The Knowing Self Knowing Others Podcast

43 Biohacking: a Scientific Approach to Mindfulness with Reiner Kraft

December 11, 2023 Dr Nia D Thomas Episode 43
The Knowing Self Knowing Others Podcast
43 Biohacking: a Scientific Approach to Mindfulness with Reiner Kraft
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Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of The Knowing Self Knowing Others Podcast, host Nia Thomas welcomes special guest Reiner Kraft,  In the past ten years, Reiner embarked on a journey of mindfulness, starting with a focus on awareness. As a stressed tech worker in Silicon Valley, he experienced mental exhaustion and sought relief through mindfulness-based stress reduction classes. Through these practices, he discovered the connection between awareness and the mind, viewing the mind as software that needed optimization. Reiner also realized the importance of taking care of his body, leading him to explore functional medicine and biohacking to improve his overall health and energy levels. By upgrading his body, he found that his meditation and cognitive abilities improved, creating a clear connection between the mind, body, and awareness.

Reiner discusses the importance of mindfulness and self-awareness in leadership, highlighting the detrimental effects of unconscious behaviors in toxic work environments. He emphasizes the need for conscious leaders who prioritize awareness and create positive workplaces to attract and retain top talent. Furthermore, Reiner explores the connection between awareness, mind, and body, emphasizing the simultaneous optimization of both aspects for improved energy, resilience, and cognitive abilities.

Join Nia and guest Reiner Kraft on this enlightening episode of The Knowing Self Knowing Others Podcast as they explore the power of mindfulness, self-awareness, and mindful leadership in navigating the ever-evolving landscape of the tech industry and beyond.

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Nia Thomas [00:00:03]:

Hello and welcome to the Knowing Self Knowing Others podcast, discussing self aware leadership with thinkers from around the globe. Join me, your host, NIA Thomas, as we talk to today's guest. I'm joined today by Reiner Kraft. Reiner, it's really great to have you with me here today.

Reiner [00:00:20]:

Yeah, thanks for having me on the show.

Nia Thomas [00:00:22]:

Reiner is a seasoned technology leader, engineer, scientist, technical advisor, trainer, executive leader, micronutrients, expert, human potential coach and teacher who shares transformative principles of presence, mind management and biohacking using the latest science of epigenetics. Now, during his tech career, he spent 20 years in the Silicon Valley, and the past six years he's been in Berlin working for top high tech companies like IBM Research, Yahoo and Zalando. Rayna is considered a top innovator with more than 120 US. Patents, making him one of the most prolific inventors in Silicon Valley. Both IBM Research and Yaku recognize him as a master inventor. Rayner spent the past decade defining a systematic approach to upgrading the body and mind by tracking more than 200 Biomarkers and introducing a method to estimate your level of present awareness. And of course, listeners. As you know, that really links very well with what we're going to talk about today. He incubated the Fellowship of Mindful Tech Leaders and co founded the New You, a global community to attract like minded people to live healthier and more consciously. He's the host of the Mindful Leader podcast, where he interviews experts and thought leaders in the area of mind management, leadership and Biohacking. My goodness, Raina, so many accolades and so many interesting strands to come together in terms of mind management, leadership and biohacking. Wow.

Reiner [00:02:06]:

Yeah, I think so. Over time, stuff accumulates and there's synergies and then, of course, everything is evolving as well.

Nia Thomas [00:02:16]:

So when we talk about mind management, leadership and Biohacking, I'm really interested in that body mind link. So tell us more about as you said, there is synergy, but how are all of these things connected?

Reiner [00:02:30]:

So I would say in the past ten years, roughly, this is when my journey around mindfulness, this is how it started, evolved. And it became clear right at the beginning, I was mostly focusing on awareness. I didn't know what, at that point, what awareness is of the mind. So there was all these differences. I was just techie working at that point, still in California, in Silicon Valley, and I was kind of stressed. I think I ran into mental exhaustion. Gradually it felt like, you're doing more and more, it feels harder and harder, only to achieve less. And so that was the setup. And then with Mindfulness, I took some standard MBSR, mindfulness based stress reduction class, which is globally available, and some of the listeners may not have heard about it, but it was some very basic introduction to mindfulness. And over the time, I got results quickly to calm the mind, to be more in the present moment. And I realized that, oh yeah, there is this awareness actually becoming aware of what's happening around you, inside of you. And then I realized that the mind at the end of the day is like this elaborate piece of software. Since I'm a techie, I like these analogies to look at things that when I visually think about it as software, then I know it's buggy, that was clear, it's not running optimally. There's a lot of apps installed that are completely suboptimal, they're no longer needed but then on the other hand there might be a few apps that are completely missing, they need to be installed and so awareness is pretty much then shining the light on the software. So there is the connection between awareness and the mind. And then on the other hand, I didn't think much about the body at this point, but body wise didn't do that well in these days. So I had all kind of stuff going on, I had too much weight, I had high blood pressure, long list of stuff and I realized oops, you have to do something. And then when I moved to Berlin, I met first time some functional medicine practitioners and this resonated very well because first time I've seen medical doctors actually looking for the root causes of things and using scientific approach that I was very familiar with. When they talked about DNA genes, they talked about systems, they talked about building blocks and so I said wow, this is my language, I understand that stuff. And then there was in parallel I would say also about ten years ago, this approach called Biohacking, which is just a methodology when I compare it to the software industry, you would probably say it's an agile approach where you build, measure, learn right? So you keep investigating certain aspects, measure them, you find some intervention, then you measure again. And if things work out well, then you can do more. If not, you make changes and pivot. And so that approach made a lot of sense. And then now the circle was now clear that if you upgrade the body, the body gets in better shape, you have more energy, you have more resilience. And with that, you can meditate better. You can basically continue, even get the mind to even run at even better performance, because cognitive abilities and everything improves. So the hardware, so the body is the hardware, better hardware, the software runs smoother and more stuff can be then achieved and so that was clear. Then there is this connection between awareness mind and body and at the end then you have to make some tackle those things a little bit in parallel. I think that my experience delivers the.

Nia Thomas [00:07:04]:

Best results, then that makes absolute sense, because I'm certainly having conversations with leaders, managers about the impact of stress in the world of work. And we know that stress changes you physically. And when you are changed physically, it makes you unwell. But it also impacts your behavior, which therefore impacts your mind, because your relationships with others are changing. So you go down a route of worry, anxiety, overthinking and I suppose it's the opposite to the cycle that you're talking about. Maybe it's the same cycle, but in the opposite direction. So it's that finding that spot where you can start to improve the body, that improves the mind, that improves the body and improves the mind. Can you share your inspiration behind the mindful leader? What motivated you to focus on mindfulness and leadership? You've already mentioned that you were in a bad position. What cultivated that situation for you?

Reiner [00:08:05]:

Well, I think when I was still in California, in the Silicon Valley, I noticed that the work environment I was in at that point was obviously quite a hectic, fast paced work style and everything. But there was a lack of awareness usually in the leaders and they create with completely unconscious behavior, they create these toxic work environments and as a result people are suffering usually because there's all this stressful environment and not everyone has all these capabilities of mental capabilities, awareness and all the good stuff built out. I mean, it took me, as I said, more than a decade to evolve and get all those upgrade, all those different mechanisms. So at that point, of course, you can go back in an environment like this and you're so resilient that you don't even mind anymore. But the typical employee usually is not and that therefore many people in the workplace suffer just because of poor leadership or unconscious leadership. Maybe that is the word. And so that's why I thought, well then, what can be done? And when I moved to Berlin, I was running a large organization, large leadership team and at that point and I was experimenting, can I take some of these approaches of mindfulness? And I coined this term mindful leadership at that point, this was in 20, 16, 17 nobody at that point has been talking about mindful leadership. This was something on my blog I published back in later in 2018 about the mindful leadership principles. And that was the result of all this experimentation and work where I said well, there is these twelve leadership principles, mindful leadership principles. They can be very helpful as guidance and they can have an impact if leaders are simply following these principles. So it's not that complicated. And then when I introduced those principles to my leadership team, which was large, there were 35 leaders in there, we had some workshop type of setup and those leadership principles resonated very well, but they all said cool stuff, let's do it. But they couldn't do it. So in the following weeks and months it became clear that yeah, this is a nice piece of paper, but it can't be executed really and because of the lack of awareness. And so then the question was well then how can I support these leaders or what can I do to help them to raise their level of present awareness? Or I call it LPA. This is basically defined as the time per day or the percentage that you're fully aware and connected to the present moment. And though typical later on when I started really measuring LPA more systematically, I found out that typical person or leader in these contexts, usually the LPA is about 2%, one to 2% on average. That means 2% of the data fully conscious or there and the rest of the data basically completely in their self chatter about rehashing the past, planning, future self talk and autopilot basically it became clear that such a low LPA which I encounter on average there is not much you can do. And so that's why the motivation then also over those years was what can be done to help these people to raise their LPA? Maybe raise it to up to 10%, maybe to 15% that would be like a ten x improvement or maybe 20%, right? So this would be a ten x improvement and everything ten x usually is a big deal and that's why I was after but it wasn't clear how to do it and so then my effort was experimenting with approaches on how to do it and how can these leaders do this in a more systematic way. Because at that point a lot of methodologies in the space of mindfulness for instance, there are available, I mean, a gazillion things you can go on YouTube, type in meditation or breathing or whatever. There are so many different methods books, videos, tutorials and whatever but how do you know that stuff is working? And that was the big question, right? Because people then told me oh yeah, I tried to meditate once after two minutes I couldn't bear it anymore and then I gave up where they tried to do some breathing exercises didn't work out somehow and then stopped doing it and it wasn't clear. Isn't there something for me as a scientist, isn't there something like that? You do systematically, you measure so this agile approach again, right? Measure, do something and improve awareness. And that got me excited. And then two years ago, finally, I had the methodology and something in a more programmatic, structured way hashed out. And then I created what I now call this high performance mind program, which is something because this was people were asking, well, give me something where I can go through step by step in two to three months to achieve this higher level of awareness. Right. Systematically measured and with some clear success criteria. And so this basically was something that I later on, about four years ago, I created my own company, the Mindful Leader. And at that point, this one, when these things evolved and when I created the program and then I had people going in the program testing it out like pilot and so on, it worked out very well. Of course it's still work in progress, it's evolving and the more people I get into it, I learn a lot and then the program can still be modified and adjusted to get better and better. But the core principle works. So that's why I'm so happy that finally I found something where you get someone in in a particular setup and they can systematically evolve and they say, wow, it's doable.

Nia Thomas [00:14:51]:

The number of people that I talk to about meditation and mindfulness and it's not something for me, it's not something I can do. I don't really understand it. I don't appreciate or know how to get into that space of doing nothing, thinking nothing. And I think if you have a systematic approach that will help people to understand what it is so that they can really engage with it, I think that's incredibly valuable. Reina if listeners want to find out more about that and maybe join you on your program, where should they go to sign up?

Reiner [00:15:26]:

Yeah, well, it's on my website, themindforleader. Net. There's all the details there and lots of information. And I usually recommend I also have my blog there where I talk about some of these topics to give more context so they can get some introduction and find out over time if this is the right approach. And then of course they can sign up there and get going.

Nia Thomas [00:15:51]:

Brilliant listeners, we will make sure that that link is in the show notes for you. So you've talked about your twelve factors that make up a mindful leader. Tell us about one or two of those so that we can really get an understanding of what a mindful leader is in practice. How do we recognize them, how do we become them?

Reiner [00:16:12]:

Yeah, of course, the leadership principles. They're also on my blog, Themindfulleader. Net, so you can look them up and go through them. There are twelve of them. It also evolved, but at the end, I think the most important one at the beginning is basically to be present with all your thoughts and actions and words, right? So basically being there, I think this is the first, the most fundamental one, and then there's others in there that pretty much derive from this, right? Things like for instance, don't focus too much on the outcome as an example, focus more on the process. And again, this goes back to being present, right? And so a lot of these principles, therefore, if you're able to do the first one, which is being present, then a lot of these others basically fall into place automatically. But I still decided to list all of them because they help as examples to see, yeah, there was something, don't focus too much on the outcome, don't get attached to the outcome too much that is giving some guidance in different cases. And so therefore still they are helpful, right? And so twelve of them, very intuitive, but the problem is, yeah, they can be used, but without sufficient level of present awareness, unfortunately the execution, the living of these principles is not so easy.

