How does a monk become the CEO of a highly successful company? That’s what conscious entrepreneur Dawa Tarchin Phillips shares in this episode with Tanya Memme. Dawa is an innovative leader and executive, an experienced global meditation teacher, and an author who studied with Tibetan Buddhist Masters in France for twelve years. He is also the CEO of Empowerment Holdings, a company that aims to assist entrepreneurs and corporate leaders in integrating conscious business principles and skills into their professional lives and businesses. The journey through the richest years of his life began with his parents’ divorce that shaped him to become who he is today. If you want to know more about Dawa’s message, you can read his book, Mind Your Business: The Mindful Leadership Breakthrough.
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The Conscious Entrepreneur With Dawa Tarchin Phillips
I have Dawa Tarchin Phillips with me. Dawa, I met you through a wonderful mentor of mine, Adam Markel, who’s incredible. You have a relationship with him as well. You guys are on certain boards together, certain things that you do together. I have to introduce you because your life is interesting. You’re an innovative leader and executive experienced global meditation teacher. You’re an author. You’re a conscious entrepreneur. You founded Empowerment Holdings in 2007, the headquarters is in Santa Barbara. What I love so much is that you studied twelve years with Tibetan Buddhist Masters in France, and you spent seven of those years in meditation retreats. Now you teach leaders how to lead more consciously and to support people on their own path of transformation, which I absolutely love. What’s a conscious entrepreneur? Let’s start there.
Thank you for having me. A conscious entrepreneur versus an unconscious entrepreneur is someone that reflects on the impact of their business, on everyone involved. Sometimes this is referred to as the triple bottom line. How does it affect the people that you serve? How does it affect the people that work with you, the employees, investors, partners, or anyone involved in the undertaking? How does it affect the environment? How does it affect our communities? How does it affect our planet? More people understand that we are in an interdependent reality. There is no such thing as an act that doesn’t affect one involved. Conscious people or conscious entrepreneurs are people that want to take that into consideration when they launch a project.
Why do you think that that’s more impactful or more important with our leaders? What are you finding with your clients?
What we find, particularly among emergent leaders, is that they already have an intrinsic sense of integrity and a compass that they wish to follow. A lot of them are purpose-driven. A lot of them want to leave the world a little bit better than they found it. They want that psychological paycheck. They don’t want to be paid in money, even though that’s also important, but they also want to be paid in meaning. They want to feel that they can look back at what they’ve done and think that that was time well spent. That is also how I felt about my life. That is what we see more of. That is both a sign of where we are as humanity but also speaks to the effort that individuals have made to know themselves better and know better what they want.
Talking about that is the perfect time to take that time to learn more about who you are because we’re all in quarantine and we’ve been here for quite a while. We have no idea how much longer we’re going to have to be in quarantine for. Are you finding that this is that type of time for your clients, your leaders, the people who own large corporations as well? Is this time affecting them where they’re going more inward?
It’s absolutely affecting them. There is a lot of uncertainty. If you’re responsible for tens, hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of people, you do have sleepless nights and you wonder, do you have to let people go? How do you assure the runway of your company? How do you assure that your company makes the right decisions in these uncertain times? Definitely, everyone is affected. However, what you see among those that put that extra effort is there is empathy and compassion. They’re asking questions. How are you doing with your kids at home?
Before you had that babysitter, nanny, daycare and now it’s you. Maybe you’re a single parent. Maybe you have your spouse there and you have to manage all the deliverables that you had before, and you also have playing children in the room next door. These are extra challenges. You find that some leaders make that extra effort to be empathetic, compassionate, ask those questions, and try to recreate the way work is done around the realities of the needs that are there in a situation like this. There are those leaders who try to refuse that that is the fact. That’s where we see our clients make that extra push. They want to connect. They want to understand. Even though everyone is online, they want to make it a human experience.
This is probably a complicated question. How do you work with somebody who has let’s say 500 employees that have been working with them for years? How do you work with somebody that has to either let that many people go because of something like this? Personally, I don’t think I could do it, which is why I don’t have 500 employees. How do you coach people through something like that? It’s devastating.
