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Google-born mindfulness leadership program now in Bali

Learn and Launch.February 4, 2019
By Elisabetta Crovara

A kaleidoscopic writer and academic researcher, with an interest in urban culture, conscious living and future of work.


Search Inside Yourself is back to Bali on April 5-6, 2019. It’s about time for some more reflections on the mindfulness leadership program, born at Google and based on neuroscience, that’s taking the world by storm and leading the mindfulness revolution.

Mindfulness at work and home: Chade-Meng Tan and the “just like me” practice?

Mindfulness at work was born at Google’s headquarters. We all have them in mind: they’re the epitome of future of workspaces, with co-working and communal areas, ping-pong tables and bean bags. Chade-Meng Tan, a former Google engineer, worked in those spaces. He was employ #107, to be precise, there from the very beginning. In 2007, a team of Googlers, including leading experts in mindfulness, neuroscience and emotional intelligence, developed an internal course that quickly became a popular training program within the company.

Other organisations outside Google started to show interest in the program that now is called Search Inside Yourself, created and curated by the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute (SIYLI), established in 2012 as an independent nonprofit organization. SIYLI continues to work with Google, and also with other global corporate, nonprofit and government organizations.

Search Inside Yourself is also the name of the book, written by Chade-Meng Tan, that inspired this all. It’s a collection of reflections, insights and tips about mindfulness tools and practices. The “Just Like Me/Loving Kindness,” for example.

He writes:

“Whenever I have a fight with my wife or a co-worker, I go to another room to calm down and after a few minutes of calming down, I do this exercise in stealth.”

“I visualise the other person in the next room. I remind myself that this person is just like me, wants to be free from suffering just like me, wants to be happy just like me, and so on. And then I wish that person wellness, happiness, freedom from suffering, and so on.”

“After just a few minutes of doing this, I feel much better about myself, about the other person, and about the whole situation. A large part of my anger dissipates immediately.”

Imagine how many personal and professional conflicts we could avoid by adopting this simple practice? This is so precious for our life.

Mindfulness facts: the benefits of emotional intelligence

Leadership is not just for corporate leaders: we, all of us, are leaders of our life — and we should all aim for a mindful way of living. We live in a world dominated by digital technologies. We can find everything online, just by typing a word and by a click. In other words: we can search for everything, easily. But, how can we search inside ourselves more authentically? And in others? There’s where emotional intelligence comes in and plays a more and more crucial role in the digital world slowly getting populated by AI. That’s right: soft skills and emotions will be our forte because they’re traits that AI cannot master – yet?

Emotional intelligence is not just a skill. It has various benefits for both our professional and personal lives.

By nourishing our ability to be empathic, emotional intelligence makes us better at team-work. Therefore, it fosters the creation of an healthier work environment, where employees feel at ease and safe. Feeling safe at work creates a unique sense of belonging and community. People start to gather around common missions and passions; motivation increases together with productivity.

And from there, it’s a blissful virtuous circle. Productive and motivated people have better time management skills, which means they also can develop a more balanced relationship between work and personal life. An emotional intelligent workforce is also more flexible: it adapts faster and can easier face challenges and changes of the fast moving world. Things get smoother, more focused and healthier. In other words, emotional intelligence and mindfulness are crucial for teams, for people, and ultimately for a company as whole.

Search inside yourself: the importance of mindfulness at work

Last year, Hubud brought Search Inside Yourself to Bali, in Ubud, for the first time. Our team attended the inspiring two-day program, and, since then, aware of the benefit of emotional intelligence, we’ve started to increase our attention and apply mindfulness at work.

Here’s some of practices that we’re exploring:

A moment to arrive

Before we start a meeting at Hubud Coworking, we take a moment to arrive and to set our intentions. We all take three breaths to re-center and focus our minds entirely on who’s in front of us.

Daily gratitude

Every morning, during our standup meeting at Hubud Coworking, we share what’re we grateful for. A cappuccino, the blue sky, our friends… it does set a positive tone for the day.

Praise a team member

We thank each other a lot: for genius ideas and for inspiring the work we do. We aim to always lift each other up.

Mindful listening

How often do we listen to someone talking while focusing on what we’re going to say next? Stop. Just fully listen and don’t think about anything else. In other words: listen to understand, and not to answer.

Mindfulness and emotional intelligence are key elements for mental – and physical – health of a team. That’s why one of Hubud’s team goals is to keep practicing mindfulness work, no matter which role we cover. We are all leader of our lives and our relationships matter. This, for us, is one of the secret ingredients of our beloved community: a family of Hubudians, guided by empathy, mindfulness….and lots of laughs.


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