culture
- Realize the extraordinary leadership presence that inspires greatness in others
The authors make a compelling case for why mindfulness training may be the 'ultimate success habit.' In addition to helping you improve the most essential elements of highly effective leadership, mindfulness training can help you discover unconditional happiness and realize incredible meaning—professionally and personally.
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About the Author
MATT TENNEY works to develop highly effective leaders who achieve extraordinary, long-term business outcomesand live more fulfilling livesas a result of realizing high levels of self-mastery and more effectively serving and inspiring greatness in the people around them. He is an international keynote speaker, a corporate trainer, and the author of Serve to Be Great: Leadership Lessons from a Prison, a Monastery, and a Boardroom. He has been teaching mindfulness since 2002. Matt's clients include Wells Fargo, Marriott, Keller Williams, The Four Seasons, and many other companies, associations, and universities.
TIM GARD, PHD, is a neuroscientist, keynote speaker, and mindfulness trainer. His research focuses on the neural and psychological mechanisms of mindfulness in a variety of contexts. Tim is affiliated with the Lazar lab for neuroscience of mindfulness research at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.
Table of Contents
PREFACE A NOTE ON BEST ENJOYING THIS BOOK xvii
Everything Begins in the Mind xx
You Can Rewire Your Brain for Leadership and Personal Excellence xxi
What You’ll Find in This Book xxiii
Part 1 How Mindfulness Training Rewires the Brain for Leadership Excellence 1
Chapter 1 The Shift That Changes Everything 3
Beginner’s Mind 6
The Attitude of a Beginner Is Essential 7
The Shift That Changes Everything 14
Changing Our Default 19
Review Questions 22
Chapter 2 Making an Immediate and Direct Impact on the Bottom Line 23
How We Unconsciously Affect Gross Margins and Expenses 25
Uncovering Our Cognitive Biases 27
The Illusion of Control Bias 27
The Status Quo Bias 29
The Logic Bias 30
The Reaction Time Bias 31
Mindful Self-Awareness and Better Decisions 32
Mental Agility 36
Freedom from Autopilot Mode 36
A Persistent Beginner’s Mind 40
Doing What’s Uncomfortable 41
Quick Impact and Great Potential 42
Review Questions 42
Chapter 3 Organizational Climate Change 44
The Power of a Positive Emotional Climate 45
The Leader Drives the Emotions of the Team 46
The Emotionally Intelligent Leader 47
A More Emotionally Intelligent Brain 51
A Training Regimen for Emotional Intelligence 54
A Human Approach 55
Review Questions 57
Chapter 4 Fueling the Fire of Innovation 59
The Archetype of an Innovator 62
Resilience in the Face of Opposition 63
Empathetic Design 68
Review Questions 69
Chapter 5 Developing Extraordinary Leadership Presence 70
Staying Cool under Pressure 72
The Most Important Aspect of Leadership Presence 77
Review Questions 81
Chapter 6 Why Mindfulness Is the Ultimate Success Habit 82
Two Life-Changing Discoveries 83
The Power of Serving Others 84
Unconditional Happiness 85
The Study of Happiness 86
Happiness Is Good for Business 87
Happiness Is Predetermined, Kind of (But You Can Change That) 88
The Ultimate Success Habit 91
Review Questions 93
Part 2 Developing the Ultimate Success Habit 95
Chapter 7 The Perfection of the Present Moment 97
Beginning to Practice in Daily Life 100
The Brain Is a Habitual Machine 103
The First Step to Unconditional Happiness 104
A Win-Win-Win Paradigm Shift 108
Review Questions 111
Chapter 8 The Power of Sitting Still 112
Seamlessly Integrating the Training into Daily Life 114
A Beginner’s Guide to Sitting Still in Mindfulness 117
An Intermediate-Level Guide to Sitting Still in Mindfulness 121
Spilling over into Activity 124
Review Questions 124
Chapter 9 From 4 Hours to 4 Minutes: Mastering Emotions for Optimal Performance 125
Returning to Cool: From 4 Hours to 4 Minutes 128
Mindfulness of Emotions: SCIL 130
A Ride on the River of Emotions 139
Review Questions 139
Chapter 10 The Wisdom of True Excellence 141
Things Aren’t as They Seem 142
An Incredible Discovery 145
You’re Not What You Think 146
Wisdom versus Knowledge 150
The Interplay between Stable Awareness and Wisdom 151
Review Questions 152
Chapter 11 Extraordinary Leadership Presence and the Final Piece of the Puzzle of Unconditional Happiness 153
Pain Is Inevitable; Suffering Is Optional 155
