Listen to this story

--:--

--:--

How to Thrive With a Team Morning Meditation

This morning meditation ritual has radically increased our team’s productivity and peace.

Mark Moschel
Nov 20, 2017 · 11 min read

Every day for the past year, our team at Dry Farm Wines has gathered at 10:00 am for our morning ritual. Although meditation in a company setting might seem like an unconventional practice, it’s being implemented on a significant scale by some of the world’s most innovative companies.

In this article, I’m going to describe the daily meditation and gratitude practice used by my team and show you how to get started with yours.

The beginning of our day: an example

An outside observer would see ten adults sitting in a dark room, eyes closed, silent.

Fifteen minutes pass in quiet meditation.

In time, one person breaks the silence. “Put your hand on your heart. Feel the life that beats there.”

Everyone follows.

“I am love,” One says.

“I am love,” The group echoes.

“I am heart.”

“I am heart.”

“I am presence.”

“I am presence.”

Around the circle, affirmations and echoes.

Then, with patience, gratitude flows from the heart of each person, flooding the room with warmth and love.

I am grateful for…

I am grateful for…

When finished, a voice says, “Visualize yourself being the change you wish to see in the world.”

Everyone reflects in silence.

Cheers.

Why implement your own team meditation and gratitude practice?

You may think this 30–40 minute session sounds too “woo woo” for your team. I originally thought that, too.

But then I experienced it, felt how it changed me, and witnessed how it impacted our business.

Despite its unconventional approach, it has been highly effective.

We have a serious business. It grew 100x last year and is on pace to grow another 4x this year. It’s profitable, has no outside investment, and is adding real value to people’s lives. We have a team that truly loves each other, and we have attracted an abundance of love from our partners and customers.

Personally, I have never worked in such a peaceful and happy place.

Research also overwhelmingly supports the benefits of meditation and gratitude.

  1. Meditation decreases stress, depression, and addiction.
  2. Meditation increases focus, creativity, and learning ability.
  3. Gratitude improves relationships, happiness, and self-esteem.

And there is so much more.

But… you still aren’t sure.

While this sounds great for yourself, doing this practice as a team sounds too time-consuming and unconventional for everyone to adopt.

In the rest of this article, we’ll break down that objection. Here’s what we’ll cover:

  1. Why I attribute much of our success to these practices.
  2. How we started our practice.
  3. How you can start a simple practice that makes sense for your team, too.

But first, what is success?

Peace & Profit

At Dry Farm Wines, we define success by our Peace & Profit Manifesto. We want to live with peace and create profit in every moment.

We define peace as being in a state of appreciation, presence, and love. Relaxing, socializing, and improving ourselves.

We define profit as contributing meaningful service to the world. Making money to secure the future for ourselves, our family, and our team. Creating value and mastering our craft.

We do not seek to balance Peace & Profit, as many companies do with work-life balance. We instead recognize the unity of these states. Peace & Profit are deeply tethered to every moment of our lives.

Whether we’re cooking, eating, talking with customers, meditating, tasting wines, sending emails, packing boxes, or just sitting around sharing stories, we are impacting our peace and our profit.

This distinction is a nuanced but important shift in mindset. We contribute services to the world at both the home and office, at all times of the day, no matter what we are doing. And we seek peace in all locations, times, and activities as well.

By knocking down the mental walls between life and work, we started to think differently about our day.

This brings us back to our morning practice.

Why Meditation?

Meditation forms the foundation of a peaceful life. When we quiet the mind, we quiet our distractions. We return to what matters — our inner peace, love, and appreciation. Not our emails, meetings, and overdue projects.

We start every morning with a team meditation because we want more peace, love, and appreciation in our lives. It’s that simple. When we meditate, we settle deeper into that state. When we don’t, we are more anxious and distracted. We forget what truly matters.

This peaceful state spreads into everything we create. It shows up in our emails. It is there when we talk with customers. It is especially present when we confront challenging situations.

By starting our day from a state of inner calm, we are more likely to bring a sense of calmness to our work.

“The ultimate test is always your own serenity. If you don’t have this when you start and maintain it while you are working you are likely to build your personal problems right into the machine itself.” Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

When we discuss the practice as a team, we all experience regular benefits in our daily work.

“It puts me in a loving state, which makes it easier to connect with other people.”

