Episode: 25 Mindful Leadership with Mike Lee

Episode: 25 Mindful Leadership with Mike Lee

What do basketball, meditation and technology leadership have in common? More than you might think - especially when it comes to developing those areas of focus and productivity that are commonly classified as "soft skills", but which co-hosts Nick Lozano and Brian Comerford assert are actually "essential skills" as they embark on a mindfulness discussion with special guest Mike Lee. The author of 'Untrain' has helped fuse the EQ of mindful leadership and performance focus for the likes of NBA superstar Steph Curry and basketball youth camp players alike, indicating there is no age or skill level that a mindfulness practice can't positively influence.


Mike Lee
Chief Executive Officer
MindShift Labs
Bio

Twitter: mikeleewhois
Instagram: whoismikelee

Book: UN/TRAIN


0:08 Opening
2:39 Mike Lee Intro
3:08 Basketball to Leadership
10:57 Meditation
11:58 Self Awareness
26:56 Vulnerability
35:15 Mindfulness
44:34 Recommend Reading
48:57 Where You can find Mike Lee and Closing


Hosted By:

Brian Comerford
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/briancomerford/

Nick Lozano
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nick-lozano-97356621/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/NickLLozano

‌Lead.exe is published bi-monthly on the 1st and the 15th of the month.Subscribe and leave us a review to lets us know how we are doing.

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/58U55KZykbYXJhuvtPGmgc

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/lead-exe/id1454843941

Google Play: https://www.google.com/podcastsfeed=aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkcy5zaW1wbGVjXN0LmNvbS9QZHJGaTAzUQ%3D%3D

Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/leadexe

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjPXFiYVICXJSBW-ZoHBclg

Send us your feedback at [email protected]


Show Transcript:

Brian Comerford  0:08
It's been a good day. You know, I started off this morning with a meditation session. And that tends to be how I usually frame myself before I get into work. And so it was especially fortuitous to be joined by a guest today with Mike Lee talking about his own mindfulness practice and as a daily meditator, how that's contributed a lot to his own leadership insights and as well as the business practices that he's engaged in,

Nick Lozano  0:42
you know, really like this. It's definitely a different guests than we've had in the past. Um, you know, it's more along the lines of the mindfulness, self awareness. Some of these things that you know, you and I always say they're essential skills are not soft skills. It's just things leaders need to know. So our job process behind it is, you know, we're trying we're trying to expose our audience to to a more diverse background, right?

Brian Comerford  1:06
For sure. And all these things factor into what you more commonly might hear in the mainstream referred to under the umbrella of emotional intelligence. To some weirdness, you know, those those things don't just show up if it's something that is in the area of skills that you need some development. Some of the mindfulness practices that we heard about today are really, you know, key to helping to hone those skills. I particularly like how Mike got into some of the physiology of what happens to the brain as meditation becomes more of a routine practice. And you know, he's he's worked with some some real people who are out there putting these practices to work, you know, Steph Curry, for anyone who's an NBA fan is is a name that is well known And, you know, it's it's not just basketball that is sort of the central orientation for what Mike Lee is doing. But it's he's got a long history in it, and being able to bring those techniques to athletes who have mastered their game. It's exciting and it's it's a fun, sort of alternate path for us to have explored on lead.

Thanks for joining us for another edition of >Lead.exe_ I'm Brian Comerford in Denver, Colorado,

Nick Lozano  2:37
and I'm Nick Lozano, Washington DC.

Brian Comerford  2:39
And today we're joined by special guest Mike Lee, who comes to us from Mind Shift Labs, as well as being the author of a book called Untrain and the founder of Thrive, a basketball training company that creates game changing experiences across over from the court to life so very quickly I did. Have a conversation with you today. Mike, thanks for joining us.

Mike Lee  3:05
Thanks for having me guys excited to be here.

Brian Comerford  3:08
All right, well, you know that it's not very often that we've got someone who's fusing basketball and leadership, but you know, as with a lot of athletics, leadership tends to be one of those key components to success. So, in the process of giving us a little bit about your own background, I know I'm curious to hear more about what what led you down the basketball leadership path?

