My Journey Into Meditation

RESTORE_000014185704ResizedA few weeks ago I wrote about how much I love coffee but that I had to give it up because it was starting to affect my ability to focus. I’m happy to report I’m still off the juice. Giving up coffee has helped to slow down my mind and body; no more raciness. But I’ve noted some remnant busyness in my mind that I’ve been itching to shake off. It sort of feels like I’m peeling an onion, working through the layers and getting closer to the core. Last week, I peeled another layer by starting a personal journey into meditation practice. Week 1 is in the rear view mirror and I’m seeing notable benefit already.

Meditation isn’t entirely new to me. I’ve meditated sporadically for several years, mostly with Wendy. She’s my resident mind/body expert. Wendy has been meditating for years; sometimes a lot, sometimes a little, but she always comes back to it. She’s been to a number of retreats focused on mindful based stress reduction and has even done an 8-hour meditation. Wendy’s reasons for meditating are very personal. Suffice to say, that among several other tools, meditation has been a key weapon in her arsenal to combat some difficulties not of her own making. So periodically, I would meditate with her, more out of curiosity than commitment.

Well, I think I’m ready to commit. Each day for the past week, I’ve meditated for 15 minutes in the evening and for five minutes mid-day at work. In the evening, I’ve used a guided meditation by Janet Solyntjes of The Center for Courageous Living. It is a fifteen minute meditation led by Janet’s voice and focused on mindfulness and observation. What I observe during meditation is the ability to separate myself from the random thoughts that my brain produces. And there are a lot of random thoughts that creep in. The trick, I’m told, is not to make those thoughts go away, but simply to observe them, acknowledge them and then move on to being present without judging yourself for having the thought. 15 minutes of meditation, at home, in a quiet environment after the kids are in bed doesn’t feel that long to me. I’m pretty sure I can and should go longer.

The five minute meditations at work are a real bear. If you want to see just how cluttered your mind is during your work-day, try meditating for 5 minutes in your office.

If you are anything like me and you meditate at work, you will observe your thoughts careening wildly from guardrail to guardrail. Meditating at work has proven as valuable as it is challenging. In five minutes just after lunch, I can get my mind to completely calm down, re-centering and re-focusing for the rest of the day. If I have an opportunity to design a work-space at some point, I’m thinking I’ll add a meditation room.

I can honestly say that meditation is helping me be more present. I’m more focused, directed and purposeful. And the more I read, the more I understand the broad range of health benefits of meditation. Scientists at Harvard have even established that meditation changes the physical composition of the human brain in only 8 weeks. That is a pretty surprising finding.

I’m committed to going deeper with this practice. I’ll post you at the 8-week mark and let you know how it is going and if the physical composition of my brain has changed.

My Journey Into Meditation

The 40s: Decade of Self Awareness?

The movie This is 40 is a satirical look at the life of a husband and wife who are turning 40 years of age. They have challenges with their kids, their businesses/jobs, financial security and personal relationships. All manner of comedy ensues. It is said that the humor is the good natured side of the truth.  Although This is 40 is a caricature, it isn’t far off either. I’ve certainly seen a number of friends go through difficult times of late.

That said, while the 40s certainly present some challenges, I’ve come the conclusion that the 40s are an opportunity to develop self-awareness. My sense is that the accumulating pressures of career, family and of balancing the two crescendo during the 40s. That crescendo…

The 40s: Decade of Self Awareness?

Be Mindful of Strategic Effects

Yesterday, I was catching up with a friend and fellow youth soccer coach. He happens to be a public stock research analyst. Although we were talking soccer, not business, we ended our conversation musing over the stock market’s Monday decline, which now appears to have extended into Tuesday.

His read; it’s all about oil. For those that haven’t been paying attention, oil prices have dropped precipitously. There are a number of factors at play including weak demand in emerging nations, and the emergence of alternative fuels. But for the most part, this issue is oversupply. Did you know that the United States is now the World’s largest oil producer? Surprising right!

In most cases, a decline in oil prices (particularly a supply…

Be Mindful of Strategic Effects

Throw Out Your 2015 Strategy and Budget Right Now

The arrival of a new year (and the beginning of a new one) brings a flurry of cognitive churning. As individuals, we 1/ reflect on the year passed, 2/ ritualistically write and read predictions for the next year, and 3/ make resolutions and set goals that are intended to inspire us to greatness during the next twelve months.

