the inside track to professional and business success
We all have all the inner resources we need to deal with whatever comes up in our lives. Our job is to help you uncover them
We give organisations and individuals the mental time and space to see things clearly and act in accordance with what is really going on.
When we are calm within ourselves we act from a sense of completeness and integrity. Priorities become clear, distractions lose their hold and we communicate openly and honestly. We feel we have all the inner resources we need to deal with whatever comes up.
Many mindfulness practices focus on the times when we take a break from work. They help us recover our equilibrium and restore our resilience. This is very helpful to our general well-being. But we also need to be mindful when we are engaged in our work, perhaps even more so. When did you last make a good decision when you felt stressed?
That's where the inside track comes in: a powerful and direct understanding of how we create our experience as human beings. This understanding allows you to work with insight, clarity, focus and compassion, whatever is happening around you.
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Who Is Mark?
Having gained a degree in Psychology from the University of Otago, where he studied well-being, and an MBA from City University, London Business School, (Cass Business School) Mark Jamieson has enjoyed a career in management that has taken him across the world, including long stints in Asia and Europe. His employers and clients include a large number of high profile organisations, including IBM, Ernst & Young, IBM (again), Oracle, EDS and IBM (yet again!).
In all of this work it was apparent that there was something missing in the way we viewed our working lives and in the way we conducted ourselves: We were all just too busy. He also noticed that when he was calm, this calmness spread to others. In consulting work this atmosphere meant that the underlying causes of problems became clear. In project management it meant that the true situation was understood and issues were resolved quickly.
In 2001 Mark was introduced to a model of human experience called the Three Principles of mind, thought and consciousness. This provided the missing link that he had been looking for: a secular, logical model of how we mindfully create our own reality and interact with the world. It explained why being calm worked so effectively. This he developed into the CALM approach: Practical Mindfulness to resolve business issues. After recently spending four years in SIngapore, he is now based in New Zealand, devoting himself to spreading this understanding across the world.
Why Be Calm?
"We need new paradigms of leadership and management, whose basis is rooted in mindfulness" (in the foreword to CALM) - Ho Kwon Ping, Chairman of Banyan Tree Holdings, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Singapore Management University, Governor of London Business School
Good for business
Being calm is good for ourselves and good for business. Our experience of the world is a direct reflection of the state of our mind. A mind that that is busy, cluttered and distracted projects that feeling onto the world. A mind that is calm and clear sees things as they are. The simplicity behind apparently complex things becomes apparent. When we are calm we can connect easily with others, and are present to what is going on. When we are not calm, we are defensive and in a constant state of negotiation with the world. We are forced to put up barriers to the world to protect ourselves.
This is exhausting.
When we are calm we know we have all the internal resources we need to be fully engaged with our life, and can deal with any situation. We find inexhaustible sources of energy. Work appears effortless, but most importantly, we know what the right thing to do is, and we find the courage to do it.
But work is so pressured and busy, how can we possibly stay calm?
Take a look around. Is everybody stressed? At first it might seem so, but then you might notice there are a significant number of people around you who are not stressed. Are their circumstances that different to yours? They probably don't make so much noise, or seem to work so hard. Think about those people who create a great, productive working environment. When you are with them, things seem easier. Are they stressed or not? Whats their secret? You may notice that the great leaders in your organization also have the ability to create a safe. connected environment where things get done. Consciously or unconsciously their inner state of mind is one of inner strength, curiosity and courage. In fact, it appears being calm is very useful to their business success.
If we were calm, surely nothing would get done?
Well its true, that this constant, endless seeking to be peaceful generates a lot of activity, but very little of it is well directed. What you will notice is that most organisations are acting out a drama, written moment to moment by people acting out of their internal turmoil. Most of the energy of the organisation is focussed on this drama, and very little on the task at hand. In my consulting career I noticed that when organisations were calm, they got a lot more done. When faced with a business problem, creating a calm environment allowed the underlying causes of issues to be uncovered, leading to sustainable solutions. If you just treat the symptoms, you usually encourage them rather than cure them. When a project was in trouble, simply creating a calm environment where people could objectively identify what was going right and what wasn't working could get things back on track very quickly. In a business meeting, simply being present and connected meant that huge progress could be made. People responded appropriately to what was needed, speaking up or staying quiet as appropriate.
How To Be Calm
If I could be calm, I would be calm
To paraphrase Einstein, Resilience is doing the same thing but expecting a different result. We are going to have to look at things differently if we want there to be change. When we believe our experience is the result of external factors we expend a lot of effort trying to control outside events in order to feel good, and avoid the bad. In effect you are fighting the world. When we are calm something almost miraculous occurs: we feel better and the external world seems to fall into step. We all have the innate ability to be calm because it is our natural state. We actually seek it out and almost all of us have adopted ways of being calm. its just that we can't do it when we need it most: in work situations.
