Ancient wellness practices for the modern workplace, with Alex Tran
Anything that you do, do it with love. In yoga we set an intention. An intention is like how you set your attitude for anything that comes your way. In work, when you do your tasks with love, you do it with more care, intention, and purpose.
Alex Tran is a Digital Marketing Strategist at Hollingsworth, a supply chain company that employs over 3,000 employees nationwide. Alex also teaches yoga and meditation and blogs about yoga and wellness at Schimiggy Reviews.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you please share your “backstory” with us?
I have been writer and digital marketer for over a decade. I found yoga in 2012 when I was healing from a weightlifting injury. My thoughts after my first yoga class was, “Woah that was NOT as easy as I thought.” I came into the class thinking I would be doing a lot of stretching for an hour. I was wrong. The physical practice of yoga then lead into something spiritual. It shifted my thought process and taught me a lot of myself. I learned mindfulness, how to be aware of where I am, and how I am approaching tasks. I saw this shift in thinking permeate into my workplace and change the way I perform in a 9–5 setting. I found myself meditating as I was going through daily work tasks. Through this process, I found clarity in what I do at work, on my mat and off my mat. This clarity, or mindfulness, allowed me to take things slowly and do things with purpose. It also helped with my creativity in resolving tasks and creating meaningful marketing plans for Hollingsworth. While I was working, I was also practicing yoga.
What role did mindfulness or spiritual practice play in your life growing up? Do you have a funny or touching story about that?
I was never really spiritual growing up. I did not participate in yoga until I was 27 years old. I was raised Buddhist but formally. I did not practice spirituality until I started to learn the 8 limbs of yoga, which are philosophies that are used to attain samadhi (bliss or enlightenment).
How do your mindfulness or spiritual practices affect your business and personal life today?
Mindfulness allows me to see my actions and thoughts more clearly. I see myself actually doing my job, rather than just keeping my mind busy to let the day pass. I describe it as like being aware and moving in slow motion when I am actually just moving at normal speed. Being able to see my thoughts and actions has enabled me to see what I am doing with more purpose.
Do you find that you are more successful or less successful because of your integration of spiritual and mindful practices? Can you share an example or story about that with us?
I feel that I am more successful because of meditation in the workplace! I am recruited by my coworkers to facilitate meditation and yoga classes. Through yoga, I am building a community (we call this Sangha in sanskrit) at work. As a digital marketer, having these connections with people in different departments is important because when I need information to create marketing campaigns, I already have a relationship established and people are wiling to help me with my job because I help them with mindfulness and staying sane in dynamic workplace.
What would you say is the foundational principle for one to “lead a good life”? Can you share a story that illustrates that?
Anything that you do, do it with love. In yoga we set an intention. An intention is like how you set your attitude for anything that comes your way. In work, when you do your tasks with love, you do it with more care, intention, and purpose. Every morning, I recommend that people take just 5–10 minutes visualizing their workday. Think about what you’re going to wear, who you have to speak or meet with, what you will be eating, where you need to go, what you need to do, and how you will wrap your day up. Visualizing it allows us to approach our day with more intention. We are so used to reacting last minute that we are only living to react. We need to live and be present.
Can you share a story about one of the most impactful moments in your spiritual/mindful life?
One of the most impactful moments was with my aunt. I grew up in a household that was emotionally and physically abusive. It was my mom’s way or the highway. I grew up thinking the world was just as closed to thinking as my mom was. I was very abusive towards myself. I did this because I felt no self worth. I got in major trouble one day. I was only 16. One day I sat down with my aunt and she asked me, “The things you do. When you do them, do you feel like you’re respecting yourself?” No one in my family had ever asked me an open ended question before. She also asked one that was poignant where it gave me flashbacks to all the decisions that I’ve made in my life and realized that I made bad decisions because I did not have respect for myself. From this point on, I wanted to only act with respect towards myself and others. Yoga and mindfulness, allowed me an opportunity to go further and share it with others through teaching.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
My aunt! I guess you can refer to the story above. :)
Can you share 3 or 4 pieces of advice about how leaders can create a very “healthy and uplifting” work culture?
- Get employees involved in healthy decision making. Allow employees to create committees where they can discuss plans to get healthy and feel positive. At Hollingsworth, the employee committee creates volunteer opportunities for employees to get involved and give back!
- Implement movement throughout the day. Encourage employees (especially desk employees) to get up and move every 1.5–2 hours. I teach my coworkers easy desk yoga techniques. A walk around the office to greet other employees would be great too!
- Keep employees updated. Meet regularly and always update the status of the company. When there is transparency, employees will feel more trust with a company and upper management.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
Fill yourself with positivity. Growing up in an abusive household, it’s hard to fully shake off my thought of me not being worthy enough. It’s a practice that needs to be done regularly. If your upbringing was similar, I recommend that you take a comfortable seat and write down 3 positive things about yourself. This can be done weekly and 2–3 times a week. Try to write a new thing each time you revisit your worth. Soon enough, you’ll be filling your cup with positivity that there will be no room left for negativity. I put my thoughts into a jar and revisit them at the end of the year. It’s uplifting and encouraging when you can learn to love yourself.
How can people follow you and find out more about you?
About the author: Jacob Rupp is a coach, author, speaker, podcaster, and rabbi. He is the founder of Lift Your Legacy, a community that helps people live a more authentic life. He has a regular, syndicated column that appears in ThriveGlobal and Authority magazine. To learn more about him or to listen to the Lift Your Legacy podcast, search iTunes or visit his site: liftyourlegacy.live