Charlie Gilkey is an entrepreneur and productivity expert who founded the company Productive Flourishing. With Sounds True, he has published the new book Start Finishing: How to Go from Idea to Done. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon speaks with Charlie about crafting our best work—and more importantly, how to complete it. They discuss the process of deciding what your best work actually is, as well as how ideas grow into successful projects. Charlie explains why a project needs to be divided into “chunks” in order to really move forward, emphasizing that tangible benchmarks are imperative for actually finishing the work. Finally, Tami and Charlie talk about “creative constipation” and the courage it takes to pour one’s whole self into a beloved endeavor. (69 minutes)
Jerry Colonna is an investor, an entrepreneur, and the CEO of reboot.io, a coaching firm for executive-level businesspeople. He is the author of Reboot: Leadership and the Art of Growing Up. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon speaks with Jerry about bringing our authentic selves and open hearts to the business world. Jerry describes the path that brought him from a troubled childhood to becoming a successful businessman, as well as the events that made him reconsider how he wanted to better the world. Tami and Jerry discuss how self-inquiry can help make you a better leader and why everyone needs to define “success” for themselves. Finally, they talk about bringing your full, vulnerable aliveness to the workplace and what it truly means to “grow up.” (74 minutes)
Frederic Laloux is a business analyst and author whose book Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage of Human Consciousness is considered one of the most important management guides of the past decade. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon talks to Frederic about what it takes to become a “next-level organization” that meets the challenges and opportunities of expanding human consciousness. Frederic explains that the next stage of human development will be to move beyond ego, elaborating on how this will look in the business world. Tami and Frederic discuss the difficult balance between fulfilling financial obligations and living out one’s fundamental truth. Finally, they speak on the development of open and spiritually nourishing organizations, as well as the movement toward decentralizing authority in business places. (69 minutes)
the twenty years I lived in a meditation center, I rushed through my morning
coffee. After all, if I didn’t drink it fast enough, I’d be late for
meditation. It was important to get to meditation on time; otherwise, one had
to endure the social stigma of being late (obviously lacking the proper
spiritual motivation), as well as the boredom and frustration of having to wait
outside the zendo to meditate until latecomers were admitted.
moved out of the center, I had to learn to live in the world. I had been
institutionalized for nearly twenty years. Now I was out and about. What did it
mean? There was no formal meditation hall in my home. I could set my meditation
cushion in front of my home altar, or I could sit up in my bed and cover my
knees with the blankets. There were no rules.
I stopped getting up at 3:30 am. Once I did awaken, I found that a hot shower,
which had not really fit with the previous circumstances, was quite
invigorating. Of course, getting more sleep also helped.
was ready for coffee—hot, freshly brewed, exquisitely delicious coffee. Not
coffee in a cold cup from an urn; not coffee made with lukewarm water out of a
thermos; not coffee with cold milk, 2 percent milk, or nonfat milk—but coffee with
heated half-and-half. Here was my opportunity to satisfy frustrated longings
from countless mornings in my past. I would not have just any old coffee, but
Peet’s Garuda blend—a mixture of Indonesian beans—brewed with recently boiled
water and served in a preheated cup.
by the time I finished the coffee, I had been sitting around so long that it
was time to get started on the day, but I hadn’t done any meditation. With this
heavenly beverage in hand, who needed to meditate?
solution was obvious: bring the ceremoniously prepared coffee in the preheated
cup to the meditation cushion. This would never have been allowed at the center
or in any formal meditation hall I have visited, but in my own home, it was a
no-brainer. Bring the coffee to the cushion—or was it the other way around?
light the candle and offer incense. “Homage to the Perfection of Wisdom, the
Lovely, the Holy,” I say. “May all beings be happy, healthy, and free from
suffering.” I sit down on the cushion and place the coffee just past my right
knee. I cross my legs and then put the cup right in front of my ankles. I sit
without moving so I don’t accidentally spill the coffee. I straighten my
posture and sip some coffee.
my weight settling onto the cushion, lengthen the back of my neck, and sip some
coffee. Taste, enjoy, soften, release. I bring my awareness to my breath moving
in, ﬂowing out. If I lose track of my breath, I am reminded to take another sip
of coffee—robust, hearty, grounding. Come back to the coffee. Come back to the
distraction? A thought? Sip of coffee. Enjoy the coffee. Enjoy the breath.
