‘So, do you go to the gym at all?’ is not a welcome question when you’re topless and pulling your belly in. If you don’t, then perhaps your interlocutor is hinting that perhaps you should. And if you do attend the gym, busting your ass to obtain a shape that isn’t round every other day, it’s even more unwelcome. ‘You mean you can’t tell? Farrrkkkkkkk youuueeewwwwww!!!!’ I screamed, in my head, as my doctor asked me to put my t-shirt back on and went about his business of punching kittens and making babies cry.
Work have enrolled a lot of us on a High-Performance Mindfulness course, increasing resilience, trying to help people take control of tough situations like doctor’s visits*. If you’re wearing a t-shirt and a frown about imagining ‘mindfulness’, try this: exchange ‘meditation’ for time you spend winding down and ‘mantras’ for what you tell yourself when you’re in a tight spot, and it might sound more appealing. I meditate every morning and it helps me focus, but sometimes in the afternoon it can just be a cup of tea on the couch in complete silence, letting the mind drift. The shoulders relax, tension drops away. Late on Tuesday night I was then asked to present to the CEO.
On Wednesday I was due to present to a bunch of company executives on what my team have been working on. It’s not every day you get plucked from the doldrums to present to the big cheese, and I tried to calm myself down that this guy heads up a $26billion company across thirty countries and has the fate of 26,000 people in his hands. I did my breathing exercises, which makes sense to anyone that has done any sports in their lives – some slow, deep breaths. The nerves abated and I felt calm. All I had to do was not make a career-limiting gaffe. ‘Hi, I’m Richard . . . t-shirt back on or . . . ?’
* or maybe they have something in mind already!
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