A Taste of Liberation 158
More Fully Enjoying What’s Pleasant 160
That Darn Wisdom Again 163
The Root Cause of Suffering 163
Review Questions 165
Chapter 12 Advanced-Level Training 166
The Best Movie Ever 167
Brutal, Compassionate Honesty 169
Investigation of Phenomena 170
Managing Change 173
Seeing Opportunities No One Else Sees 174
Just Listening 175
The Power of Doing Nothing 176
Review Questions 177
Chapter 13 The Foundations of Wisdom: Physical Training for Character 178
The Foundations of Wisdom 180
Foundation of Wisdom 1—Integrity 181
Foundation of Wisdom 2—Skillful Communication 182
Speak in Ways That Are Helpful 183
Refrain from Offering Opinions Unless Asked to Do So or It Is Absolutely Necessary 184
Be Mindful while Using Electronic Devices 184
Conflict Management 185
The Power of Empathy 189
Foundation of Wisdom 3—Wise Consumption 191
Foundation of Wisdom 4—Generosity 194
Foundation of Wisdom 5—Kindness 195
Respect the Belongings of Others 195
Be Kind to All Conscious Beings 196
Exercises in Kindness 197
Your Personal Core Values 198
Review Questions 198
Chapter 14 Discovering Incredible Meaning at Work and in Your Time away from Work 201
A Purposeful Paradigm Shift 202
Saving the World on Your Way to the Bathroom 206
Review Questions 208
APPENDIX INTRODUCTION TO NEUROSCIENCE 210
How We Study the Brain 210
What Can We See in the Brain? 211
NOTES AND RESOURCES 215
ABOUT THE AUTHORS 252
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Mindfulness Edge is a reminder of the beauty and power of the human mind. Engaging the readers right away in chapter one with a beautiful explanation of the evolution of the theory of relativity, and its relation to the importance of “the beginners mind” in our every day interactions, the author elucidates the greatness that resides in all of us, and our potential to harness our own inner Einstein and see our thoughts and lives in a totally different way. The author, who has also worked extensively with mindfulness in corporate leadership, leads the reader through how these personal inner world paradigm shifts can ultimately change the outer world around us. This practical guide leads the reader through steps to building an effective personal practice, and offers specific exercises to develop this practice. I found this book to be inspiring. As a mother of three young children with two places of employment, I experience daily anxiety and some thought patterns that can use adjustment at times – I found this book to be engaging enough to actually change some of my patterns. After explaining what I learned to my 8 year old son when he was feeling frightened about something before bed, and I could see these tools have also helped him. I highly recommend this book. It is engaging, interesting and ultimately mind expanding. I am grateful to the author for his supportive enthusiasm for a mindful and joyful life!
In his latest book, The Mindfulness Edge, Matt Tenney and Tim Gard, PHD, treat us to an intriguing and science-based account of why awareness mindfulness training can help us improve our personal and professional lives. "Our emotional state affects the emotional state of the people around us," he asserts. The first part of the book explains the correlation between mindfulness, leadership and success. Leaders who maintain a "beginner's mind", keep their egos in check and who intentionally train their minds to function more effectively, lead happy, high-performing teams, which leads to happy, loyal customers who, "drive positive business outcomes." I love the anecdotes included in the book, especially the one about the fall and recovery of Campbell's Soup. In the second part of the book, we are taught, as leaders and humans, how to practice mindfulness in our daily lives, including through the SCIL method, and through Sitting, Listening and Doing Nothing. The tips provided in the book are simple and actionable. I have been fortunate to see and learn from Matt Tenney in person. This book is a gift for those who don't have that privilege, and one of the best books on mindfulness that I have come across. This book does a spectacular job of reminding us of the importance of mindfulness to "see clearly what is actually happening - to see things not in term of how we want them to be, or how our conditioning tells us they must be but how they actually are." And then showing us how we can be more present and happier in the moment.
