Give your employees time off to just sit and think guilt-free. When W. Clement Stone was faced with a problem he couldn’t resolve, he would lock himself in a room for 30 minutes and simply meditate. His reliance on the subconscious would ultimately manifest the answer. The mind is like a computer. It can do amazing things, but it requires some things, like cooling, a reboot, and some space. I’m not suggesting that you treat your people like they are computers, but rather, acknowledge the benefit that meditation would have for you and for them.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Anthony Glomski. He is the Founder and Principal of AG Asset Advisory, a Los Angeles-based SEC-registered wealth management firm that works with tech entrepreneurs and business owners approaching liquidity events. Anthony is the author of Liquidity & You: A Guide for Tech and Business Entrepreneurs Approaching an Exit. He has been a guest columnist, expert source, interviewee and presenter for numerous financial media outlets. Anthony is an alumnus of KPMG, a member of the Milken Institute Associates & Young Leaders Circle, and is active in several charities including the Surfrider Foundation. Anthony has been featured in Forbes, Nasdaq.com, U.S. News & World Report, CIO, MariaShriver.com and Yahoo!Tech. He is also a member of the Silicon Beach Surfers and the Porsche Club of America.
Thank you so much for joining us Anthony. Can you please share your “backstory” with us?
Like some of you, I had a modest upbringing and had tremendous fear about money as a kid. My dad never had much job security. He was an engineer at a naval base that was constantly under the threat of closure — a common occurrence in the 1980s and 1990s — and my mom had ongoing heart issues that prevented her from working.
The early messaging I got from my mother was: “We are in trouble; there is not enough money. You may not be able to go back to school. Your father could lose his job and we can’t afford to buy a new car.” As it turned out, my parents weren’t paranoid. The naval base where my dad worked was ultimately closed. Luckily a publicly-traded company (GM Hughes) came along and acquired the base. My dad kept his job, but he lost more than half of his pension. As a result, the fear of scarcity always loomed large in our house. I responded in two ways: (1) I went out and made money, and (2) I learned as much as I possibly could about preserving the money I made. I never ever wanted to feel that sense of scarcity again.
At age 11, I started mowing lawns and cleaning gutters. I also bought candy in bulk and then sold individual pieces at my school for a profit. I did whatever I could do to make a buck. Simultaneously, I wanted to learn everything I could about personal finance, a topic that is rarely addressed within our school systems. I wanted to make that feeling of scarcity go away, not just for me, but among my peers. We all deserve access to the tools required for creating security for ourselves.
What role did mindfulness or spiritual practice play in your life growing up? Do you have a funny or touching story about that?
I went to Catholic prep school growing up. In my junior year, I was introduced to meditation. Our religion teacher, who had served in the military in the Far East, actually hijacked the curriculum and had us focus on Eastern philosophy and meditation. If any of your readers went to Catholic school, they know that this was pretty atypical.
How do your mindfulness or spiritual practices affect your business and personal life today?
One of the biggest fears people have is public speaking. I rely on meditation and mindfulness before giving a talk. Although meditation sounds like a current trend, it’s actually quite timeless.
I find the Alexander Technique, helpful. Developed back in the 1890s, the Alexander Technique remains relevant today as a way of training yourself to rid your body of harmful tension through better posture and self-awareness.
Early in my career, while working for a Big Four accounting firm, I was assigned to audit the foundation of W. Clement Stone, a highly successful author and entrepreneur from the early 1900s who spoke frequently about “creating space for thinking.” At the time, I thought Stone Foundation sold rocks and related masonry products. Never in my life had I seen someone accumulate so much success — both financial and philanthropic — and change the world like stone did. When I asked Stone’s administrative assistant what her boss did to accumulate so much wealth, she simply smiled and gave me several of his books to read, including Success Through Positive Mental Attitude.
Another huge advocate of mediation was Napoleon Hill, author of the book Think and Grow Rich, with emphasis on the word “think.” While researching his book, Hill interviewed hundreds of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs of his era and most credited meditation, mindfulness, and spirituality as the keys to their success. Nearly every one of the successful entrepreneurs I have worked with practices some form of meditation, spiritual practice or quiet thinking time. And the more progressive leaders I’ve encountered tend to pass that philosophy along within their companies and advocate for it.
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?
Technology is an amazing asset, but sometimes it can be a liability. Speaking both for myself as a business owner and as one who works closely with other business owners and entrepreneurs, I’ve found that common traits shared by so many of these high achievers share are meditation, mindfulness, thoughtfulness, and setting aside time for deep, uninterrupted thought.
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?
As a 22-year-old recent college grad, I was working at a Big Four accounting firm when I was assigned to audit The Stone Foundation. I didn’t know who they were or what they did….I assumed they sold some type of rock or stone products. But, then I started looking at Stone Foundation’s balance sheet and what he had amassed, both for himself and for his non-profit organization. It was astounding. I had never before seen wealth like that. So, I went to Stone’s administrative assistant and asked her what Mr. Stone did to accumulate so much wealth. She simply handed me several of his books and told me to read them. That was a pivotal moment in my life. The core of Stone’s philosophy is about mindfulness. It’s about having good character and believing you can achieve anything as long as it doesn’t violate the laws of man. The philosophy is also about the power of the mind and the power of action and teaching the mind how to take action.
Can you share advice about how leaders can create a very “healthy and uplifting” work culture?
Give your employees time off to just sit and think guilt-free. When Stone was faced with a problem he couldn’t resolve, he would lock himself in a room for 30 minutes and simply meditate. His reliance on the subconscious would ultimately manifest the answer.
The mind is like a computer. It can do amazing things, but it requires some things, like cooling, a reboot, and some space. I’m not suggesting that you treat your people like they are computers, but rather, acknowledge the benefit that meditation would have for you and for them.
Other notable people that followed this practice include Benjamin Franklin and legendary NBA basketball coach, Phil Jackson. Coach Jackson would have his players lie on the floor and meditate and do visualization exercises before games. If you imagine an all-star athlete, the last place you would envision them is being in a passive position lying on the floor. Yet, the outcome was their experience playing on the court was as if the game was in slow motion. Did it work? Well, Jackson’s 13 championships rank him #1 all-time among NBA coaches. So, whether it is sports, business or one’s personal life, the application of meditation and mindfulness is massive.
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. :-)
It’s very simple. Encourage people to give back and recirculate their wealth to help others — whether today or years from now long after they’re gone. But, make the decision to take the necessary steps today.