Rich is Vice President of Enterprise Collaboration Software at SAP where he is responsible for adoption and customer success. Rich Caballero is a “Search Inside Yourself” Certified Teacher and has introduced mindfulness to over 1,000 people worldwide. He teaches children mindfulness in his local community, conducts mindful parenting workshops and practices mindfulness with his three young children.
My Mindful Morning Practice
When meditating, I set an intention for each session. This habit reinforces my motivation to practice. An intention could be to cultivate a sense of ease, self-compassion, patience with my children or empathy for a difficult person. As I practice, I remind myself of my intention every time my mind wanders. Having an intention also brings direction and focus to my practice.
I have applied this meditation technique to create a morning practice of setting 3 intentions each day. Each intention maps to a positive character trait I would like to influence my daily behavior. By reviewing my intentions daily, I actively make them a high priority. I increase the probability of recognizing opportunities to move forward and can correct when we I get off path.
As part of our Search Inside Yourself training at SAP, we do an exercise to identify the key values or character traits we would like to cultivate. We select 5 people that we admire and hone in on 3 traits we admire about each one. We then pick 3 values we want to prioritize in our own lives. One way to do this is to notice which ones show up multiple times in your list. These 3 characteristics describe how we want to show up, be seen by others and ultimately serve the world. I found this exercise fascinating as I had never considered what traits I wanted to cultivate and exemplify. After careful introspection, I chose creativity, charisma and adventure as my core values.
For example, one morning I decided I would create a new initiative at work (creativity), try a new restaurant for lunch (adventure) and practice mindful listening with my daughter (charisma). Once I decided on these intentions for the day, I quickly visualized each one. What do I see and hear? How do I feel? How are others responding? This visualization provided internal motivation and increased probability for me to take action.
Since this practice has worked so well for me, I’ve recently begun to extend it into my nightly routines as well. At the end of the day, I take a few minutes to reflect and recall where I was able to practice my values and where I didn’t but should have and then think about how they impacted my day.
One evening, I felt joy that I was able to provide empathy and support for a friend in need, a sense of accomplishment that I finished a document at work and realized I was not very adventurous. I don’t make judgements, I simply soak in the good and notice where I may need to continue growing.
I have noticed that because these values feature prominently in my thinking, I quickly see opportunities to exercise them throughout the day. I might take a few extra minutes to connect with my son, purposefully turn off my email to brainstorm or immediately accept an offer to travel to Colombia.
What I love about this practice is that it takes just a few minutes and can be done anywhere. I usually do this upon waking, in the shower, or on my commute. For me, the impact of these few minutes of intention setting has been profound. These simple reminders have resulted in changes to my diet and health, a closer relationship with my children and more active engagement in my community. As Mahatma Gandhi once said:
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
I invite you to join me in adopting this morning practice to mindfully shape your destiny, bringing joy to yourself and those around you. I would love to hear your thoughts: What 3 characteristics would you like to cultivate? What obstacles might you face in making intention setting a habit? How might this practice transform your life?