Diversity Woman Magazine

FALL 2014

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

Issue link: https://diversitywoman.epubxp.com/i/385684

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DW Life > 54 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N Fall 2014 d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m Janice Marturano, the former general counsel and vice president for public re- sponsibility at General Mills and creator of the mindfulness leadership train- ing there. "Our day is cluttered and full, and we move from task to task. At 6:30 p.m. we look at the clock, wonder what exactly we've done, and feel exhausted. And every day, it seems we must juggle just a little faster. We're simply not pres- ent for our lives—whether it's at home or at work." Such challenges prompted Marturano to turn to mindfulness training. In 2000, her life became a perfect storm. She was a wife, mother, daughter of aging parents, president of a nonproft, and vice presi- dent at General Mills. Tat year, she was asked to lead the team to secure govern- ment clearance for the company's merger with Pillsbury. When told by a colleague that 10,000 Pillsbury workers would lose their jobs if the clearance did not go through, Marturano suddenly felt a crushing weight on her shoulders. Fortunately, clearance was secured— though a protracted 18 months later— and Marturano had a little more wiggle room in her life. Looking back, she says, "I realized there was a part of me that was not bouncing back." Urged by a colleague to relax at a spa, she reluctantly agreed, despite familial obligations, in part moti- vated by a mindfulness retreat for execu- tives being ofered there. What Marturano learned became the cornerstone for the mindfulness leader- ship intensive and seven-week courses that she came to teach not only at Gen- eral Mills but all around the world. To- day she ofers such resources and more as executive director of the Institute for Mindful Leadership, which she founded in 2011 after ending her tenure at the food giant. How Mindfulness Works Mindfulness works by harnessing the brain's proven ability to change in re- sponse to life events. "By training us to pay attention moment by moment to where we are and what we're doing, THINKSTOCKPHOTOS I f you're concerned that practicing mindfulness might require gobs of time, worry no more. You can do it during everyday activities at home and work. Experts agree that engaging in mindfulness activities is like working out— the more you do them, the better you get and the bigger the impact they have on your life in every arena. Janice Marturano, executive director of the Institute for Mindful Leadership, suggests starting with what she calls the "Purposeful Pause" exercise, an excel- lent way to train yourself to be in the present moment and focus. Here's how. Take a Purposeful Pause • While you're brushing your teeth, bring your attention to the sensations of your body and the fve senses. Lis- ten to the sound of the water; smell and taste the toothpaste; feel the bristles on your teeth and gums; see the residue go down the drain. • Every time your mind goes to a thought ("I wonder if my son packed his lunch; I wonder if the 10 a.m. meeting will be tough"), draw your attention back to the sensa- tions of brushing your teeth. • While you're at a meeting, notice if your mind is wandering. Again, draw your attention to your bodily sensa- tions. Feel your feet on the foor, feel the weight of your body on the chair, notice if it's warm or cool in the room, and observe the sounds of the person speaking. Every time your mind takes a hike, bring it back to your body. • Progress to keeping your attention on your bodily sensations several times a day, or as much as you can, such as when you're driving, stand- ing in the elevator, walking down a corridor, speaking with an employee or boss, and so on. • Start noticing how this practice be- gins to positively affect your ability to focus and be present with others in a more genuine way. If you'd like to progress to meditation, download one of Janice Marturano's free audios: fndingthespacetolead.com/ meditations-refections/. DW Life >

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