March 06, 2017 by
Mindfulness is paying attention in the present without judgement. Because the present is the most powerful resource we have.
For thousands of years, people have used mindfulness practices—techniques to develop awareness of present experience with acceptance—to deal effectively with a wide range of life challenges. A large and fascinating body of scientific research now validates the benefits of mindfulness and its value in the workplace.
Mindfulness is showing up to be your best self. But that takes practice.
Over the weekend, we attended a Mindfulness Workshop at Grace Farms conducted in collaboration with the Copper Beach Institute. It was taught by Founder and Executive Director, Dr. Brandon Nappi.
Here are 15 fascinating studies on the science of mindfulness.
- 1,000,000,000 heartbeats is the lifespan of every living creature. The idea is to make the most and appreciate every one. (Copper Beach Institute)
- 2,000,000 American practice mindfulness. (American Mindfulness Research Association)
- 70,000 events is how many, on average, every human brain experiences every day. (Aware)
- 15,000 employees at Aetna have participated in at least one mindfulness meditation class. Those who have report, on average, a 28% reduction in their stress levels, a 20% improvement in sleep quality and a 19% reduction in pain. They also have become more effective on the job, gaining an average of 62 minutes per week of productivity each. Aetna estimates it’s worth $3,000 per employee per year. (NY Times)
- 4,000 scientific papers were combed through by researchers to write “Contemplating Mindfulness at Work,” which was published in the Journal of Management. Their main conclusion? Mindfulness is linked to better workplace function because it heightens the ability to concentrate, pay attention, and listen. It also positively impacts work relationships and the ability to work in teams. (Omega)
- 500 employees at General Mills attend a Mindful Leadership program, created by General Mills’ deputy general counsel, Janice Marturano. According to the company’s self-report data: “After one of Marturano’s seven-week courses, 83% of participants said they were ‘taking time each day to optimize my personal productivity’ – up from 23% before the course. 82% said they now make time to eliminate tasks with limited productivity value – up from 32% before the course. And among senior executives who took the course, 80 percent reported a positive change in their ability to make better decisions, while 89% said they became better listeners.” (Financial Times)
- 342 people, in a study, aged 20 to 70 published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that participants using Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) had greater improvement in function and back pain compared to the group that remained in standard care. (Omega)
- 200 employees Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF), a global law firm with around 5,000 employees, have gone through the 6-week HSF mindfulness program in the last 14 months. They saw “a 12% increase in employee focus; a 10% increase in employee performance; a 10% increase in employee efficiency; a 17% increase in employee work/life balance; an 11% increase in employee communication skills; a 14% decrease in employee multitasking.” (L&D Professional)
- 120 pieces of information is how much our mind can process every second (Psychology Today)
- 89 participants from the Dow Chemical Company were selected and randomly assigned to an online mindfulness intervention (n = 44) or wait-list control (n = 45). The results of the intervention found “the group had significant decreases in perceived stress as well as increased resiliency, and vigor. This online mindfulness intervention seems to be both practical and effective in decreasing employee stress, while improving resiliency, vigor, and work engagement, thereby enhancing overall employee well-being.” (Association for Talent Development)
- 50% of the time we are distracted (Copper Beach Institute)
- 20 fold increase in mindfulness research since the millennium began. (Psychology Today)
- After an 8-week course of mindfulness practice, the brain’s “fight or flight” center, the amygdala, started to shrink. This primal region of the brain, associated with fear and emotion, is involved in the initiation of the body’s response to stress. (Scientific American)
- 3-4 seconds is how long average present moments last now before our minds drift to other thoughts (Psychology Today)
- A 2-point decrease (on a 10-point scale) at Intel in stress, 3 point increase in overall happiness and well being, and a 2-point increase in having new ideas and insights, mental clarity, creativity, the ability to focus, the quality of relationships at work and the level of engagement in meetings, projects and collaboration efforts is report among 1,500 employees at Intel who have taken part in a mindfulness program (The Guardian)
- When two groups were compared– those who practiced regular mindfulness relaxation techniques, and those who didn’t– they found the people who engaged in meditative mindfulness practices had more active genes that protected them from things like infertility, high blood pressure, arthritis, pain, inflammation and even cancer. (Harvard Medical School).
