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Cisco Leader and Mindful Mother

Updated: Apr 13, 2020

Caroline is a Director for Cisco's Leadership & Team Intelligence. As a Psychologist and working mom she is a champion of mindful leadership, positive organizations, and neuroscience.

Mindful Mornings with Caroline Mccabe

Lately my mind has been in a whirl. I have seven days until our open house, one preschool garden party, and one very long never ending to-do list.

Today, I found myself at an overnight campout for my son.

Thankfully the rain held off, but my mind did not.  Despite buying the 5-star rated inflatable air mattress (lesson learned from the prior year's campout), my swirling thoughts and the neighbor's air conditioner contributed to a sleepless night.

However, given my extensive training in behavioral medicine, I've got a great toolkit that usually helps when sleep is elusive - and indeed last night was a great laboratory in which to try them while the kids slept.

3:35 a.m.

Step one - listen to the amazing sounds of the crickets.

Interruption one - neighbor’s air conditioner cycling on and off.

Step two - note the amazing symphony created by the crickets coupled with the air conditioner.

Interruption two - exterior light in the yard turns on....skunk alert?

You get the picture, nothing was going to lead to a great rest.

4 a.m.

I drifted off into a deep sleep only to be woken at...

6 a.m. 

My son announced in “roosterly” fashion to us all, "I'm awake!”.  The other mothers and children bolted upright with partial horror and amusement.  Right. Here we go!

With the day's to-do list bearing down on me, I was anxious just thinking about how I would have enough energy to get through the day. My wise mind, the one that actually helps, felt threatened by the lack of sleep and to do list.

Today is not a day to skip my mindfulness practice.

6:15 a.m.

The kids bolted from the tent to find donuts and I seized the moment.  Sitting upright on the 5-star air mattress, I closed my eyes and centered my focus by breathing.Thoughts of fear started swirling - How will I stay awake?  What ball will drop today? How will the house ever be ready for the open house?

Then the self-doubt - How will I be a fun mom to my son today on this nearly last day of vacation?  How can I get all of my work done too?

And then my mind settled as I dropped into that practical place of renewal. Thanks to a quick two-minute focus on my breathing, I had a little more patience, a little more joy, a little more ability to concentrate, and a little bit more energy.  And I sure did need it! 

Rather than turning toward elaborate mental schemes to avoid what makes me uncomfortable, I focused on my breathing and centered my focus which has proven to be far more powerful.   


Caroline’s expertise includes using a mindful, entrepreneurial approach in the areas of executive assessment, leadership coaching and talent management. She designs and leads programs to activate teams and employees, to streamline an organization’s effectiveness, and to support positive culture change. She is experienced in aligning and maximizing talent around key business imperatives, and strengthening the effectiveness of executive teams. She currently leads the executive assessment practice at Cisco.

Caroline has her Doctoral degree in Psychology and has worked globally with clients across a variety of industries, always bringing a mindful approach to her practice. She is most energized when identifying people-related solutions to business challenges.

At play, Caroline adventures through life by travel and discovery, or through introspection and time sharing the wonders of nature with her family.

twitter:  Tribonius

Linked In: caroline mccabe



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