When my (now) wife and I were dating about 20 years ago in Japan, she worried that she was making a bad investment in me.
Because I was bordering on monkhood. (Not ideal for husband material.)
Over the years, I've spent time in monasteries affiliated with French-Vietnamese Buddhists (Thich Nhat Hanh, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee), Thai Buddhists, Zen Buddhists (Tassajara, part of the San Francisco Zen Center), and Catholicism.
Additionally, I've hung out with the brother of the Dalai Lama at his Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center, and worked on (and failed at) a regular meditation practice at home and at local Zen and Korean Buddhist centers.
Along the journey, I've had some wild experiences. Here are a few:
So what does all this have to do with climate change and cleantech entrepreneurship?
First, who cares? This is what life is all about, exploring possibilities and other cultures. :)
Second, it's about bringing one's whole self to work. We're more than our LinkedIn resumes.
The other day, during a session with my business coach, she said, "Chris, most of your peers, partners, and students see you as a Type A, hard charging, mission-aligned, finance-oriented, Excel-loving business person. But what if they also knew about you as an introspective, meditating-in-caves, compassion-filled dude (with a pony tail)? How much more could you resonate with them and help them reach their own goals?"
Third, it's a reminder to get to know more about the unknown aspects of your customers and employees. They offer so much more than just what they provide to your business. As an example, yesterday I was running a group coaching call and realized that one of these emerging leaders spoke Mandarin. Given his Caucasian American appearance, it was delightfully mind-expanding, and it created a chance to share how I had learned a different Asian language, Japanese. (But I conceded that his skill may be more practical than mine in the years to come.)
Finally, it's a shout out to the science-backed benefits of mindfulness and mediation. Here's a summary from Headspace, the meditation app founded by a former British monk who studied circus arts before being ordained in a Tibetan monastery in the Indian Himalayas. By the way, fun fact on this company: It's valued at more than $300 million. Holy Buddha!
Alright, time for me to go and meditate. Just kidding. I'm 100% in work mode. I'll save meditation for tonight and hope that I don't fall asleep instead after the kids go to bed.
Photo from Jason Rosewell on Unsplash