There are different examples. There are some industries where you can redirect these human resources, as they’re called, or employees. You can give them new rule roles. You can give them different responsibilities. Every solution brings a new problem and every problem brings new solutions that are needed. If you have people that are flexible and that are engaged in a team, then you can redirect those teams and you can say, “Instead of working on this, which was important before the pandemic hit, let’s all work on this, which is important now and will be important afterward.”
Try your best to keep them as employees and do what you can for that.
Correct, because you’ve invested in a relationship. You trust each other. You know each other. You understand what the company does and who it’s doing it for. If you can, try to sit down and redraw the lines as to what to work on together and what value to create. Just because we’re in this situation doesn’t mean value creation stops. There are also other industries like the restaurant industries and the event industries that stopped, and people are being let go. We have friends who had to let go. They let go 350, 370 people within one day. That’s heartbreaking. You can see that those entrepreneurs that have to make those decisions suffer because they do care. They are passionate about what they’re doing. They are passionate about their people. Sometimes it’s the lesser of two evils.
What we also see is a team spirit that is particularly prevalent in some of the companies we work with in Europe where everyone is taking a cut. Also, across the board, people are agreeing to work fewer hours or to skip that bonus or to skip that raise. Therefore, nobody is being let go of. Those things, regardless of where they originate, business owners need to look at models, “What are the existing models and which model might fit best for my case?”
What are you saying to your clients? I’m saying this because I know there are a lot of people out there that will be reading this during this time. How are you working with clients that have lost their job, that feel like this has completely been pulled from underneath them and they’re flailing about not knowing what the next move would be and they lost everything they feel? What’s some advice that you give some people that are going through that?
The first advice would be, be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself because this is not a situation that you brought about. This is a situation that affects the whole planet. Even though there were warning signs that were being voiced by certain people with foresight, this is still a new experience for the world. That’s important. Be kind to yourself and don’t blame yourself for this situation.
That is the top thing because it’s one thing if you feel like you’ve caused it, or you’ve made a decision and then you’ve lost your job because of it. It’s another thing when A) everybody is going through it and B) it is not your fault. No matter what, this isn’t anybody’s fault.
No, it isn’t. We know how it is and how it can be. We’re responsible for bills and for deadlines and here we are, and we have to let people down that depend on us. That’s never a good experience. The aspect of humanity is important. The second thing is, don’t ignore some of the facts. We are living through a digital revolution. We are living through a time when a lot of blue-collar work disappeared due to technical advancement.
The warnings were there too.
The next step will be that white-collar jobs will be replaced through the technical revolution. This doesn’t stop. The technological advancement that is replacing the way things are done in the world is not stopping. That’s also where people do want to be more open to change and look at, “Where am I reluctant to pay attention to the change that’s written on the walls? I’m used to the way it’s been. I’m comfortable with the way it’s been.” This should also be received as a wakeup call. I don’t think things will be going back to the way they were in a lot of industries.
What would you say to the mom-and-pop shops that are out there? They’re in their 60s, 70s possibly, and they’re still running their businesses but they are having a hard time adjusting. I’ve spoken to some people like that and they’re afraid because they don’t understand computers. What do you say to people like that? They’ve got to dig and take classes. Are there any little tools or specific things that maybe they can do, or read books, different things that they could do to help?
First of all, I would say baby steps. The grandparents today were the parents yesterday and they were the kids the day before. We all should remember what it feels like to feel dumb and to feel limited in our knowledge and our skills. Somehow, we’ve created this world where everyone is afraid to look dumb and everyone is trying to hide the fact that they don’t know or understand something. That makes it a little bit harder to change. We all need to change. Even this situation now has required all of us to make changes in a fairly short amount of time. Don’t be afraid to look foolish and to take baby steps. I don’t know how it is with your extended family, but I have aunts and uncles in their 70s and I see them all over Facebook and posting things.
More now than ever. It’s great. It’s nice to see. My dad still can’t FaceTime. We’re working on that, but they are adjusting. I love what you’re saying because admitting that you don’t know is number one. It’s hard for me to even admit it sometimes, “I don’t know.” At one point, I was good at everything I knew and then everything exploded technological-wise and we are left behind.
We are left behind by evolution. Life is bringing new kids into the world for whom some of this is second nature. They are already wired and programmed for these things.
