Let’s be serious; the life of a social entrepreneur is not for everyone. The stresses are high, the expectations even higher. Most days you’re walking in quicksand instead of sprinting towards the mission like you always imagined.
Some days, it can feel like you have it all together. The plan is being executed, the sales calls hitting, the endorphins running. Other days, it can feel like everything is out of control. Hundreds of things need your attention but in the spiral, nothing can keep your focus.
It’s hard, very hard.
We’ve all got our methods to get through it, to stay focused only on the things in our control. My method? Mindfulness.
I know. But here’s why it’s important.
As social entrepreneurs we tackle intense issues. Each day, we face realities that can leave us feeling skeptical, helpless, and drained.
I’m talking about tackling issues like:
Addressing The Housing Crisis in Indigenous Communities
Eliminating Rape Culture, Reducing Limitations to Deaf or Hard of Hearing Folks
These are not little missions. And if we achieve even 1% of the good we’re striving for, the impact on society will be incredible. The struggle is real and our need to be aware and mindful of barriers to success is critical.
A simple gateway into the practice is an eight-week plan. This book, Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World is an industry best.
Not into formal mindfulness? If it’s too overwhelming, too time-consuming or too hokey, below are a few tools that may feel less daunting. All are a form of mindfulness, by the way:
Why? It starts the day with gratitude, sets intentions (and mindset) for the tasks ahead, reiterates a personal mission, and makes sure you end the day acknowledging the good.
Time Commitment: It’s literally 5 minutes, if that, of your day.
Oprah’s SuperSoul Podcast
Why? Admittedly sometimes it’s a little too “spiritual” for me, but it provides a number of different perspectives that I can take and use to form my own opinions. Mindfulness has deep roots in science/neuroscience, which I love. SuperSoul present many of those scientific insights.
Time Commitment: Each episode is a different length but I listen during my morning routine or on my commute. I’m not sitting around cross-legged with crystals.
Why? I’m an “expert” multi-tasker (aren’t we all?), but I know it’s not effective. I use the body scan in transitional times to be intentional about moving from one task to another.
Time Commitment: It can be as long or short as you want it to be — it doesn’t even need to be 3 minutes if you can go through the steps in 30 seconds and find benefit, do it.
Social Media Cleanse
Why? I love scrolling and was a bad wife because of it — preferring dopamine rushes to quality time. Not to mention it was way too convenient of a distraction keeping me from my goals. I’m in recovery and loving it.
Time Commitment: It takes 15 seconds to delete apps from your phone. This one is more like a time deposit. At a minimum, I’ve gained an hour back to my day. What would you do for an extra hour?
Each of these tools brings mindfulness into my life daily. And they don’t need scheduling.
Full disclosure: my privilege led me to the world of mindfulness. My Psychiatrist referred me to a Mindfulness Cognitive Behavioural Therapist (MCBT) to learn tactics for battling depression and anxiety. Both services were free through Ontario’s healthcare system, a privilege in itself.
But, I would never tell you to explore this topic if the resources weren’t widely available online.
Give my tips a look; give Google’s tips a chance; and give me feedback on other tips that work for you.
Mindfulness is one of the many things I use to stay on top of my game. But you need to “do you” and find what’s going to keep you focused. Because society needs you and the work you’re doing.
Kristina Flynn @flynnkristina is a social Entrepreneur passionate about tech, social impact and sports, on a mission to bring hope & visibility to marginalized communities. She is the CEO & Co-founder jiiWA which is a company incubated at Ryerson’s Social Venture’s Zone.