Mindfulness for Type A people with Zen teacher, author, & 3x CEO, Marc Lesser

May 16, 2023
Mindfulness for Type A people with Zen teacher, author, & 3x CEO, Marc Lesser
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Show Notes Transcript

Marc Lesser is a CSO, executive coach, and Zen teacher known for his engaging, experiential presentations that integrate mindfulness and emotional intelligence practices and training. He is the CEO of ZBA Associates, an executive development and leadership consulting company, with a client roster that includes Google, Twitter, Genentech, San Francisco Airport, Kaiser Permanente, Global Fund for Women, and Beneficial State Bank.

He founded and was CEO of three highly successful companies and has an MBA degree in business from New York University. Prior to his business and coaching career, he was a resident of the San Francisco Zen Center for ten years, and director of Tassajara, Zen Mountain Center, the first Zen monastery in the Western world.

Marc helped develop the world-renowned Search Inside Yourself program within Google – a mindfulness-based emotional intelligence training for leaders which teaches the art of integrating mindfulness, emotional intelligence, and business savvy for creating great corporate cultures and a better world. Deeply rooted in science, the program has been taught to thousands of executives worldwide. Building on the success of the Search Inside Yourself program, Marc founded and served as CEO for 5 years of the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, which offers programs, tools and content on mindfulness-based emotional intelligence, empathy, compassion, resilience, leadership with training programs in over 50 countries.

Marc’s books include Finding Clarity: How Compassionate Accountability Builds Vibrant Relationships, Thriving Workplaces, and Meaningful Lives, Seven Practices of a Mindful Leader: Lessons from Google and a Zen Monastery Kitchen, Know Yourself, Forget Yourself, Less: Accomplishing More By Doing Less, and Z.B.A. Zen of Business Administration.

💫 We cover :

  • Striving vs. surrendering
  • How to be both competitive and ambitious but also practice Zen
  • The difference between compassion vs. “positive thinking” when it comes to success
  • The science behind self empathy vs. affirmations when it comes to success
  • Compassionate accountability: what it looks like in the workplace
  • Mission driven leadership
  • How to tap back into your mission if you’ve lost it
  • Plus SO much more!

💫 Mentioned in this episode:

💫 To connect with Marc:

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To connect with Kasia

Kasia Krzoska - Stiggelbout: [00:00:00] All right, Mark, welcome to the podcast. Lovely to be here. It is such an honor. We were laughing about how this has been such a long time coming. I feel like the anticipation has been building, but the timing could not be better because I know you have a incredible book that is coming out, which we're definitely going to dive into.

But before we talk about that, I would love to start with a question that I ask every single guest, which is, what are three words that you would use to describe yourself?

Marc Lesser: Ordinary, spiritual, and searcher. 

Kasia Krzoska - Stiggelbout: Wow. I love those. I have not heard ordinary before. I have not. I have not. And I'm curious, what exactly does that mean for you? Just so I understand, because it brings up some [00:01:00] definitions for me, but I'm curious what that means to you. 

Marc Lesser: Yeah. Yeah, I think that in, in some way I feel my own sense of maybe humility.

And appreciation for being alive. And and it's funny, I was going to say, it's so interesting. I I was going to say non competitive, but actually I'm pretty competitive. And, I recently took a I was facilitating a leadership retreat recently, and one of the things that they did they brought in someone to do a strengths finders exercise, which I had never done in any formal way.

I'm certainly familiar with it. And out of the 34 strengths, the one that was number one for me was Achiever. And at first. Yeah, so now I'm going to change my word from ordinary to achiever. No, not really. Ordinary is still fine. I'm an ordinary achiever.[00:02:00] At first I was like, man, how could that be?

And then I thought, oh yeah I've written five books and I'm doing all these things. And I'm I've started several companies. Oh yeah, I guess achiever is probably. A strength of mind. 

Kasia Krzoska - Stiggelbout: So I love that because I knew we would at some point segue into this somehow. Because I read on your website that you describe yourself as a stealth Zen teacher working in the business world.