— Tyler

The group meditation and gratitude settles everyone into a state of calm, appreciation, and positivity. This is then the state from which we begin our day. By showing up to our work with a positive energy, we are blessed with positivity in return.

This presents itself most notably at events. Because of our practice, our team has become more positive and grateful in all of our event interactions — with customers at our booth, with event organizers, with potential partners, and with each other.

This positivity enhances the experience for everyone attending and brings tremendous value to the organizers, speakers, and staff. It also allows us to connect with people more deeply, which creates meaningful personal and business relationships.

“It encourages me to be more vulnerable and empathetic. It sets that as the tone for the rest of the day.”

— Ramzy

When you share genuine and heartfelt emotions, you increase your capacity to be open and vulnerable. The more open you are willing to be, the more open others will be with you. This openness overflows from the morning practice into all areas of life.

We had a vendor whose relationship with us always felt cold and distant. We invited him to join a morning session and the nature of our relationship changed immediately. By leading with vulnerability, we created a safe space for him to open up with us as well. We connected on a much deeper level and it released all of the tension in our working relationship.

“It creates a sense of family.”

— Tony

We want to love everyone we work with. Why would we choose to not love our partners when we could experience so much more joy in our lives if we were to love them? Our meditation and gratitude practice encourages love and trust. It creates the feeling that we are a family rather than a group of coworkers.

There could easily be a sense of separation between different parts of the business, like the warehouse and the office. But when we share our gratitude together each morning, this separation falls away. We feel so much more comfortable communicating openly.

“I often feel stressed when entering the room with so many things going on. The meditation calms me down and I leave the room relaxed.”

— Rosetta

As a small team at a rapidly growing company, the morning could easily start in a chaotic sprint. We prefer to start slow and peaceful. We know this will let us move faster and with clearer intention.

Meditation calms our chaotic minds. It sets aside our anxieties. Gratitude then fills us with warmth and love. We may have entered the room with chaotic thoughts, but we always leave the room with calm clarity.

“It increases alignment of the team so we can move more efficiently to better serve our members.”

Luen

The ritual aligns our core values every day. By meditating and expressing gratitude, we don’t just talk about our values, we live them. This consistent and practical alignment of values means everyone trusts everyone else to make decisions with shared integrity.

Whether we’re at events, emailing with customers, working with wine growers, signing contracts with partners, or on podcasts talking about our company, we all trust each other to represent the rest of us from a place of gratitude and mindfulness.

“As someone who never meditated before, doing it as a group has made it so much easier to do. It’s built into our day. I love it. It’s changed my life.”

— Juan

Our Peace & Profit culture is a process, not a goal. It’s something we try to live by every day, not something we can ever fully achieve. This is why having a daily practice is so important. Every day, we take a small step forward. And by doing it together, we keep each other accountable.

Our Process

Our core practice is simple:

  1. Fifteen minutes of silent meditation.
  2. A mindfulness exercise lead by a team member.
  3. Sharing our gratitude.

To start, we gather in a small room, sit in a circle, and close our eyes. For fifteen minutes, we are silent, observing our own thoughts.

We take turns leading the session each day, and each person may add small elements in their own style to build our practice of mindfulness.

  • When Luen leads, he asks us to focus all of our energy and love on one person in the circle, and he asks that person to receive it with an open heart. As we go around the circle, one person at a time, you can feel everyone’s concentrated focus. You feel connected. You feel loved.
  • When Anthony leads, we observe our body as we move our attention slowly from our head to our toes.
  • When Todd leads, we raise our hands to the sky and receive the gifts of the universe.
  • When Tyler leads, we visualize a moment when we were happy, playful, and carefree. We let that feeling build within us, and we bring it to the present.
  • When Rosetta leads, we focus deeply on our breath, using its steady rise and fall as an anchor for our restless minds.

With eyes still closed, we then share our gratitude.

“I’m grateful for a new morning,” Tony says. “Grateful to have a roof over my head, grateful to be alive.”

When I first met Tony, he was quiet and reserved. He would nod hello and walk straight to the warehouse to pack boxes.

Since starting this morning practice, that changed.

“I’m grateful for all the hugs I get when I walk into the office. I’m grateful to feel like I belong, like I’m with family.”

Tony finishes. The room is full of love.