Nia Thomas [00:17:56]:

And I guess the conversations we regularly have about mobile phones and mobile phone use in meeting gives you that very opposite to being present. So I think one of the very simple things we do to be present is switch everything off and make sure that your attention is on the person that's talking and make sure that listening is something that you're focused on. We are interested in self aware leadership and I think you've talked a lot about awareness if you could define self aware leadership and why do you believe it's essential to in today's professional landscape?

Reiner [00:18:38]:

Self aware leadership at the end is about this awareness as the foundation. So awareness, self awareness, becoming aware is the foundation of the leadership. And so then whatever you do in terms of leadership methodologies, certain ways you conduct the leadership or how others perceive you as a leader is basically rooted in presence. That's the foundation difficulty. Then again is staying present for most of the time. Meaning in this KPI measurement, LPA level of present awareness, can you increase your LPA considerably? High so that over the course of the day, let's say workday, when you're at work, meeting with the teams, meeting with others, direct reports and so on, so that in this context, over the course of the day, when you interact with others, can you be present at least most of the time? Right? So an LPA of, let's say 15, 20% certainly is a strong foundation. It sounds low, but trust me, it is actually high. When I said when. Typical one 2%. So 20% is still high. And people usually sense that presence. They can sense if someone is present or not. And that alone that has a strong impact. In my experience, if they sense, oh, this guy or this person is present is here, and that is where the quality comes out of everything then you're doing. Which means the quality of decisions, quality of interactions, whatever results you achieve, then they have this extra dimension of presence. Right? Which makes a big difference.

Nia Thomas [00:20:39]:

I would definitely agree with you that people can spot whether you are present, whether you are consciously listening, whether you are actively in the room and in the discussion and paying attention to them. And I think there's a level of respect that goes with that, a level of relationship building and most definitely leadership. And it's something that I'm very conscious of. Having worked with other people whose level of present awareness is probably nearer the 2%, and remembering how that made me feel and thinking as a leader in organizations, I wouldn't want others to feel that they are not being listened to, that they are being ignored. And actually, they've got something better to do on my phone. So I think absolutely if you can raise your LPA from 2% to 10% to 15% then I think that's the direction we should all be aiming for. In your experience, what are the main challenges that leaders face when they come to incorporating mindfulness into their leadership practice? You've talked a little people not knowing how to do it or feeling uncomfortable when they've sat in it for a very short period of time. But what are those other barriers that fit around all of that?

Reiner [00:21:57]:

I think the biggest challenge is their mind, right? The software that is not optimized, that is buggy. And it can be so buggy that whatever they're trying to do is not going to happen because they're completely associated with all this thought activity that's currently happening. And it can be also very distracting on one side and that prevents them from actually going to the root of everything, to becoming more aware. There could be even the case if there is no I call it some opening there for awareness if at least a little bit of awareness is there. So this one or 2% usually is sufficient to get stuff going but unfortunately there can be even less. There could be some 0.5% whereas it's just not working. So if there's no minimal amount of awareness, there is no usually opening for change and that is the biggest obstacle then. So you're so caught up in your mind and you're thinking that you can't get out of this, you get stuck in it and then usually things will usually in my experience get worse for you over time because it's just a matter the body has to cope with all this stress and mess, right? So the body requires a lot of resources to keep everything up and running. Your brain is wasting a lot of energy because of all this thought activity that is completely useless given this constant impact on stress. Your body basically is in this mode of survival, so to speak, and can go on for a few weeks, a few months, but at some point it's done and then symptoms are coming up, symptoms of exhaustion, it could be sickness, whatever, right? And once usually if they're painful enough, if those signals are painful enough or distractive enough this is when the opening widens usually say oh, what's going on? So therefore the suffering that can arise out of this usually is a good accelerator for your personal growth because it opens up more awareness. So then awareness is going up. Once awareness is going up then you become aware of some of those patterns, what you're currently doing to yourself and then that's what I'm doing now that isn't that great, let's make some changes. Maybe then you may try out a few things and keep start experimenting.

