To me, mindfulness implies my mind is calm, focused, peaceful, whole, healthy, safe, and sane. It is an integrated part of the adventure of my life and my experience. When I combine my intellect with my essential nature, great things happen and I am delighted. I am also able to move through challenges more effortlessly and be resilient again and again.
Asa part of my series about “How to Slow Down To Do More” I had the pleasure to interview Hans Phillips.
Hans Phillips has been in business as a coach and consultant for 28 years with over 28,000 client hours. He works with clients around the world, supporting them personally and professionally to create and maintain sustainable high performance and the enjoyment of life. His work is based on emotional intelligence, conscious living, ontology, and phenomenology. He currently lives in Santa Cruz, California with his wife, Desiree, and their two dogs. They enjoy the adventure of their marriage, traveling, skateboarding, movies, books, and entertaining friends.
Thank you so much for doing this interview with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to this specific career path?
Myfather was a mentor for many people in his professional career. I could feel the difference it made for them, even though I was a young person at the time. But I also saw the price he was paying, being a leader in corporate America (alcohol, cigarettes, gambling, health problems, etc.). Shortly after I met my wife, she started a business called Self-Esteem for Teens and I partnered with her. Then, we hired coaches and business consultants and two of them (Tex and Bill) did an amazing job training us. So much so that I decided I wanted to be a coach. Two years of training and mentoring later, I started my practice.
According to a 2006 Pew Research Report report, 26% of women and 21% of men feel that they are “always rushed”. Has it always been this way? Can you give a few reasons regarding what you think causes this prevalent feeling of being rushed?
I think those statistics have at least tripled since then. We have gone from a seasonal economy with breaks and vacations to an around the clock global economy with people working in bed, on vacations, at night, and at family events. What causes the rushed feelings are companies driven by money and not caring about burning out their people. There is an attitude now that burnout is a part of the game. And then you just go get new people. Without the pandemic, this would have gone unchecked for at least another decade.
Based on your experience or research can you explain why being rushed can harm our productivity, health, and happiness?
If we look at any sort of performance (sports, music, acting, etc) being rushed logically leads to lower performance. But somehow we ignore logic when it comes to work and business. It’s an odd dynamic and few people are talking about it. It’s a norm that needs to be changed. It’s killing marriages, parenting, social lives, mental and emotional health, and PEOPLE!
On the flip side, can you give examples of how we can do more, and how our lives would improve if we could slow down?
We can definitely be more effective and efficient. We are less than half effective at our jobs. Even less so at the executive level. There are multiple companies that measure this each year and 5 years ago employees said they felt less than 50% effective at their jobs. We could work less and do more. We could streamline processes, communication, relationships, teams, and leadership. We are failing at this and allowing time, energy, and intellect to be wasted. If we worked fewer hours and accomplished more, we would feel better mentally, emotionally, and physically. We would have more time to live, play, rest, and recharge. We could deepen our relationships. We could be more present in our lives.
We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed. Can you share with our readers 6 strategies that you use to “slow down to do more”? Can you please give a story or example for each?
Ha! First of all, 6 is too many if we are already rushed and overwhelmed. We have to start with ‘doing’ less and ‘being’ more! This does not mean staring out the window at the passing clouds. But many of us take our busyness and map it over personal growth and self-help courses, books, podcasts, videos, etc. And then we are overwhelmed by trying to grow. So there are ways to ‘slow down’ but if we don’t address the behavior and mindset that has us busy and revved-up most of the time, the tips won’t work. I will give you three ideas about how to slow down and how it changes mindset as well.
- Top Six list. Before you leave work, make a list of the top six most important things to do the next day. Leave it out as a map for you to navigate the next day. Then leave work and let go of that list. You will be more relaxed that evening. You will be less preoccupied with remembering what you need to do tomorrow. AND you likely won’t be able to complete all six things! So why have a list of 27 or 58 things you fail at each day? There is no sense of accomplishment. No sense of purposeful work. You are just a ‘do machine’, waiting for Sunday afternoon when you can take a couple of hours off work before you start the whole thing over again. No wonder we are not happy, that our marriages are failing, and that our kids are hiding out online. It takes EQ (Emotional Intelligence) to make a short powerful list and do it day in and day out. But here’s the secret. If you ONLY did the 3–4 most important things each workday for a year, you would feel fantastic and accomplished and BALANCED at the end of the year! Try it on.
