These words from Shunryu Suzuki, the founder of the San Francisco Zen Center, remind me how much there is to appreciate about this life and all the love and support I feel, and all that I’ve been given:
The most important thing is to be able to enjoy your life without being fooled by things.
Suzuki Roshi’s words are a stark reminder to notice how easily we are fooled by things, because when we are not fooled or distracted or misled, the default way of being is enjoyment. I’d even take it a step further and suggest that the default way of being, when we are not fooled by our fears and habits, is love.
This is much like the first practice – Love the Work – from my new book, Seven Practices of a Mindful Leader: Lessons From Google and a Zen Monastery Kitchen. By engaging this practice, you learn how to truly enjoy your life, to live your love, and to embrace the work of cultivating awareness and helping others.
These practices were first conceived of by my good friend, Zen teacher and poet, Norman Fischer. I invited him to speak to a group of Google employees who we were training to be mindfulness teachers in the Search Inside Yourself mindfulness and emotional intelligence program that I helped develop and led for many years at Google. In his talk, Norman spoke about these 7 practices:
- Love the Work
- Do the Work
- Don’t Be an Expert
- Connect To Your Pain
- Connect To the Pain of Other
- Depend On Others
- Keep Making it Simpler
When I first heard them, I realized that these practices followed the
same “roadmap” that I have aspired to lead and teach over the course of my 30 years as a CEO and business coach, and 40 years of contemplative practice.
By following these practices, I experienced first-hand how working with others could be a seamless, almost magical integration of focus and effortlessness, where I was supporting others, and being supported by them in return.
I had also been teaching these very skills to other business leaders and CEOs, with extraordinary results. So, when I heard Norman present them at Google, I knew I had to write this book!