Mike Lee  3:36
Yeah, really, this started with a friend of mine, were in college after my sophomore year, we decided we wanted to just run a basketball camp in our hometown of about at that time that 12,000 people just for fun we wanted to do and just provide the kids with an experience in town that they couldn't get unless they were going to travel to watch to Minneapolis and even if you went that far, like we kind of created something a little different. And we set up this camp. We did things different. We we had some unbelievable high school coaches in the area that ran a lot of skill development. But we also one of the things that really separated it, especially in the beginning was a the intensity of it was definitely different. It was not a typical summer camp for kids. This was high level elite level training applicable to a sixth grader, seventh grade or eighth grader. And the other thing that we did different was we hired a DJ to DJ first camp. So instead of kids was going through drills, they're going through drills with their with high energy music, filling the gym and the ability to go over and request songs from the DJ during camp. So that was something that we did that was definitely different. I don't know if anybody's ever ever done that before? Yeah, the first year we had 100 kids. The second year, we decided to do it again, we had 200. And the third year we had over 300 kids in a town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere in Wisconsin. So I kind of knew that this was something that could be bigger that I could grow, that would be an avenue to reach a lot of kids. And instead of pursuing a path of coaching college basketball, I decided to go down this route of running basketball camps, and working out kids individually and in groups that wanted to play at a higher level. So that was kind of how it started. And that just grew into more camps. More training, have spent time in the gym with at least a couple dozen NBA basketball players working on their individual skills, was Assistant Director for Steph Curry's skills Academy. me that he ran a couple years out of out of college, worked out Joellen bead when he was before anybody knew who he was. He was pretty much a just a kid from Africa that was a tall kid that was kind of an athlete that was at a prep school in Florida. And he ended up living in Milwaukee for a couple months during the summer of 2012, I believe and spent a couple months working with him. And, you know, we've also done events pretty much honestly all across the world. I've done training camps for proteins in Indonesia, run events in 30 different states across across the United States and we opened a training academy in Barcelona last in 2018. So kind of been able to do a lot of stuff had a ton of amazing things. experiences met some amazing people worked with some of the best basketball players on the planet. And it's been a it's been a journey and then fusing the the basketball with the leadership aspect.

That's that's a little bit longer of a story. But basically what happened was I picked up a meditation practice to help me combat the heroin like withdrawal symptoms of this anti depressant medication that I was on. And it was the only way that I could get off it because I was just in a state of chronic emotional instability. I'd been on this medication for 14 years. I decided to get off of it. Getting off a bit like said was like getting off heroin, and I would go from laughing to crying to anxiety to depression, all within a couple hours and The only way that I got through this period of my life was I did a massive amount of yoga and I committed to a daily meditation practice. So what happened was after a couple months, I realized that all the performance and leadership principles that I had been using to get players to perform at their highest level beyond the basketball skills, and using with the people that I worked with in our little basketball training business, not just me, we've had at different times, you know, five to six different employees on a consistent basis that all these principles were were amplified because when you have a meditation practice, there are areas of your brain that change. There's an area in the front called the Neil Neil cortex, which is responsible for things like your executive function, your self awareness, that area actually grows and gets bigger in our brain. There's an area called the amygdala which is responsible for our fight, flight or flight response. And that area actually shrinks when we have a meditation practice making us less reactive distressed. And then when we are less reactive distress or chaos or distractions in our environment, we are fully in the present moment focused on what we actually can can control in that situation, whatever the task is, if you're an artist and athlete, a CEO, everything is about how do I access the present moment, because that's the only place that we can do our greatest work. We can show up as the best version of ourselves for those that we're leading. So I realized that instead of building basketball players, I wanted to build people. And that really was the the foundation of how mind shift labs started. And it's kind of a two fold mission. It's kind of part one is to help alleviate emotional suffering for as many people as I can for the rest of my life. And the flip side of that is when you can start to do that you help people along their path of pursuing their human potential. And that's, that's really the exciting part to me is helping people unlock what's inside of them so that they can have a super fulfilling life going after things that they love and dream about. But then just that, just the process of alone of that growth and that pursuit is unbelievably enjoyable and fulfilling in and of itself. And that applies to anybody who's in a leadership position. Anybody who wants to perform at their highest level, whatever industry they're in, these concepts all apply, and it's been super rewarding and fulfilling to go down that journey here the impact that it's having on people and being able to share these with people across the country.

Brian Comerford  10:57
Wow. Well, that's quite an introduction. And I think a lot of what you said resonates with with both Nick and I know that mixed martial artist and I myself am a daily meditator so there's there's a lot of synergy in our own personal beliefs with

Mike Lee  11:13
Are you in Boulder or Denver?

