What the hell are they doing here? That's what I wondered.
Among them were big-time successes ranging from those partners who commute on the Metro North to their Manhattan law firms to brandname journalists. If I had their money, fame, and influence, I reflected, I wouldn't need to swing by the Buddhist temple multiple times every week.
That was 2013.
I was so far away from understanding or experiencing what peace of mind was that, of course, I was clueless that there is no necessary correlation between what appears and what is.
Five years, hundreds of miles away, and lots of cushion time later it all seems so obvious. Actually, it is about what we in Roman Catholic schools were forced to pray for ourselves, our families, and the atheists in Russia: peace of mind.
Essentially, peace of mind represents that paradigm shift from wrestling with what was (as if we could really know that since memory plays many tricks on us), and what could be (assuming planet earth will endure) to embracing in the moment what is. And experiencing the blessings.
The ultimate test of that is when business is slow for an entrepreneur such as myself. Or the managing partner at a law firm.
My meditation teacher instructs me to be grateful for that state of enterprise being.
At the very least, it provides space to strategically and tactically up my game. Actually, that is exactly what happened in the fall of 2016. The outcome had been record revenues.
More importantly, that pause is full of teachable moments.
I got it that it is counterproductive in personal branding to try so hard. When prospects contact me with possible assignments, I listen. I don't parachute in with the kinds of sales pitches law firms position and package on late-night television.
Another bit of insight is that there is no way anyone can control what others are thinking or saying about them. Sure, branding experts can achieve some of that for clients. That's a growing trend for individuals and organization which fall from grace in these volatile times.
But, on a human level, it's the path of madness to be preoccupied with what goes on in others' heads - and hearts. All we can manage is our minute-by-minute response to what the universe seems to be dishing out. Peace of mind is a difficult entity to hold onto.
That's exactly why the BigNames in professional life continue to do heavy cushion time.
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