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Mindfulness, Meditation And The Company We Keep

The podcast, "LegalSpeak", recently covered a law partner behavioral concern that led to a LinkedIn posting titled, Jerk Partners Beget Jerk Partners: Ending Big Law's Cycle of Dysfunction. 

Which reminded me of the wonderful book written years ago by Stanford professor, Robert Sutton, titled: The No Asshole Rule : Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't. And it also reminded me that several businesses--including several law firms (though not many)--have a no asshole rule written into their Employee Handbook, or other comparable internal document.

"The most important reason that I wrote this book"-- said Sutton, in a Harvard Business Review article--"is that demeaning people does terrible damage to others and to their companies. And even though there are occasions when being an asshole helps people and companies 'win' my view is that if you are a winner and an asshole, you are still an asshole and I don't want to be around you".

Sound like a law firm you've worked at, or done business with? Sound like a particularly toxic client, or a really strident opposing counsel? I've been there, and done that-- been a member of that fraternity. And it's not the kind of company I keep, any longer. Life is too short, and there are plenty of civil, professional folks that we can seek out.

How do mindfulness and meditation impact all that? The connection may not be apparent to some, but to me, it's obvious. Silence and stillness are always a good start--those two simple things can help us take it way down, before the business of the day gets us amped up. And a few deep breaths, also helps a lot. The real beauty is, silence, stillness and a few deep breaths take no time away from the rest of the day.

Add in some mindful movement, if you've got an additional few minutes for yourself. Simple movement. Purposeful movement--not exercise. Maybe a few neck rolls (behind a closed office door, if you prefer). Maybe some shoulder stretches. Maybe a bit of lower back work. Whatever you feel that you need, or want.

Then, of course, there's the big enchilada: A few more minutes to sit on your chair or zafu, close your eyes, and meditate--just you and your thoughts. Or, maybe, sit with one, or two, or however many other people in your office--I love a group sit.

As it turns out, the company we keep does matter. And the things we share with them, will unavoidably impact the way we treat them. Try it--you just might like it!


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