Written by Michele Chan Santos.

WCA_CareersOverCoffee_colorFreeing yourself from negative self-talk, learning to breathe to achieve calm and centering yourself emotionally formed the core of the discussion at Careers Over Coffee South on March 31 during Erika Marcoux’s presentation, “Achieve the Power of a Focused Mind.”

Marcoux is the co-founder of Cornerstone Mindfulness, an executive consulting firm which teaches CEOs and other professionals how to meditate, in order to decrease stress and improve their personal and work lives. Marcoux has a master’s degree in counseling psychology and also operates a private practice. Careers Over Coffee South was at capacity (18 people) for this discussion.

First, she led the group in a short guided meditation (very successfully, considering the bustling atmosphere of Panera Bread on a weekday morning!) We then discussed how we felt during the guided meditation – everything from “lighter” to “more relaxed” to “less fearful” and also “distracted” came up. Marcoux talked about how mindfulness means “paying attention on purpose, being in the moment, without judgement.”

We discussed how mind, behavior, body and emotion are interlinked. A regular meditation practice, even just meditating 10 minutes once a day, can improve our behavior and self-awareness, she said.

“True leadership comes from that self-awareness,” Marcoux said. “It allows you to be able to share what you’re feeling in a productive way.”

She teaches her clients to practice conscious compassion. The majority of our thoughts are negative and repetitive, she said. You have to listen to those thoughts – and then let them go. This practice will allow you to be true to yourself in your thoughts and actions.

“The beauty of meditation is that it works as a filter,” she said. “It lets the other stuff fall away. The more you can embrace it and know it, the easier it will be.”

Cornerstone offers the Business Mindfulness Training online course along with their eBook. Marcoux also counsels individual clients and couples in person, and teaches them meditation in order to work through issues or heal from a crisis. To contact her, email erika@cornerstonemindfulness.com.