You have an MBA, you've been the CEO of three companies, you, but you also, okay, you're a five time author. We definitely threw that in there, but you also lived at and eventually directed the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center. Yeah. And what I find so fascinating is that, and I participate in your weekly meditations, you live such a kind of blend of both achieving and [00:03:00] competitive in these types of achieving and competitive environments and lifestyles as well as an author, as a CEO, but yet you also embody somebody who is.

It's very, I don't know if Zen would be the right way to describe it, but you do describe yourself as a stealth Zen teacher. And so how do you reconcile the two? They feel like such completely opposing sides.

Marc Lesser: I've been a serious, Zen practitioner. My whole adult life, and I'm actually an ordained Zen priest, which I don't usually use that word so much publicly, priest is such a, but I'm a Zen teacher.

And I think, it all started, or the big aha that I had. In some way was when I was, my 10th year of living at the San Francisco Zen Center and being a director of Tassajara. Now Tassajara is a [00:04:00] Zen monastery, a traditional Zen monastery in the winter, and then turns into a conference center.

So it's like a, basically a conference center, small business with a staff of 60 and all and the big aha that I had was that though I thought of myself as a Zen student, I was running a business, and that there was and everything about what we were doing had high standards for quality, for customer service, for the food we were providing.

And that to me, there was something profound about what looked like these two things. Actually, this thing about leadership and spiritual practice, Zen practice, contemplative practice that they actually went together really well. It's interesting. I've been. I gave an example that I liked the other day about this.[00:05:00] 

This strange blend of non achievement and achievement. So if, an example I like is if you're interviewing for a job, you are so much more attractive and you have such a better chance of getting the job. If you're not striving for it, if you have a, they'll be lucky to have me attitude about it, that you just know what it is you have to offer and that frees you up to excel and be open and creative.

So that's that, and I think that was a. experience that I had as, running Monastery Kitchen or being director of Tassajara and there is something to me about cultivating that kind of attitude around acceptance and but at the same time [00:06:00] having a clear vision of what, quality looks like or what success looks like or what I'm trying to like.

It's not that I don't want the job. Of course I do want the job, but I'm not. I'm not in there with that wanting, lacking, needing attitude. 

Kasia Krzoska - Stiggelbout: So much to dig into there and just so relatable for myself and I know for this audience, I describe this audience as the mindful type A's out there. People who are struggling with balancing wanting to be present and content in the world, but also wanting to achieve and create. So I do have to dig into this.

Like, how do you cultivate that sort of an attitude when people's livelihood. Is on the line like if you're running a business you have salaries you're responsible for there are deals that can make or break the business like you have a situation like,[00:07:00] that's out of your, sometimes it's almost easier when there are situations that feel completely out of your control like let's say the SVB situation that happened like a lot of people were caught off guard by that yet it feels so different when You know, there's an element of, am I doing enough?

Am I trying hard enough, right? To keep the ship afloat, keep it growing. How do you balance that with contentment and that, non achievement. 

Marc Lesser: Yeah, so this is, again, the other analogy I like a lot is sports. People are often surprised to find out that I'm a sports addict.

Kasia Krzoska - Stiggelbout: I am surprised, Marc, I am. 

Marc Lesser: But if you if you're a fan of the, one of the greatest basketball players ever, I could use many examples, but I'll use the example of Steph Curry. When Steph Curry is shooting a basket. He is not thinking about that he might miss it [00:08:00] or worrying about it. He is just, I think, completely in that zone of enjoying it and making his best effort based on tons and tons of practice.

So it's interesting meditation practice. or mindfulness practice, one way to describe it is training yourself to let go of expecting things to be different than they are. But it doesn't mean that you're not honing the skills. If you're a business person, there's a lot of skills around marketing or finance or management or leadership, all those.

So you're, it's this funny paradox. It's similar to the other the other sports analogy I like similar to the basketball one, a study was done showing kind of average golfers swinging at a golf ball and comparing their swing to a professional golfer [00:09:00] and it videos them.

when there's no ball, when they're just practicing. And for the average golfer, their swing is much closer to the professionals when there's no ball. Because just the fact of trying makes us stupid. So trying is extra some fear, fear of missing. Again, I experienced that my, the time I experienced it most viscerally is if I'm, about to walk on stage to give a talk.

