In my interactions with Steve Jobs, I observed him closely in the hopes of understanding what made his mind so special and unique. Surprisingly, I found that it wasn't just his astounding talents that set him apart; it was the way he respected and sustained his brain consistently that allowed him to find so much fulfillment in his work. Steve did what many successful entrepreneurs do to achieve success: He brought his whole self to work.
Bringing your whole self means more than just showing up--it means incorporating mindfulness, spirituality, and consciousness into everything you do. Under the mentorship of bestselling author and coach Alan Cohen, I realized that the only way to create harmony between work and pleasure was to be fully conscious every day.
How Consciousness Works at Work
It might sound like crunchy granola advice, but consciousness is a tried-and-true method of reaching success. My colleague Ime Archibong, for example, regularly conducts meetings with Mark Zuckerberg (you may have heard of him) while they run together. Instead of sticking to traditional meetings, Ime and Mark achieve their fitness goals, deepen their bond, and discuss business--all while leading by example and encouraging others to get more exercise.
By fulfilling their whole selves, Ime and Mark produce better work from a healthier mindset. You can follow their lead by incorporating these four habits into your daily life:
1. Rest like it's your job. In "The Sleep Revolution," Arianna Huffington credits her success and sharp mind to proper sleep, and her theory is sound. Studies show that insomnia costs the U.S. an average of $63 billion in lost productivity per year.
Recognizing the connection between sleep and effectiveness, I attempted to get nap rooms put in while I was at Apple in the early '90s. While this is a pretty standard perk in Silicon Valley today, periods of time to rest in the middle of the day were unheard of back then, and my efforts were for naught at the time. Whether your office has napping pods or not, make the time to indulge in some truly restful sleep.
2. Take your meetings on the road, or take a hike. In my conversations with Steve Jobs, we regularly got out in nature and conducted meetings in the fresh air. Steve loved walking meetings. Not only was it invigorating and restorative, but it also allowed us to accomplish a great deal. Walking side by side, rather than being stuck in a traditional office setting, allowed us to be more vulnerable with each other and connect more as people and peers.
The humble walking meeting seems to magically neutralize hierarchy and role expectations, making way for productive conversations and even increased bonds between people. Try "walk and talk" meetings with small groups, and watch as everyone's mindset shifts to a more relaxed state.
3. Create a meaningful space. I credit a great deal of my productivity and effectiveness to my clear head. By starting my day with set goals and taking time each day to meditate, I'm able to digest new information with thoughtful intention instead of spontaneously reacting and rushing around.
My favorite methods of meditation are Headspace's 10-minute sessions. Inexpensive and simple to use, Headspace helps those with a busy mind find a calm center. While I firmly believe that everyone should use the app daily, entrepreneurs can benefit the most from its calming guided meditations.
4. Press reset for a few days. While it's difficult to get away, taking vacation is just as important as eating a balanced diet. Taking the time to unplug and truly rest--whether that's through tranquil retreats or adrenaline-inducing play--will leave you feeling happier and more positive. So while you may feel the pressure to work year-round, science says you should take time off to relax--or you might regret it later.
Both Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg recognized the need to engage their complete selves to do truly amazing work, and you should, too. Take the time to reset to zero, clear your mind, and get some decent sleep. Your dreams can't arrive if you're not fully there to receive them.