Do these studies increase your interest? Are you interested in showing up to be your best self?
December 26, 2016 by
May the new year bring:
- Friends who understand you and still remain friends
- Time for quiet, silent meditation on the things that really matter
- Patience to wait for these things
- Wisdom to recognize when they arrive
– Anonymous Prayer
From Rob and all at BarnRaisers, all the best in the coming year.
November 30, 2015 by
- Over 50% of the working population works in a small business
- 52% of small businesses are home-based
- Small businesses have generated 65% of net new jobs since 1995 (source: Forbes)
Starting a business is a challenging endeavor and achieving entrepreneurial success a great accomplishment.
Success for a startup usually occurs because the business fills an unmet need or creates an innovation in an industry that is under served.
But in all cases, there are significant obstacles, big sacrifices and nothing occurs without the individuals who have the ideas and perseverance to make them happen.
To celebrate the companies and individuals that have made this journey, here are 10 inspiring small business stories that achieved big things.
- 505-JUNK: After seeing a used trailer for sale on the side of the road one day, Barry Hartman and Scott Foran decided to look into the world of junk removal. While not a completely new idea for a business, they realized that they could diversify their business in two ways: The first to charge by weight of material removed and the second to recycle as much of that junk as possible. Barry and Scott wrote their business plan and presented it to Futurpreneur for financing. They were approved, and with the money, purchased their pickup truck and trailer and started the business in the basement of Barry’s parents’ home. Today, 505-Junk has been voted Best Junk Removal Company by Homestars.com, the online directory for renovators, repairman and retailers.
- ADAFRUIT INDUSTRIES: Limor Fried, who earned her master’s in electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, runs Adafruit Industries, which sells do-it-yourself electronics kits. She welcomed people to use the information, and saw it as a way to foster innovation. Fried launched her company in 2005 with $10,000 that was supposed to go to her tuition. Anytime she made a profit, she made a tuition payment. Today, the company ships 150 to 200 orders a day, some of them worth thousands of dollars.
- APP EMPIRE: Chad Mureta was running a real estate business when a devastating car accident left him hospital-bound. Mureta decided to try his hand at producing mobile applications. At the time, the industry was relatively new, but he felt the growth potential was worth the risk. Mureta took out a loan for $1,800 to produce his first app, Fingerprint Security – Pro. It soon became one of the 50 most popular apps in the App Store, earning him $140,000 in the process. From there, Mureta founded and sold three app companies — Empire Apps, Best Apps and T3 Apps. He has produced 46 apps to date.
- CHARITY: WATER: When Scott Harrison was 28, he realized he was a “selfish scumbag” while on vacation in Uruguay. So Harrison founded Charity: water, which brings clean drinking water to developing nations. Charity: water has funded 3,962 water projects, providing access to clean, safe drinking water for 1,794,983 people in 19 countries.
- GAS BUDDY: Jason Toews and Dustin Coupal saw a need for a site to help people locate the cheapest local gas prices and founded GasBuddy.com in June 2000. The partners nurtured the website over the course of the next decade, persuading drivers to log in and share gas prices. Then, in 2009, they realized the potential of mobile apps. So the company launched Android and iPhone apps later that year, which were instantly popular. 6,000,000+ people have downloaded the apps with more visiting the website.
- OAK STREET SHOES: John Vlagos, a Greek immigrant living in Chicago, wanted to show his son George how hard it is to work with your hands for a living and hopefully choose another line of work for himself. He was a cobbler so he made young George come into his shop every weekend to shine shoes. The plan backfired as George Vlagos is now a cobbler as well. George is a bit more than that though – he is one of the most successful independent shoemakers in America. He saw an opening in the market for top quality shoes made with traditional materials that could be bought at an affordable price. George Vlagos’s shoes, known as Oak Street Shoes, are sold in some shops but he mostly sells them online. He regularly has to operate with a six-week waiting list.
- SPANX: Sara Blakely was getting ready for a party when she realized she didn’t have the right undergarment to provide a smooth look under white pants. Armed with scissors and sheer genius, she cut the feet off her control top pantyhose and the Spanx revolution began! With a focus on solving wardrobe woes, the Spanx brand has grown to offer bras, underwear, jeans, pants, active and more. She obtained her own patent, set up her company and started pitching her idea. She was repeatedly turned down until she got the buyer from Neiman Marcus to try on Spanx. She got an order and other retailers started to follow suit. And then came a mention on Oprah. Blakely is the world’s youngest self-made billionaire and in 2012, when she was just 41, Blakely made it on to the list of the top 100 most influential people in the world, as determined by Time Magazine.