I'm feeling nervous. There's a, there's butterflies in my stomach. There's a part of me that's saying, don't mess up, or what if I forget my life, all those things are there, but the, to me, the practice is to let all that go is to it's there. I let it go and just show up and just be literally.

Practice enough of what I'm going to do so that I can just be in the moment there [00:10:00] on stage giving a talk. One of my favorite quotes is the Pablo Casals, who was the world's greatest celloist, who someone asked him don't you get nervous playing the cello in front of Kings and queens and he he looks at the questioner puzzled and says nervous Why bit why would I be nervous?

All I'm thinking about is how can I love my audience? And I always bring up to myself that quote when I'm nervous, when I'm about to do a workshop or a talk or or anytime when I'm feeling that sense of stress to flip the switch to, to that it's not about me. And again, so much of so much of meditation, mindfulness practice is training, training the mind and the body that it's not about me.

And I'm there to make an offering. 

Kasia Krzoska - Stiggelbout: That's such a beautiful perspective. I'm [00:11:00] hearing a lot of open heartedness, an element of surrender playing into practice like this, which is just such a contrast to, I think, a lot of the practices that Many of us who maybe came to meditation through related fields of personal development and whatnot, where there's this element of fake it till you make it, right?

Force yourself to believe in the outcome and I've always actually practiced that and I've found, great success in kind of the affirmations or believing that the outcome will be as I want it to be. But I realized over time that still leaves you attached to the outcome. But I am curious, actually, how does trust play into this?

Because I'm hearing surrender, openheartedness is there inherent trust in that as well? And what does that look like if there's a release of the outcome? 

Marc Lesser: Yeah. Yeah, for sure. There is definitely some trust or even, faith in a certain way.[00:12:00] It's interesting what you were just saying about this sort of positive thinking or there's some interesting studies that have been done in the realm of self compassion.

That it has actually better outcomes, this sense of believing in yourself, loving yourself, being, being kind to yourself, produces better outcomes than self esteem. Self esteem is more like, pos saying positive things. The other side of self esteem is negative things so it's like you're it's doesn't have that same depth of, I think, using the trusting yourself, appreciating yourself, loving yourself, as opposed to, oh, I'm good at this, or I'm going to, I'm going to accomplish this.

It is, there can be some positive, but there's more positive to that that kind of [00:13:00] building resilience or that building. Inner strength that building that inner strength, building that, that kind of firm belief in your own ability to solve problems. 

Kasia Krzoska - Stiggelbout: I love that. That's such a powerful reframe and it feels very unconditional as you say it, right?

Because if you're looking at the affirmation side. of you will nail this interview. I would do that. I would write down affirmations before going into meetings. If you fail, then it's can you trust yourself? 

Marc Lesser: That's right. That's right. It has that it's dualistic in a way.

And again, I think one of the and going back to these various. whether it's the basketball Steph Curry example, or the golf or the interview, it's a non dualistic mindset. It's, it's a mindset that is less comparative and judgmental. But again, it doesn't mean that there, [00:14:00] At the same time, there is a vision of greatness or success or accomplishment.

It's not a whatever, it's not a whatever attitude. It's actually a high achievement. Low comparative and judgment which is a kind of to me again it's aspirational, but I think it's also ordinary and practical yeah, ordinary. And I think that's why, you tripped me up, asking me for those three, three words I'm teasing you.

Yeah, cause to me ordinary and extraordinary are really not so different. I love that. But I wouldn't have described myself as extraordinary, but I'm extraordinarily ordinary, I think. 

Kasia Krzoska - Stiggelbout: I've definitely never held that, heard that before. And I I'm really glad we kicked it off with this topic because, I think about it a lot and it's interesting and I'm wondering if.

[00:15:00] Some of the folks that you've taught and the leaders that you've worked with in the past, if they can relate to this, but there's like an element of. It's almost as though that negative counter self talk for many people can be so motivating to do better, to prove them wrong, to prove myself wrong, that there's like an element of fear of letting go of that, right?

