Mindful Leadership

On Saturday, I attended a Tergar conference called “Mindful Leadership.” It was held at UW-Madison’s Gordon Dining and Event Center. The presenters at this convention were Dr. Richard J. Davidson, Bill George, and Roshi Joan Halifax.

The all-day conference explained how to use mindfulness to be a leader, discussed what being a leader means, and discussed the benefits of being mindful.

It was an extremely valuable conference, and many of the things that the speakers discussed made me reflect on my life as well as my music. Although I could write pages and pages about what I learned at this conference, I wanted to share with you what I found extremely valuable for my growth as a musician.

Bill George talked about a person’s “True North,” which he defined as “your most deeply held beliefs, values, and principles.”

Bill George Courtesy of Michael Wuertenberg

Bill George
Courtesy of Michael Wuertenberg
















He explained that a person’s True North keeps him/her grounded. He emphasized that it is important not to care what other people think of you because it is more important to be who you really are. This is very good advice and made me think about the struggles I had when I first started posting music on my YouTube Channel. I opted in for the option to have the “like” and “dislike” buttons on YouTube enabled for my videos. When I began seeing dislikes, I felt so hurt. I didn’t understand what I was doing “wrong” to get a “dislike.” I wanted to know what I needed to change in order to stop getting “dislikes”. But now, when I think about this situation, and remember how Bill George said that there will always be people who don’t like you, I look at “dislikes” differently.

Bill George also said that mindfulness is important because “when your mind is cluttered, you cannot be creative.” This might explain why it took me so long to release my first album. 😉 When I was writing TEMPTATION, my project of releasing my first album often got put on hold because I got writer’s block. I had trouble writing lyrics or guitar/piano/drum music. Perhaps mindfulness would have helped me when I had writer’s block. I look forward to trying it the next time I have writer’s block.

Related to Bill George’s comment about mindfulness, Dr. Richard Davidson said, a “Calm and clear mind is utterly receptive to what’s happening.”

Dr. Richard Davidson (far right) Courtesy of Alex Shyam

Dr. Richard Davidson (far right)
Courtesy of Alex Shyam











This made me reflect on how long it took me to record songs at Willie Martinez’s recording studio. I had practiced hours and hours prior to my recording sessions, but once I got to the studio, I would make mistakes. My mistakes weren’t from not knowing my songs well enough. Rather, they were from being too nervous about recording. I just wanted everything to go perfectly. I did not have a “calm and clear mind.” When I record my next album, I will do my best to practice this when I am recording.

One final thing about the conference that I would like to share is that Roshi Joan Halifax said that one important value that we should all have is patience.

Roshi Joan Halifax Courtesy of Adam Tebbe

Roshi Joan Halifax Courtesy of Adam Tebbe












She shared a story about two men. One of the men was waiting for his partner who was running late. The man was looking at his watch and was getting frustrated because he was waiting for her. The other man asked his friend, “What are you waiting for?” Roshi Joan Halifax used this story to show us that the present is what is most important. I often find myself so far in the future, thinking about when I’m going to have another show, thinking about when I’m going to make another CD, etc. Instead, I need to take a step back and focus on right now.

Because I work a full-time job, use my time and energy outside of work to do music, and want to have a personal life, finding a balance is extremely important to me.

I found this conference extremely helpful because it provided me with resources that I can use to better fit all three of these things in my life 🙂