At least twice a week I go to a yoga class and find myself not only detaching from my daily stresses, but also detaching from the world around me.
“Breathe deeply,” my yoga teacher says. “Your practice includes mind, body and a higher awareness of yourself. Be willing to detach.”
This calm and collected state provides a moment of clarity. I’m detached from the gravity of my ego; I’m in a trance-like daydream where I can soar over issues that have been plaguing me throughout my workweek.
It’s important to be able to shift into the 30,000-foot perspective at work. From that vantage point you are not in the moment but observing it. You are more objective. You can see the dynamics of the group, and where ideas are either succeeding or hitting a wall.
Get outside yourself. Waste Management used a system called DriveCam to collect footage for review with poor drivers. Providing at outside the driver objective tool for drivers to understand their behaviors resulted in a 30 percent reduction in collisions.
By setting aside our ego and opening ourselves up to another opinion we are able to take notes of a misstep made or a something overlooked and, through critical thinking, determine an appropriate solution.
Do you possess a willingness to surrender control? An athlete must relinquish control of many facets of the game to his teammates. The coach is disengaged from the emotions on the field, and can see the dynamics of the whole game.
It’s called Professional Detachment: the separation of emotions from the task at hand.
“Your ego slips away,” said pediatrician Smita Malhotra. “You feel such a deep connection to others that their joys are your joys and their sorrows are your own. You move away from a sense of competition to one of co-operation.”
By detaching yourself from a project and opening it up to outside criticism and ideas you are more able to devise game winning strategies.
“Professional detachment is caring enough about your job that you will focus on the only things that you can control, your attitude and your work,” said Bob Turner, Digital and Social Media Marketing Consultant at Social Flair.
So, how can you detach professionally? Here are three suggestions:
Many CEOs credit yoga to helping them run their company more efficiently.
“Ultimately yoga has encouraged me to build a corporate environment that is less constricting and more community,” said Stanton Kawer, CEO and chairman of Blue Chip Marketing Worldwide. “Perhaps the most salient lesson I’ve learned is that there are no scorecards to define success. In the yoga studio there are no winners or losers. No umpires. No victory measured against the loss of another. In yoga success emanates from within and is defined by self-mastery.”
Even NFL teams such as the Seattle Seahawks have added mandatory yoga and optional meditation to their workout routines.
“Meditation is as important as lifting weights,” offensive tackle Russell Okung said.
“We do imagery work and talk about having that innovative mindset of being special,” Russell Wilson Quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks said. “We talk about being in the moment and increasing chaos throughout practice, so when I go into the game, everything is relaxed.”
One way to practice professional detachment is with your peers. Ask a trusted friend to criticize your project over coffee. Be in the moment and take note of your feelings when you hear negative comments. Understand that these feelings will get in the way of big solutions. Don’t disagree with your friend. They are only telling you how others see you. Use this to better understand your dynamic in the group.
Don’t feel comfortable going to a friend? Through online forums such as LinkedIn or one-on-one emails you can ask for advice on your project. If your projects are confidential, use an old project. Be aware that virtual interactions are often harsher than in the real world, however, that might work well for developing your professional detachment skills. When someone gives you criticism, listen to your inner dialogue and practice responding in a professionally detached manner. Ask yourself, am I being objective? Am I at 30,000 feet?
Ultimately with practice from yoga, online forums, email or trusted friends you will be able to remove the limits emotions place on your work to create something even better. After all, two brains are better than one. Allow yourself to detach from ego and work collaboratively to grow your company.