And to step into what you're describing as a very non dualistic reality with a vision still, but surrendering to the way that the path looks, right? 

Marc Lesser: There's even a fair amount of science to show that, that. that negative self talk makes us dumber, actually. We and it's a habit. It's interesting for many people, especially leaders.

It's, it operates slightly below level of consciousness, but as soon as you dig in a little bit, there's a firm belief that I have to be hard on myself. That's how I accomplish things. And again, more and more both. [00:16:00] Research and, I, those kinds of those leaders that I find myself coaching, I will suggest try being kind for a week or two weeks.

Just try it. Really try it and see how that impacts your productivity. And it's never failed that we are more productive. Even it's hard to believe, wait our, we're we come from such a westernized European culture around these firm beliefs in that, that kind of being hard on ourselves and it's hard to believe, but again, I always say, try it, don't believe me, see what your own, see what your own experience is.

Kasia Krzoska - Stiggelbout: That is definitely a perfect segue to talking about compassion and your latest book, Finding Clarity, how compassionate accountability builds vibrant relationships, thriving workplaces and meaningful lives for all those [00:17:00] leaders out there who struggle with that. So I want to start by actually defining compassionate accountability, because I think you actually started to speak to.

Some of the detrimental effects of negative self talk, but I'm curious, how does that apply to accountability? Because accountability feels like rigorous workout routines, ruthless pursuit of a goal, like how does compassion fit into that? 

Marc Lesser: Yeah, so accountability is all of those things, right?

It's holding ourselves accountable. It's doing what we say we're going to do. It's. It's a kind of having and with other people, it's holding each other accountable, having a clear vision of what success looks like as well as how do we want to achieve success? What kind of culture do we want to be building with each other?

All those things I think are important parts of accountability. But it doesn't, and it can be ruthless and it can [00:18:00] be cold. This is where the compassion piece comes in or the, kind, kind accountability with kindness is a potent, it's again, similar to The all these kinds of examples that we've been talking about so far that we are more productive.

We are smarter. We're more we collaborate better when there is a compassion involved when there's trust involved. I know compassion, the business world. Still, it's not quite ready for compa the word compassion, I I've spoken a few times with, I've become friends with Kristen Neff, who's done a lot of research on self compassion, and she's noticed that there often will be some pushback about that word in the business world, and she'll just substitute it with, building Inner strength, building inner strength and I like that or sometimes resilience training, it's kind of a resilience.

I like compassion, and compassion. [00:19:00] Compassion is literally about feeling others pain. And I think so it's a kind of, it has an empathy. It has an empathy part to it. And we know there's tremendous amount of research about how essential empathy is in the realm of leadership, right?

Feeling, feeling the feelings of others, being able to read others. Compassion has that. And then in in addition to feeling others feelings, it's wanting to help, wanting to heal. So it has that. That kind of positive, wanting to take some action to help other people. How beautiful, how important in the work world that we are there, that we've got each other's backs, right?

That we're both, we're holding each other's accountable. We're working with a sense of drive and urgency. And we're doing it with a kind of care and love of each other. It's man, who wouldn't want to work in a place like that? 

Kasia Krzoska - Stiggelbout: Oh, absolutely. I would.[00:20:00] And I love Kristin Neff and what you mentioned about resilience, but I gotta say, I feel like compassion still feels different because of that empathy piece.

Like resilience is like the ability to get back up, right? I do have to ask because I feel like it is so beautiful to chat about this right now, dig into compassion and accountability. But how does that look like when things are really hitting the fan? And we're talking, there are so many businesses out there and founders and employees of businesses that are struggling during this time.

And it can feel and in some cases, this can be a reality. The next decision could be the end all be all right. And we need all hands on deck. People really need to be applying themselves. How does that translate when that is the environment and the reality that we live in? Like, how does that look like on a practical level, if you can share some examples?