Brian Comerford  11:15
When it when it moved to Colorado I lived in Boulder. I came here to go to Boulder originally and was in Boulder for 10 years before making the move to Denver.

Mike Lee  11:29
Gotcha. Gotcha is figured that that's a place that's probably got a lot more people who are meditating than in Denver.

Brian Comerford  11:36
Probably at the time that I came that was probably true, but I don't necessarily true now, I think is probably more analogous to you know, places like Austin, Texas or San

Mike Lee  11:47
Right, right. Yeah, yeah. Awesome. So yeah, that's that's the high level journey.

Nick Lozano  11:58
I like to to bring self awareness about That's that's how I actually want to find you on LinkedIn was, you had a comment about, I believe it was AI, you know, kind of diminishing some of this technology and you know, people needing to write lines of code because technology was going to vanson you know, those hard skills. And then, you know, people always call them soft skills, but I just call them like essential skills, the soft skills like emotional intelligence, and everything are really important. And I really liked the message that you that you had behind that. So what's your thought process behind the self awareness?

Mike Lee  12:35
Well, the key to me is awareness is everything. If we don't have if you want to perform at a higher level, in any any arena, awareness is everything. If you if you don't have awareness, you can make changes without changes you can improve. So everything starts with creating that that self awareness, what I found is the more self aware I become the more socially aware I become meaning I'm able to be more present with somebody else hold space for them and also be able to pick up on the pick up on their body language pick up on their tone of voice pick up on their, their eye contact and different things like that to read how they are what kind of emotional state that they are in so you're able to connect with them in a way that makes them feel safe.

Nick Lozano  13:34
I like that and and you know you're working with with you know leaders of different varieties and emotional intelligence and meditation everything is like this squishy soft feely you know terms. So, like how do you slowly bring them into you know, like this something like meditation because people always, you know, think of that as like some you have to be some kind of monk who sits in a corner and says on Like, how are you bringing, introducing that I guess to people who might be, you know, not quite as open to it initially?

Mike Lee  14:08
Yeah. The first thing is it's not for everybody. It's just it's not. It's a practice that takes a ton of discipline. It's super simple, but that doesn't mean in any way shape or form that it's easy. And, but going back to the question, I think the the, the way that I like to introduce it to people is a couple ways. Number one, share a story about somebody that they can relate to or aspire to, that has uses practice to elevate their career or their life. And there is a massive amount of people that were becoming more aware of that in recent years, I mean, in the last three to five years, but have been using these practices for the past 1520 years. I talked about when I speak and run workshops. I tell stories about Kobe Bryant, and how this impacted how he showed up on the court. And you know, Kobe was a daily meditator for the last 20 years of his career. I think he started meditating a couple years into his NBA career, and then, you know, until he transitioned a few weeks ago, but he he was a daily meditation practice or practitioner. And this is what allowed him to play with so much poise to play with so much calm in the middle of chaos, because He always was aware that he had developed the skill to continually come back to his breath, no matter what was going on in the arena. And I just I think that gave him a huge advantage. You look at the way he played. Nobody ever spent him up. Nobody dictated what he did out on the court. Because he had always had that awareness to continually come back to his breath because of his mindfulness practice. And so he was able to play alert, but he was also able to play relaxed at the same time, he was relaxed enough that nobody sped them up and forced him to do things that he didn't want to do. But he was also alert enough that if he saw a gap, or he saw an option, he was able to take advantage of it because he was fully alert in the moment with out being sped up. And I think that translates to so many areas of life. I mean, if you're in a, a high pressure, fast paced, work environment, that skill is invaluable that is going to dramatically increase your ability to deliver results. If you're even if you are a you're, you're a parent and dealing with your kids on a consistent basis that are making demands of you every day. Or you can put your dog like this, this can show up in so many ways and have an impact on your life. So it's telling stories about their other people that have used these practices for, for their career to level up their performance. You know, and it's just again, there's so many people that are using these practices that are kind of, it's kind of under the radar. Like most people don't know that. Michael Jordan, and this is not a meditation practice, but just something that is something that you're doing an exercise a strategy to train your mind, Michael Jordan hired a hypnotist to to strengthen his beliefs around his competence. Nobody knows that. And that was that was years ago, that he found value and knew the importance of training your mind to begin That's where everything starts. Everything starts with what we think about. And so he knew that. The other thing is to give them a direct experience. Mindfulness, meditate or meditation practice is not something that you can explain to somebody, you can to a certain extent. But it's something that they have to have a direct experience with, to actually fully understand it. It's like you can read a book about how to swim, but you really don't know what it's like.

