Friday, 25 April 2014

Mindfulness with Chade-Meng Tan

Chande-Meng Tan's official job title at Google used to be "engineer"; these days, it's "jolly good fellow." (which nobody can deny)

Chade-Meng Tan is the incredible engineer at Google who created the personal development program with a difference: Search Inside Yourself
Tan's official job description at Google is to "enlighten minds, open hearts, create world peace," which he does by beautifully teaching an enrichment class for employees at the search engine's Silicon Valley headquarters. 

I had the opportunity to invite Meng to speak with YPO London members @ Google HQ to share how mindfulness can calm the mind, and positive mental habits can help us become better leaders.

Mindfulness with Meng, but first let me take a #selfie
Meng with Shahzad @ Google HQ

My personal journey into mindfulness and meditation began after my friend Guillaume Gauthereau introduced me to Vipassana meditation in 2012, the 10 day silent retreat (14 hours of meditation each day + one meal) truly changed my life. 

After returning from the retreat, I was looking for a book which I could share with our team at work and discovered Meng's book Search Inside Yourself  In this book,  Meng has translated the concepts of contemplative traditions into accessible, and understandable language.... SIY's amazing programme has everyday practical application, which was only benefiting Google till Meng opened the doors to this Google-based program for everyone via his Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute or SIYLI. You can find the full course online.

Mindfulness or awareness is a spiritual or psychological faculty that, according to the teaching of the Buddha, is of great importance in the path of enlightenment. 

Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to the present moment, using techniques like meditation, breathing and yoga. It helps us become more aware of our thoughts and feelings so that instead of being overwhelmed by them, we’re better able to manage them.
Practising mindfulness can give people more insight into their emotions, boost their attention and concentration and improve relationships. It’s proven to help with stress, anxiety, depression and addictive behaviours

Monday, 3 March 2014

Malala: A divine force to be reckoned with

More than 80 CEOs and their families on a rainy London Sunday morning, but activist and champion of education for girls, Malala Yousafzai, the youngest nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, did just that.

Malala was only 15 when a Taliban gunman boarded her school bus in a small village in northwestern Pakistan, one of the most conservative regions in the country, and shot her and two other girls in retaliation for her outspoken campaign to stand up for girls’ education.  After a miraculous recovery, Malala now lives in Birmingham, U.K., and has become one of the world’s most admired children’s-rights advocates. She was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2013 and has set up a foundation to raise awareness of her cause.
Malala spoke not only about the situation in Pakistan but of the need for girls’ education in other places like Syria, where her fund is helping open schools for refugees. She also spoke about how privileged she feels to be able to attend a public school in Birmingham, something that she finds a lot of kids in the West take for granted. Her father, a school teacher who greatly influenced her passion for education in spite of living in a society that prizes sons, reminded the audience that Malala is just a girl who got shot but there are many other girls who are as courageous and determined as she is.

YPO London Education Officer Shahzad Ali was instrumental in getting Malala to participate in this event. “Here’s a 16-year-old coming from a remote village in Pakistan teaching us about courage, taking risk, commitment to a long term vision — all with a sense of purity and conviction.”
After the event, Malala spoke with members and their families individually and signed copies of her book, I Am Malala.

Malala sharing her love of reading with Shahzad.

YPO Ignite