Jay Fields, Author, educator, facilitator
Workshop presenter: Out of Your Mind: Mindfulness in Action
Every human being wants to be able to be themselves no matter where they are. No one wants to shut the door behind them at work in the morning and become merely a role, a title, or a diminished version of themselves. And yet, we do it all the time.
Research shows that 71% of employees aren’t fully engaged at work. Though typically the corresponding conversation to low engagement is the $288 billion in lost revenue due to low productivity, another relevant conversation is that this means we have a workforce that is nearly 3/4 comprised of human beings who aren’t being their best, most full selves at work. That is a great cost to not only the bottom line and the quality of work performed, but also to the quality of life of the people who are disengaged.
If 71% of us are struggling with engagement, that suggests that being engaged isn’t easy. Or perhaps it suggests that our attempts at engagement are misguided.
We have such a strong cultural bias toward intellect and doing over feeling and being that even as the mindfulness movement becomes more prevalent in the workplace, the focus still tends to be on calming the mind in a way that actually can promote numbing out. Very little attention is given to the role of the body and of our felt senses and emotions in promoting our most mindful and fully alive selves.
We learn very quickly in our culture that to be a good employee means to show up as mentally sharp and emotionally contained as possible. That in order to be great leaders, strong decision makers, key team players, we need to operate from the neck up.
But current research in neuroscience demonstrates that the opposite is true: growing our capacity to feel our sensations and discern their meaning leads to greater social and emotional intelligence. This enhanced social and emotional intelligence allows for access to greater emotional regulation, more agency in choosing one’s response to a situation rather than getting stuck in habitual reactions, stronger connection to one’s intuition and decision making skills, less fear and more compassion, empathy and connection to others.
This list no doubt describes the qualities of a stellar employee. It also happens to describe what we’d all agree is a pretty remarkable human being. Not only are those two things not mutually exclusive, they are correlated. The more of our humanity—of our whole selves—we can bring to our work, the better we will be at what we do.
This requires training in mindfulness that goes beyond the mind to emphasize the importance of the body’s intelligence. If you’re curious what this looks like, join me for the Out of Your Mind breakout at this year’s Partnership for Excellence Conference where we’ll experientially explore building embodied self-awareness. Expect to walk away with accessible, practical tools that you can apply to be your best self at work and beyond.
In addition to educator, facilitator and author, Jay Fields has also been called The Smarty-Pants Whisperer and The Real Deal. She is a veteran transformational educator and author of the books Teaching People, Not Poses and Home in Your Body.
An expert on embodied integrity, her approach to helping people be their whole self is grounded, gritty, playful and intelligent. Jay has a master’s degree in Integral Transformative Education, maintains a somatic mentoring practice, facilitates trainings internationally and is on the faculty for the Awakened Heart Embodied Mind Training in Santa Monica, California.
When she’s not talking with clients over Skype or hopping on a plane to work with folks in the flesh, you can find Jay riding her motorcycle through the mountains outside of Ojai, CA.