3 Steps to Building a Mindful Company Culture – How Mindfulness Will Save Your Workforce

Talent retention. That’s the word on everyone’s mind when it comes to HR and company culture conversations.   And it’s a seismic problem.

  • Loyalty is at an all time low.
  • Mobility, all time high.
  • Millennial mindset makes it exponentially harder.

And booze fests deemed “team building” don’t work. Even skills training are not effective long-term (he writes, when a large part of the business I run does just that).

So how do we work towards making our staff, team and compatriots feel happy, fulfilled and downright at peace with the work they are doing right now?

In short, it’s an inside job.

Step 1: Reduce Stress by Calming the Mind

We must remember it’s not within our reach to make others happy. Only individuals that can do that for themselves. What we can do is lead the horse to water and teach tools to quiet the mind, nourish the spirit and develop a path to a routine that will reduce stress.

Build a regular practice of no distractions. Cultivate clear minded thinking time. Learn non-reactive habits, like turning off ALL notifications from Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and even text messaging. We get anxious and non-productive when we are constantly reacting to all this inane stimuli. It frays our mind and nerves, and we become disengaged with our work, and with our peers. It makes sense to set some time aside to enjoy that communication, in a mindful and focused way, but not at all moments of the day. A peaceful, purposeful mindset will do wonders for all, but especially our digitally native millennials.

Step 2: Avoid Burnout Through Acceptance Perspective

Provide perspective on how truly great it is to work in the industry. For my peers in Digital marketing, it’s easy. This is an ever-changing world that is dynamic and fresh with boundless opportunities for those willing to unlock the secrets of success.

Share perspectives, and support conversations, on the seemingly intangible – like how nice it is to work with great and smart people. Enjoy interactions with like-minded peers. Understand and discuss your work path and long-term goals. Think about the career journey, what the path might look like while allowing yourself to relish where you currently are. These small acts of reflection and gratefulness can do wonders to enliven the day and re-connect those in your organization to one another.

In the mindfulness world, it’s referred to simply as “acceptance.” To build a practice one person at a time, and to have that as part of a daily routine, truly is life changing.

 Step 3: Make Training the Catalyst to Life Practice

Nearly all training initiatives in every topical area, including mindfulness, create moments of inspiration but then 2 days later, fall flat into oblivion. The goal is to create enduring motivation. To find a training program that starts with inspiration, and has the day-to-day tools in place to capture that momentum and turn it into a life practice. Daily audio podcasts, weekly video workshops, like-minded support groups and so on. If you want real results, this is where it’s at. Not one more training!

In summary, begin to think about one person. How you can help them or even how you, as that person, can help yourself. Then translate that into a meaningful dialogue about how the company can facilitate such. And finally, act with the long-term in mind and do it right v. getting a nice pat on back for bringing in that amazing speaker who gave a 2 hour lecture. The results to your organization will fade as quickly as those feelings of hubris. Call it a day.

Good luck and may you go forth mindfully in this cauldron of chaos we call life.

About the Author: Aaron Kahlow is revolutionizing life coaching & work skills learning as CEO of Popexpert, leading online video coaching platform & marketplace. As one of the most recognized thought-leaders in the eLearning and Digital/Social Media space, Kahlow is most known well for his tireless globe trotting delivering marquee keynote speeches to over 67 cities in 21 countries and part of his personal passion. Kahlow can be found in the great city of San Francisco, working on the global expansion of “Teaching the World How to Live & Work Better” through Popexpert and related Institutes for Digital Transformation (Online Marketing Institute) and Mindfulness (Mindful Living Institute).

Press: WIRED magazine on meditation in the workplace


The popexpert team was featured in the most recent print issue of Wired magazine in an article focused on how meditation is being used as a way to increase productivity, reduced stress and improve team connections in the workplace.  Also featured is Kenneth Folk, one of our top teachers on popexpert.  The photo was taken on the roof of our SF office during a team meditation session with Kenneth. Check out the article here: http://www.wired.com/business/2013/06/meditation-mindfulness-silicon-valley/


press: thanks to gary vaynerchuk for a great mention!