Their brains think that way. My daughter, she’s a whiz on the iPad already. It’s nuts.
People can translate their fear into curiosity and start small. Ask that question to your daughter, “How do you edit that video on your iPad so fast? What are you learning there in class about how to make a TikTok video in twenty seconds?” That’s being interested. I don’t think so much that the world is leaving behind those who fail to learn as much as leaving behind those who fail to be interested.
You were born in New York City. You come from a multicultural family. You speak three languages. What was your childhood like?
My childhood was interesting. My parents met in New York in the ‘60s. The Civil Rights Movement was in full thrust. I come from a biracial family. My father was from Trinidad and Tobago. My mother is originally from Germany. It’s an interesting cultural mix. It’s different and diverse cultures. One is colorful, musical, laid back and one is organized, structured, engineering-kind. It took time to integrate that in myself and to make room for those different qualities and to understand how they can be helpful in what circumstances. I was also rich.
When did you realize, “I am this of my mother and I am that of my dad. I’ve got to figure this out?” That’s two ends of the spectrum of how you were raised. It’s amazing.
At the beginning of my life, when I first became aware of the cultural richness of that, it was more something that I perceived around me. My parents separated and they divorced when we were going through our childhood. I have some siblings. At that time, I had to recognize internally what was happening and that this was not something that was happening around me, but this was something that was happening within me. Outside of us, these beautiful people that were all parents were going different ways. Inside of us, that is never an option. The work had to begin to integrate internally, which I had decided to separate externally. That is when I became aware of these influences within me.
How old were you at that time?
When they separated, I was eight. When they divorced, I was twelve.
Those years must have been difficult and interesting, especially from an 8 to 12-year-olds’ perspective too.
I look back and say those were rich years, which is the way that I phrased it for me. I had to make a lot of important decisions for myself at a young age. They propelled me into reflections that I’m glad I had at a young age. They definitely weren’t easy years. I call them rich years.
I separated from my husband years ago. My daughter was four, almost five. Parents walk around with so much guilt. You try to overcompensate. I love how you say that those were the rich years. You were the child in that situation. You’ve come back to look upon those years as rich years. I hear that domestic violence is on the rise. There are all these things going on because of the Coronavirus. What would you say to parents that are divorced and working through that guilt with the kids, and the kids are separated and are in two houses? There are survival skills that the kids can eventually learn, but is that good? I struggle with that.
One important thing is to understand that the kid has both of you inside of them. In order to have a healthy life, they need to unify within them what you divorced among you. That is important. A divorce between parents does not mean that the child needs to have a divorce within them. We need to say, “Inside of you, we’re both there. You have these influences from your father. You have my influences. They’re good things because there’s a reason why we fell in love and we made you. There’s a reason and those were good reasons.” That is important for a child to hear.
I’m going to tell my daughter that. That’s wonderful. Thank you for that. Moving forward, how did you end up studying with Tibetan Masters? That whole thing from the divorce when you were twelve, when did that come about?Every solution brings a new problem, and every problem brings new solutions that are needed. Click To Tweet
I’m glad I can share this with you. It helps also understand how such a life of transformation unfolds. Some of the challenges that I had had to do with a sense of belonging. My family left New York and moved to Europe. That was a displacement. Going through the separation, the divorce of our family, that gave rise to questions of belonging.
You went with them to Europe. They’re both in Europe or one is in New York and one is in Europe?
We all went to Europe. I don’t know where you were born.
There’s a part of that Canadian that you can’t take out.
There’s a part in a New Yorker, no matter what age you take them wherever, it’s always there.
I lived in New York for ten years. I get it. There’s still New York in me too after Canada.
Even when I was small, there’s a cultural imprint in your spirit that you take with you. Those questions led me to contemplate. I call that the five questions that became guiding factors in my young life. Where did I come from? Where am I going? Why am I here? Who am I? Why does that matter, if it does? Those questions were questions I had. I shop them around, among our family and among my aunts and uncles.
How old were you at this point? You’re in Europe. You’re living with your family. You’re in your twenties or something?
This was still in my childhood. I had good questions. I didn’t have answers. Kids have good questions. Sometimes parents don’t have the answers so they silence the questions.