Nia Thomas [00:24:35]:

That definitely makes sense that sometimes we almost wait until we have some physical big bang or an illness that takes us down before we realize that actually the mind the software is having a very big impact on the body and the hardware. As you were talking there, I was thinking I had a conversation with Andrew Sewell recently and his area of interest in specialism is overthinking. And as you were talking about all that messy stuff that's going on in our brains preventing us from being aware, it sounds very much like overthinking. And he talks about mindfulness as a way of moving away from that. And I guess it's very similar to what you're saying. People don't know how to do that. So they need the guides, they need the support of how do you move towards mindfulness. One of the things that I was thinking about when you were talking about the barriers to actually becoming more mindful, you're talking about internal impacts on that. The number of people that I've spoken to also talk about external impacts on that. So it might be stress, it might be overwork, it might be environmental factors, it might be family factors. Do you think that they impact to an extent that they influence whether we are able to reach towards mindfulness or do you think that actually the brain and the mind has such power over us that we are able to make that decision for ourselves and really park the extraneous influences that are coming at us?

Reiner [00:26:13]:

I think we're in the situation that we're in at any given moment in time is optimally designed for us to evolve, right? And we all need different stimulus, we need different science signals to help us advance. And I think the good thing is it all happens automatically for us. So based on your energy, pretty much what you're living in the present moment, you get an environment that is perfect fit for you. And if the perfect fit means you have to suffer and you get sick and more sick over time, then this is what you get, right? But it's all designed, I think, at the end of the day for the greater good, right? And of course, if you're in a situation like this, you may not feel initially that this is designed for the greater good. You may say, what the heck, why do I have to go through all this mess or suffering or whatever it is? But usually there is something there that supports your growth. You just have to become aware and look for it. Then also being grateful for finding this when you actually reflect and say this is why this happened to me. And there is a gift usually in there if you discover it, if you're aware. And so therefore I would say ultimately if there is a little bit of awareness there over time, it of course may take a long time, we may take a few years, maybe decade, even longer. Become aware of them, recognize them inquire why are they here, what is this telling me? And use the data to then bring in a little bit of focus in these directions.

Nia Thomas [00:27:59]:

I definitely relate to that. I think I was in my mid 20s when I got quite sick and it really changed my outlook on life. I changed my relationship with the working world. I trained as a reflexologist because well being of people who didn't have broken bones and who didn't need surgery became of incredible interest to me because I thought, actually there are going to be lots of people out there like me who haven't broken a bone and don't need surgery. But there is something going on with them that is fundamental and it's just knocking them down. I can really align with that. One of the things I'm interested in is what experiences have you had of people who maybe thought that mindfulness was really woo woo or a little bit out there, but tried it and used it and actually turned their lives around? I'm sure there are lots of people who have done that, but have you seen that? Have you been around those people who've gone, oh my goodness, this really has changed everything for me?

Reiner [00:29:03]:

Yeah, absolutely. This was when I started my business about four or five years ago or so. I was in tech, worked as a tech leader. And so I decided, yeah, let's work with tech leaders, primarily techies, and let's see how because I was still in this process of figuring out how to put all the stuff together. So I started working with them, mentoring them, coaching them and so on. And I've seen really fascinating breakthroughs sometimes in a really short amount of time, like a few weeks, right? And people get all these breakthroughs. I said, oh my goodness, right, this is cool, right? Because I knew it worked for myself, but we're all different. I didn't know, is it also working for others? Right? And so the thing what differentiates my approach is that because as I'm a scientist, this was the first question I asked myself like 1012 years ago or so, when I said, is this really real stuff? Is mindfulness, is this kind of fancy thing? Is it just some current trend fashion? How do I know this is actually working? And so that's why I was looking for guidance in terms of data to make these things visible. So I call these key performance indicators, KPIs for awareness, for the mind, obviously also for the body. But for the body was the easier part. There's biomarkers, let's say your vitamin D level, your omega three index, whatever. So there is very straightforward, scientifically validated biomarkers that tell you how healthy you are. Most people of course, aren't. They think they are, but they're not. Once you start looking at these biomarkers, you see the mess is going on. But for the mind, that was not obvious. And so that's why my focus in the first two or three years was really to look at what these KPIs are for the mind, for awareness, make them visible, help people to learn about them, to set up a baseline for themselves so that they can actually see my example. Again, LPA level of present awareness. But I give you another one, number of thoughts per minute. So once they learned how to assess their number of thoughts per minute, on average, then they could see. So this is my baseline. Now this is quite noisy, I didn't know that before. Then they work on this, they do some, let's say some breathing exercises, mindfulness exercises, whatever. My methodology that I use is called measurable mindfulness. It adds the dimension of data to mindfulness. And so that usually resonates very well with people who are in data, who like data, right? And of course people who are this completely loozy Goozy like, oh, I don't want to track stuff, I don't want to count things, I don't want to measure that. Of course they have a little bit hesitant, I don't really need this, I do it with my feeling right? And well yeah, if that works for you, that's fine. But usually it doesn't. That's my experience. And so using the data adds this accountability, it adds clear progress there and it gets you from A to B. And of course at some point if some of these KPIs are looking pretty good and doing well, then at some point you may not need to track all that stuff anymore. But it is a methodology that gets you there. And I've seen when working with these clients, the breakthroughs are amazing. And of course they're individually different depending on what their situation or state of mind was in the beginning. But usually whatever stressor was there, it was usually a combination of multiple stressors. There was worry, there was anxiety, there was all kind of stuff going on. When the mind is not running well, the software is basically completely suboptimal. So then there's all those stressors. That means stress level go up, which you can also measure with heart rate variability, HIV. And so then you can see, oh my goodness, it doesn't look good. But then you start with some of these methods and I have no particular favor to one or the other. Sometimes people already using some exercises, meditation, and that's fine, they can use these things, but they have to learn how to evaluate that this is actually working. And so then they learn that and then they can see. Sometimes they get surprised and they notice that this maybe particular form of meditation was completely useless, it didn't work. But then they try some other exercises and they may work much better. And so then this is how they make progress. And then they see the numbers, the numbers guide them. But the breakthroughs are usually felt through those experiences, right? All of a sudden the mind is calm. Like if your number of thoughts per minute drop down to zero and you can keep in that state for a minute. Or two that feels different, right? For someone who has a busy mind, raising thoughts all the time and all of a sudden there is no thought at all, that is a pleasant change, right? And then of course, people ask well, this was cool, I was now in this 1 minute or two minute, in this space of no thoughts at all. So calm, peaceful, how can I stay longer in here? Practice and work. And at some point it's definitely worthwhile doing it because once you get in these states of calm, peace or other altered state of consciousness, many of them are really pleasant to be in, or for practical purposes, the state of flow. State of flow while you're working. I mean, this is optimal, you don't have to watch at the time or anything, just doing something you completely immerse. And it's also very prolific in that time, right? You can get lots of stuff done, you're in a flow state. And flow state is nothing else than being present. And that's why the breakthroughs, they come in variety of different flavors, but they're backed up by data.

Nia Thomas [00:35:23]:

Something that we are interested in in this podcast is how do we develop our self awareness? What are the tools and techniques? Can you share with us one technique of how somebody gets to that point of having 1 minute where we are thought free or where we can increase our level of present awareness?

Reiner [00:35:46]:

Well, the easiest exercises I usually start is by doing simple things that you're doing anyway, but doing them more conscious. Brushing your teeth as an example, eating something, taking a shower, walking, walking a dog, whatever it is. So do those little activities, but do them fully present, really try to focus on them while you're doing them and focus on the experience, what's happening inside of you, outside of you, around you, with all your senses really be there. And this is how you bring in so called mindful minutes. Mindful minutes is the currency that adds up. So you accumulate a mindful minute means that you have to be present for 1 minute, fully connected to the present moment. So then you bring in one mindful minute. If you brush your teeth, you can bring in in the morning already two mindful minutes. You brush your teeth maybe in the evening as well, another two minutes. So you already have four, right? And so LPA calculation, as I mentioned, you pretty much sum up those mindful minutes. Divide them usually by 16 hours. This is your waking time over the course of the day, so roughly 1000 minutes. So you could see 20 mindful minutes boils down to 2% LPA. So it's that easy. And so over the course of the day, then what you do is you look for opportunities to bring in more mindful minutes. And that's all there is. And it doesn't matter if you meditate, if you sit there and do some breathing, it doesn't matter if you go for a walk in nature, as long as you're present it counts as mindful minutes. And nowadays, of course, then there are some apps available that help you track some of these mindful minutes. Like when you do freezing exercises, meditation and all that stuff. And so they help you calculate mindful minutes in the evening. You can review them, but obviously some of these other things, they need manual tracking. So you actually have to do a little bit of journaling, write it down. Oh yeah, I took two minute brushing the teeth, six minute shower, ten minute lunch. So you have to write it down. And that's cumbersome, right? And then why? Because it's cumbersome. People don't like to do it. But this is the process, right? And so if you want the LPA to go up, you have to follow the process, then it works. And people actually, I see there is a high success rate that people who are motivated, they get their LPAs up with these simple things. And of course, in the program, like for instance, I teach them more methods and then usually starting in the month three, so when they're a little bit settled in presence already, I also teach them different meditation techniques. At that point they're ready to sit down for two minutes or five minutes. But if I were to do that at the beginning of the program, it wouldn't work. I know people have a hard time sitting still for a minute, so I tell them, here, let's meditate for five minutes. That would be a deal breaker. So the muscle of awareness builds up over time, mindful minutes go up and then usually then more formal meditation could be helpful in this scenario and then they can start exploring this. There's also so many different options available there. And this is when your LPA goes up and up and at some point skyrockets, right? If you get more than 100 mindful minutes, this is 10% LPA. So between 100, 200 minutes per day is the goal. And I've seen that happening for many of the clients I work with. So it's doable and I see major breakthroughs for them, right. They're a different person at the end and they see, of course, all kind of positive impact, whatever that is, in terms of interaction with the teams, interaction with other people. But also they feel better. Usually the well being goes up. So lots of benefits.

Nia Thomas [00:40:04]:

Listeners, I hope you'd agree that one Mindful Minute is achievable. And when we add another Mindful Minute to that, in a day we've suddenly created two and then we can create ten and then we're up to our 100. And I think definitely those little steps really are achievable. Reina, what are your thoughts on where we're going to go with Mindfulness in Leadership? Where are we headed? What does the future look like for mindfulness and leadership?

Reiner [00:40:34]:

Yeah, I think at the end they go hand in hand. Mindfulness is just an enabler, it's a tool or something that helps people become more aware. So at the end, it boils down to awareness, self awareness plus leadership. And the good leaders at the end, they are distinct by this level of increased present awareness. So they are more aware. These are the better leaders. The others are basically they're going through the unconscious behaviors and all that stuff. Of course they could be successful in terms of some of the business results. I mean, you see leaders who create toxic work environments and they bring in great business results, but usually these things are not sustainable and that means people quit. Then they decide to join a different company, but in reality, they're looking for a different leader because they don't like the environment, right? And so there's a high churn there that people leave in these toxic environments because you have a choice nowadays. And if there is a conscious leader somewhere else, the word is out and people say, oh yeah, I really like this environment here and this company, I heard they're doing really great stuff. The leadership team is great and this is where the best talent goes. They go to the conscious leaders at the end of the day and this is just happening. And so at the end, it's an aspect of staying competitive as a leader, right? So you can decide to do old school and ignore self awareness. It's not sustainable. Sooner or later you realize that and then hopefully you can still switch and become more aware. And so this is the future, right? And everything else is at some point going away. I think we're in a transition phase. And nowadays awareness also in the age of artificial intelligence, this is another driver. Technology is advancing very rapidly. Awareness is what differentiate us from all this noise around us, right? So that's why I think the importance is there, the urgency is there. And it's not that difficult to do it if you actually up for it.

Nia Thomas [00:42:57]:

Reina, thank you so much for joining me for a really fascinating conversation. And I think what you've talked about in terms of mindfulness being something that we can measure so that we can see those tangible results and we can measure them in mindful minutes, I think that's a currency that we really can get behind and we can really understand and it's achievable in today's very busy working life. Reyna Kraft, thank you so much for joining me for the conversation. It's been really good having you on the show.

Reiner [00:43:25]:

Yeah, thanks for having me.

Nia Thomas [00:43:29]:

Thank you for joining me. Your host, NIA Thomas, and my guest on today's episode. Remember to rate and review this podcast on your favourite podcast player and to join me for the next episode. Looking forward to having you on my learning journey. The knowing self knowing others. Podcast is available on Apple podcasts spotify google podcasts. Podcast index overcast. Amazon Music Podcast addict Castro Castbox Podchaser.

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