Have you ever considered the effect that thought s of past events and future possibilities have on our ability to be an effective decision maker in the present? Matt Tenney and Tim Gard, in their new book The Mindfulness Edge, explain the decision making process and how our thoughts outside of the present can negatively impact our ability to make the best, most optimum decisions. The reader is provided with simple steps to begin and then build on a mindfulness practice that change your life. This book is a excellent read for anyone who makes decisions, either in a business or personal role or both.
The Mindfulness Edge is a great practical guide to understanding the importance and implementation of self awareness as a leader. I wish everyone I know would read this and understand the concepts Matt shares in his books....his prior book Serve to be Great was also compelling and at the same time, practical.
The Mindfulness Edge is a great blend of research and practice wrapped in an easy to read narrative that draws you in. I’m looking forward to sharing the exercises with my clients,
Two years ago I was looking to book a speaker for a conference I was planning and happened to come across Matt Tenney's first book, Serve to Be Great. I was moved by his story and finished the book quickly because I couldn't stop reading. Since that time I've had the honor of seeing Matt present multiple times and have had the chance to get to know the genuine and kind person that he is. He is a true testament to the impact that mindfulness can have on one's life. His journey has inspired me to not just want to improve my own mindfulness practice but has also made me want to be a better human being. The Mindfulness Edge provides the perfect balance of practical application to help one get started on their journey towards becoming more mindful as well as scientific research to back up why it's so important to practice. For me, working on being mindful in the small, routine moments of the day to day and incrementally increasing that focus has made practicing mindfulness simply a way of living. It's led to improvements in all of the areas of my life. The Mindfulness Edge truly provides great insight in to how easy it can be to start to immediately weave mindfulness in to your life to help you be a better employee, friend, spouse, parent, leader and person.
I'm a huge fan of Matt's first book Serve to Be Great and I'm so glad he followed it up with this incredible book, The Mindfulness Edge. Watching Matt speak or being around him in person, it's easy to see that mindfulness is a huge part of who he is and how he shows up in the world. Mindfulness is also very dear to my heart. I know how much it has changed my life and it is one of the single greatest things I think anyone can do to make their lives better. Matt and Tim do a great job of explaining the basics of mindfulness and the reasons it can be incredible for you including: improving your emotional and social intelligence, becoming more innovative, managing change more effectively, seeing opportunities others don't, improving your leadership presence and leading a more fulfilling life. Believe me, I know that sounds crazy but it's true. I've seen it myself. I've meditated for 10 days straight at a silent retreat and I still think it's the most powerful thing I've ever done for my personal growth. Thank you for writing this book and sharing it with the world Matt and Tim, I hope it reaches lots and lots of people! If you want to see an interview I did with Matt too, check it out here: www.travishellstrom.com/matt. He is a lot of fun to listen to!
I enjoyed the book. Initially I struggled with the medical sections called "neuro notes" but then Matt mentioned in the book that the neuro notes could be skipped and all went well. I'm excited about the possibilities I can create through my mindfulness training. I have a long way to go but the book breaks down mindfulness training in such a way that it really is easy to try.
After reading The Mindfulness Edge, I was left with an indescribable sense of awe for the power that lies within each of our minds. A power that can transform us completely as leaders and in all aspects of our lives. Profoundly different than ordinary intellectual knowledge, Matt and Tim give us a firsthand glimpse into another dimension of being from which true life-changing wisdom pours forth. We are taken on a journey into the world of mindfulness, a practice that carries us beyond our conditioned, reactive, ego-based mechanical nature to a deeper realm that exists within each of us. The nature of this realm is that of pure peace, compassion, wisdom, mental sharpness and intuition that enables us to perform at peak levels as leaders and as human beings, embodying all of the positive all-attractive qualities which all people aspire to. Once we have made the shift to this deeper dimension, everything in our life changes, and success pours forth in unimaginable ways. I cannot recommend The Mindfulness Edge enough, and truly hope that all people come to understand the truths in this book that will finally bring their lives as leaders and as human beings to that place of perfect harmony. Anthony Cortez, RN, BSN
The Mindfulness Edge can help organizations thrive! Matt Tenney and Tim Gard masterfully illustrate how the skills of mindfulness can equip leaders with the tools to foster productivity and cohesiveness. Love the exercises! Also, the Neuronotes that are provided throughout this book give credibility and substantiation to the assertions. Furthermore, the review questions are interactive and engaging. The vivid metaphors are memorable, such as exploring our ability to have peace of mind when we are craving a piece of pizza, but have to be patient. My favorite line is “They say [Love] is an irrelevant, soft skill. But love is highly relevant in a business context, and may be the hardest skill there is to develop” p.83. This book is a stellar resource!!!