So that's the way I like to like to introduce them to people is, is give them a story. Give them a direct experience, and then let them decide for themselves whether or not it's something that they think will will have an impact on their life. I mean, a lot of people start out and they are what will be called crisis meditators. They only meditate when things are going crazy in their life. And that's how I honestly that's how I started. I was insanely stressed out from building this nonprofit for inner city hours, kids and Milwaukee, trying to keep my basketball business going in an unhealthy relationship. And I just working out wasn't cutting it anymore. I needed something different to train my mind and I so I, I would stop and I go out on my going on my balcony in Milwaukee, and I would sit there 2030 minutes with an app called headspace and this was almost six years ago. And but that's how I started I was definitely 100% a crisis meditator. So, I think I think it's something that that people need to if it's with the awareness we have today around the practices, I really think that it's something that it's going to be beneficial. You in your life, you're going to find it and it's going to come to you. And it's going to be what you need or it's not going to be what you need. But I definitely think there are a lot of myths and challenges around it that deter people from even starting in the first place, or they try it a couple times. And they have this misconception about what the experience is supposed to be. So they stop, stop the practice.

Brian Comerford  20:31
Well, I think that's all those are, I think key points, the crisis, meditator comment, you know, it tends to be an entry point for a lot of people into more healthful practices. Right. Right. I did some work with a health and wellness group, okay, was going into organizations doing typical things like health screenings, right, making sure that on an annual basis This year, you're getting your blood pressure checked and your BMI and you know, all these different things. But I worked with that group and I actually taught them meditation practice. And so this became one of those freebies, that got introduced with some of the organizations where it's a, we're just going to do 10 minutes of this. And, you know, we'll, we'll walk through a couple different approaches and how it's done, including a walking meditation is sitting meditation, right and really just being able to learn. Number one, it's called practice for a reason, because rightly for, for people who are regular practitioners of meditation, you know that there's really never any mastery,

Mike Lee  21:41
right?

Brian Comerford  21:44
There's always room for improvement and whatever your practices, but being able to discipline the mind and get yourself to a place where you have greater control over the reactions where your mind tends to want to fire up the chatterbox again. And in particular, being kind to yourself as you're having that recognition, oh, there it is thinking, thinking, right, let's let's dismiss that and go back to the breath. Those I think are our key components that can help start driving this more towards, like what you're saying, How do you bake it into introducing it as something that rather than ever becoming a crisis meditator? It's something that we're introducing into Western society in particular, as something with all these great benefits, so that you don't have to come to it when you're in a point of crisis.

Mike Lee  22:39
Right. Right. I agree.

Brian Comerford  22:45
So, you know, I would say another anecdote that I can share, one that was meaningful to me and kind of connected with part of the story you were sharing, as you are referring to, you know, what are some of those personal stories that You know, can help sort of reframe the perspective of who you're trying to, to introduce to this. I worked with a president of a software company, who I was surprised to discover was a Buddhist. And, you know, originally I, I, you know, I've been there working as a contractor, and I asked him, you know, this is, I mean, you're working with some pretty archaic code. You knows, I was coding at the time, but I was kind of surprised with the code base. And I said, you know, how do you how do you kind of manage, you know, navigating through all this stuff? Because it looks, you know, like a much more cumbersome process than I'm what I'm, what I'm used to working in. And he said, Zen archery. And I said, Okay, well, I don't know what you're talking. Yeah. He said, No, every weekend. I spend about an hour each day, practicing an archery. Yeah, I had no idea what that meant, and so on. One of these weekends he took me out to a place and showed me and it was really about not only the breath control Yeah, but being able to get yourself into a place where you were kind like your your basketball you know story with Kobe Bryant maintaining that poise and grace. How do you maintain the tension that's required working with a bow and arrow and also maintain perfect poise and grace, cost, concentration and breath control hundred percent.