You’re asking these questions. Your parents are living in two different homes. You’re back and forth. New country, language, everything.
Fast forward in my teenage years. Going through the normal things that you discover during your teenage years, relationships, getting to know your body, going through the changes, and all of that. I became an exchange student. I moved back to the US for a number of years. In the back of my mind, there was this little voice that said, “There must be something else here that you don’t understand yet that must be important.”
I’m mentioning that because then came a turning point in my life when I lost my father in my early twenties. The significance of that for me was it brought these questions to the foreground. It helped me think about, “Knowing that our life is finite in this world and that we don’t know how much time we have, what do I want to prioritize? What has the most importance to me?” When I asked that question, those five questions resurfaced and I said, “It’s now or never.” If you want to know, put it on the calendar. It’s like they say, “If it’s not on the calendar, it won’t happen.” I put those five questions on the calendar and that set in motion a chain of events that ultimately led me to become a monk for ten years but living twelve years in the monastery.
You became a monk?
I thought you just studied with the masters. I didn’t realize you became a monk. You’re in your twenties and in France. What was that like? The first day you get there, what are you thinking? You want these questions answered and you decided to go there. You went to extreme measures to get these questions answered at a young age.
I didn’t know at the beginning where I would find the answers. It was to say, “Let me be guided by the questions.” If you have questions, you definitely want to go somewhere where they have the answer. It turned out that the teachers I ended up studying with didn’t know the answers to these questions the way that I was seeking them. If the questions had led me somewhere else, that would have been fine. I did not have the intention to say, “I have to live in a monastery for a while.” It was not like that. It was from the inside out thinking, “Step by step, let’s see where these questions lead me.” They led me into that scenario.
I remember the first time arriving, it was a mixture of both excitement and terror. On the one hand, it felt good to be in a place and time where you knew you’re in the right place for the right reasons at the right time doing the right thing. On the other hand, you’re going down a road where you cannot see where it is going to lead you to. It is a leap. A leap has always something exhilarating and terrifying at the same time.
Paint a picture in a day in the life of what that was like. Most people that are reading have never even been in a monastery, let alone being there for ten years or more. What is it like?
These days, maybe more people have an idea of what it’s like to be in a monastery.
It’s what we see in the movies.
The self-isolation. Monastery comes from ‘mono,’ which means on your own or alone. This idea of being in touch with yourself and taking proper stewardship of your reality, of your experience is what monastery is about. Monastery is also community. At the time that I lived there, we were between 60 and 100 monks. When I was in a long meditation retreat during those seven years, we would be in small pods of about a dozen monks that would go into seclusion together for their time of practice. Most of the time you spend by yourself, on your own.
The day starts early at 4:30 in the morning. The first meditation session starts at 5:00. They are three hours long. You have four three-hour meditation sessions, plus two one-hour sessions in between. You do about fourteen hours of meditation a day, 365 days a year, during the retreat practice. When you’re not in retreat, the monastic life has a lot to do with community life. There are facilities that have to be maintained. There are teaching activities. Monks travel out and teach and return. Visitors come and they are being supported and they are being guided. It’s like an activity of spiritual support, spiritual development, and community life. Also, there are a lot of things that have to do with taking care of things. For example, before I went into retreat, I spent a couple of years building a temple together with twenty other young men. It’s a beautiful temple. It can house over 1,000 people.
This was during some of the first few years you were there?
They had you get in that way. They didn’t put you in the retreat right away for fourteen hours the day.
That’s a good thing. For many people, doing that much meditation a day is a daunting idea. It is also not advised. You have to gradually understand why you’re doing this, what it is about, and what will happen to you when you practice that much. In monasteries, that is something that is taught in a gradual way. People are prepared. Often, young people are slowly prepared for going deeper with these practices.
When it comes to meditation, the whole thought of fourteen hours is, for me, extremely daunting. Were you just sitting there and you have to be silent? Is there chanting involved?
There are different kinds of practices depending on the traditions or the transmissions that you practice. There are long periods of silence. There are some practices that have mantra recitations and visualizations. There are also specific yoga practices.
Did you do all of that?
