“Being mindful.” With Beau Henderson & J. Scott MacMillan

Being mindful is how I live my life now. I’m more aware of others’ feelings; I’m more aware of my surroundings, and I am more apt to notice something beautiful like a bird or a sunset than I did before. Asba part of my series about “How To Develop Mindfulness And Serenity During Stressful Or […]

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Being mindful is how I live my life now. I’m more aware of others’ feelings; I’m more aware of my surroundings, and I am more apt to notice something beautiful like a bird or a sunset than I did before.

Asba part of my series about “How To Develop Mindfulness And Serenity During Stressful Or Uncertain Times”, I had the pleasure of interviewing J. Scott MacMillan

Author and certified NLP life coach J. Scott MacMillan centers his work around the theory of the Hero’s Journey. Drawing upon the concept’s relatable and inspirational nature, MacMillan has created a 5-step plan designed to help people reclaim their power, step into their authentic self, and become the hero of their own life.

MacMillan’s coaching business, Hero Life, uses behavioral learning techniques, adult learning theory, and the Hero’s Journey to help people create new patterns and apply critical thinking skills to daily life. Combining his personal life experiences and expertise in psychology, MacMillan helps people overcome periods of feeling stuck by working through fear and doubt and finding their life purpose. Learn more at

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

In2001, I had a good corporate job, a wife and two children and a beautiful house in the suburbs and life seemed to be right — Except it wasn’t. My health was failing, my marriage was failing and my job had become stagnant and unfulfilling. That year I heard my hero’s journey first call to adventure, but it would more than ten years later when I would answer the call and cross the threshold into my hero’s journey, write my book Be the Hero of Your Life, and become a life coach.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

After publishing my book in 2019, I have been appearing on podcasts and doing book signings. It’s been so gratifying to bring my message of hope on how to get your life unstuck and live a purpose-driven life to the world. Each time I talk to a podcast host or engage with a reader, they are so interested to learn about the hero’s journey, inside out thinking, and how to use quantum creation to achieve a dream life and that anyone can do it. It’s so gratifying to help people understand how their thoughts have created who they are today and how by following their hero’s journey, they can obtain the courage to find and live out their dreams.

What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?

I believe honest and open communication is the key to a successful work environment. When employees and teammates feel like they can speak openly and honestly, they feel empowered to be all in. If the leader is open and honest, a trusting work culture will be created. I work with leaders and teams to help them understand that vulnerability is not weakness but strength. When you have a culture that encourages honest and open communication it fosters the courage for each team member to be vulnerable and trust they won’t be ridiculed or turned against. When teams function on this level, success is all but inevitable.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

Dr. Joe Dispenza’s Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself. I’ve always believed that we can heal ourselves from disease and manifest our dreams, but I didn’t understand how. This book gave me the exact combination of science and spirituality that taught me how powerful our minds can be if we focus our thoughts and beliefs on what we want. Too often, we are thinking about what we don’t want, which actually calls those things into our lives.

I use a version of this meditation and visualization technique every day, and it has helped me create my purpose-driven dream life.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. From your experience or research, how would you define and describe the state of being mindful?

Mindfulness is a state of presence and awareness. I first learned about being mindful from an old girlfriend who was an empath and could read my state of awareness. She would ask me where I was all the time. I didn’t understand what she meant at first, but I soon realized that my attention would drift off sometimes. When that would happen, she would feel me disconnect from her. Once I understood what I was doing, I worked on being more present with her, and soon I found myself more present with everyone and everything in my life. It was then that I realized that I had learned to become more mindful in my life.

Being mindful is how I live my life now. I’m more aware of others’ feelings; I’m more aware of my surroundings, and I am more apt to notice something beautiful like a bird or a sunset than I did before.

This might be intuitive to you, but it will be instructive to spell this out. Can you share with our readers a few of the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of becoming mindful?

For me, being mindful is tied to being aware of other people — their feelings and what’s either relevant to them or not valuable to them. I feel more in touch with the people around me. When I’m mindful, I also notice what’s going on within myself. How I physically feel in parts of my body and how I feel mentally and emotionally. I feel out of sorts when I get lost in the world and am not mindful. When I finally remember to be mindful again, it’s like a refreshing glass of water that soothes me.

Ok. Here is the main question of our discussion. The past 5 years have been filled with upheaval and political uncertainty. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have only heightened a sense of uncertainty, anxiety, fear, and loneliness. From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to develop mindfulness and serenity during such uncertain times? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Check-in with Your Stress Level — Listen to Your Body

Everyone deals with stress differently, but we know that prolonged stress degrades our immune response. Now is not the time to have a compromised immune system. It can be helpful to listen to your body and become mindful of how much stress you are under. If you quiet your mind and listen, your body will tell you how it is feeling. Almost 20 years ago, I was in the shower trying to get the hot water to loosen up my very sore back muscles. I had been having severe back pain for over a year, and no doctor could figure out what was wrong with me. In the shower that morning, I heard an internal voice say to me, “You must be doing something wrong, this is no way to live life.” I had no idea what that message meant or what I was supposed to do with it, but I now know it was my first Call to Adventure in my Hero’s Journey.

