Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Do You Want To Be Mindful? Ask Yourself This Question Every Day.

Get on the right path by getting in the habit of asking yourself one essential question over and over and over again.

As a leader, it is critical to be mindful and present in interactions with your many stakeholders throughout the day. While this is very easy to understand in theory, it is incredibly difficult to do in practice.

Mindfulness, a key component of Buddhist philosophy, has become quite in vogue today. In looking up “mindfulness seminars” on Google, I found countless programs ranging from a day to eight weeks in duration.

Our great friend, Dr. Carol Kauffman, was recognized by Thinkers50 as one of the Most Influential Coaches in the World. Kauffman teaches her clients to repeatedly ask themselves one simple question. This question is the most useful tool for increasing mindfulness that we have ever tried:

“Am I being the person who I want to be right now?”

To us, this question is the perfect summary of what it takes to be mindful.

Nobel Prize-winning behavioral economist Daniel Kahneman has a profound saying that he repeats in his bestselling book, Thinking, Fast and Slow: “What I see is all there is.”

As Dr. Kahneman says, our lives tend to be determined by what we keep in front of us. In today’s frenetic world, it is hard to keep focused on anything. If we do not “keep it in front of us,” it just gets lost.

Garry Ridge, the CEO of WD-40, is one of the greatest leaders we have ever met. One of his secrets of success is to keep whatever he wants to accomplish IN LARGE LETTERS in front of him and visible. Ridge practices this every day of his life.  

If you want to be mindful, keep a large poster at work and home that asks, “Am I being the person who I want to be right now?”

CEOs often attend multiple meetings in a day. The presentations start to blur together. No matter how tired or distracted they may be, great leaders need to communicate with interest and respect to people in the room.

As Margo Georgiadis, the successful CEO of Ancestry, noted, “While this may be the least important meeting of the week for me, it may be the most important for them.”

For busy leaders, mindfulness can be even more difficult at home than at work. In our coaching, we have interviewed many family members of CEOs. In one memorable interview, our client’s twin daughters said, “Dad says he wants us to be there to have dinner with him, then he stays on his smartphone during the entire meal. Please tell him to practice what he is asking us to do.” 

Our client still considers this feedback one of the most meaningful moments of his life. More important than becoming a better CEO, he learned to put away his smartphone and became a better Dad.

Wherever you go, keep this great question in front of you:

Am i being the person that i want to be right now?

When you feel that you are not being mindful at work or, even more important, not being mindful at home, keep going back to this question.  

When do we stop being mindful? When we forget!  

When can we return to mindfulness? When we remember to ask ourselves this one question.

When asked who he was, Buddha replied, “I am awake.”

As Kauffman so eloquently points out, continually asking ourselves this one simple question can wake us up from our distraction and help us become the person we want to be.


  • Get the CEO Briefing

    Sign up today to get weekly access to the latest issues affecting CEOs in every industry
  • upcoming events


    Strategic Planning Workshop

    1:00 - 5:00 pm

    Over 70% of Executives Surveyed Agree: Many Strategic Planning Efforts Lack Systematic Approach Tips for Enhancing Your Strategic Planning Process

    Executives expressed frustration with their current strategic planning process. Issues include:

    1. Lack of systematic approach (70%)
    2. Laundry lists without prioritization (68%)
    3. Decisions based on personalities rather than facts and information (65%)


    Steve Rutan and Denise Harrison have put together an afternoon workshop that will provide the tools you need to address these concerns.  They have worked with hundreds of executives to develop a systematic approach that will enable your team to make better decisions during strategic planning.  Steve and Denise will walk you through exercises for prioritizing your lists and steps that will reset and reinvigorate your process.  This will be a hands-on workshop that will enable you to think about your business as you use the tools that are being presented.  If you are ready for a Strategic Planning tune-up, select this workshop in your registration form.  The additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    New York, NY: ​​​Chief Executive's Corporate Citizenship Awards 2017

    Women in Leadership Seminar and Peer Discussion

    2:00 - 5:00 pm

    Female leaders face the same issues all leaders do, but they often face additional challenges too. In this peer session, we will facilitate a discussion of best practices and how to overcome common barriers to help women leaders be more effective within and outside their organizations. 

    Limited space available.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $495 will be added to your total.

    Golf Outing

    10:30 - 5:00 pm
    General’s Retreat at Hermitage Golf Course
    Sponsored by UBS

    General’s Retreat, built in 1986 with architect Gary Roger Baird, has been voted the “Best Golf Course in Nashville” and is a “must play” when visiting the Nashville, Tennessee area. With the beautiful setting along the Cumberland River, golfers of all capabilities will thoroughly enjoy the golf, scenery and hospitality.

    The golf outing fee includes transportation to and from the hotel, greens/cart fees, use of practice facilities, and boxed lunch. The bus will leave the hotel at 10:30 am for a noon shotgun start and return to the hotel after the cocktail reception following the completion of the round.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $295 will be added to your total.