Helping leaders emerge

Blog - April 2015

What I Learned from Flipping Burgers and Scrubbing Pots: Lessons in Leadership

"A Mindful Leadership Story by Len Bardfeld"

“My religion is kindness” – Dalai Lama

I have had a range of job experiences throughout my life: minimum wage, work-study, entry level, and management. Each of these experiences influenced “how I show up” and what I value: hard work, collaboration, listening, and most importantly, treating others with kindness and respect.

One of my first jobs was working in the kitchen of an overnight camp as “veggie boy.” I made salads and prepped vegetables. I did this because in exchange for work, I could attend camp for free. I soon realized the kitchen was understaffed and we would need to work long hours. Unfortunately, the manager did not seem to care about the team’s morale, which sometimes made it tough for everyone to stay motivated. I learned that no matter how difficult a job might be, the importance of taking a deep breath, remaining calm, and completing it – despite my supervisor’s attitude. I also made a promise to myself that I would care about the other people I worked with and contribute to a positive morale.

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Why Change is Possible

"The Buddha’s teaching is highly radical in its break with essentialist thinking, which usually conceives of the 'real' as that which does not change. The Buddha’s view was that absolutely everything was changing and therefore the self was not exempt. As a result, Buddhist thinking conceives of the self as process rather than as a fixed and immutable essence.


                                                               – John Peacocke, "Investigating the Buddha's World"

When Saying “No” Means “Yes”

"Saying 'yes' to more things than we can actually manage to be present for with integrity and ease of being is in effect saying 'no' to all those things and people and places we have already said 'yes' to."

                                                                  – Jon Kabat-Zinn