June 05, 2019
Recently I listened to Marc Lesser, The Zen Priest with an MBA, speak with Dan Harris on 10% Happier podcast episode #184 (click to listen). I enjoyed the podcast so much, I bought Lesser’s book, The Seven Practices of a Mindful Leader that evolved out of his work helping create Search Inside Yourself Leadership, a mindfulness-based emotional intelligence program at Google.
And this is why – Marc Lesser speaks about the tension between being and doing; his love of work; the importance of cultivating compassion, clarity, self–awareness, and a deeper connection to others – and how a mindfulness practice can decrease anxiety and increases one’s ability to lead with the ever–increasing complexity and demands that all leaders face both at work and at home.
The Seven Practices of a Mindful Leader by Marc Lesser
1. Love the work. Start with inspiration, with what is most essential. Acknowledge and cultivate aspiration – your deepest, most heartfelt intentions.
2. Do the work. Have a regular meditation and mindfulness practice. Learn to respond appropriately at work and in all parts of your life. Lesser recommends meditation, walking meditation, and journal writing – emphasizing the importance of spending some amount of time just sitting, without any of the activity or stimulation of exercise.
3. Don’t be an expert. Let go of thinking you are right. Step in to greater wonder, openness, and vulnerability. The quote "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few" by Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki captures this concept beautifully.
4. Connect to your pain. Don’t avoid the pain that comes from being human. Transform pain into learning and opportunity.
5. Connect to the pain of others. Don’t avoid the pain of others. Embody a profound connection to all humanity and life.
6. Depend on others. Let go of a false sense of independence. Both empower others and be empowered by others to foster healthy group dynamics.
7. Keep making it simpler. Let go of a mindset of scarcity. Integrate mindfulness practice and results.
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