Gary VaynerchukWe are thrilled to have a mention today from Gary Vaynerchuck in his LinkedIn article about 19 up and coming people to follow on Twitter:  http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130415151527-10486099-19-people-you-should-be-following-on-twitter-but-aren-t-pt-1-of-2

I had the opportunity to meet Gary last week for one of the most fun and inspiring brainstorm sessions of my career.  He instantly “got” what we are building at popexpert and clearly saw our chess game a few years out.  As someone who has always carved out his own path to success, he understands the value of investing in learning and growth as much as anyone and appreciates our focus on engaging with highly talented experts that can create real value through live one-to-one sessions.

I was thrilled to make the fifth spot with excerpt here from his post here:

Ingrid Sanders (@ingridsan) is somebody that I just met. She’s the founder and CEO of an interesting site, and more importantly just really blew me away. I meet with a lot of young entrepreneurs and start-ups constantly, and I would say that out of the last 400, Ingrid really stood out in the top one or two. I think she’d got her head on straight, I think she’s got a bright future, and I think that she’s a worthwhile follow as being a big prospect for having a successful startup.

When building a business, there is nothing as important as surrounding yourself with talented people and listening to their feedback.  I feel grateful and humbled by the support we have received so far and look forward to sharing more exciting news in the coming weeks.

~ Ingrid Sanders, co-founder & CEO, popexpert

Company: Our Co-founder/CTO Gets His Geek On


Our co-founder and CTO, Jeremy Thomas, gets geeky about our use of WebRTC in his interview with bloggeek. WebRTC is helping us establish an elegant and seamless connection between Experts and Learners through live, one-to-one video sessions.  We are proud to be one of the first companies to deploy WebRTC commercially. Check it out here: http://bloggeek.me/popexpert-interview/

company: the inspiration behind popepxert

Starting a starting a company is often compared to having a child.  While the commitment may not be 18 years to life (though it can turn out that way…), it still requires a huge investment of time, money, love and attention for any hope of success, so I often find it interesting to hear the inspiration behind new ventures.

The idea for popexpert has been floating around for a number of years now.  The initial concept was born of recognition that, through our daily lives, each of us has developed some level of expertise that has value to at least one other person in the world.  For some this may be cooking, for others business and other still perhaps parenting, hobbies, books and more.

The inspiration was furthered through a six-month sabbatical in early 2012.  During this time, my only commitment was that I would have no expectations for what my work life would entail following the adventure.  I travelled and invested a great deal of time and money with renowned experts to study yoga, meditation, nutrition, cooking, relationships, kiteboarding and ukulele.  Some of my favorite teachers include Kenneth FolkMonica JaggiKatherine MillerHelen FisherSeymour Boorstein and Shauna Shapiro.

As a part of the experience I became certified as a yoga teacher with Jivamukti and trained as a health coach with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, gaining insight into the passion and commitment that people invest in their craft.  I developed a deeper appreciation for how experts and coaches run their businesses and yet still felt that there could have been a better way for me to find and connect with the best people for my interests, wherever they may live.

Fortunately, my co-founders had the same vision, so I wrapped up sabbatical, and dove back into work.  Through our collective experiences we’ve refined the initial concept and come to an even greater appreciation for the deep expertise developed by those individuals who have dedicated their life to learning and sharing knowledge.  We added a technological twist, and popexpert became what it is today, a place for anyone to grow into a better version of themself.

Over the coming years our commitment is to build a company that inspires and enables lifelong learning by making it easy to find and connect with experts that help you get better at life, work and play.  In the meantime, when we’re not in the office, we each continue to live the mission invest in our own development with interests that currently include woodworking, French, productivity, social media, jewelry making and the psychology behind predicting sports statistics.

We hope you will join us on this lifelong learning journey.

~ Ingrid Sanders, co-founder & ceo, popexpert