Luen: “I’m grateful to feel the wind in my face as I rode my bike this morning. I’m grateful for the rays of the sun as they warmed my body. I’m grateful for journeys — the journey driving to the office, the journey of our business, the journey of my life. I’m grateful for my highs and my lows, for my successes and my challenges. They all helped me grow into who I am today and progress into who I am becoming.”

The room is always quiet and accepting.

Often, we are grateful for similar things each day — grateful for amazing dinners, grateful for the beautiful weather in Napa, grateful to be surrounded by people we love and people who make us better each day, grateful for the opportunities we have and the impact we are making.

Occasionally, someone’s gratitude touches something much deeper and more profound.

Most of us have cried at least once. I cried the day after my family dog, Ajax, passed away and I shared my gratitude for how deeply he impacted my life. Others have cried when talking about their loved ones, when sharing personal struggles, and when sharing gratitude and pride for the people they love the most.

I can say this from experience: crying in front of your peers rips apart the walls of formality that distance you. You become more loved for it, and you love everyone else more because of it, too. With practice, this openness leads to greater confidence in communicating with each other, especially in difficult situations.

When everyone has finished sharing their gratitude, you are filled with a sense of warmth and peace.

Some practical tips

You may think this practice sounds too hard, too time-consuming, and too unconventional (woo-woo) for your team.

Let’s explore those concerns.

Too hard.

Make it easy. Pick a room, schedule a session for tomorrow morning, and just try it once.

While we have found it takes 2–3 months of daily practice to notice an ongoing change in your behavior, it only takes one session to feel the benefits.

If you think this sounds too hard for your team, just try one session and notice how you feel.

You can simply set a timer to notify you when the meditation period is over. Fifteen minutes is a lot for first-time meditation; you can start with five minutes and build up to fifteen.

If it still feels intimidating, you might try a guided meditation online or through an app. Some possibilities:

Or, contact a local secular meditation center to see if you can bring in a meditation coach to help your team get started.

Too time-consuming.

I felt this way at first, too.

Let’s assume the practice takes 30 minutes each day. If 10 people participate, that’s a collective 300 minutes each day and 1,500 minutes (25 hours) each week. If we average the hourly value of each person at $30, then the cost of this practice is $750/week. That’s a real investment. That’s over $30k per year.

Here’s the return:

Everyone experiences more peace and happiness.
Everyone feels more connected, more loved, and more aligned.
Everyone feels more comfortable being vulnerable with each other.
Everyone feels more positive and optimistic.
Everyone enjoys their time together more.
Everyone enjoys being at the office more.

What’s the price of that?

The emotional and spiritual return on investment is enormous.

Too unconventional.

If it seems unconventional to meditate and share gratitude as a team, then let’s rethink conventions.

Like I mentioned earlier, research overwhelmingly supports the benefits of these practices.

  1. Meditation decreases stress, depression, and addiction.
  2. Meditation increases focus, creativity, and learning ability.
  3. Gratitude improves relationships, happiness, and self-esteem.

There is a lot of supportive research. You can read more studies here: Meditation and Wellness Studies

Furthermore, think about the change you wish to see in the world. Is it more peace? More love? More compassion? Better health?

Be the change you want to see in the world.

Once you adopt this change within yourself and your team, you will be capable of providing your best service to the world.

Or perhaps simply reframe “too unconventional” as “cutting edge”. Meditation and mindfulness programs and coaches are now commonplace among top-performing executives and CEOs.

Get started today

Here’s a simple way you can jump in right away.

  1. Send this to 2 coworkers who are open-minded and ready to explore.
  2. Schedule a short meditation session for the three of you. Use a timer to delineate a short period of silence, or use one of the recommended guided meditations.
  3. Close your eyes and begin.
  4. Give each person a chance to share some expression of gratitude.
  5. End the session and go on into your day with a smile.

Better Humans

Better Humans is a collection of the world's most trustworthy writing on human potential and self improvement by coaches, academics, and aggressive self-experimenters. Articles are based on deep personal experience, science, and research. No fluff, book reports, or listicles.

Mark Moschel

Written by

Partner and Health Evangelist at @DryFarmWines. Aspiring writer with 3rd-grade drawing abilities. @Bulletproofexec conference emcee. Previously CTO @Factor75.

Better Humans

Better Humans is a collection of the world's most trustworthy writing on human potential and self improvement by coaches, academics, and aggressive self-experimenters. Articles are based on deep personal experience, science, and research. No fluff, book reports, or listicles.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade