At the beginning of an online meeting, the moderator asked participants for a single word that described how each person felt. The most common responses? “Tired.” “Stressed.” “Exhausted.” “Busy.”
This was a group with good jobs in a modern company. We were all healthy, educated, able to make a living. And yet…it was hard to see past the challenges we each faced.
When you are mindful—when you have trained yourself to control your attention—you are more aware of what’s happening to you and around you, and you can choose your responses in an intentional way. That helps you to think more clearly and make better decisions. It helps you to be calmer and more resilient. Cultivating the skill of mindfulness can make you more effective, and also healthier and happier.
More and more companies recognize the need to help employees cultivate this skill. In a 2017 survey by the Business Group on Health, 35% of employers were offering mindfulness classes or training to employees, with an additional 26% considering them for the future. WOL Mindfulness can be a part of these and other employee health programs,
The point of WOL Mindfulness isn’t to teach people about mindfulness. It’s to help them practice until they become more more mindful and realize the benefits.
What is WOL Mindfulness?
If you have already been in a WOL Circle, certain aspects of WOL Mindfulness will be familiar to you. You will meet as a group of four or five, and it will be a psychologically safe, confidential space without judgment or competition. You will each pick your own goal (though it will be a different kind of goal than you choose in a WOL Circle), and your Circle can meet in person or via video.
Beyond that, there are several notable differences. This is not about networking so there is no relationship list. You will meet for eight weeks instead of twelve, and you will use the WOL Mindfulness Journal instead of individual guides. In addition to guides for each meeting, the Journal has short daily exercises to do in between meetings. Over the eight weeks, you experience a wide variety of ways to control your attention and develop the skill and habit of mindfulness (i.e., it’s not just meditation). By the end, you develop your own sustainable practice.
Melanie’s Story & Results from the First Pilot
An earlier attempt I called “WOL: Self-Care” showed me what worked and didn’t work, and I decided to start over with a completely new approach.
From the detailed feedback we received in our first pilot led by Lukas and Sophia, the key benefits are the exchanges with Circle members and the development of new habits that make a positive difference.
Melanie, for example, shared on LinkedIn how she realized “a maximum outcome with a minimum investment of time.” WOL Mindfulness helped her develop habits that enable her “to reduce stress and to realize how much good is happening in my life.” Importantly, those habits “have become an integral part of my everyday life.”
WOL Mindfulness Programs
When I first started working on this idea, I thought that Circles could be used to help people develop all kinds of new habits and skills, and that Mindfulness should be the next one.
Hundreds of companies are spreading Working Out Loud Circles, proving that they are willing to create a safe, confidential space for employees to develop themselves.
What if we could build on that, and use Circles to enhance employees' focus, self-control, and stress management while helping them be kinder and happier? How many people would benefit if all those wellness programs had a new method that was easy to implement and spread?
We are now organizing WOL Mindfulness programs for companies. To discuss a program for your organization, please contact us:
UPDATE! Individuals can also experience WOL Mindfulness by joining the new WOL Membership Network.