Very nice piece from Parvati Magazine about my work merging sustainability, health and conscious business. Makes me feel good, humbled and privileged. Click on the pic below to read the article.
“A few hours of meditation can change the epigenetics of our brain,” says cognition scientist Richard Davidson.
Brain’s ability to rewire itself in relation to changes in behavior, environment and thinking patterns—or brain plasticity—is heavily impacted by mindfulness practices. Simultaneously, the discovery of the enteric nervous system (or the brain in the gut) has given an entirely new meaning to the mind/body relationship, shedding light on the mechanism by which mind wellbeing positively impacts the body and vice versa.
Business leaders seem to be catching on.
CEOs Mark Bertolini of Aetna and Jeff Weiner of Linkedin swear by the positive impact of yoga and mindfulness on themselves and their organizations. Programs like Google’s “Search Inside Yourself” are sprouting in and out of Silicon Valley. Global gatherings like Wisdom 2.0 are bringing senior executives from the high tech world together with wisdom teachers. Mindfulness is trending up in the Swiss Alps of Davos at the World Economic Forum. Harvard Business Review backs the hype with hard science in the recently published article, “Mindfulness Can Literally Change Your Brain.”
Yet, despite all of the above, the mainstream business culture still lingers in a feeling of unease about yoga and mindfulness.
Based on my own leadership experience, I suspect this feeling has roots in a common bias that paints wisdom practices for the meek. I still remember the quizzical stares I was getting from my team when I openly started practicing yoga and meditation on business trips and at corporate events. Eventually that initial reaction melted away when the realization dawned on everyone that the odd stuff I was doing wasn’t making me a weaker leader—actually, quite the opposite. The excellent top and bottom line numbers generated over a streak of four years were only matched by the increase in passion, engagement and accountability from the team.
So, when I look at the Seahawks returning to the Super Bowl for the second consecutive year by pulling off a stunning win against the Packers, I do it through the lens of karma yoga, the yoga of doing from a place of being.
Russell Wilson and Jermaine Kearse, who followed through a game-long awful performance by making key plays in clutch time, when all seemed lost, are highly paid professionals and humans beings like you and I, with their own shortcomings. So there’s no need to elevate them to semi-god status.
We can learn a lot from the behavior they both exhibited on the field under immense pressure.
Russell Wilson was a great example of staying with what is, including playing very poorly for almost the entire regular time. He kept showing up fully to the present moment with trust, discipline and commitment. Every professional athlete, not to mention an elite quarterback like Russell, is a competitor and trained “not to give up.” That is expected, it is a given at this level. The third chakra of these athletes is fully formed and fortified, sometimes even too much.
Through the course of our careers, no matter our title or hierarchical standing in the organization we belong to, we all have plenty of chances to exercise leadership. And likely all of us have personally experienced the wild diversity between inspiring and inept leaders. The former creating a motivating, efficient landscape, while the latter spirals entire teams into complete dysfunction.
It all comes down to choice.Bad leaders make reactive, unconscious choices for which they seldom take responsibility. Good leaders make proactive, conscious choices for which they take full ownership.
As human beings, it is ultimately in our power to choose what we allow through our energetic gates. It is our responsibility as leaders to choose carefully what draws our attention, for where our attention goes our energy goes, and allocation of scarce resources along with it. Continue reading