- TASTY: Liane Weintraub, a local Los Angeles TV reporter and Shannan Swanson, a Cordon Bleu-trained chef and former cook at one of Wolfgang Puck’s restaurants thought, given the current obsession with label reading and organic ingredients, there must be dozens of organic baby food brands. But they were wrong. The pair started making organic purees for their own babies and couldn’t believe how few options were available in stores. Today, Tasty Brand is carried at Whole Foods, Fairway, Tops, and other chains. The company turned a profit four years after its founding, and it’s on track for sales of $2.5 million this year.
- USEFUL CHARTS: When starting his business, Matthew Baker initially sold small laminated study guides. But he quickly noticed that what people wanted was posters. He discovered that there was a real need for visual-learning material. His chart-based posters now help students, teachers and home schoolers the world over. His Timeline of World History poster is especially popular, and has on several occasions reached Amazon.com’s Top 500 items.
- ZANE’S CYCLES: Chris Zane, 46, got his start at age 12 fixing bikes in his parents’ East Haven, Connecticut, garage. At 16, he persuaded his parents to let him take over the lease of a bike shop going out of business, borrowing $23,000 from his grandfather at 15 percent interest. His mother tended the store while he was at school in the mornings. In his first year, he racked up $56,000 in sales. Now, Zane’s Cycles has annual revenue over $21 million.
As a small business ourselves, we’re inspired by these stories. We started Barnraisers, a full-service digital marketing agency, with the belief that what companies want is to be guided by data-driven results to help them achieve greater levels of success. We’re glad to have taken a similar journey to these inspiring entrepreneurs and to be able to help those starting out.
Do these small business stories inspire you? Are you motivated by the entrepreneurial spirit of the people who started them?
August 30, 2015 by
- 91% of respondents who believe their organization have a sense of purpose report strong financial showing in business over the past year
- 82% of respondents working at organizations with a strong sense of purpose believe that their organization will grow over the next year
- 79% of employees and executives at purpose driven companies are optimistic about their organization’s long-term ability to outperform the competition (source: Deloitte Core Beliefs & Culture survey)
What drives a company? The answer might be the pursuit of profit. But as you can see from these statistics, solutions that relate to human concerns and considerations also show a strong correlation with success.
What defines purpose driven companies? You don’t have to be out to save the rain forest but you can’t do it without a strong mission to get there; one that relies on a theory of change to determine direction and metrics to measure progress.
According to Andrew Hewitt, the creator of the GameChanger 500 List, Whole Food, IDEO, Chipolte, Bright Funds, Google and Zappos are great example of purpose-driven companies.
How do purpose-driven companies operate? Here are 20 compelling characteristics of purpose driven organization.
WHY THE BUSINESS EXISTS
- Maximize benefit rather than profits
- Create an exceptional work environment that empowers people
- Deliver a product or service that creates a better world and can easily scale to larger regions
- Demonstrate beliefs through actions
- Make employees part of something that is bigger than themselves
- Compose a clear, comprehensive narrative
HOW THEY RUN THE BUSINESS
- Figure out passions of their people and how to put them to work
- Understand what motivates employees
- Help in achieving continued personal growth
- Identify what makes them unique
- Bring out the best in others
- Place the needs of others above your own
- Show who and why you hire the people that you do
WHAT MAKES THE BUSINESS GROW
- Connect with other people to build meaningful relationships
- Increase trust and transparency
- Focus not only on getting things done but how and why it gets done
- Do more than is expected
- Problem solve
- Be willing to show you’ll all in
- Develop effective indicators, Purpose needs measuring. It’s one thing to have an eloquent sounding purpose statement, it’s another to measure if you’re efforts are helping you meet your mission.
Do you work for a purpose-driven company? Are you interested in working for one. Do these characteristics help you in what to look for?