Marc Lesser: Yeah, one [00:21:00] example, and this is radical in a way I actually talk about Boeing and, Boeing as being a very successful, very a culture that was I'd say was very much a culture of high accountability and high compassion, but little by little it seemed again, this, there's many stories and I'm, there are many truths on this, but one truth is that little by little, the accountants took over and the the need to show financial success, Made for some decisions that got made that were lacking in a kind of accountability for safety.

They stopped lis they stopped listening to engineers who were talking about, va various problems with the software that they were creating. So it's interesting the I think one of the outcomes of compassionate accountability is the [00:22:00] ability to hear all perspectives and the ability to be attuned, the empathic attunement.

I've been in some pretty difficult situations myself in the business world. I I the first company that I started, which was a a publishing company called Brush Dance we did a a dot com expansion. I raised a lot of money to to grow, my dot com business and our timing was perfectly bad.

In that it all imploded right as we raised the first tranche of money. And I still remember, the, I had hired a very expensive CEO and he walked into my office and told me that we were shutting the doors, that the investors said there was no more money. And I, I was, this was a really hard time and I I actually ended up in that moment.

Letting the CEO know that I had thought of this and we [00:23:00] were not shutting the doors, but he had to leave, and I had to let go of half of the staff in order to survive, and I had to negotiate with all of our vendors to give us time to pay back all the money that we owe. That we owed people. It was a really difficult time, and I had a number that was up there in one of my hardest times in the business world, and wonderful to be able to look back at these situations.

Man, at the time, it was a real nail biter. I was, working to this was my baby. This was a company that I had started and had been growing for at the time, like 12 12 years. And I've experienced a lot. I've had my, my share of real tough times. And I've always felt that accountability combined with compassion.

It's the best, it's the best medicine for working within even these really tough situations, holding oneself and others accountable, align. [00:24:00] So much of accountability is around. Not avoiding conflict and alignment and and what better way to do that than with a sense of empathy and compassion.

Kasia Krzoska - Stiggelbout: I love that example you shared because I know that one is one that a lot of entrepreneurs run up against at all different stages of their business, where it's do I shut down? Do I keep going? What decision do I make? The stakes are high. And it's amazing to have you reflect on this example.

And I'm curious from where did you derive your inner strength and your compassion during that time? Practically speaking, how did you plug into that? Because that can be. I could imagine I would probably had struggled sleeping. That's something I'm working on. So what happened for you?

Marc Lesser: I think two things is I did have a really good support system of business friends, some [00:25:00] board members, some employees, people, yeah, I still remember that really difficult meeting. I think it was only happened one time where I pulled my staff together and said, I'm not sure we're going to have enough money to pay payroll.

I'm doing everything I can. And I'm not sure we're going to, we're going to make it through this. And I think There was a young man who at the time was, worked at the front desk and he came up to me, afterwards and said, I want this company. I would invest. I have a spare, 150 that I would like to invest in the company.

He had no idea that we needed half a million to survive at the time. But I say that in that kind, I think the kind of vulnerability. That I was expressing and also that we had a mission. We were making things out of recycled paper and we were spreading inspirational ideas.

We were [00:26:00] licensing, the words of the Dalai Lama and the Thich Nhat Hanh. So it was a, it was definitely a mission driven business. So I think I I do write about this in the book, the what I call Winston Churchill's Three Lessons for Dealing with the Most Difficult Problems.

No sugarcoating, cautious optimism, and meaning and purpose. And I think being able to plug those in as much as possible is partly, I think at the time, those were things I was plugging in, right? Just facing the facts. We're in trouble. We need this much money to survive. These are the facts.

Man, they were hard. Continuing, some sense of realistic, not rose colored. optimism, but what's possible here? Who can support me? What do I need to do? And also the thing about yeah meaning and purpose during that time I, I think it was not too long after I'd had that talk where [00:27:00] a woman who was one of my really key employees said, this is too stressful.

She cannot continue to. In this environment, and she was going to quit. I knew that if she quit, it was over because my investors were not gonna invest more money in this company without her. She was a really key person. I said, why don't you go home for three days, give me three days to raise the money.

