Good habits that promote focus and well-being are critical to success in any field. Being at the top of your game is something entrepreneurs understand instinctively. While attending the 30th annual EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards I had the opportunity to sit down one-on-one with 15 entrepreneurs, and here are the top four pieces of advice I heard around mindful habits to keep sane, focused, and happy in an ever turbulent business world.
Commit to Afternoon Tea - Jodi Berg, CEO of Vitamix
As the CEO of an iconic health company Jodi Berg understands the need for mindfulness. She explains that in addition to her morning stretching and mindfulness routine she also takes time during the workday as well. “Every afternoon between two and three I have a cup of tea” explained Berg. “Tea time is my relaxed time” and it’s a critical part of the day. She pointed out that tea for her is really a tool to remind her to take a couple minutes and reflect on how the day is going. Berg notes “if I’m stressed I’ll try to unwind and calm myself down. If I’m calm I try to reflect on why I’m so calm and how to do more of that the next day.”
Pull Back to Move Forward - Kevin Lavelle, Founder and CEO, Mizzen+Main:
Early on in his entrepreneurial career fashion industry disrupter Kevin Lavelle realized he had to pull back when he found himself getting lost in his work. Lavelle realized he was losing sleep and struggling to get along with his wife and team members due to being overly absorbed in the business. After reading the Four-Hour Work Week by Tim Farris Lavelle explained that “although I’m not sure Farris necessarily lives the four hour work week he preaches, I do buy into many of his ideas, particularly about being present and mindful. Being more mindful has really opened me up to pulling back and focusing.”
As a result of being more mindful of his relationships and deliberately carving out time each night to shut down work and focus on his wife and new child he explains “we are now doing better than we ever have because I pulled back. I’m sleeping again, I’m working out again, and I’m so much better at my job. I’m a more enjoyable person to be around and I’m more effective.”
Create Some Headspace - Katie Warner Johnson, Co-founder and CEO, Carbon38:
As a former ballet dancer Warner Johnson still maintains that strong discipline of an athlete even today as a busy executive and entrepreneur working to disrupt an industry steeped in tradition. The modern fashion maven strongly believes that successful entrepreneurs must be both physically and mentally healthy. In our conversation Warner Johnson shared that “I wake up every morning at 4:45. I meditate with my headspace app, I make myself breakfast, and then I go workout.” She believes meditating has really helped her better recognize the levers she can pull to get through tough situations. “No problem is ever the end of the world and meditating reminds me that any problem is totally solvable.”
Light a Candle - Lee Rhodes, Founder of Glassbaby:
Lee Rhodes freely admits mediation is tough, but as a cancer survivor she understands the power of mindfulness and strives to keep at it. “I consider myself to be terrible at meditating, but I make time for it every day. Some days it’s five minutes and other’s it’s ten, but I stick to it like exercise” Rhodes explains. Of course, as the founder of Glassybaby, the leader in hand blown glass votives, Rhodes likes to meditate to the white light of a candle lit votive as it helps her maintain focus. As an executive her meditation helps her hear what she need to hear from others without judgement. Whether it’s walking into a leadership team meeting or out on the glassblowing floor, being centered really helps her spot her triggers, listen and provide positive support.
Whether it’s the high technology of a guided meditation app or the simplicity of a cup of tea, the one thing all of these entrepreneurs have in common is the discipline of setting aside time to quiet, reset, and focus their most important tool, their minds.