Finding the Space to Lead

Janice Marturano talks about her new book Finding the Space to Lead: A Practical Guide to Mindful Leadership.  

For those who are new to mindful leadership training, or somewhat skeptical, how can this training enhance one’s career? Enhance one’s life?

Just as we know that we can train innate capacities of our bodies to be stronger, more flexible and more resilient, we now know through decades of research that this training can physiologically change our brain, and can enhance our ability to focus, see clearly, be creative, and embody compassion.

We can cultivate and strengthen the capabilities of our minds. This allows us to be responsive rather than reactive. It allows us to enhance our ability to step off the autopilot treadmill we are often living on, and make conscious choices about our life. This is a critical capacity we all need whether we are leading our own life, our family, a team, a department or a global organization.

Why do we need mindful leadership training in today’s world?

As we consider the challenges leaders face today, it‘s relatively easy to see why we need to cultivate more of the mind’s capabilities through mindful leadership training. The environment we live and work in is constantly evolving. Time is now often measured in internet seconds. There are new and complex economic and resource constraints on our organizations. We are attached 24/7 to an array of technological wizardry that regularly generates anxiety-producing information overload and a sense of disconnection that can overwhelm and isolate us. One paradigm after another is shifting.

It is also true, though, that these tumultuous times can be times of great opportunity and innovation as the world becomes smaller and we begin to see the potential to meet the complexities of the day in ways that are truly innovative, productive, and compassionate. It’s a time to take leadership and to bring all of our capabilities, including our capability to be fully present in this moment, to find the innovation, courage, integrity and compassion we need to make a difference in our world.

My work life has become so overwhelming that my relationships are suffering. How can mindfulness help?

Very often, the same distractions that keep us from being present in the workplace, interfere with our ability to feel connected to others in our personal and professional lives. We may find that even if we intend to pay attention to a co-worker or our child, our mind soon becomes distracted with our own internal chatter, or we find ourselves wondering about what may have just arrived on our iPhone. When we train our minds to pay attention and begin to learn that we can redirect our attention to the present moment when we notice our mind has wandered, we quickly begin to notice the differences in our communications with others. We notice more subtleties in the conversation and we are more able to deeply listen to ourselves and to speak from the heart. This kind of presence in a conversation is felt—by you and by others—and can become the basis for deepening a relationship.

My day is packed with back-to-back meetings and mile-long to-do lists. I don’t have time to train.

As you will see in the book, this training requires no special equipment and invites you to set aside only 10 minutes, twice per day. The effects are felt almost immediately and most people will quickly see that some of those meetings and ‘to dos’ start to change and lessen when they begin to see things more clearly and make some conscious choices about how they want to meet the moments of their lives.

Meditation seems a little New-Agey to me, and I wouldn’t know where to begin.

Finding the Space to Lead is a step by step approach from a senior legal executive at a Fortune 200 company. It was developed over a period of five years with the input of executives, and employees at all levels, to make it simple and applicable to the busy lives we all live. There is nothing New-Age about Mindful Leadership training. You begin with a guided 10 minute meditation (some of the meditations and reflections more fully explored in the book are available on this website) and add simple applications. The applications, called Purposeful Pauses, do not take any time from your schedule because they are done during your day-at lunch, walking down the hall, looking at your calendar, etc. Simplicity and clarity are the hallmarks of mindful leadership training in Finding the Space to Lead.

Visit for meditations and to learn more about the book.