Since October, I have been fortunate to be working on a Combined Authority-sponsored program at Aston University focused on sustainable business. This is something that I believe strongly in – not just about operating a business with an increased awareness of our ecological footprint, but also about how the businesses can go forward with consideration to people, profit, and the planet.
An outcome of this was the need to formulate a plan. This is focused on
- Ethical sourcing: We must be educated about the environmental impact of their purchases and be encouraged to choose products that are made with sustainable materials and processes.
- Sustainable products and services: This is one of the most important strategies for reducing waste and preserving natural resources. By reducing the number of new materials we use, reusing items whenever possible and recycling materials that are no longer needed, we can reduce the strain on our planet’s resources- Remember the mantra Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Upcycle.
- Direct support initiatives: Where we have the capacity, we should work with partners to increase involvement in chosen and aligned CSGs.
- Product innovation: We must continually be looking for and integrating new services and products with an increased awareness of the environmental impact that they have.
These seem to be imperative to me, but if you were to look at this approach for yourself – how would you define some key pillars?
As ever with any change initiative, what is a single achievable starting point for you?
One important note, I still believe that a coaching or supervision assignment is based on the clients’ agenda. The sustainability agenda for me is about how I turn up. It is about how I work with clients and become a better business through my eyes.
So 2023 has started with a greater focus on responsible business.
I am about to meet a client for the first time. This has been somebody that I have been wanting to work with for some time and I am feeling slightly anxious.
I should know better, as I have been coaching for years and have had lots of meetings like this.
I still get jittery and excited.
Taking a step back, I remember that I need to ensure that I am there for my client both in person and mentally.
Preparation of my state is so key. I remember a quick trick that can help me.
Not having time for a full-body meditation, I do have time to focus on breathing.
I close my eyes and focus on an imaginary pulsating light that moves in and out as my chest expands and contracts. I concentrate on reducing the pulses and find that my breathing rate has also slowed.
I feel more in control, and more in the moment for my session.
This short form of meditation is useful. For those that may have jumped into virtual reality, there is an app called Tripp that does just this. It links visual stimuli to breathing and presence. Tripp also is available for mobile (Android or iPhone).
Another method that you can work with is Belly Breathing. Belly breathing is a technique that can be used to strengthen the breath and focus your attention on the present moment. It’s called “belly breathing” because it involves expanding your belly as you inhale, rather than just taking shallow breaths from the chest.
When you breathe this way, it helps slow down your heart rate, relax muscles throughout the body and calm anxiety–all of which are great for reducing stress levels!
Here’s how to do belly breathing:
- Place one hand on your chest and another just below your ribcage (where there are two bones).
- Count as you inhale through one nostril at a time;
- Count “one” as both arms rise up towards the sky;
- Exhale slowly through both nostrils;
- Repeat for 10 cycles (20 counts total).
If this feels difficult at first don’t worry! It takes practice but soon becomes second nature when practiced consistently over time.
As you explore the importance of breathing – I hope you can explore perhaps the new sensations that this can bring.