Mindfulness for the Future, Today: A Q&A with Anis Qizilbash
Delivering imaginative stories and inspiring keynotes to stop fear-based selling and start to serve, connect and engage, Anis Qizilbash leaves audience members hanging onto her every word. Through providing mindfulness techniques to transform mental readiness, Anis helps audiences move forwards from setbacks to uncover new opportunities.
We caught up with Anis to find out more about how she sprung onto the speaking circuit, what some of her techniques are to recover from set-backs and how some of her experiences help shape what she speaks about.
Can you tell us a little bit about your story and how you came to speaking?
Like many people in the modern world, I’ve experienced personal struggles with addiction, depression, and low self-esteem. I read books, sought therapy, and attended programs until I had a sort of revelation which allowed me to get out of my head and see my situation in a totally new and holistic manner. I then became obsessed with figuring out what happened until I came across the practice we now refer to as “mindfulness”, which transformed my life.
As for how I came to speaking, I had a disastrous interview where I could barely string a sentence together – and I was an expert on the topic! I decided to train in public speaking and, in tandem with the mindfulness principles I had learned, speaking became a joy. I created Mindful Selling to help entrepreneurs and speaking was a way to reach more people. When more clients experienced success, big businesses began approaching me to share insights with their teams.
How do you use your stories and experiences of being in a sales environment to demonstrate how teams can create more fulfilling relationships?
Through two decades of sales experience, I understand that customer-facing roles can present uniquely stressful challenges: you always have to be “on”; you constantly face rejection; you regularly encounter the threat of competition; quality issues with a product are often out of your control, but can spoil client relationships and revenue; there’s the underlying stress of targets and deadlines; you have to prove yourself every month; and as managers you have to support and lead your team. Your state of mind affects how you handle each and every one of these challenges.
In our daily interactions we are rarely present in the moment. Instead, we’re usually reacting to the stories in our head, our beliefs, and our judgments. I use personal and client stories to demonstrate how you can apply mindfulness principles to deepen your engagement with others, in and out of work.
What is the importance of mindfulness, not just in a sales role, but in any work environment?
There’s a massive misconception about mindfulness – it’s not some corporate conspiracy nor is it a fast fix that will solve all your problems. It is an age-old tool that crosses cultures and disciplines and is proven scientifically to help you develop greater control of your attention and thoughts, so you can gain clarity to make creative decisions and make space to change your behaviour.
The 4th industrial revolution (i.e. automation) is predicted to dramatically change the way we work and interact with people. So many jobs we have today will disappear and jobs we cannot imagine may come online in the near future; this shifting landscape can breed insecurity. Now is the time to look after and equip your teams with tools to manage their wellbeing, build resilience, and rise above fear-based behaviour triggered by insecurity.
What are some of the techniques that you find work best to move forward from setbacks?
Step back and ask yourself, “What am I thinking? What is the record playing in my head?” Because when you’re watching your thoughts, you’re less likely to get caught up in your thoughts. For example, imagine a car sitting at the top of a gentle hill that has a steep decline. If you push the car down the hill, it moves slowly at first, but as you keep pushing it, it builds momentum and soon enough it zooms dangerously down the hill. Catch it early enough and you can stop or change direction. But as the care picks up speed, it’s much harder to stop or correct course. That’s how your thoughts work - when you’re aware of them, you can catch the negative spiral early, before it takes you plummeting down an abyss of worry or anger.
When you notice yourself getting stressed, take action to get present so you can empty your mind of the thoughts causing you stress. Take a walk or listen to your breathing for one or two minutes. Punctuating your day with these pauses gives your mind (and body) the relief it needs to restore balance, the space to correct course.
Thank you for taking the time to talk to us Anis, I will definitely put some of your suggestions into practice when I need to de-stress.
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