“I believe that success is relative to how passionate you feel about what you are doing, and whether you are living in sync with your purpose. I am so grateful that I’m able to do work that I’m excited about every day, and it’s fulfilling to know that I’m able to have a positive impact on people’s lives.”
Patricia Karpas is the co-founder of Meditation Studio and host of the Untangle Podcast, where she has interviewed over 150 experts, thought leaders and authors on how mindfulness practices change us. She leads content for Muse® by Interaxon Inc., and Meditation Studio, the 5-star app that Apple named one of its top 10 apps of the year. Meditation Studio was acquired by Interaxon, creators of Muse® the brain sensing headband, in July 2018.
Prior to starting Meditation Studio and joining Muse®, Patricia was a media executive with companies including NBC, CNBC, AOL and Gaiam. Her focus has been on content creation, marketing, business development and innovating new businesses. Patricia has also consulted with numerous health and wellness companies through her consulting company, Karpas Ventures.
Patricia has an MBA from the University of Denver; Health Coaching certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition; Yoga Teacher Training certification with Yoga Works; Executive Coaching certification with New Ventures West; and has studied MBSR and Meditation extensively. As a thought leader, she writes for Thrive Global, Positively Positive, Yoga Journal, and other media outlets.
With more than 15 years of experience in the health and wellness space, Patricia believes deeply in the power of meditation to help people lead more calm, grounded and resilient lives. Her mission is to help others use meditation as a tool to handle all of life’s challenges, and to feel happier.
Patricia was featured in the recent Chase Ink Business Unlimited card campaign, and in the Baume and Mercier campaign for In Style Magazine, which highlighted her commitment to living a life that is in sync with your purpose.
What role did mindfulness or spiritual practice play in your life growing up? Do you have a funny or touching story about that?
I came to meditation and mindfulness in my late thirties when I was a media executive dealing with the pressures of long hours at NBC. Navigating corporate politics, a variety of egos, and difficult conversations were stress triggers for me. I knew that I needed more tools to feel less anxious and more resilient. I’m not sure whether I needed to toughen or soften up, but I decided I’d learn to meditate and explore whether this would help me with my feelings of overwhelm. It was an intense workplace, and I was dealing with many of the other pressures that are common to 30-something year old women living in NYC.
There was a beginning meditation workshop in upstate New York, and although I was nervous to meditate for an entire weekend with a Sri Lankan Monk, I welcomed the challenge and jumped on the opportunity to learn to meditate. It was a tough weekend but by the end of it I was committed to a meditation practice, and many of the Buddhist teachings that went along with it. This one workshop was transformative, both personally and professionally. Many years later, I turned my passion into my work when launching our app, Meditation Studio, with my business partner and co-founder, Cyd Crouse.
How do your mindfulness or spiritual practices affect your business and personal life today?
Today, my mindfulness and spiritual practice, coupled with the challenges of simply living life, fuel my work. I look for what connects us as human beings: whether we’re stressed about work; anxious about family or relationship issues; struggling with a new job; grappling with sleep challenges; feeling like we need a confidence boost; saddened by grief; or simply trying to spark creativity or up-level performance.
We all stress about the big and little things. We stress about deadlines, become overwhelmed and anxious about unpredictable change, worry about the state of the world, stay up too late and the list goes on. I meditate because my life is messy and I believe it’s messy for all (most) of us. This is why we started Meditation Studio and our podcast, Untangle. Meditation Studio has over 500 meditations and 6 courses, and each original and exclusive meditation is designed to help us be calmer and more grounded, but also to inspire us as we go through life and encounter all of these challenges. After all, we only have control over how we respond to things in life, so providing more tools for everyone is our goal. I select teachers who can create meditations that will resonate with our users. Of course, many of the meditations are inspired by my own life and the lives of the people that are closest to me, both personally and professionally. Some of my favorite meditations have names like Untangle Negative Thinking, Cultivate Patience, Difficult Emotions, Let Things be, Inhale Calm, Connect to What Matters and many, many more. I love that I can turn to our App and be inspired in so many areas that challenge me in life. Also, when our customers, friends and family tell us we’ve helped them, it makes it all so worthwhile.
I’m also very curious about people and so we started our podcast, Untangle, to explore how mindfulness and other contemplative practices help people in a range of areas. I interview authors, thought leaders and experts on many topics including neuroscience, leadership, happiness, mindful eating and nutrition, digital wellness, sleep habits, creativity and much more. I’ve been lucky enough to do over 150 interviews with incredibly interesting people on a wide range of topics.
Do you find that you are more successful or less successful because of your integration of spiritual and mindful practices?
I believe that success is relative to how passionate you feel about what you are doing, and whether you are living in sync with your purpose. I am so grateful that I’m able to do work that I’m excited about every day, and it’s fulfilling to know that I’m able to have a positive impact on people’s lives. It’s also a privilege to be able to choose great people to work with and my co-founder, Cyd Crouse, is one of the best leaders I’ve worked with.
What would you say is the foundational principle for one to “lead a good life”? Can you share a story that illustrates that?
I would say that leading a good life is about making deep and meaningful connections along the way, and surrounding yourself with people who you can learn from and who inspire you in meaningful ways. Dr. Rick Hanson, one of my recent guests on Untangle, said that there are 5 ways that we can be happier: 1) Drop the stone (stop the preoccupation with a single thought or negative thinking in general); 2) Let it Flow (or let it go…); 3) Have a growth vs. fixed mindset; 4) Connect with others whenever you can; and 5) Allow yourself to be amazed (in awe) as often as possible.
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?
I have to give a lot of credit and thanks to my Meditation Studio business partner, Cyd Crouse. Cyd and I have complementary strengths and our shared passion for meditation is what helped us kickstart the Meditation Studio journey together.
Can you share 3 or 4 pieces of advice about how leaders can create a very “healthy and uplifting” work culture?
I’ve interviewed many leaders on the Untangle podcast and received some great advice on how meditation helps with work, including executives from LinkedIn, Google and JP Morgan. Some very interesting pieces of advice came from an interview with Jerry Colonna, the CEO and Co-Founder of Reboot.io, an executive coaching and leadership development firm. Their coaches and facilitators are committed to the notion that better humans make better leaders.
Here is the advice I found most healthy and uplifting for a work culture:
1) Jerry talks about the power of “standing still while your hair is on fire.” This is the all-important ability to pause and really assess what’s going on when things are most hectic or unsettling,rather than acting quickly from a reactive state.
2) Meditation enables you to be more skillful in listening to others, to see new, fresh ideas from all levels in an organization.
3) Meditation trains the mind to focus and concentrate more effectively, so that you can be more grounded and present.
4) It helps you to be more self-aware and accepting of all of your traits,even the parts you may not love. Happiness flows from accepting the multitudes that live within us.
5) It helps you to see your flaws with self-compassion. Mindfulness training, coupled with self-inquiry, helps you to peel back the layers and see yourself more clearly.
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’d love to wave my magic wand and create a ‘flash mob’ movement where people around the world could experience meditation for 5 minutes together every day. We would all have a shared experience and (with my magic wand) we would have a better understanding of ourselves and of each other, as well as more compassion and acceptance of our differences.
How can people follow you and find out more about you?
About the author: Jacob Rupp is a coach, author, speaker, podcaster, and rabbi. He is the founder of Lift Your Legacy, a community that helps people live a more authentic life. He has a regular, syndicated column that appears in ThriveGlobal and Authority magazine. To learn more about him or to listen to the Lift Your Legacy podcast, search iTunes or visit his site: liftyourlegacy.live