141: Basics of Business Mindfulness with Marc Lesser
“You must learn one thing - the world was made to be free in.” David Whyte
Holly interviews Marc Lesser, executive coach, speaker and author who has been at the forefront of this movement before it was on the radar, Marc Lesser, often dispels the myth that this is a new idea to bring mindfulness into work.
Dōgen Zenji, the founder of Zen in Japan, wrote a treatise on bringing mindfulness into work. It was written as instructions to the head cook. Lesser ironically found himself as a head cook in a monastery, so he took this to heart early on. Dōgen writes that one should always work with three minds; joy mind, grandmother mind and wise mind.
Marc’s explains his definition of mindfulness: Mindfulness is humanness - being curious about the human dilemma.
Questions Holly and Marc explore are:
- What does it mean to be fully human?
- How has the definition of mindfulness changed?
- How can this support me in becoming a more effective leader?
- What is the difference between effectiveness and wellness?
- What is the silliest or most stern objection that you’ve gotten regarding mindfulness?
- Is meditation the only tool to be mindful or are there other tools?
- Is there truly a way to have work life balance?
Marc shared a story about leading a group of high level executives through meditation and mindfulness practices under the guise of “attention” training; being present with their breath and taking time to stop and be present. He wants to bring awareness to executives and their teams that everything they do and everything they don’t do, and everything they say and they don’t say will have influence. Marc’s continued practice is bringing awareness to the influence that executives have within their companies and business circles.
As a former employee with Google, Marc shared that Google adopted mindfulness practices into their core wellness initiative. Marc admits that he has a bias toward meditation as the main tool to implement mindfulness. He says, “Meditate with your monkey mind!” and Holly follows with “give it a cookie, thank it for showing up, and go back to your practice.”
He says that burnout is being out of alignment, with values, with the true nature of business and how people get lost in how business can blur the lines of ethics and caring for people. Some sense of full alignment is aspirational. Marc’s favorite quote: “Be joyful though you’ve considered all the facts.” Wendell Berry. In the midst of the gaps that exist, be committed to considering all the facts, make decisions and go with the facts that you with in the present moment.
Marc shares the seven practices from his book Seven Practices of a Mindful Leader.
- Love the work.
- Do the work.
- Don’t be an expert.
- Connect to your pain.
- Connect to pain of others.
- Depend on others.
- Keep making it simpler.
If you can focus on the first and the last, love what it is you’re doing and continue doing it with heart. Alignment comes when you find all the ways to make it simpler by eliminating all the distractions and only focus on what is most important in the moment.
Marc’s focus for 2020 is to help social leaders with mindful meditation combined with mindful finance and operations - combining the inner and outer work to get the work done.
You can find out more about Marc at https://www.marclesser.net/
Marc leaves the listener with “I wish we would spend more time promoting peace,” as well as a line from poet, David Whyte, “You must learn one thing - the world was made to be free in.”