Nina Godiwalla on How Meditation Training Improves Employee Wellbeing

In Chapter 19 of 22 in her 2011 Capture Your Flag interview, author Nina Godiwalla answers "How Does Meditation Training Impact Employee Wellbeing".  Godiwalla shares how the training teaches employees to accept they have the right to choose their decisions.  This allows individuals to take control, which provides perspective that decreases panic and stress while raising the impact they create.  She is also a public speaker on workplace diversity and founder and CEO of Mindworks, where she teaches mind-based stress reduction techniques to help organizations improve employee wellbeing.  Godiwalla holds an MBA from the Wharton School of Business, an MA in Creative Writing from Dartmouth University and her BBA from the University of Texas at Austin. 


Erik Michielsen:  How does meditation training impact employee well-being?

Nina Godiwalla:  When I speak to professionals, I hear, “I have so much stress that I don’t know what to do,” you know, “Help me lower the stress,” and I think the perspective which is -- it’s hard for people to understand initially but that you choose that stress.  I mean no one wants to hear that because the minute you say you choose how much you’re allowing your stress to be, I mean I’ll get a laundry list from some people like no I don’t because I have this project due and I have this project due and then I have to do this and I have to do that and the reality is, is you get to choose some of that.

One, you get to chose how you treat yourself so even if some people will have a list of 10 things to do and they can be the calmest people around and some people will have that list of 10 things that, you know, doesn’t necessarily look realistic that it could happen this week and they kind of just, you know, break down about it and so the reality is, is it’s building in for employees it’s helping them understand that we have control over how we treat ourselves and the stress that we create for ourselves and we also – when you get to a calmer place, you’re able to manage that a little bit better and it doesn’t mean -- part of it’s understanding what really needs to get done, asking the right questions but when you’re in that state of mind of panic or of fear, you’re not able to really realistically manage this, you’re not in control and it’s helping people feel comfortable bringing themselves from the panic to the “Okay, maybe I can do this and maybe there are certain things I need to change about the situation so that I can manage this better” and it – so much of it, this first step, is about perspective and the reality is it just changes peoples lives and their productivity permanently because having different perspectives allow you to actually get things done and it allows you to be a better manager, a better leader, a better person colleague for other people so it has definitely a complete ripple effect and when you have – especially when you have leadership and senior managers who don’t know how to handle their stress.  All of that has a ripple effect on the employees.