April 12, 2015 by
- 79% of Inc CEOs have an active social media presence
- 30% of Fortune CEOs have an active social media presence
- 50% of these CEOs are most active on Twitter, 47% on LinkedIn and 45% on Facebook (source: CEO.com)
The 10 most active Social CEOs are:
- Richard Branson: Founder, Virgin Group
- Jeff Weiner, CEO, LinkedIn
- Msrissa Meyer, CEO, Yahoo
- Adriana Huffington, Group President, AOL
- Elon Musk, Chairman/CEO, Tesla Motors
- Anand Mahindra, Chairman and MD, Mahindra & Mahindra
- Kaifu Lee, Chairman/CEO, Innovation Works
- Jeff Immelt, CEO GE
- Jack Welch, CEO, Welch Management Institute
- Angela Ahrendts, CEO, Burberry Group (source: BBC)
Key attributes of Social CEOs are:
- Insatiable curiosity
- DIY mindset
- Bias for action
- Relentless givers
- Connect instead of promote
- Company’s #1 Brand Ambassador
- Lead with an open mindset (source: Harvard Business Review)
These stats, examples and character traits indicate Social CEOs are different than CEOs in general. Not only are Social CEOs different, but, as a result of their social media participation, so are public perceptions of their companies.
How do Social CEOs change a company culture, perceptions and workplace? Here are 21 surprising facts on companies with Social CEOs.
- 87% of US employees and 79% of UK employees agree that having a social media policy in place allows a company’s leadership team to be proactive rather than reactive in response to company challenges (source: Brandfog)
- 85% of US employees and 75% of UK agree social media is a valuable public relations channel for managing brand reputation (source: Brandfog)
- 84% of US employees and 76% of UK believe that social media is an effective way to monitor conversations about a brand online and to help brands prevent potential reputation crises (source: Brandfog)
- 83% of US employees and 73% of UK believe that CEO participation in social media builds better connections with customers, employees, and investors (source: Brandfog)
- 82% of US employees and 71% of UK believe that CEO engagement on social media helps to communicate company values and shapes a company’s brand reputation (source: Brandfog)
- 82% of US employees and 71% of UK overwhelmingly believe that executive use of social media raises brand awareness (source: Brandfog)
- 82% of customers are more likely to trust a company whose CEO and leadership team are active on social media (source: Adweek)
- 81% believe CEOs who engage on social media are better equipped to lead companies in the modern world (source: Brandfog)
- 79% of US employees and 68% of UK believe that having a socially active C- Suite leadership team can mitigate risk before a brand reputation crisis occurs (source: Brandfog)
- 77% of US employees and 69% of UK agree that executive use of social media fosters brand transparency. (source: Adweek)
- 75% of US employees believe a company’s C-Suite executives and leadership team use social media to communicate about core mission, brand values and purpose is more trustworthy (source: Brandfog)
- 67% of UK employees believe a company’s C-Suite executives and leadership team use social media to communicate about core mission, brand values and purpose is more trustworthy (source: Brandfog)
- 67% of US and UK employees agree social media has become an essential aspect of PR and communications strategy for C-Suite executives (source: Brandfog)
- 61% of US employees and 50% of UK are more likely to purchase from a company whose values and leadership are clearly communicated through executive leadership participation on social media (source: Brandfog)
- 55% of employees believe a Social CEO is a good communicator; this compare to 38% in companies with CEOs does not use social media (source: Weber Shandwick)
- 52% of employees feel inspired by CEO participation in social media (Weber Shandwick)
- 51% of employees with Social CEOs believe their social media participation is not risky (source: Weber Shandwick)
- Between 2012 and 2013, the perception that C-Suite and executive participation in social media leads to better leadership increased from 45% to 75% (source: Brandfog)
- 48% of employees believe a Social CEO is open and accessible; this compares to 37% in companies with CEOs does not use social media (source: Weber Shandwick)
- 42% of CEOs participate in social media today; 63% are estimated to be participating in social media in 5 years; that’s a 50% increase (source: Weber Shandwick)
- 37% of employees believe a Social CEO is a good listener; this compares to 29% in companies with CEOs does not use social media (source: Weber Shandwick)
Below is an infographic that shows some of the facts about Social CEOs.
Do these facts about companies with Social CEOs surprise you? Do they change your perceptions? Does your C-Suite and CEO need help learning how to participate in social media to realize these Social CEO benefits?