Mike Lee  24:37
There's that balance there. And that's one of my yoga teachers when I first started said, she talked about 70% effort or 80% effort. And this is, I guess, is jumping into basketball a little bit but like so many coaches and I'm guessing this is like this and other sports as well. But they preach so much game speed training all the time that what that translates to a lot of lot of players or kids is that you should go at 100% full speed all the time with full effort. And you can't play the game like that, and you can't play life like that. And I want 100% agree that's that is almost that's like finding the middle way, right? It's the, it's the, that 70% effort 80% effort meditation is not. I think this is one of the myths about it is that Oh, it's gonna take away my edge, and it's going to make me soft, and I'm not going to be as motivated. Kobe Bryant was the ultimate competitor, the ultimate competitor. And you can say that, that this meditation softened him up from his edge in any way, shape or form. So I don't think but I think finding that in cobia isn't it A great example of that. I don't know exactly how to describe it, but being able to hold that tension that is needed in the moment to perform with the the physical skill, but also have that softness of your breath and that awareness and being able to still be fully in the present moment. So yeah, I've never done that before, but I can imagine that's a great practice.

Brian Comerford  26:28
But when you come back to Colorado, I'll take you up to the Shambala mountain center. There's an archery range. Sounds awesome. And I'll tell you what, anyone who thinks that meditation will soften up needs to sit with a straight back on a brick floor for an hour.

Mike Lee  26:46
That's That's true. That's true.

Nick Lozano  26:50
So Mike, question for you here. Like Yeah, getting back to your kind of leadership.

Mike Lee  26:55
Yes,

Nick Lozano  26:56
I saw an article on your website. It's like the 10 pillars of transformational leader worship. Yeah and and one of the pillars that really interested me was vulnerability. To me that's always a key thing when you're a leader is you know, being vulnerable, letting people know that that you make mistakes like often when I have people new that are working with me often tell them about all the stuff that I've messed up me know like when I deleted a whole production database of users. So people can't log into a website, you know, tripping over, you know, a network cable and taking the whole office internet down for like a half an hour. So anyone who works in technology who tells you that they haven't messed something up is lying to you? Yeah, but I was just curious what your thoughts on vulnerability are?

Mike Lee  27:45
Well, I it's tough because I think we're it's becoming a buzzword in society and you know, across all company in every industry, not every industry but from just regular life to corporate space. Everything is becoming a buzzword. And what I see the challenge with it is, is that being vulnerable doesn't mean using other people as your therapist. To me, it's Yes, you want to be vulnerable, but only when it adds value. If you're vulnerable and just spewing your problems out to somebody, that's not necessarily vulnerability that's called going to therapy. You. So it's when you can share maybe a mistake that you made or a it's a mistake you made. And there's a teaching point around that or a story where you made a mistake and there's something to be taught something that is that can maybe prevent something else within your organization. That's that's part of it. The other part of it is simply just asking for help when you need it, and trusting that you're going to be supported. I think that's, that's the other aspect of it. Because that involvement, the other piece of it is that vulnerability is the first step to creating connection with somebody. And when you create that connection, you can build trust. And then when you have that trust, that's when you can challenge somebody to be at their best. Without that, that vulnerability is almost like a gateway to get an ability to influence somebody else in a positive way in a relationship when you're in a leadership position.

Nick Lozano  29:34
Its vulnerability like I like I said, I always use that to open up to people to let them know like, hey, I've made mistakes and I'm not expecting you to be perfect. You know, it's okay to make mistakes because I feel like sometimes failure that the in failure, that's where the growth is too. That's generally why it why I kind of do that the fail fast portion of that.

Mike Lee  29:56
Right, right. And to your point, There's another piece of it that's super important in that and that's to make people feel safe enough to make mistakes in our world. innovation and creativity are at a premium we need. We need things to advance with different with climate change, and so many different things in our world, that we need people to be innovative, and we need people to create and we need people to solve problems. But if you're a leader, and you're not making people feel safe enough to make mistakes, that progress is not going to be made when people feel psychologically safe. You also then have the ability to raise their standards at the same time. And that those two balances when somebody feels safe yet, they also know that great work is is needed from them. That's when they can have the freedom to try new things to take risks, to make mistakes and learn from them. Not feeling like they're going to be reprimanded for every little mistake that they make and even fear of losing their jobs. That freedom is what creates that sense of accountability and responsibility. And when we have that sense of responsibility and accountability, we feel empowered to do our greatest work. And that starts with feeling safe.

Nick Lozano  31:21
That's fair, very well said. And it almost goes back to your point of trust, right? You're slowly building building trust and authenticity and the people that you're leading 100% hundred percent. And vulnerability is a way to speed that up.

Mike Lee  31:37
I completely agree. And that's why I always tend to do it.

Brian Comerford  31:43
So might tell us a little bit of how this factors into your book Untrain -

Mike Lee  31:47

  • the vulnerability aspect or everything that we're speaking about?

Brian Comerford  31:52
Well, we can start with vulnerability. broaden it from there.

Mike Lee  31:56
Yeah, I mean, the book really There's a chapter about vulnerability in the book. But there's really the book is about kind of going back to what I talked about earlier when I picked up this meditation practice was that it's really about principles of leadership principles of performance, and how a mindfulness practice can enhance these principles like we we have all these these skills that we know are beneficial to being a great leader to being a high performer, to delivering world class performance, like focus, like our self awareness, like the ability to place our attention into the present moment. And all of those those skills are enhanced. They're amplified when you have a mindfulness practice or meditation practice. So that was really the premise of the book was I I wrote it really because I Wanted at the time to get these principles out into the basketball space, the coaching, coaching, really the coaching world and for players. And then my plan was to go and speak on this in schools. And over the course of a couple years, I realized that, you know, this it, I all my contacts were at the time in in the Midwest and mainly in Wisconsin. And nobody wanted anything to do with somebody coming in and speaking about mindfulness. There's kind of a foreign language still, it is definitely changed over the past. You know, I wrote this book almost, almost five years ago. So it's definitely fast tracked and changed. I mean, the conversations that are being had, especially on LinkedIn with some of the people that I've met from, from Milwaukee and from Scotland area, that's just people are so much more open about it. I think because a there's research, there's tons of statistics around it. And, and honestly, like people are suffering and there when you get to that, that breaking point, you will try anything to feel better. And that's definitely I mean the yoga studio that I used to go to a Milwaukee before I before I left has grown exponentially when I go back, the classes are packed. I mean, they're absolutely packed. And when I was going there, it wasn't like that it was probably 30% 40% of what it was. And I think that's just because we're we're living in this rapidly changing, uncertain, fast paced world and people need a way to disconnect to learn how to work with their mind, learn how to work with their chaos and be able to find that place within them that's always at peace. It's always at rest. That's never changing and using your breath as a way to continually come back to that place, whenever you get knocked out of the present moment or in a, in a place of high stress or chaos.

Brian Comerford  35:15
Oh, yeah, there's, you know, I think how much of this has been brought into the mainstream in recent years? You know, you can, you can attribute it in part to the the Oprah factor the Dr. Oz effect. Yeah, the Ellen effect, you know, but you end up having more and more practitioners who are part of a conversation. It was probably just maybe a year ago or six months ago, I ended up reading four books in a row and every, you know, I read one by john Hargrave, I read one by Jensen cero, one by Deepak Chopra, one by grace. And, and in every single book, they're all saying the same thing. All of them are working on some kind of personal and professional development. Every one of them is saying, you know, at the core of this, you've got to have a daily meditation practice. So it's, it's interesting, you know how that theme has continued to come back and, and for me personally validate, you know, some of the things that are already part of my, you know, individual focus, right. But I wanted to ask you, you know, when we hear the term mindfulness, meditation, what are some of the things that that connotates for you or that you share with others?

Mike Lee  36:33
Well, I describe it in a few ways. Mindfulness to me is the ability or the skill to create the awareness of your thoughts, your feelings and your actions in the present moment. Meditation is simply an exercise to train your brain to create that awareness. And then the second layer that a lot of people are starting to implement is the emotional intelligence piece. And you can dive into that in a lot of different ways. But at the core, I think it's figuring out what is driving my thoughts, what is driving my feelings, what is driving my actions. And that's the the emotional intelligence piece of the, the how they play off of each other, from mindfulness and emotional intelligence. And that's the way I describe it to people. And then meditation is just, it's an exercise, it's just an exercise to train your brain just like you would go to the gym and run on a treadmill or lift weights and you pick you start a, you start a lifting program, you see physical evidence of change in your body, like your, your, your muscles break down, they grow back stronger, and they get bigger and that you see physical evidence of change. And when you have a meditation practice, the same thing is happening in your brain. And so it's I just try to explain it to people take that, that will stop out of it and just try to get them to understand that this Just simply training your brain, it's a workout for your brain.

