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Show Up As Your Best Self: Mindful Leaders, Meditation, & More

Show Up As Your Best Self: Mindful Leaders, Meditation, & More
Cathy Quartner Bailey
Recommended by: Stacia Dawson Missouri Leadership Academy member, Services Section Manager, Office of Administration

What is your suggestion about?

When are you at your best – whether at work or with your family and friends outside of work? Probably not when you feel anxious, when you can’t think, or when you are overly stressed.

In Show Up As Your Best Self, Cathy Quartner Bailey introduces some basic tools to be more “mindful.” All that means is our ability be aware of our present situation, be purposeful about what we do and how we do it, and not get overwhelmed by all the stuff swirling around us.

A mindful person doesn’t get sucked into a negative conversation, for instance, even if a supervisor or teammate says something that might stir up our emotions.

Bailey helps guide the reader to becoming a more mindful leader. She does this with inspiring stories, as well as, practical meditation techniques, tools, and exercises to “help today’s leaders cultivate a mindfulness practice and show up as their best self.”

Why did you choose it?

Things move so fast in our world/workplace/career/life. Decisions have to be made swiftly, but with quality. I chose Show Up As Your Best Self because it showed me — and I hope others — how to “slow things down,” which is important to being an effective leader. 

The book also shares stories about how effective leaders have become more present with the world around them. For example, one of the stories was What I Learned from Flipping Burgers and Scrubbing Pots: Lessons in Leadership from Len Bardfeld, senior director at Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products Company. Len talks about the varying jobs he has had throughout his career and how they have influenced how he has shown up. Len’s story portrays to the readers how he has learned the importance of being kind, remaining clam, working hard, and listening every day.

What else do you want to tell us about it?

Although “mindfulness” can sound a bit New Age-y, it is really common sense and practical. We all have experienced situations where we react in the heat of the moment, and then later reflect and wish we had done something differently. Being mindful is about getting to reflect and calibrate before you act. 

Consider meditation. If this sounds strange when working for state government, just remember how many successful athletes learn to stop, collect themselves, and then move forward.

The same holds true in work. Being able to truly unplug and have some self-reflection is a very important part of being able to Show Up As Your Best Self. The book offers some great meditation techniques and resources to get you started. 

You can also check out some exercises on the author’s website at:  http://www.quartner.com/bestself/

What is a key takeaway for leaders driving improvement in how we deliver for the citizens of Missouri?

Whatever your role, leadership begins with leading yourself. If you are self-aware and regulate how you react when things go well or not so well, you can better help others. On the other hand, if we are only somewhat present then we don’t help each other or serve our citizens as well as we can.

We have to remember that it is often the “little stuff” in how we act every day that matters most to how our teammates feel and perform. We all impact each other and the citizens of Missouri every day. We must figure out how to be present and mindful in our actions. This book has made me think of how I can be present and lead with a mindful purpose. I hope it will help others, too.

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