The Mindfulness Edge is an engaging book that lays out a clear and effective path available to anyone. I especially appreciate the way Matt Tenney serves as guide through precise use of questions and exercises that lead people to discover their own inner wisdom, all while coming to a better understanding of the neuroscientific basis as provided in tandem by Tim Gard. Together, Matt and Tim take readers on an inner exploration that leads to compassionate action enabled by better decision making in any context, regardless of whether the reader is responsible for leading themselves, small teams, or entire large organizations. I highly recommend this book!
This book spoke to my heart! I was blown away by the wisdom Matt Tenney shares. He gives a simple (though not easy) way to change my world.
Not having that much experience in the topic of leadership and mindfulness I was a bit apprehensive if I would be able to follow The Mindfulness Edge book. I should not have worried a bit, as Matt Tenney takes you on an easy to understand journey on how to achieve mindfulness in your everyday life as well as in your workplace, helping you becoming a mindful leader. I found the supporting “neuro notes” by Tim Gard, PhD extremely interesting and useful in understanding the “wiring” of our brains. This is a must read book for anyone who is serious about becoming a great leader and should be part of any business curriculum. If kids in high school would read this book we would have much better chances of cultivating a generation of mindful and great leaders.
This colorful healing book takes you on a journey to enable you to live in your present day life without simply going through the motions. It provides data on mind awareness and promotes present minded thinking. It also provides tools and tips that are crucial to get you out of your own suffering by bringing awareness to your body, mind, thoughts, and physical ailments. From tips on controlling the breath, to taking your awareness to thoughts and feelings, this book dives into the control we must take over our own awareness to minimize suffering and aid in the most present positive minded life possible. I am thankful to have been on this journey and have taken various notes and highlighted many sections I will revisit. A special thank you to the author for truly contributing back to mankind to work towards a more pleasant happy and peaceful today!
For someone like me, who has struggled to "get" the practice of mindfulness, I really enjoyed how the authors stressed having a "beginner's mind" - that is, seeing the world fresh and anew in each moment. Also helpful throughout was the scientific data that backs up the mindfulness trend we are seeing (the "neuro notes" sections were great!). Matt and Tim make it so easy to justify why investing (both in time and money) in the practice and training of mindfulness can not only offer huge returns in business but can radically change our every day lives.
The Mindfulness Edge is an excellent read and I especially like the way it is designed. Each concept is articulated effectively by Matt Tenney with ways to implement the learning into life immediately. Then, each concept includes a section by neuroscientist Tim Gard, PhD to substantiate the idea on a scientific level for those who want to validate the principle addressed. Another great component are the review questions at the end of each chapter. They were a fantastic review to assure I absorbed the key material presented. This book has changed me for the better.
The Mindfulness Edge is a deep book (in a good way); there are a LOT of mind opening insights that will expand your business acumen as well as personal consciousness. The observations and examples in this book lead you to stretch your skills and walk you through aspects of yourself, you didn't realize existed. This book is exactly what a continuous learner wants in a book, because it pushes you to dive deeper and deeper into yourself.
Over this past holiday season, I was invited to read and review a pre-lease, advance copy of a book by Matt Tenney and Tim Gard. The title of the book is The Mindfulness Edge. The book's subtitle is "How to Rewire Your Brain for Leadership and Personal Excellence Without Adding to Your Schedule." I think that Tenney and Gard have written a true gem. Tim Gard provides the "Neuro Notes" throughout the text that reference the most recent and relevant research relating to the concepts described by Matt Tenney. Reading The Mindfulness Edge was an exceptional experience. With practical as well as scientific insights, these two authors provide persuasive evidence to illuminate the power within the practice of mindfulness. Their combined insights encourage the reader to explore the multiplying effect of mindfulness -- clearly demonstrating the linkage between mindfulness practice and improved self-awareness, mental agility and attention control as well as unconditional happiness. These resulting benefits can all lead to a multiplying effect on personal leadership effectiveness -- in fact this book could have easily been titled, Mindfulness: the personal leadership effectiveness multiplier! I encourage you to get a copy, read it and begin the practice of mindfulness as a part of your leadership journey.