And if I can't raise the money in three days, you quit. I did raise the money and she did come back. 

Kasia Krzoska - Stiggelbout: Wow. Oh my gosh. That's such a, it's so fascinating because I feel like in many ways there's this portrayal of being in the leadership seat as having the answers to everything. And, almost I think there is a Definitely an element of shielding the team from everything that's happening and you definitely have to, of course, provide some sort of air cover, but that [00:28:00] honesty really draws people in and gives people the opportunity to trust you and show up with that same.

kind of authenticity and realness right back. 

Marc Lesser: Yeah. No, it's a funny line, although it's interesting to look at, companies that clearly cross the line, Theranos comes up as an example, right? Like when things aren't working to completely hide the truth, cover the truth, lie, downright lie to your employees and investors the other, there are times, I've certainly been in many situations where I have not been as forthcoming with, it's not like I would do that in every situation.

Generally I do want to, protect my employees from some of the difficulties and challenges that might be happening at a board level or financial, so it's not it's not like. I wouldn't say open book, but it's knowing, I think doing it with as much, [00:29:00] integrity as you can muster certainly not crossing lines that have anything that, that that are lying to anyone, but, so it's finding that right mix of, putting one's best foot forward.

Kasia Krzoska - Stiggelbout: Absolutely. So you also spoke just a second ago, actually, about aligning with that sense of purpose and that mission that really got you going. And you definitely mention this as part of a key part of leadership in the book. Especially here in Silicon Valley, it's all too easy to focus on just the end state, right?

And very frequently there's like this perception of if I raise X number of dollars, like I've made it now, I guess you've made it to raise the money, but that's just the very beginning. And, I'm curious for any leaders in any stage, maybe entrepreneurial or leaders within an organization who are listening to this.[00:30:00] 

How can. Folks start to tie back into their personal mission and bring that into the workforce in your experience. 

Marc Lesser: Yeah, I think it's in some way, never been more important that that people open up to, are you helping or are you harming? Are you helping or are you harming?

Now, again, these are, We are our systems are such that it's hard, to almost whatever we do these days Can have some heart, you know every time we get in our car. I don't care whether it's an electric car we've built a society that has a lot of strain putting a lot of strains on larger systems, but then there's also you know, we also have created Ways of working and cultures that often can, are you a stress maker or are you a [00:31:00] stress healer in your workplace, right?

Can you somehow attune yourself or commit that the mission of what you're doing is somehow making the world better in some way? Both externally and I and internally meaning within your organization. I regularly find myself, challenging leaders to ask those questions and bring some, that it can't just be, All about me and how I'm going if it's all about me and how I'm going to maximize my wealth that's got us into this mess that we're in about, people acting just from that place with and leaving out the larger perspective of the.

Of the we 

Kasia Krzoska - Stiggelbout: absolutely. And especially for anybody who is a leader or is in a position of leadership of any kind, the, we isn't just the end user and the outcome on [00:32:00] earth, right? But it's also your team. And then the ripple effects of that. That's so powerful. You got to ask though. There are some people who might be listening to this who are dabbling into this part of the world who might be thinking to themselves, I have been so heads down focusing on X in my life.

I feel disconnected. My mission. How can they tap back into that? Because that's not very easy always to recognize and I can even reflect on times in my life where I had worked so hard or. Push myself so hard, definitely listening to that negative voice more than anything that was true for me, that I became completely lost from that.

And there, there was a point where I woke up and I was like what am I doing here? Is this the life that I'm creating? Is this what it is? And I'm certain that there are some people out there listening to this who feel that way, who might be in very important leadership positions right now.

How can they tap back into their mission? 

Marc Lesser: Yeah [00:33:00] I was also thinking it can be really hard. When you're, if, when you're in survival mode if you're, if you are struggling, to pay the rent struggling to feed your family, these questions become really difficult, not impossible, but difficult.

Yeah. Yeah. I think again, my, when I started my first company was. A small, making things out of recycled paper. And it was a, it was really hard for many years getting, having it be, financially viable. But it really, to me, it really helped to be on a mission to keep coming back to the mission.

