Marc Lesser is someone who sits right at the crux of what has become a huge moment in the business world, bringing mindfulness into work. He shares how a book about baking bread ended up leading him to a Zen Monastery in San Francisco and forever changed his life. He also talks about his Executive Coaching and Leadership Development work, the Search Inside Yourself Program and his work with Google, and why more businesses are now mixing the practical and the mystic. He also gives us some great information from his new book Seven Principles of a Mindful Leader and how work gives us a great opportunity to practice mindfulness and awareness.
[7:04] Marc jumped fully into the mindfulness world when he was quite young. What he thought would be a one year break from Rutgers University in the early 1970s, instead ended up with his living at a Zen Center in San Francisco.
[10:19] One of the things that came as a surprise to Marc while in Tassajara was the realization of how important work was. He found the focus of work itself and was a practice in mindfulness.
[15:35] Marc went back and finished his undergraduate degree at Rutgers and then got his MBA at NYU. He took a great interest in learning more about leadership roles that were socially aware responsible.
[18:51] Marc explains the difference between Zen and Buddism, and how it came to be that more Zen communities formed in the 1960s in San Francisco.
[22:26] Marc founded BrushDance, a greeting card and calendar company, one of the first companies in the world to make items out of recycled paper. He loved how the company married art and words in a tangible product.
[25:43] After leaving BrushDance, Marc followed a path of becoming an executive coach. He now had the experience of running a business and felt that was crucial to truly be able to lead his clients in the right direction.
[31:06] Marc teamed up with Google’s Meng and Norman Fischer to develop the Search Inside Yourself Program. They were now teaching mindfulness to a very different environment and Marc describes it as a steep learning curve.
[33:49] Marc feels as though mindfulness is so popular right now in the business world because we are seeing that in order for a business to be successful there is a need for emotional intelligence and collaboration. Where we once thought we should take the human mask off, now we see it needs to be on.
[36:08] Marc and Meng launched the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute and created it with the intention to make the program more available inside of Google and to serve as a vehicle to bring mindfulness to an already very successful business team.
[39:30] The Seven Practices of a Mindful Leader:
- Love the work.
- Do the work.
- Don’t be an expert.
- Connect to your pain.
- Connect to the pain of others.
- Depend on others.
- Keep making it simpler.
[43:02] We are seeing the world of business and even athletics merge more with the personal growth and spiritual world.
[45:16] We shouldn’t assume someone will not be into learning more about mindfulness or develop an “us” vs. “them” mentality. We don’t know what others are thinking and feeling, and it’s important to approach others with a curiosity and openheartedness.
[47:43] The roles we have matter but underneath that, it’s important to look at how we are developing our own self.
“Zen is a placeholder for asking the important questions about how we can truly live, and not be so tossed around by fear, greed, and hatred.” — @marclesserClick to tweet
“When you are at work be fully at work. When you are at home, be fully at home.” — @marclesserClick to tweet