Yes. It’s a transformative hotpot aimed at accelerating the ripening and maturing of the human potential. It is not created to calm everybody down. That is not the aim of spiritual development. It is definitely a part of it because you have to have a certain amount of calm in order to observe certain things. There’s also a transformation that has to come out of that calm. That is also a big part of what happens in these retreats.
I’ve been to Bali and Cambodia. I’ve come across some monks while I was there. It’s interesting because I didn’t know all of the cultural correctness on how to approach a monk, especially if you’re a female. One of the things I learned is that monks cannot touch in any way, shake hands or anything to females. I had no idea. They seem mysterious to me and I don’t know why. They seem enlightened and spiritual because they are on a whole other level. What are some interesting things that you can tell us about monks if somebody were to meet them if they’re traveling the world?
First, we also should mention that there are monks and nuns. They are practitioners from both genders and all along the spectrum that engages in these practices and that makes them a priority. There’s always a trade-off. When we’re living in the normal speed of society, we always think of giving something up as having less. What we don’t often see is what we get instead. We’re in social isolation and we’re experiencing that we have to give things up. We’re also discovering that in giving up certain things, we are being enriched with something else. It is an important experience to understand that giving up something doesn’t always mean losing something. Sometimes it can mean more freedom and more nuanced richness in other areas. That is what happens to monks. They give up certain things. You definitely surrender certain things that you cannot participate in. What you receive in return, allows you to connect with the world in a way that oftentimes is lost for people if they are too caught up in the business of everything.
It’s interesting because when I did meet them, I was like, “Do I ask them questions? Can I ask them questions?” When you don’t know, you don’t know.
The reason why the Buddha made monks wore colorful robes was on the one hand, it was a cheap dye. You needed to dye a lot of cloth in order to dress all the monks.It’s not so much that the world is leaving behind those who fail to learn as much as leaving behind those who fail to be interested. Click To Tweet
It’s from the clay, isn’t it?
No. Originally, at the time of the Buddha, it was from saffron. Today, it comes from other sources.
Saffron is expensive in some parts of the world.
The other aspect is that you should be recognizable. The members of the public should recognize you as someone that’s reflecting and trying to integrate meaningful principles. They should be able to approach you and ask you questions. That’s important to know. A monk should be approachable because it is a life of service. You are placed in a position where you enter into an interdependent relationship because monk life is based on the generosity of the working public. In return, the meditation, the prayer, the guidance, the connection is what is offered as exchange. Please, next time you come across someone, say hello. If not, maybe ask a question or something that would interest you.
I did. I was curious. I’m a natural-born interviewer. They were modest in their answers. They speak few words. It’s interesting. While you were there during those years, what would you say was one of the biggest fundamental things that you’ve learned about yourself? You had your five questions answered, I would think.
I did. At times, we all feel disillusioned, exhausted, disappointed because life has a certain element of dissatisfaction in it. The fact that we don’t control how long we live or who gets to live long and who doesn’t. We don’t control whether we get everything we want or whether we can hold on to the things that we want to hold on to. There are a lot of things in life that are out of our control. Acknowledging that is important. Otherwise, you live in this funny taste in your mouth that things are not the way they should be. You think you’re the only one that has that little underlying flavor of exhaustion. It’s important to know that everyone has that. That is something that is ingrained in life.
Life is uncertain, is unpredictable, does change. When it does, it is not always a pleasant experience. However, there is a way in which we can develop an attitude and I call that attitude, “How can I help?” In the face of the ongoing process of change, we have a system for making good decisions. We have a system for showing up with the best part of ourselves and a system for engaging in the most loving and compassionate and wise way. That is this intention to be of benefit.
Do you mean a system as in what you’ve learned in the monastery or a system as being a human being? Which system?
A system of thinking, of developing attitudes, of engaging the work that we do, and why do we get up in the morning.
Within ourselves that’s there already.
That is something that you learn. You learn your why. You learn that living a life of service and contribution in the face of uncertainty and change is the way to a fulfilling life. Not everybody has to learn it in the monastery. Some people learn it when they have children and they start serving the family. Some learn it in their career because they have a great mentor. Some learn it because they have great parents. We all learn it somewhere that life has aspects that are called suffering or difficulties. In order to meet that in the right way, we have to overcome selfishness. We have to develop a sense of something bigger than ourselves if we want to find fulfillment. That is what is taught in the monastery. It’s not complicated. You have a chance to practice. Many people learn that somewhere else.