I’ve come to see this all as distinctly human but also quite strange. 1/ We can’t do anything about what happened in the past, and many of our “reflections” end up being revisionist history. 2/ The predictions we make – at least the most interesting of them – are almost invariably wrong, but we make them anyway as a way to either “exert control” on our world or to show others how smart we…

Throw Out Your 2015 Strategy and Budget Right Now

Depressive Realism as a Force for Change

I generally enter and exit the period between Christmas and New Year in a state of depressive realism. I’m not talking about depression in a clinical sense. Rather, I’m talking about a mood or state of mind that borders on depressed.

This isn’t a new phenomenon for me. I’ve come to expect it. It occurs because I step away from work (as much as is possible), reflect on the past year and contemplate the next. I’ve come to the conclusion that I wasn’t build with the reality distortion module that most humans possess which evolution designed to cause us to believe we are better than we . As a result, my self-assessments and perspective on the reality around…

Depressive Realism as a Force for Change

Kindred Disciplines: Growth Equity and Growth Hacking


growth equity and growth hackingGrowth hacking is now a mainstream term in tech circles, particularly those that are consumer-focused. Growth hacking definitions abound, but generally emphasize a data driven, creative and flexibly opportunistic approach to customer acquisition. Many would argue that growth hacking is simply a new term for an old concept – marketing. While the functions, tools and skills require for growth hacking may be essentially the same as “marketing”, the psychology and mission of growth hacking feel totally different to me. When I hear “marketing”, I think soft, fuzzy, ambiguous, and cost center. When I hear “growth hacking”, I think maniacal focus on growth, scrappy, data driven, tech/tool savvy, and…

Kindred Disciplines: Growth Equity and Growth Hacking

I love coffee. I had to stop drinking coffee.

Devil latte.

Three months. That is how long its been since I had a coffee. I didn’t have to give it up; but I needed to.

I love coffee. Warm, frothy, aromatic, tasty, comforting, caffeinating… That last part is where my divorce from coffee begins. I used to be able to drink the stuff all day long with no discernible impact. For years, I’ve had two shots in the morning and two shots in the afternoon. But something changed. I got in a rut. If I didn’t have my afternoon coffee, I crashed. No big deal; have an afternoon coffee and all would be well. That worked until the afternoon coffee started making jittery.

I couldn’t focus. I felt…

I love coffee. I had to stop drinking coffee.

Vulnerability and Entrepreneurship

I was browsing through the new Tattered Cover store in the recently renovated Union Station in Denver a few weeks back and found myself standing in the Business Psychology section of the store. For some reason, I have a habit of finding that section without trying – gravity seems to pull me there. In any event, I started thumbing through a book by Brene Brown, named Daring Greatly. The subtitle of Daring Greatly reads: “How the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent and lead.” There aren’t many books that stand-out to me as having altered my world view; Daring Greatly definitely did.

I had not heard of Brene Brown’s work before I picked up the book…

Vulnerability and Entrepreneurship

We Sell the Ultimate Commodity – Money

venture-capital-adLast week I participated in a panel discussion at Denver University organized by Maclyn (Mac) Clouse. Mac is a long-time educator and supporter Denver’s entrepreneurial community. I was joined by Peter Adams, Executive Director of the Rockies Venture Club. Mac’s setup for the discussion was “dangerous” because he offered both Peter and I the opportunity to speak for 15 minutes (thankfully without slides) about the angel, venture capital and growth equity investing landscape. No-one who knows me would ever give me that air time…

Peter led off and did an great job talking about the angel investing landscape and the do’s and don’ts of approaching angel investors. Peter is the co-author of Venture Capital

We Sell the Ultimate Commodity – Money

Improv at the Office: Yes, and…

imgresWhen I get really busy, I communicate less effectively. Truth is, I don’t listen as well, I get short in my responses and I cut off conversation prematurely, because I’m so focused on getting onto the next thing. I’m not proud of it, but it happens.

The First Rule of Improv

When I was in B-School, I participated in a business communication workshop that was entirely based on improvisational comedy. We practiced improv skits for an hour a week. Improv is really, really, really hard. It takes a quick wit, creativity and a willingness to surrender to wherever the skit goes – and they go everywhere and anywhere. No-one is in control. Everyone is in control!

Improv at the Office: Yes, and…