Focus on the present moment. Remembering the words of a Vipassana teacher of
mine: “Wisdom in Buddhism is defined as the proper and efficacious use of
stabilize my intention. “Now as I drink this cup of coffee, I vow with all
beings to awaken body, mind, and spirit to the true taste of the dharma. May
all beings attain complete awakening at this very moment. As I visualize the
whole world awakening, my mind expands into the vastness.
Friends, this is one of the teaching stories that is shared in my new book, The Most Important Point. This offering comes to you with my gratitude for the efforts of Danny S. Parker, who edited over 60 of my Zen talks for inclusion in this volume.
I am honored to have this opportunity to share with you a topic that is very dear to me: work. We spend nearly half of our waking hours at work. Because of this, many of us seek a workplace that supports our personal/spiritual aspirations. This generally translates into searching for a job that is “people friendly.” Regardless of where you work, however, there are going to be situations that don’t align with your concepts, views, and preferences. When that happens, some people think it’s time to move on and find an environment that better suits them.
The Untethered Soul at Work presents a real paradigm shift from this way of thinking. Spiritual growth is always about change and transformation, but this does not mean changing the outside—it means changing the inside. A truly spiritual approach to our time at work is to see it as a phenomenal opportunity to go through the changes we need to go through to become more open and accepting. In the end, peace doesn’t mean finding a limited, controlled environment that does not hit our “stuff”—it means using our everyday environment to let go of our stuff so that we can be unconditionally peaceful.
When we approach work as an opportunity to express ourselves as well as to remove the inner blockages that keep us bound, we truly make work a holy place. The Untethered Soul at Work guides us and encourages us to view the challenges in the workplace as opportunities to grow spiritually. Many examples are given of how to face everyday situations so you come out the other side a more liberated person. When at the end of every workday you are a greater person than you were in the morning—you have used your day well. When you have reached the state where you are enthused to come to work every day for the challenge of letting go of your blockages—work becomes a win-win situation. You cannot lose—every experience is for your spiritual transformation.
We cannot always change our environment, but we can change how we interact with it. True mindfulness means staying centered and clear enough to use every moment life presents you to free yourself from yourself. Work is always a spiritual place—if you learn to use it that way.
Michael A. Singer is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself. In 1971, while pursuing his doctoral work in economics, he experienced a deep inner awakening and went into seclusion to focus on yoga and meditation. In 1975, he founded Temple of the Universe, a yoga and meditation center where people of any religion or set of beliefs can come together to experience inner peace. Through the years, he has made major contributions in the areas of business, the arts, education, healthcare, and environmental protection. For more information about The Untethered Soul®, please visit untetheredsoul.com.
Listen to The Untethered Soul At Work wherever you buy your audiobooks!
Seth Godin is a bestselling author and popular blogger who is known for his writing on marketing, the spread of ideas, and mindful business strategies. With Sounds True, he released the audio program Leap First: Creating Work That Matters. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon and Seth discuss the concept of resistance and how it must be sought out in any effective pursuit of art. They also talk about the contemporary “connection economy” and how there is no guarantee that one can make a living through genuine self-expression—but also how one should do so anyway. Finally, they spoke on the necessity of taking leaps and Seth’s concept of living a life of faith. (62 minutes)
Tami’s Takeaway: Seth Godin looks at a picture every day that depicts a person triumphantly jumping off of a third story building onto a street below. The caption: “Leap into the Void.” Seth leaps every day and inspires others to do the same. He teaches us not to wait to be discovered—for someone to choose us to come forward. Instead, we take the leap and “pick ourselves,” engaging in the creative act of being vulnerable, making art, and expressing ourselves. And whether 10 people notice or 10 million, we have the deep satisfaction of living courageously and pouring out our creative souls in ways that matter.