I think, I think it comes with asking yourself those larger questions again and again, Even if you're not in a position to be totally in alignment, but to me, the, the the aspiration is to be able to ask, why am I here on the planet? What is it? What is it that brought [00:34:00] me here?

What am I here to do? What problems am I here to solve? And how's it going? How am I doing? In that realm, what where am I aligned, where could there be more alignment and what do I need to do to move in any way toward this greater alignment? I think these, and these are complex questions.

There's no there's, we can't hold, we shouldn't hold ourselves or others to too pure, there are companies that, that we all have many motivations, I started making when I was running my first company, I launched T shirts. We started making T shirts and we had two lines.

We had one line of organic cotton T shirts, and as an experiment, we had another line of kind of just regular T shirts. And as disappointing as it was, nobody wanted the organic cotton T shirts back then, just because they cost a little more, and people weren't willing to pay that. So it didn't, [00:35:00] it... Didn't make sense for me to be in the T shirt business, I discovered, because I couldn't sell things that were not aligned with my values, and customers were not ready for, to pay more money for something that was more, environmentally sound.

These are hard, it's hard having strong aspirational values and aligning with them. 

Kasia Krzoska - Stiggelbout: Absolutely. But I will say as somebody who has been on a personal journey for the past year and a half of rediscovering that for myself, there is something almost freeing, once you tap back into that and you know that this is where you're operating from around the decisions that you make, how you choose to show up and the things you say yes to versus walk away from.

And at least for myself, I have found that when I am. To your earlier point of moving from a place of open heartedness and surrender, which I will emphasize is not the case all the time let's be clear. But when I am, [00:36:00] there is this element of ease in my life I could be working just as hard, but the experience of it.

Is not as it's not as tumultuous. It's not as do or die. I don't feel like I'm in a war, which is really how I felt for frankly, the past 11 years of my life, which is crazy mark. 

Marc Lesser: This is where, to me, I think I want to bring in some of, again, my own thinking and some of the language from. From spiritual practice or from Zen practice is, and I think it's a major shift in how one approaches all parts of your life, which is, are you living, are you living by habit energy, are you living by the way that you've been conditioned by the conditioning of your parents and society, or are you living by vow?

Are you living by a deeper sense of vow to be awake, [00:37:00] to heal, to help, to connect? And and to me that is a Huge kind of, life shift in an approach that changes everything, even if you can ignite and awaken that aspiration. It's a it's an aspiration. And I like the word aspiration.

It has breath spot. The spire part is breath. And it's living within your breath in a way and not pretending as though That doesn't exist, pretending, and waking up to that your deeper purpose. Again, and not in any, doesn't feel, not in any sort of, woo way, but in a real way, in a real way to embody it.


Kasia Krzoska - Stiggelbout: my gosh, that was so well said. Mark, I could continue speaking with you for hours, but we are running out of time. I would love for you to share with our audience. [00:38:00] Where can they find you? Where can they find your beautiful new book? Finding clarity, how compassionate accountability builds vibrant relationships, thriving workplaces and meaningful lives.

Where can they find it? And I'm going to deep link it all below in the show notes. So don't 

Marc Lesser: worry. You can get the book anywhere. Books are sold these days. Really easy. And you can find me. My website is marklesser. net, M A R C L E S E R dot net. And I've got lots of writing there and guided meditations and it's, I'm trying to make it a place that has some 

Kasia Krzoska - Stiggelbout: value.

You have an amazing newsletter, by the way, I'm going to shout that out because I read it every single week, yeah. 

Marc Lesser: Now on Substack. Ooh, I like it. And my podcast is called Zen Bones. 

Kasia Krzoska - Stiggelbout: I love that one too. 

Marc Lesser: Because I'm very busy achieving. You are. In an ordinary way. [00:39:00] 

Kasia Krzoska - Stiggelbout: Achieving in an ordinary way. I love it.

Mark, this was such a pleasure. Thank you so much for joining us on the show. Thanks, Kasia. Appreciate it. Thanks everyone for tuning in and see you next time.