As I was trying to figure out what the message meant, I soon realized that I had to stop blaming the outside world for my problems and look within to find the answers. That is what I have been doing since that day, and I can say that it took me longer than I wanted, but I did finally find the answers within, and now I am healthy, happy, and live a purpose-driven life.

Turn Off or Limit Your Intake of The News

All media outlets turn it up a notch when there is a crisis. Clearly, it’s good to be informed when something terrible is going on, but most media outlets are in business to make money. They are going to hype up the news so they can get more eyeballs then their competitors. This hype and constant bombardment can lead to a false sense of catastrophe. I’m not saying to be uninformed, but limiting your news intake during stressful times can give your nervous system a break and help to alleviate the chronic stress that can cause disease.

During the initial attack on the United States on 9/11/2001, I, like many of you, watched in horror as planes flew into the twin towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington D.C. I continued to watch the news day in and day out to try and make sense of it all. Unfortunately, I didn’t understand what all that negative and sad news was doing to my mind and body. Had I known then what I know now, I would have limited my intake of the news during that time. Who knows if it would have prevented my chronic back pain episode I described above, but it would have surely made me feel calmer.

Of course, finding a new activity to take the place of all that news watching will be helpful, which leads me to my next step.

Quiet the Mind

The best way to give your body a rest from the ravages of stress is to quiet the mind down. This can be done with meditation or prayer or even just listing to music. Anything that takes your mind off your worries, even if it’s for only a few minutes.

When I first started to meditate, I learned the transcendental form where you just focus on your breathing and try to quiet your mind. My mind, though, didn’t want any part of this. It was used to thinking about 50 things at once, so it did its best to distract me. I was becoming frustrated until one day I heard that meditation wasn’t necessarily about how long you could keep your mind clear, but more about how many times you could bring your mind back to your breath. Learning to meditate is like bodybuilding with weights; each time you work out, you get a little stronger. Each time you bring your mind back to your breath, you are strengthening your meditation practice. I also learned that even 1 or 2 minutes of a calm, clear mind was helpful to your mind and body.

With that said, for beginners, I now recommend guided meditation, which can give you extra help as they guide you step-by-step into a quieter and more peaceful state of mind.

Learn to Disassociate Your Fear

If you fear something, picture in your mind’s eye that fearful thing or situation. Now view the image or scene that you are afraid of as if you were looking at it from a few yards away. View it as if it is over there, away from where you are standing. Then switch the view to where you are standing far away from it, maybe 100 yards or a football field away from you. Take a breath and realize that this situation that you are afraid of is far away from you and can’t have any impact on you or your loved ones.

What you are doing is disassociating yourself from the fearful thing. When you see it at a distance from you, it doesn’t look or seem so scary. It gives your brain and nervous system a break from it appearing like it’s so up in your face and real for you. See that it is only a thought projection and a faraway one at that, and it can’t affect you.

Do this practice as many times as you need during the day to calm yourself down.

Do This Mind, Body, and Spirit Exercise

The benefits of this exercise will calm your nervous system down, allow more self-acceptance, and increase your vitality. We’re going to breathe and hug ourselves. Let your body take in every ounce of air and strength as you inhale. On the exhale, allow yourself to release and express as you fully exhale. Permit yourself to love all of you. Even what is difficult, as you breathe and hug yourself.

  • Sit up straight in your chair or stand up.
  • Take a few deep breaths
  • Then, as you inhale, extend your arms wide and open your chest.
  • On the exhale, bring your arms forward around and give yourself a big hug.
  • Repeat but this time on the inhale say the word “Peace” and on the exhale, say “Love.”
  • Repeat but this time on the inhale say the word “Love” and on the exhale, say “Acceptance.”
  • Repeat but this time on the inhale say the word “Gratitude” and on the exhale, say “Peace.”

I try and do this simple exercise every morning after I meditate to oxygenate my body and start the day out on a positive note.

From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

  1. Understand we are all going through the same thing together. Not feeling alone helps us think we all have a stake in helping others
  2. Helping others makes us feel good and gives us a sense of control.
  3. Talk to old friends or family often. Check-in with them via phone, text, or video conference. Feeling connected to our loved ones calms our nervous system down.
  4. Volunteer to help out at schools, food pantries, or shelters if it is healthy and safe enough to do so. If you can’t go in person, find organizations online that you can help virtually.
  5. Offer to pick up something at the grocery for someone who has a hard time getting out.

What are the best resources you would suggest for someone to learn how to be more mindful and serene in their everyday life?

I love to learn and read so I could go on and on, but here a few of my favorites for mindfulness and peace, and calm

  • MedCircle — Mental Health Videos
  • Anything Brene Brown writes
  • Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It by Kamal Ravikant
  • 90 Seconds to a Life You Love by Dr. Joan Rosenberg
  • Buddha’s Brain by Rick Hansen

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

Wow, so many great quotes, but my work has been greatly influenced by Joseph Campbell and the hero’s journey, and these two quotes sum up what I believe.

  • “We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” ~ Joseph Campbell
  • “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” ~ Joseph Campbell

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I want to help people understand they have always been heroes of their life, and if they can remember when and how they were heroes, they can regain the courage to face their current fears and achieve anything they want to in life. If people understood their life is, and has always been, created by their thoughts, they could accomplish anything.

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

You can find me at or on Facebook at

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

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