Lisa Lahey, EdD, is an author, the codirector of the Minds at Work consulting firm, and a faculty member at Harvard University. She is a featured presenter for the Inner MBA program, a new Sounds True multimedia learning experience that explores how to bring principles of presence and conscious leadership to the business world. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon speaks with Lisa about the inherent difficulty of making large personal changes—especially when they are essential to the advancement of your career. They talk about the inherent human resistance to change and the need to be fully aware of our “inner landscapes.” Lisa explains how much of our resistance to change is rooted in self-protective patterns that need to be reckoned with before we can move forward. Tami and Lisa also discuss how to cultivate skills such as time management and communication, as well as what we can do to regulate work-based anxiety. Finally, Lisa details the three evolutionary steps for creating meaning and shares her hopes for the Inner MBA program.(67 minutes)
Chip Conley is an entrepreneur and the New York Times bestselling author of Peak and Wisdom at Work. He will present during Sounds True’s upcoming Inner MBA program, a nine-month training program for bringing your full, authentic self to your workplace and career. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon speaks with Chip about socially responsible entrepreneurship and the movement toward making workplaces into spiritually fulfilling spaces. They talk about the modern business obsession with short-term profit and why this attitude does damage to both our culture and environment. Chip and Tami also consider what it is to pursue meaning rather than profit, as well as how to create “collective effervescence” within a work culture. Finally, Chip explains his lifelong habit of journaling each week’s accomplishments and tells the story of the biggest risk he’s ever taken. (73 minutes)
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.