Cristi Lucaci/

Two Simple Ways to Be More Mindful This Year

Tuning out the noise can make a big difference.

I’m always looking for great examples of simple things that any of us can do to be more mindful – aware and intentional – about how we approach work and the rest of life. Last week, I heard two great ones from my friend and colleague, Jeff Smith of Voltage Leadership Consulting. Jeff is a former financial services executive, runs a very successful business and is a member of our Conduit program for coaches and our Life GPS certification program. With his permission, I’m sharing with you what he’s been doing that’s working.

We were talking about 2016 goals in our monthly Conduit call last Friday and Jeff shared that his goal for this year is to be more mindful in day to day life. The cool thing about Jeff’s goal is he’s already implementing simple but effective ways to follow through on his goal.

The first is to show up five minutes early. Like so many of us with racked and stacked calendars and to-do lists, Jeff found himself getting to meetings and calls with zero margin for error in terms of being on-time. That left him with no space or bandwidth to start his meetings fully present. Beginning a couple of months ago, he made a commitment to show up five minutes early for every commitment on his calendar. It’s a simple move that has had a big impact. He uses that five minutes to take some deep breaths to clear out the mental chatter that remains from what he was doing just before. Then he shifts to thinking about what he’s trying to do in the next event and how he needs to show up to make that happen.

Jeff has implemented another simple move that has deepened his connection with Henry, the youngest of his four children. (That’s Henry and Jeff in the picture that accompanies this post.) Driving Henry to school every morning has been a daily routine of Jeff’s for awhile now. After setting his goal of being more mindful, Jeff made a simple change in the seven-minute drive that has paid big dividends in his relationship with Henry. He turned off the radio. That’s it. By turning off the radio, Jeff created space for Henry and him to talk. As a result, he’s learned a lot about what’s on Henry’s mind, what he’s doing in school and what’s going on with him and his friends.

One of the biggest dividends of a radio-free ride for Jeff has come in the evening when they both get home. He told us that, “Instead of just asking, ‘How was your day?’, I can follow up on specific things we talked about in the morning. It’s made a big difference in the quality of our relationship.”

And that leads to the overall point of this post. Jeff is becoming more mindful by making a couple of simple changes in his life that are relatively easy to do and are definitely making a difference. What simple changes do you want to make to be more mindful this year?

(Image via Cristi Lucaci/