A senior monk, named Tanzan, and a junior monk, named Ekido, were traveling together through the countryside. They soon came to a river with a strong current. As the monks were preparing to cross, they saw a very young and beautiful woman also attempting to cross. The young woman asked if they could help her cross to the other side. The two monks glanced at one another. They had taken vows never to touch a woman.
James* is a client and the CEO of a successful medium-sized consulting firm in Vancouver, B.C. He is in his 50s and has done quite a bit of personal growth work in the past, including working with several executive coaches. Despite this, he still finds himself stuck on the same topic.
“I know exactly what to do. I’ve known it for a long time. I’ve had the same vision and plan in front of me before, but for some reason I just can’t execute.”
He looked at me with deep concern in his face.
“What’s going to be different this time?!”
“In all of my experience, I have never seen lasting solutions to problems, or lasting happiness and success, that came from the outside in.” – Stephen R. Covey in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
Are you a business leader struggling with too few opportunities for growth, a lack of interest in your ideas, or the sense that you don’t have enough time or resources? Are you in any way unhappy about the results, including your inner experience, that you are producing?
The past is gone. The present is unfolding even as I type this. Your thoughts, your emotions and your bodily functions arise spontaneously. You can learn to influence them, but you cannot control them. In fact, the only thing you can ever control are your choices. And specifically, how you choose to respond to whatever is happening in the present moment.
How often have you heard someone say, “The U.S. President is the most powerful person in the world,” or “True power comes from within,” or “It’s important to empower others”? Power takes on completely different meanings in each of these phrases, but what does it actually mean to be powerful?
Wellness programs have been shown to provide approximately a 300% return on investment (ROI). In other words, companies who spend $1 in a wellness program (e.g., exercise clubs, personal trainers, smoking cessation workshops) earn $3 as a result of decreased turnover, fewer sick days, reduced health insurance costs, etc. The ROI from professional coaching is more astonishing. According to a Manchester Consulting Group study of Fortune 100 executives, the Economic Times reports “coaching resulted in a ROI of almost six times the program cost as well as a 77% improvement in relationships, 67% improvement in teamwork, 61% improvement in job satisfaction and 48% improvement in quality.” [CBS News Moneywatch 2011]
In today’s modern “creative economy” the industrial management model, where humans tend to be viewed like material resources to command, control and expend, is rapidly giving way to a more evolved business approach where great leadership and a culture of learning and excellence is being created through the pursuit of higher levels of personal mastery and genuine self-actualization at work.
Just like every person has a philosophy, so does every business and organization. The philosophy that has dominated the business world since the industrial revolution was built on the notion that the purpose of a business is to maximize profits. But this belief system is a rapidly eroding the very profits it claims to be producing, and is thus losing its legitimacy as a viable and sustainable business philosophy and approach. Conscious Business philosophy has emerged as a new way of leading in business to combat this old-school ideology.
Today, mindfulness and meditation are commonly promoted and practiced by everyone from Rupert Murdoch to Arianna Huffington and Jerry Seinfeld. In addition, some of the world’s largest and most recognizable brands have implemented corporate mindfulness and meditation programs, including Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, eBay, Intel, Nike, LinkedIn and General Mills. But where to start learning about mindfulness? I’ve compiled a list of resources to help you out!
Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post, recently published an article about mindfulness and its connection to the corporate bottom line which generated a lot of buzz in the online community. As Integral Leadership Coaches and mindful leadership practitioners, we always appreciate when our craft and industry are discussed in mainstream media by influential public figures. In today’s business environment, where complexity, ambiguity and uncertainty rule the day, we see mindful leadership as an essential part of being more effective and satisfied in work and life. To have that philosophy endorsed by today’s business leaders is very gratifying and essential to our work.