What started Life Masters, I had hit a massive rock bottom. It happened years ago. When you’re there, giving of service and the idea of giving is difficult because you’re exhausted and you don’t think you have anything to give. I always tell people to plant the seeds. It’s not about traveling to Guatemala and starting fundraising and assisting the families that don’t have a home. That’s amazing if you can do that. It’s more like bring your friend a cup of coffee in the morning. Do the things to start, the little things to plant the seeds, the things that are tangible right in front of you. It’s amazing what comes back in return. One day, you are in Guatemala and you are starting a huge fundraising situation for families there or whatever. I’m trying to give an example. It’s finding that little piece of you inside when you don’t think it’s there.
Notice how even before you necessarily engage, I described a change in interest. Going from being preoccupied with what is happening to you, to asking the question, “How can I help?” Maybe at the beginning, you don’t even know. Maybe you think there’s no way you can help. You ask that question and a thought pops into your mind, “Maybe I could buy my friend a cup of coffee. I haven’t picked up those dead leaves in the yard. I could pick those up.” That would certainly make a difference in the neighborhood. It’s the small shift towards openness. From a closed mind to an open mind, it lets you participate in this exchange.
Especially having experienced that in my life, that’s exactly what happened. It’s what I did too. What do you say to people that are in that moment of, “I don’t know?” They’re sitting there. They’re in bed every day. What do you think of the idea of being still for a bit and not feeling guilty about it? What do you say to people that are there where they’re full of, “I don’t know?”
It’s interesting because as Americans, we are used to this idea that we have to fight. We have a warrior culture.
Do and do without stopping.
The war on this, on that, on the pandemic, on unemployment. We’re familiar with that archetype. Personally, I know that archetype well. The aspect of the sacred warrior or the awakened warrior is an important one, which is the warrior that also knows the power of silence and the power of stillness. That is something that is important because there are certain things you can’t solve with more words.
It’s the dialogue that goes on that will not solve what’s going on.
Sometimes it’s about being and about letting your body recover or letting an emotion process and giving yourself time to digest. Those are processes that you can’t rush.
This was two years into being in an unhappy place in my life. Two years after running this and that, trying businesses that failed, it was a disaster. Finally, I took a couple of months off and the guilt was gone. I was still. That’s when Life Masters came to me. I ended up getting a call from a major network. I’m in a new series. Who would have ever thought? I convinced myself that my whole life was over. When you plant those seeds, shifts happen. I know there’s spiritualness in that. Do you believe the idea where thought is energy to the things you think? What are your thoughts on that whole idea of shifting your life and how does that happen?
There are a couple of things I want to say. One, with your background, it could be useful for you to take this content to a different scale. I hope that the networks wake up to the fact that people want and need this content and programming.
I’ll hold that intention with you. You are uniquely positioned, given your background.
There is this old paradigm conflict in a lot of people between the spiritual and the material. That is no longer the state of affairs from which the world is being created. That is still where we come from but that is not where we are. We have a huge body of evidence-based that validates the results of certain practices and the impact of certain practices on our mood, our well-being, our physical health, our emotional health, our mental health, and our success. This interdependency between the so-called spiritual world and the so-called material world is more obvious and validated. People need to open up to that and give themselves permission to not have to choose but to operate in a reality where those different dimensions are constantly interacting with one another.
You cannot be truly successful in any domain if you separate them. If you separate the spirituality from the material, you’re certainly never going to feed monks, you’re never going to build a hospital for the poor and you’re never going to be able to provide food and shelter to anyone. You would be that spiritual person that has no power to help anybody practically. If all you do in the world is amass things, but you have no connection, people don’t trust you and they don’t feel you care, then nobody wants anything from you. Everything you’ve accumulated is not going to touch anybody or reach anybody.
I’m in the entertainment business so I’ve met all kinds of personalities. There are a lot of unethical people. All they want is the money and they get it. Not all of them, but I’m just saying they get it.