Do More, or Do Less?
We actually expend a great deal of effort in our lives trying to be in that good place. Our experience tells us that we feel good when we achieve something. When we reach that state we feel peaceful and complete for a short while, until that feeling fades. and we strive towards something else. Thus we place a great emphases on action and activity. The beneficiary of this action and activity is primarily ourself, re-assuring us we are somehow in control of events. But it prevents a dispassionate appraisal of what is really happening.
But what if we, deep in our innate nature, were naturally calm? What if calm was our base state? What if happiness was our natural state? Then all of this activity would in fact be covering it up. To go back to our natural, innate healthy state, we would simply have to let go and allow. All of our activity is actually a movement away from the peace we seek.
Why Not Look Inside?
"Every time I have some time on my own, and maybe look at what is going on inside, it looks messy and frightening. And its not exactly appropriate in a business meeting."
Any new thinking we bring into the work environment needs to be practical, logical and secular. The CALM approach is based on a psychological model of how we experience life called the Three Principles of Mind Thought and Consciousness. We create a calm open environment where we look at our work experiences in the light of this understanding. We are not often given the opportunity in our working lives to be in a calmer, more curious place. When we are given this opportunity we re-discover the inner strength, insight and innate health that has been seeing us through these difficult times all the while. We get re-acquainted with ourselves, and discover we have access to all the inner resources we need.
Its not necessary to retreat to a meditation room, or a tropical island, to experience this. Because it is innate, it can be accessed at any time in any circumstance
How to engage us
Typically we'll put together a programme to address a specific issue in your organisation. Our starting point is a conversation on what you think is going on and what the end result would look like. Its easiest to start off with a informal chat, typically over a coffee or a lunch.
Solve the problem
CALM had its genesis in the consulting space: solving complex business issues through cultivating an understanding of what the real issues are. Our key focus is business change, often through the implementation of technology. We look at the underlying problems from a clear, balanced state of mind. The key is to understand what is the real problem that we are trying to solve. Most solutions fail because they are addressing the wrong problem. We use Design Thinking principles as our guide: we assume that we don't yet know the true problem, so we go through iterations of problem statements and possible solutions until the answer is clear. The issues can be people, process or product related. We look holistically at all three.
Focus on the real issues
Our courses address common yet persistent business issues:
Handling stress and re-discovering our innate resilience
Creating a calm, high-performance culture
From Here to There: converting goals into action
We must start meeting like this! Meetings that work
Training is most effective when it is focused towards your specific issues and outcomes. You are the expert in what your issues are and what you want. We use calm to listen, understand the real issues and then tailor the course towards your desired outcomes.
Every great team has a great coach, every star performer has a mentor to guide them. The calm approach is particularly useful in the development of teams and individuals by allowing you the time and space to get to the heart of the matter. Only by understanding the underlying reasons of what is happening can true progress be made. Our advantage is that we implicitly understand the pressures and constraints of the business environment. Our advice can therefore be both insightful and practical.
Experience it for yourself
The best way to get calm is to experience it for yourself. In our conference addresses we firstly get calm, then we look at your issues in the light of mindfulness. This is a great introduction to the concepts and experience of being calm. Some of our popular topics are:
We work mainly with industry conferences and in-house conferences.
What Others Say About Calm
Reviews of the Book
Our True Self is naturally CALM
Dorothea Brandin - Core Communication Coaching
"In our fast paced world most of us run around in a chronic state of stress. In the best scenarios, some of us manage to create pockets of calm in our hectic routines. Through doing the exercises of this wonderful book, we can (re) discover and experience that the True Self that we all posses from birth is naturally CALM. It is in fact our basic state and we are free to summon it whenever we want. With great mastery and simplicity, Mark stimulates us to access our CALM Self to better deal with our daily challenges at work or at home. I recommend this book with whole my heart."
Highly recommended as the most useful workplace guide to mindfulness I've come across
Sara-Jane La Hood
"I cannot recommend this book enough. I loved its simplistic and practical approach to finding calm and mindfulness in the workplace, (something which has been sadly lacking in any of the other books I've read on the subject). It was an easy and interesting read, keeping me engaged and giving me hope that I can definitely achieve a better, more productive and calm approach to work and life in general. And on top of that it provides very practical and usable tools to be used in every day work environments. I will definitely be re-reading this book and recommending it to my friends and colleagues."
"This book has helped me to stay calm, focused and happy. I've been using the ideas daily to improve work and my home life. I recommend this book and think the world needs more 'calm'."
A great guide to clarity, insights and the calm within.
Dr Yvonne Looi - The Joyologist
"Great anecdotes, concepts and approaches to awaken your inner calm and peace within by unlocking the secrets with three simple principles. A highly recommended read. Calm is a delightful addition to my resources of practical guides to clarity, insights and the happiness within."