Nick Lozano  38:04
Now, I really like that and you go back to you, I'm going to go back to you said, you've worked with the, like younger kids in high school and middle school and stuff when you when you first got started. And, you know, lately we all we always hear this stuff, the millennials have been the punching bag, I guess for the past 20 years, and now it's starting to be Gen Z, right? They're starting to come up and they're starting to be, you know, the punching the punching bag a little bit. But so in working with with the younger generations, what are you seeing, are they are they being more open to this mindfulness, self awareness training that we've kind of seen in the past? I mean, I know some social media and having more access to it with the Internet has made it you know, more easily to get the information, start reading books. What did you just see from the time you started to like now?

Mike Lee  38:55
I love the millennial generation. Like I mean, I'm at the very top of it, but I love that they're as a whole I feel like they are more they're just so much more aware of what's going on in the world. No offense Brian

Nick Lozano  39:13
Perry tip as well, too. But

Brian Comerford  39:14
yes, everything that the millennials can claim credit for Gen X could too.

Mike Lee  39:24
But they just you know, they want purpose in their work, they they want to do meaningful things in the world. They're more self aware they want to make an impact. And so and I think they also demand transparency and and with that comes kind of figuring out why. So many of these things in our world are not working and they want different solutions. They want different answers. And so where I'm going with that is they have been super open to mindfulness. It's It was kind of crazy because When I first set aside time, in an event that I was running a camp that I was running to teach this, I was kind of I shouldn't say I was kind of hesitant. I was really hesitant to do it, because I just had no idea how they were going to react. I think it actually was in a, I think it was actually in Morehead. Minnesota is where the first one that I or first time that ever introduced it. And the response that I got from the kids was unbelievable. It was a when are we going to do this again? Be Can we do it longer? See, that was one of the coolest things I've ever done in my life was I was shocking to me what the response was, and I think part of that is because they've grown up in a world that's always on and they've never had. They've grown up in a world that's always on from a technological standpoint, but they've also grown up in a world where 99% of parents playing The way too much stuff for their kids and have to have them on a schedule doing something every 15 minutes from the time they get out of bed to the time that they go to bed. And that can drain you. It absolutely can be so overwhelming for a kid. There's no time for them to play, there's no time for them to be creative. There's no time for them to just Daydream and wonder and let their mind wander and, and try new things and be in that place of discovery. And so carving out the time for meditation and telling them that they essentially have the permission to do nothing for the next 10 minutes. And just be there is something that they've never experienced before. And so they've been going back to quite they've been super open to it. I mean, some of the kids a kid that I have worked with since he's been in seventh grade, I don't do any basketball stuff from With them anymore but more so on a we have more so of a friendship slash mentorship relationship he plays for the Toronto Raptors now. He, you know, I got him to start practicing yoga back when he was a sophomore in college of five, about five years ago. And it's had a huge impact. And he tells me all the time is like when I'm consistently doing this stuff, I definitely feel the difference in my performance. And so they're just open to so much more stuff. And I love that about that generation.

Brian Comerford  42:34
That's great. You know, I, I'm an old rave generation kid, so and my father was an author of metaphysical literature. And there, there came a point where he and I were having a discussion, I was working on the introduction to one of his books, and in it, I told him, you know, a lot of a lot of what you're describing about sort of this emergent, you know, new Society is really, you know, part of a characteristic that in raves subculture we used to call plur. I don't know if you ever feel you are peace, love, unity, respect. Okay, that was like the axiom by which the subculture operated under wired. You know, I mean, we were using social media before anyone referred to it as social media. You know, we're all web heads and, you know, coders and so, you know, part of what I shared with my father was a lot of these ideas that for him, kind of didn't exist until the socio sexual psychedelic revolution of the 1960s in the West, right. Yeah, that was kind of the turning point. The whole point that I was trying to express with him is, this is actually now just foundational for people. So younger people are already operating from a position where, you know, some of these ideas that for a man in his 80s were, you know, still forward thinking. It's actually kind of looking back, you know, it's sort of, it's almost like looking into the past, you know, a lot of the the emergent generation. So part of what I feel like I'm hearing from you is is reinforcement of that idea that there that there is more of a native openness to the emerging generations.

