I know you reboot your laptops frequently but have you rebooted yourself lately? In a fast-moving life, I have my own way to reboot myself as the CEO of Yahoo! JAPAN. I was appointed to take over the role by former CEO Masahiro Inoue in June 2012 because the company needed a drastic change. I was asked to accelerate the company’s speed and improve competitiveness to keep us as a leading Internet company, although Yahoo! had been successful in the market already since the rise of the Internet. The burden on my shoulder was huge. And as a business leader, sometimes you need to cope with loneliness, too. So as a CEO, securing time to balance myself has become an important element in my life.
Despite my busy schedule, when I feel the need to reboot my mind, I immerse myself in the mountains and spend time there taking in the clear air in Hakuba, a small village in Nagano Prefecture. Made famous in the 1998 Olympic Winter Games, this picturesque location, which is about 280 kilometers northwest of Tokyo, offers majestic views of the Northern Alps (the Hida mountains).
The reason I go to Hakuba is to reconnect with my emotions. Up in the mountains, I regularly notice things I hadn’t seen before, unexpected ideas pop into my head, my thinking sharpens, and my motivation towards my work increases. Being in nature also helps me find specific answers by paying attention to my intuitions when I need to make important decisions. These moments help me reflect on my life by asking “Am I happy?” or “What do I really want?” Although making more accurate decisions requires theory and logic, letting thinking interfere with feeling often leads to regrets later on. So I try to listen to the voice in my mind in a peaceful atmosphere.
Being in the mountains also makes me feel that I am part of the dynamism of this earth. I feel connected with the past and present because the scenery of this landscape has not changed in more than 300 years. In the Internet world, we have been able to connect people and information on a massive scale. Everything on the Internet enables us to solve problems. And with different types of social media, you can be connected with peers, friends, families, business partners and groups seamlessly. If I call these connections of information and people, the “horizontal connections,” there is another important axis: the “vertical connections” – inheriting the assets from the past to the future, just like the trees show the goodness from the past.
As the CEO at Yahoo! JAPAN, I am passionate about realizing both vertical and horizontal connections in Japan. A good example of this would be our office launch in Ishinomaki in Tohoku where the great tsunami hit in March 2011. We support Tohoku’s reconstruction and recovery by providing information about the environment issues, supporting businesses and creating communities by connecting people there for their bright future.
Spending quality time outdoors and reconnecting with nature helps me refresh and reload, which allows me to understand that I must always give back. So I encourage you to join me and embrace nature. I am sure that the dynamism of the earth will sharpen your intuition, and will help you discover how you can give back, and what you can do for future generations.