Slowing Down in a Fast-Paced World: Leda Pacheco Reflects About the Importance of Mindfulness

A Message from Leda Pacheco, Assistant Director, Employee Development and Inclusion

Driven by our high-speed technology and laundry list of daily to-dos, it often seems we live in fast forward — with too little time for the things that matter, like family, friendship and our health.

And while quiet time and balance may feel like a luxury we can’t afford, the reality is these things are vital to both our personal and professional lives. Without them, we fail to live in the moment and foster the conditions necessary for learning and growing.

Only when we are truly present, calm and mindful of our surroundings can we be effective leaders equipped to actively listen to and support our teams, as well as inspire creativity, innovation and productivity.

To achieve this state of mind — and reap the rewards of its effects — we need to possess mindfulness. Defined by Jon Kabat Zinn, author of “Wherever You Go, There You Are,” as “paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”

There are two key elements that form the foundation of mindfulness-based methods: awareness and acceptance. To foster awareness, we need to expand our attention to our inner processes and experiences, from the here and now. From this approach, we can expand our conscious attention and learn to focus it as necessary. Acceptance is the ability to observe our thoughts and experiences with curiosity and self-compassion.

Curiosity, Openness, Acceptance and Love (COAL) is an acronym invented by Daniel Siegel to describe the qualities of mindfulness.  At Valencia, we are offering workshops such as the “Points of You®: A Mindfulness Experiential Encounter” and “13 Minutes of Balance” that help employees to take a pause and examine different aspects of their professional life and apply these mindfulness qualities in a playful, colorful and powerful way.

For me, mindfulness has been pivotal in my development. While I still have a lot to do, I can proudly say that mindfulness has helped me center and find my passion. It has guided me to observe my strengths as well as my weaknesses and fears and know that I am the observer of the emotions that emerge in myself. This self-awareness is helping me discover my path as a leader, and I have the blessing of an amazing team who is ready to walk side-by-side in this amazing journey.

If you looking ways to enhance your own mindfulness, I encourage you to consider participating in these mindfulness practices:

  • Take a minute each day to stop, sit back and center your attention on your breath.
  • Be fully present, whether you are listening to a team member, working on a project, attending a meeting or checking your email. Simply give whatever you are doing your full attention.
  • Take a mindful walk: walk without a goal or intention, while being aware of each step and of your breath.
  • Journal, even if you only do it for five minutes each day.
  • Read a mindfulness book in the Leadership Library.
  • Attend an upcoming session of 13 Minutes of Balance (register in the Valencia EDGE).
  • Attend a Points of You® workshop (register in Valencia EDGE), designed to help participants achieve mindfulness through four stages:
    -Pause: Shift our inner frequency from the busy everyday frequency to a quieter one, enabling us to look deeper.
    -Expand: Search for the unknown, not knowing where it may lead us. We allow a shift from our familiar comfort zone to a world of new opportunities, insights and wow moments.
    -Focus: Using guiding questions to clarify and define exactly which of the newly discovered possibilities is right for our journey.
    -Doing: Advance from thought to action. Draft an action plan that outlines the necessary steps and sets the timetable for realizing our insights.
  • Schedule a time out and expand your point of view with this interactive Points of You® activity:

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