Mike Lee  44:30
Yeah, yeah, for sure.

Nick Lozano  44:34
So doesn't ask you a question that we always ask all of our guests does their need, or piece of media or HP article or, or whatever that's had a big impact on you.

Mike Lee  44:44
So many, I think, you know, one thing that a lot of people want mentors all the time, they want somebody to mentor them to learn from them. And with the access that we have to De you can find a mentor in anything that that you want. And so one way that I like to kind of do this through books, and I mean, I can pinpoint one book that has had a massive impact on me. One of them I'll give you a couple of one is leading an inspired life by guy named Jim Rohn. Oh yeah, Jim Rome. Yep. Yeah. Okay, awesome. He, you know, for those of you don't know, he was Tony Robbins first mentor. And a lot of Tony's philosophies come from from Jim Rome is life philosophies come from Jim. Key. He's got some incredible timeless books I actually just read read that book. A couple couple months ago, I was awesome. The untethered soul by Michael singer and the other book That he wrote the surrender experiment for both of those unbelievable books that have had a had a big impact on my life and trying to think of anything else that's really those are those two are really at the top of the list there's there's so many more that that have had an impact Course in Miracles has been been an amazing book. A workbook to study that's been that's had an impact as well.

Brian Comerford  46:34
And that's a pretty light tome you can just kind of breeze through that like on the subway.

Mike Lee  46:43
I've had I've had it for three years and I think I'm or for three or four years and I'm I mean, I'm close to being halfway done. I think I'm like page 460 something. Reading Reading a page in there is like reading 50 pages of another book. It's pretty, pretty heavy stuff. But what I've learned is to try to just read it not try to think about what in the world are they was he talking about, and just kind of let that sink into your subconscious and just kind of go along the way and try to try to keep going with it. But that's that's also how it had an impact for sure.

Nick Lozano  47:33
I mean, that's the way I like to read I, I don't read a ton of books quite as much anymore. I used to be a guy who could read like 20 books a year, but now I pare it down to like, I might pick four books and then take notes. Yeah. And go through my notes then look on YouTube for somebody else's review of the book just so I can see somebody else's viewpoint on what that what they read or what they heard. And then I go back and decide what I want to implement what I want to take out of it. It's just a different approach I've taken in and I've done that with some long books where where it took me like over a year to read it right

Mike Lee  48:08
I wish I did more of that I have way too many items highlighted and underlined that have never had any action taken on I wish I was more more in your boat but I mean the other thing with that is I think you know we'll take action on the things that we need to at that point in our life and but there I definitely Wish I leaned a little bit more your way neck.

Nick Lozano  48:37
I've only recently started doing it maybe the past couple years. So I'm just as guilty as everybody else's. You know, picking up some leadership books saying all this stuff's all great. And then going on to the next book and completely forgetting everything that I just read. There's so much content out there so much good stuff.

Mike Lee  48:55
There is a really is

Nick Lozano  48:57
so if people are looking for you on the internet I wanna check out your coaching information what we're working to find you.

Mike Lee  49:07
Two places have been hanging out the most of and LinkedIn and Instagram, both at who is Mike Lee, there was 9 million other Mike Lee's. So that was that was the best that I could come up with. And also you check out website at mind shift labs.com would love to connect with anybody answer any questions that you have and help in any way that I possibly can.

Nick Lozano  49:35
And will definitely be sure to link all that in our show notes as well as your link and the link to your book as well. too.

Brian Comerford  49:42
Amazing. Hey, Mike, thanks so much for joining us today. It's probably you know, you weren't thinking you were going to be a guest on a podcast about leadership and technology. Probably a week.

Mike Lee  49:56
I've had a great time.

Nick Lozano  49:57
Yeah, no, we're happy to have you You know leadership is just leadership in general doesn't doesn't matter where it is. That's that's my opinion.

Brian Comerford  50:04
But now it's great to every every principle that we've discussed today I think is valuable to, you know, a leader at any level in any field. So, really appreciate your insights. It's been a real pleasure getting to know you a little bit. Thanks for coming on the show.

Mike Lee  50:19
Thanks for having me, guys.

About Nick Lozano

Co-host of the > Lead.exe_ Podcast and owner/consultant at CornerStack, LLC.

Comments