In late April, I attended the annual conference run by my old employer Panalitix. I have attended this every year for six years and it never fails to impress. Some of you would know that for three of the prior four I was the MC so of course they were particularity good events!
This was the 10th conference and the Panalitix team had an outstanding set of speakers with plenty of learnings for us all. Over the next few months I’ll share some highlights which I believe will be useful. The overall theme of the conference was “focus”. I believe this is one of the most important words for any business and I loved the acronym that we were reminded of:
In other words, don’t be distracted and don’t try to do lots of things at once.
The opening speaker for the conference was an ex-monk called Dandapani. He has many great stories about his life as a monk and he shared some great learnings, which are so applicable to life in business and life generally. (And don’t be fooled, it turns out the order he was apart of monks were very savvy business people!). Here are some of his points:
- Life is a manifestation of where you direct your energy
- Energy is like water – it doesn’t discriminate – so if you focus on negative stuff that is where your energy will go
- Whatever it is your practice is that which you become good at.
- If you practice distraction every day you will get at that! (So why not practice focus?)
- When awareness goes to a particular area of the mind it lights up that area
- Where awareness goes, energy flows
- You can use will power and concentration to focus your awareness
- Concentration is the ability to keep your awareness on one thing for a prolonged period
- Giving people your undivided attention is an example of concentration and is very, very powerful
Dandapani asked each of us to list three opportunities in our day that we could practice the fine art of concentration. He then asked us to pick one and practice it. Just one.
He described will power as a mental muscle and encouraged us to:
- Finish what you begin
- Finish beyond expectations
- Do a little more than you think you can
He asked each of us to pick three opportunities in our day where we could practice developing will power. Then to select just one to practice daily. He knows if we tried to practice all three we might not do. But just one… you can manage that.
Energy management is the art of consciously directing energy in a proportionate way to all the people and things in our life that truly matter to us. You direct energy by moving your awareness. Treat energy the same way you treat money.
Dandapani sees death as the great impetus. It brings everything into perspective – everything falls into a natural order of priority when death beckons. – energy and awareness are directed in a concentrated manner like never before. His point is that when we feel like we will live forever we lose focus on what’s important.
Continuing ton the topic of energy Dandapani identified three consumers of energy:
- Unresolved emotional experiences
People and things also give us energy. An “energy vampire” is someone you interact with who is not uplifting so you may need to make a decision to reallocate your energy away from people who don’t uplift you and towards those who do. And you do so in an “affectionately detached” manner.
In respect of things Dandapani has a ritual at the end of each year where he goes through his possessions and gets rid of those that are not uplifting. He simplifies things.
To get deal with unresolved emotional experiences he suggests writing about the experience on a piece of paper then screw it up and burn it.
He has a 50 year plan which covers physical, mental, spiritual, financial and family and friends. And he has a purpose which provides a focus for him. It is the same in business – finding the purpose elevates focus.
His closing remark was that life is meant to be lived joyously, so proceed with confidence.
There is plenty here to think about and perhaps for many accountants and other professionals a key point is that when you are with a person, whether it be a team member, a client or supplier, you give them your undivided attention. I’ve noticed that professionals often struggle with this and as a result their interactions with people are not as effective as they might be.
If you want to learn more about Dandapani you can go here: www.dandapani.org
Rob Pillans is an Accounting Firm Management Guru and Accounting Firm Coach, dedicated to helping accountants define their version of success, formulate the strategies and implement them. He provides hands on coaching, consulting, training, mentoring and facilitating all over Australia and New Zealand. He writes a monthly newsletter, which you can sign up for here.