How Internal Reflection Can Set You Up for External Success

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By Meghdad Abbaszadegan

My introduction to meditation was one of the most important moments in my life. I learned about a technique called “so-hum” by reading Deepak Chopra’s book “The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire.” I was quickly hooked on the simple process of breathing and chanting.

Before long, I had signed up for a 10-day silent meditation retreat. Meditation allows me to do the impossible: to detach from my identity and be reborn on a daily basis. Until I started to meditate, I had no idea how much our sense of identity leads to stressful situations in our professional lives. We often let expectations rule our reality, focusing on the external rather than the internal. We become obsessed with cause rather than effect.

I now focus less on business achievements and instead define success as contribution of self — a shift from “What’s in it for me?” to “How can I help?” Internal reflection can help anyone achieve fulfillment daily.

Cause and Effect

A little more than a year ago, a good friend of mine was working as the CEO of a successful firm when he received a phone call telling him he would have to file for bankruptcy as a result of a failed arbitration case. We talked a lot during the months after that call. What surprised me was how resilient and upbeat he was whenever we spoke. Instead of feeling victimized, he adopted a solution-oriented approach and framed his misfortune as opportunity. My friend was able to help his company rebound because he didn’t let the turbulence in the business define his identity. He spent a lot of time thinking about his internal values and purpose. Within the office, he was a lighthouse in the middle of a storm. His attitude, resiliency, and ambition fueled his company’s salvation.

The Path to Mindfulness

Inner reflection is different for every person, but I have found the most success in my pursuits by practicing the following routine:

  • Empty your mind: Spend about 15 minutes recording your thoughts. You may do that through journaling or voice recording. Use the exercise to clear up the cloudy parts of your mind.
  • Meditate: After journaling, take another 15 minutes to relax and focus on your breathing. You should aim to unpack your mind and make space for new thoughts and ideas.
  • Visualize: Spend the next 10 minutes visualizing your day. Picture what you need to do and how you want things to go. This practice allows you to live your day twice and have awareness when key moments occur.
  • Focus: At some point in your day, take time to completely focus on an otherwise routine activity such as making the bed or showering. Pay attention to every detail that goes into it. This final step will help you prepare your thought process for the more difficult decisions you will make later in the day.

There are many different ways to implement mindfulness into your life, whether you’re spending time in nature or taking a yoga class. The benefits of inner reflection are real only if you find a way to embrace them, though. Focus on being your best self, and you will naturally become a peerless professional.

Meghdad Abbaszadegan is an advisor with Coplex, a Los Angeles- and Phoenix-based startup studio focused on truly collaborative product design, development, and growth strategy. Coplex builds startups and digital products using lean and agile techniques. He is passionate about entrepreneurship, tennis, travel, and fostering connections between people. Follow Meghdad and Coplex on Twitter.

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