You can get money in many different ways. People can steal to get money. Do you want to live with the consequences? People do all kinds of things. As long as people do things that they can live with and that they are proud of and at the end of the day they can feel good about it, that’s important. Those who are willing to trade their conscience and trade what I call the result of the result, they want the money to feel good, but they trade feeling good to get the money. They are missing the point they’re going after by the way they’re going about it.
I feel like they’re never going to be able to have that life of fulfillment, which is powerful and unbreakable. It’s not even about money. It’s about you as a human being. It affects in many ways.
We coach a lot of people that are famous, wealthy, and successful and they have the same problems as anyone else. There’s absolutely no difference.
They’re not always happy.
They fight with their children. They’re struggling with their health, their diet, their fitness. It’s exactly the same situation. It’s just a little bit more hidden from public view. There is this projection that somehow, behind the gates of Montecito, there are no issues. If you own a tech company, somehow you are absolved from your parents aging or your kids don’t like you and it’s not the case. It’s exactly the same.
It’s amazing how we idolize and treat these people that have so much differently than people that don’t. It’s a strange thing. Our culture, as Americans, we generally do that. Moving forward, what do you do? I love what you’re doing now. Teach me a little bit about the principles that you’re involved with, the company that you’re the founder of, and what you’re doing with that. You have a podcast.
We have an organization called Mindful Leadership Tribe. We offer a podcast to those members. We’re working on a podcast that will go to the public. It’s coming. There are a couple of things that are important in the work that we do. The first thing that’s fundamental to our work is that we don’t work with you on trying to create a better future. We help you to elevate the present. We’re living in a world in which striving for better future damages the way that we live in the present. There’s collateral damage. That collateral damage happens because we think that we can ruin what is happening in the present in our hope to arrive somewhere fabulous. That never happens.
What we teach people is that you have to pay attention to the present. If you take care of the present, the future will take care of itself. When you look at that, you also see that there are things within the present that you can control and things you can’t. It’s important to distinguish the two and to give up the constant effort to manipulate the things you can’t control. You will never control other people. You will not control this large system called the world. That is where most people’s focus is. They’re trying to control the outer world or trying to control other people.
What you can control is yourself. That boils down to five things, it is what you think the attitude you have, what you imagine, what you say, and what you do. That is something that you can learn to pay attention to. Most people know more items on the Starbucks menu than those five things that they can use to control their lives. What we teach people is to start paying attention to what you practice there. What are the thoughts that you invest in over and over again? What are the attitudes that you bring to a meeting, either a meeting with your child, colleague, spouse, or with your ex? How do you show up at that meeting? What is going on in your imagination? Are you always imagining negative outcomes for everything you do?This idea of being in touch with yourself and taking proper stewardship of your reality and experience is what monastery is about. Click To Tweet
You don’t know you’re doing it until you take the time to think about what you’re doing and thinking and saying. You have to take that time and sit yourself down and go, “What do I think about every day? What do I bring to that meeting? What are the thoughts that I’m thinking every day?”
There’s something that we call the what if red flag. It’s when in your mind, the question arises, “What if?” It is important to mark that with a red flag because what you add after, “What if?” is important. One hundred percent of what you add after, “What if?” is pure imagination. “What if I fail? What if they don’t like me? What if it doesn’t work? What if it works? What if I manage?” It doesn’t matter what you add, it’s all imagination. The impact on your system is different. If you add imagination that stresses you and that contracts you, you’re reducing access to your own life force, your own energy. You’re shrinking yourself. When you add things afterward that are expansive, you’re relaxing yourself. You’re opening yourself. You’re expanding access to your own life force. That is something that every person, young or aged, should learn. They can influence their body and mind through the way that they think.
There’s a lot of science that has backed up what you’re saying. This goes beyond spirituality.
This is what it means to operate the space of human.
What I’ve heard from some other doctors that I’ve interviewed is that in the past years, they’ve discovered this. This is what it is, from brain and heart science.
