Stress Resilience

with Paul Campbell

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It is crucial to develop a personalized daily practice.

Paul Campbell

CEO & Co-Founder of bLife Inc, Director of Business Development at Microsoft

Lessons Learned

“Every elite performer has a coach.” –John Doerr

Be in the present, build from the past, plan for the future.

If you do not have time to meditate, you need to do it twice per day.


Lesson: Stress Resilience with Paul Campbell

Step #7 Practice: It is crucial to develop a personalized daily practice

I assume no guru status for any of this, but what I've found that works for me is the most important part for me is, number one, my sleep. I've done a lot of my own experiments and hacked. I need a certain amount of sleep, and getting into bed around a certain time really has a huge impact.

The next most important piece is the starting of my day. If I only do one thing around this practice, I make sure that I do a morning, however much time I have, to get myself mentally and emotionally centered. What that involves is meditation, some breathing exercises, and visualization, and it's micro-visualization. It can be I have a meeting today. Our team is going to be reviewing the product, how do I want that to turn out, and affirming that.

Just to go back to the sports piece, for example, when you talk about affirmations, every professional athlete, if you talk to them, will tell you that they do affirmations. Those affirmations are telling themselves, talking to themselves positively about an outcome that they want. It's the same thing, right? So it’s applying that into my life, and that's how I start my day, and I’ve realized that that gives me the best foot forward going into the day.

Then throughout the day I just try to remember, and the app, it cues me, will send me little triggers, little nudges to remember to do a breathing exercise. I've set intentions on my dashboard, so I have a set of intentions of things that I want for my professional life, for the business, my personal life, and every so often it will remind me of how that is going towards that intention, which just serves as a reminder for me to help keep me on track.

Going back to coaching, we all need a coach. Everybody needs a coach. I think there was a great video of Eric Schmidt, Chairman of Google, talking about a conversation he had with John Doerr, from Kleiner Perkins, where John Doerr was saying, “You need a coach.” He’s like, “Every elite performer has a coach. Every athlete, all the concert pianists, violinists, opera singers, they all have coaches. Why don't you?” That applies to all of us. There is that coach at a very personal and fundamental level around our mental and emotional well being.

There are a whole set of calming exercises. Those calming exercises include breathing exercises, body awareness. Progressive muscle relaxation is one of the main ones where you tense and release and tense and release. It's almost like self, internal massage that you can do for a couple of minutes and it has this huge impact and we're realizing that it's releasing a bunch of good things into the system. So those are calming exercises.

There are exercises for focus, so traditionally mindfulness-based meditations. Those can be sitting quietly. Those can be guided, someone can be guiding you through the exercises. Or there are different types where you repeat mantras or your own affirmation for the day. Those are under the focus.

Then there are those both positivity and hope exercises of things that you want to affirm, simple affirmations you see on people's refrigerators, they’re affirmations, or on bumper stickers. This is about affirmations for your life and having it all in one place.

Visualizations are another positivity exercise, working on that time perspective, realizing that you want to be in the present, build from the past but be planning and working toward the future. That's another type of positivity exercise. And so we are animating those, if you will, onto these mobile devices so that you can build your own program and have it with you all the time. And there are more and more of those options available.

Trying to do too much, that is definitely, I think many companies suffer from that. It's particularly a challenge for a startup, depending on our stage, right? So if we're trying to find product market fit, you don't know which path it's going to be. You have a hypothesis, you test the hypothesis. You get the data, and you try to limit the number of variables so you don't get a false positive or a false negative. So it's hard to say, “I'm not going to do something,” because you don't know if the things that you're not going to do would be the thing that would actually lead to getting the wheels in motion. But it does take discipline, and, really, this is where the paradox of creating more space by being focused, present, and positive will actually help you figure out the things you should do and shouldn't do.

There is a great quote. A number of people have said it. "If you say you don't have time to meditate once a day, that means you need to meditate twice." The fact that you think you're so busy that you can't meditate once means you definitely need to find time twice a day. Because then you'll realize, “Oh my goodness, there's a whole bunch of stuff that I really don't need to be doing.” You'll have the clarity to be able to discern what's on that list and what's not on that list, but that crossover is a challenge.

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