We have a company culture of continuous learning and this week we were very fortunate to have Emma Murray, the Richmond Football Club Mindfulness Coach, come and talk to our whole team. It was an amazing session and there is no wonder why that club is enjoying so much recent success.

Emma is regarded as their secret weapon and we all saw why. She has been instrumental in taking Dusty Martin, who in 2017 won every accolade possible in AFL, from being a very good player to the best player in the AFL.

In the AFL, especially in a game, mindfulness is obviously not the Kumbaya version that most of us think of when we hear that word. It is about focus. She explained that many of the players were struggling with white noise in their heads because of the whole atmosphere of the arena they play in, and it was affecting their on-field decision making.

She has taught the players to focus solely on what they can control and let go anything they cannot. For example, they cannot control the crowd, the umpires or the weather etc, however they can control their individual actions, their attitude and their general work rate. They can also control how much effort they put into supporting their team mates. She showed us several techniques that she used to do this. They were simple but to many in the room that morning, life changing.

Given the amount of information that is being pushed at us at any moment in this modern age, it is truly difficult to be present and focussed on what we know we need or want to do at any one time. We are constantly multitasking and many of us are obsessed with what is happening on our phone for much of our waking hours. Emma explained that every time we jump from one task to the next and back again the quality of that task suffers.

Emma encouraged us to get tough on our focus. Be present and focus solely on the task at hand. Deal with that and then move on, not only at work but with our families. Fully engage with your children and your partner when you are with them and give them your full attention. We are all guilty of being constantly distracted (and I am possibly the worst offender), but by being tough on our focus we can have more meaningful engagements and outcomes. I have tried to do this since the training session and I am seriously amazed at the positive reaction from my children.

We do a lot of regular team training and many us of us thought this was our best ever session. The best outcome was that we know we can all control our focus. We just have to want to do it.

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