How you can find your tribe at work with mindfulness
A tribe is a group of people who share the same interests as you. The word tribe invokes a comforting sense of belonging, and most of us like to feel a sense of belonging.
Perhaps you've felt like I did (and like many in my community of mindfulness facilitators) – that meditation and mindfulness is a very personal thing to you, and that there doesn’t seem to be many opportunities to connect with others in the workplace on a meaningful level.
The reality is that you can feel rather alone in your solitary practices, and most workplaces don't exactly offer ways to connect with others on a more human level.
Bringing humanity into the workplace may feel daunting or perhaps even impossible. But what if you could find people at work who also have these solitary practices, or want to learn? There are new connections just waiting to happen, so I learned.
When I was working at Pacific Blue Cross in Vancouver, Canada, I was the organizational change manager. As such, my role was to help people and the organization through change. It was a good role but a very 'corporate role', and it didn't feed my inner deep need to help people create a better experience of life (which is how I define my purpose in life).
I felt a disconnect – my pay check was for performing my corporate job, yet my passion was to help people at a deeper, more meaningful level.
What I didn’t expect from my mindfulness sessions
In 2011, I started running weekly lunchtime mindfulness and meditation sessions at work on a volunteer basis. Admittedly, I was quite tentative (remember, this was in 2011, well before workplace mindfulness was a ‘thing’), worried if my professional reputation would be tarnished or if I was even showing people the right things.
Thankfully, the personal payoff was enormous, and very unexpected.
That payoff was certainly not monetary, it was seeing tangible evidence that people were benefitting from these practices. It opened up a whole new world for me at work. That world was finding my tribe surprisingly at work! I never would have anticipated this.
When people came to the mindfulness and meditation sessions, and just as fun, when people spoke to me in the hallways about meditation, I realized I had tapped into a common longing – to raise self-awareness and try out practices that can make life better.
There were 180 people on my list who came to the meditation sessions (25% of the organization), and quite honestly, I didn’t know what job roles everyone had. And it didn’t matter.
Connecting with people as people, not as job roles, created a whole new dimension that brought joy to being at work. I had found my new, unexpected community.
I got to know these co-workers as people. Even those two minute hallway conversations brought so much joy to my work life.
Those who attended the sessions regularly began to feel like a tribe. At company meetings people would recognize each other and say ‘you’re in the meditation group, right?’ and begin a conversation that they wouldn’t otherwise have had.
Now that workplace mindfulness is no longer an obscure activity, if you are a mindfulness practitioner and would enjoy connecting with others, why not seek people out, or perhaps think about starting an informal or formal, workplace mindfulness activity?
The Calm Monkey's Mindfulness Meditation Facilitator Training & Certification program has been training facilitators and teaching how to start mindfulness at work since 2014. Maybe you can create your tribe too?
~Wendy Quan, Founder, The Calm Monkey
Related article: ‘When you hate your job, sharing mindfulness can help’.