Become Trait Aware. Focus on your own trait strengths and the trait strengths of others. Just the knowledge of these trait-strengths and their power will inform more productive personal interactions and create new levels of harmony and productivity in any work culture that considers them.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Alexia Parks, President, 10TRAITS.com
An award-winning entrepreneur, author and international speaker, Alexia Parks is President of 10TRAITS.com and inventor of the 1-Minute GET Smarter Faster Tool. It offers instant insights and actionable advice to help unlock and maximize human potential based on creating a dynamic synergy between 10 powerful masculine traits and feminine trait pairs.
Alexia was called “One of 50 Who Matter Most on the Internet” by Newsweek magazine for her launch of Votelink, one of the first online democracy voting systems. She has appeared as an expert on television, in TIME magazine, and formerly wrote for the national desk of The Washington Post.
As a United Nations Mentor, Alexia mentored the young woman leader who became the Fortune Magazine #1 Award Winner for social impact at their 2014 “Most Powerful Women in the World” Summit.
Thank you so much for doing this with us Alexia! Can you please share your “backstory” with us? What role did mindfulness or spiritual practice play in your life growing up? Do you have a funny or touching story about that?
Early in my career, when I knew nothing about mindfulness or the importance of a daily spiritual practice, I received an urgent call from a friend who lived 2000 miles away. He asked if I could take a few minutes to visit a friend of his who had been involved in a car accident. “He is stuck in a hospital bed with his leg in traction. He doesn’t know anyone in town. It would be a big favor to me, if you could visit him.”
I did. It turned out that he was president of The Monroe Institute. It was the place everyone went, I was told, after they had experienced everything else in the human potential movement. I ended up visiting him at his bedside every day for a week. Before checking out of the hospital, he said to me: “I see a sleeping genius that I want to awaken,” and extended an invitation for me to take a 10-day training program at the Institute. At first I took his complement personally and felt greatly empowered. It didn’t take long, however, to realize that we all have a sleeping genius inside of us, waiting to be awakened.
Saying “YES” to this unexpected opportunity, put me on the path to meeting a series of spiritual teachers over the years who enriched and deepened my own spiritual work.
How do your mindfulness or spiritual practices affect your business and personal life today?
The three pillars of my daily mindfulness and spiritual practice include daily habits based on nutrition, aerobic activity and a mindfulness meditation. My day starts with a series of 10 Affirmations that begin with “I AM” … constantly growing every day, constantly aware of my health on every level, … constantly aware of my life affirming potential. I have turned these mindful affirmations into a morning exercise routine to align my body-mind-spirit with my personal and work goals. Each 10TRAITS training session now begins with these affirmations.
My mindfulness practice extends into my work life by being mindful of the relationship and health issues people face on a daily basis. Recently, I worked with a software team to create several one-minute digital tools, including a 1-Minute Employee Conflict Resolution Tool to help people learn to manage conflict in the moment, the moment it happens.
Our BE Mindful app “pings” me every morning at 11am to ask: “How are you feeling right now?” Like a weather map, it tracks my mood over time by showing me what I was doing at that moment, and the action I took in response.
Do you find that you are more successful or less successful because of your integration of spiritual and mindful practices? Can you share an example or story about that with us?
A few years ago, I was selected out of a pool of 800 candidates to become a United Nations mentor. I was assigned to work with a young African leader named Rehmah Kasule. Every Monday morning, for 18 months, I attended a meeting in Kampala, Uganda, with Rehmah. We met via Skype.
Her UN funded project was to lift 200 young women out of the slums of Kampala, and the high risk of human-trafficking, by teaching them microentrepreneurship, leadership, and providing mentorship. And, she was successful.
My job was to provide her with links to resources and creative ideas to problems as they arose and one thing more. I told her over and over:
You, and each of the young women you are working with, have 10 powerful traits. And these 10 traits are exactly what’s needed, urgently needed in the world today. When you learn about them, focus on them and meditate on them, they will manifest as inner power, courage and a will to express your full potential.
Near the end of my mentorship, Rehmah was flown from Africa to America where she was honored as the Fortune Magazine #1 Award Winner for social impact at their 2014 “Most Powerful Women in the World” Summit. Her project also received the best reviews for impact and sustainability in the whole of Africa.
Rehmah and I have remained good friends over the years. Now on a fellowship at Harvard University, she recently sent me a text to ask if I would be willing to serve on the Board of her new non-profit organization. “You are my first choice!” she wrote. My response: “YES. Absolutely!”
What would you say is the foundational principle for one to “lead a good life”? Can you share a story that illustrates that?
For me, the one foundational principle for “leading a good life” is to practice being mindful in every moment — as often as possible. Most people want to lead lives of meaning, passion and purpose, so staying fully mindful as often as possible can help us stay aligned with our inner purpose. Staying mindful also helps us stay consciously aware of our actions and thus take full responsibility for each choice or action we take.
Most days, I find myself repeating the phrase: “Be Mindful” — like a mantra — every time I take an action. I might be walking down the stairs, riding my bike, engaging in conversations at work, or saying “Hello” to someone, and my mind reminds me to “Be Mindful.” Consciously using this phrase, perhaps 100 times a day, has become part of my spiritual practice to: “Be all you can be in every moment.” Practice makes perfect!
Can you share a story about one of the most impactful moments in your spiritual/mindful life?
I grew up in a family that enjoyed hiking and camping. I also played tennis and occasionally, basketball. One of the most impactful moments in my spiritual life came 10 years ago, when I learned about the many benefits that come from daily aerobic activity.
Most people don’t know this one important fact based on science: when you reach aerobic levels your body begins to create new brain cells. The two places in the brain that the new brain cell growth takes place are in your frontal cortex — the thinking part of your brain — and your hippocampus, the memory part of your brain.
I have turned this personal benefit into a training program called “Walk With A Mentor”. Reaching aerobic levels for 15–20 minutes or more also exercises your heart. Your heart is a muscle. The cliche “use it or lose it” also applies to the heart. Aerobic activity such as fast walking, jogging, or walking up and down the stairs exercises your heart, and stimulates the production of “feel good” chemicals inside your own body that give you a natural high.
When you build new brain cells by developing a daily habit of aerobic activity, you also breathe a little deeper. I call this the “sunshine effect”. Aerobic activity brings so many benefits that it’s like watching a beautiful sunrise. You start to feel happier just thinking about it.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Ten years ago I met a handsome young medical doctor at a coffeehouse in Boulder. At age 66, he was referred to by people who knew him as Dr Longevity because he had maintained a perfect record of health, not even a common cold, in 40-years. Formerly on the faculty at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, Dr. Joel had spent a lifetime focused on preventative medicine.
It was wintertime and the place was crowded. I found an empty chair, placed it close to the warmth of the wood stove and sat down to read a book. A few minutes later, I looked up and saw him looking at me across the room. As our eyes met, he motioned for me to come join him at his table, and pointed at an empty seat beside him.
Our first meeting was the start of a daily conversation that turned into a work-life relationship. It has taken us beyond the realm of health and fitness into the spiritual dimensions of energy. The ground-breaking discovery I made was based on research across a dozen fields of science, I learned how an instant transfer of knowledge about a person’s traits could help unlock their untapped potential.
Can you share 3 or 4 pieces of advice about how leaders can create a very “healthy and uplifting” work culture?
Leaders can help foster a “happy, healthy and uplifting” work culture in three important ways:
1.) Lead By Example. Leaders whose work and life reflect their own good health and a positive frame of mind will automatically show the values they want to foster in the work culture.
2.) Become Trait Aware. Focus on your own trait strengths and the trait strengths of others. Just the knowledge of these trait-strengths and their power will inform more productive personal interactions and create new levels of harmony and productivity in any work culture that considers them.
3.) Be Consistent. If your goal is to create a very healthy and uplifting work culture you need to create a structural framework. The framework will help them continuously learn and apply repeatable methods for preventing workplace conflicts, improving harmony and productivity, and sustainably promoting a positive culture at work and in their own family life.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire 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 would launch a movement based on trait awareness, trait strengths and trait balancing to help organizations create a structural framework for their diverse inclusive work culture. This framework would help them continuously learn and apply repeatable methods for preventing workplace conflicts, improving harmony and productivity, and sustainably promoting a positive culture at work and in their own family life.
How can people follow you and find out more about you?
You can learn more about my work at:
23 Ingredients: Eat and Repeat Twice Daily For Life, Health and Happiness