It started a little bit earlier. We’re seeing some of the popularizations of initiatives like impulses that happened years ago. For the past years, it’s ramped up. What we have in the last decade is neuroscience, particularly correlates between things that happen on the inside and how they change the body on the outside. That’s something that is fascinating. I feel a lot of compassion for people who’ve never had an introduction to that. They’re given this human life and they’re told that they should try to be happy, but they don’t have a shot if they don’t understand how the basic functions of the body work. A simple thing like a gratitude journal, you think about something that you’re grateful for at this moment and your mind releases neurochemicals that make you feel good. You can give yourself this shower of goodness by taking inventory of something that you’re grateful for. These things used to be hidden in religious mysticism. It’s no longer. There are things that come out of scientific research, but you still have to give people access.
What would you say to start to pick up a book on neuroscience? There are some websites. The HeartMath Institute is phenomenal if you want to start learning about it. It’s important to educate yourself and then see what it does and see the science behind it. There is lots of information on YouTube as well. I’m sure you talk about it. Let’s talk about the books that you’ve written.
You can always look at anything I do online, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook. You’ll find resources and references there, articles, studies, and so on. There are also increasingly lists of books on these topics. I wrote a book called The Mindful Leadership Breakthrough. We’re working on a new edition for that. I have a couple of other projects in the pipeline.
Your handles and everything is Dawa Tarchin Phillips and then you’ll find everything there. What is your website?
One last question, unfortunately, before we have to go. I could talk to you for hours. What is it like in the day of you? You get up in the morning. What’s your daily routine?
My daily routine always starts with intention. The most powerful transformative influence we have is intention. That’s how I start my day. I then practice meditation, particularly presencing myself, bringing my mind into the here and now. I then look at the different projects that I’m involved in, looking at the things that I have responsibility for, either in caring or maintaining. We have some animals, I feed them in the morning.
What animals do you have?
A Persian cat and also a dog.
What time do you get up in the morning to do all this?
I get up at 6:00.
I knew it was early. You feed your pets, and then what?
My day begins usually with reading and writing. I have to look at the state of the different businesses and projects that we have.
You center yourself and you’re like, “This is what I’m doing. This is what I am ready to do.” You set yourself up in a place of strength mentally and not in disorganization.
It goes back to what I mentioned. We are not in the business of rushing toward a better future. We’re in the business of cleaning up the present. What we bring to other companies is what we bring to ourselves as well. The centering is not in order to then rush somewhere, but it’s in order to then do the work of taking care of what we need to take care of.
Most people get up, get on their phone and they’re all frazzled because of what CNN is saying or all the other news stations as well. There is no moment of gratitude or intention. Their intention is to get up and be panicked.
That’s how it works. That’s how you keep people logged into your channel all day long if they are frazzled and they are beside themselves. People deserve better. I do watch the news every day. I do check in because we have clients around the world. I need to be aware of global affairs. I don’t do it to the level where news owns my day.
A lot of people are doing that. I feel like it can put you in a state of panic if all you watch is the news.
You deserve better.
That’s your news to all of us. I want to thank you so much. If people want to work with you or learn more about you, we can go to your website and that’s where all of your contact information is.
You can go to DawaTarchinPhillips.com. You can email us at Admin@DawaTarchinPhillips.com or Info@EmpowermentHoldings.com. Those are the emails for inquiries. Also, I thought it might be nice for some of your readers who may like meditation if we offered you a meditation. We have a link prepared. It’s called DawaTarchinPhillips.com/awakeningpresence. There’s a downloadable audio meditation that people can listen to. What’s nice about it is that it’s not just meant to give you a moment of peace of mind, but also to let you reconnect to the gift that is you, this natural presence that you have that you bring into the world, that you bring to all of us. Recognizing that, getting in touch with that, and enjoying that as well, that is what this meditation will help you do.
It sounds wonderful. I’m going to have to download that. I’m going to check that out. Thank you so much for your time, your wise words, your prayers, your intentions, and everything that you brought to this interview. Check out Dawa Tarchin Phillips and all of his social media and his website. Thank you very much.
You’re welcome. Thank you for having me.
We will see you guys next time on Life Masters.
- Empowerment Holdings
- Mindful Leadership Tribe
- HeartMath Institute
- Twitter – Dawa Tarchin Phillips
- YouTube – Dawa Tarchin Phillips
- Facebook – Dawa Tarchin Phillips
- The Mindful Leadership Breakthrough