- Google the 20 questions for workaholics. You will be shocked at how many you answer yes to. You likely don’t realize how compulsive you are about your work habits. Maybe you have even convinced your partner and kids that this is how life is. But if it was drugs or alcohol that you were being compulsive about, you would likely realize you have a problem. Consider working fewer hours and accomplishing more. Do the emotional work to get to the bottom of your procrastination or your grinding that has you have to work more hours. Give up working in bed and on the weekends. The bedroom is for two things and one of them is SLEEPING! You will find you have resistance to these new and healthy habits. But over time you will also find you are happier, having more fun, feeling more satisfied, and being more powerful in the work you do
- Well-being checklist. We mostly sacrifice our well-being for our work and our schedule. But sooner or later you run out of time and self to give. And that brick wall you run into leads to burnout, divorce, depression, anger, sadness, numbing out, acting out, and more. Instead of putting yourself last — which leads to tired and unhappy — consider putting yourself first and dealing with the consequences of everything else coming next. If your well-being is your lowest priority, at the end of the day, you get what’s leftover. In time, that leads to resentment, resignation, and a dull life. If you put yourself first, you are left inspired, healthy, balanced, responsive, sane, and secure. The well-being checklist is ten items that will lead to an overall sense of well-being. Things like walking and playing with your dog, reading (NOT work-related), eating healthy food (quality and quantity), drinking enough water, flossing daily, calling friends, being creative, dancing, etc. What else can you think of? If you have trouble coming up with ten items, ask around. Your friends and family will help you. But get TEN that are not work-related. Then put the list on the fridge or your mirror with a pen and each day check off which ones you did. Then total the number at the bottom of each day. 7 is 70%. 3 is 30%. Create a weekly average at the end of the week. You will be shocked at how low you score initially. You cannot expect high results and a great experience of life if you are scoring low on your well-being checklist. Then play the game of raising your score. You will have to give up S.S.S.R.A.D. Suffering, settling, surviving, resisting, avoiding, and denying. But that’s a good thing!
How do you define “mindfulness”? Can you give an example or story?
To me, mindfulness implies my mind is calm, focused, peaceful, whole, healthy, safe, and sane. It is an integrated part of the adventure of my life and my experience. When I combine my intellect with my essential nature, great things happen and I am delighted. I am also able to move through challenges more effortlessly and be resilient again and again. Let me tell you a story. I was sued two years ago. It was a dark and messy interaction that blindsided me. I did not see it coming. But I knew my job was to move through it and find the training and opportunity within the challenge. Two years later it was resolved, but not before I went through bouts of PTSD and panic attacks which I had never experienced before. I used everything I knew as a coach, on myself, in those two years; all of my knowledge, skills, resources, and relationships. And I came out the other end proud of who I had been and who I had become. The next opportunities in my business aligned with a new way of being that were the consequence of the mistakes I made. I moved forward and onward, stronger, calmer, and more confidently.
Can you give examples of how people can integrate mindfulness into their everyday lives?
I would say to focus on integrative work. Quit treating the mind as the boss. Many times your mind is not your friend. Your mind is not the locus of the real, true, and beautiful SELF! Work on raising your EQ. Read up on how to do that. Take an EQ test to establish where you are, then get to work. Take a personality test and start taking actions in ALIGNMENT with your personality. Say yes to more of yourself and NO to people, circumstances, and things that are not in alignment. Make some new choices with your body. Quit using it as a delivery vehicle for your mind’s urges. Get in therapy if you can’t control your urges. Get fit. Get active. Use your body to play in healthy ways. Rest and recharge on purpose. Have your mindfulness involve you standing on a healthy and integrated foundation you design and enjoy.
Do you have any mindfulness tools that you find most helpful at work?
At the start of each day, I manage and minimize my thoughts, feelings, and body sensations which drive my actions or lack of actions. I speak my core qualities. I speak my fear-based coping mechanisms. I speak my purpose and gift. I say what I am in service of. And then I begin my day. I say who I am and have my day line up with that. Anything that is off is either dealt with quickly or ignored. Interruptions are managed. I am on course.
What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to use mindfulness tools or practices
The integration work I am doing on an ongoing basis involves many different sources. So not specifically ‘mindful’, but including the mind. These are the books that I strongly recommend:
- The Surrender Experiment by Singer
- The Infinite Game by Sinek
- The Last Word On Power by Goss
- Masculine In Relationship by Youngblood
- The Way of the Superior Man by Daeda
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Love works, being is possible.” I have spent all of my 59 years gaining mastery in these two realms. And each year I get introduced to the next level where I have little to no mastery. Love works and love requires work. When it’s going well, it’s heaven. When it’s not, it’s hell. I have been with my wife for 31 years and I will practice this until the day I die. Being is possible. It is the state we are born into. We are present. We are in awe. We are connected. And then life happens. Most of us create a mask, armor, shell, or false self and then we come from that fear-based place. If you are lucky, at some point in your life you get on the journey back to your real self. It can take years. But it is our birthright to be our real, true, and beautiful self. Integrated and present. Safe and secure. Healthy and whole. Humble and grateful. Graceful and in the now.
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. 🙂
The reset on well-being, work, what’s important, relationships, communication, support structures, resources for all, and the rest of what is being redesigned is the movement I have always dreamed of. I am just so sad it took so long and has to come with so many deaths and so much division in society. But it was going to continue for decades without a big interruption. So here we are. New conversations, new choices, and new ways of working and living. Very interesting times.
Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!