CEO Glenn’s Story: How I Got Hooked on Meditation

Glenn Gow is the CEO of a well-known marketing firm, Crimson Marketing headquartered in Silicon Valley. He is also the founder and Executive Director of a new nonprofit organization: Giving Back Adventures whose mission is to show honor and respect for veterans through adventure opportunities, which provide camaraderie, re-integration support, education and proven improvement in mental well-being.

Building a multi-million dollar empire and leading a nonprofit are no small feats. So how does this Harvard MBA alum find the focus and determination to drive change? By meditating and taking care of himself:

If we’re happy with ourselves, we’re more fun to be around, and that just makes us more effective and better able to interact with other people – in business and at home. Taking care of ourselves first enables us to take care of others.
– Glenn Gow, CEO of Crimson Marketing

Ha! No wonder airlines advise you to put on your oxygen mask first before you help others.

4 Principles to Build A Habit of Meditation

There are more and more articles about the benefits of meditation: it can rebuild the brain’s gray matter in 8 weeks and even change your DNA. “Meditation stimulates the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus, thus releasing endorphins. Meditation also increases production of serotonin, dopamine and melatonin, all related to positive moods, happiness and relaxation.”*

Glenn kindly shared his journey into meditation, including great nuggets for any beginning meditators:

1. Experiment

His fellow executives’ stories about the positive effects of meditation sparked his interest. He started asking a lot of questions and reading about this topic until one day he decided to give it a go. He didn’t receive any formal training so he experimented with different approaches he had learned about. He started with only a few minutes at a time to build patience and practice. Five years later, he is still evolving his practice.

2. Let go of expectations

We live in a very goal-oriented world. We always strive to achieve something. The notion of not having any expectations from your practice will be unusual at first. “Just let yourself be in the moment instead of thinking “am I doing it right”? Be comfortable with yourself and where your mind is going, acknowledge it without judgment and let it go”, says the CEO.

3. Open yourself up to possibilities

By allowing himself to be open and in the moment, Glenn receives inspirational messages about 90% of the time. These messages help him see the bigger picture and his place in the world. As for the other 10% of the time when messages don’t come, he’s ok with that too (remember the 2. point?).

4. Treat it as an appointment

An appointment with yourself. “My meditation practice is very private. I sit in a dark room right after I wake up. I put on my headphones and listen to some meditation music on Pandora. I don’t really pay attention to the music, the sound just helps me relax more.” It takes me about 20 minutes to get into a truly meditative state and when I’m there, I feel great. It makes all the things I think I have to do less important. My mind becomes clearer and ready for the day.”

Why Does He Find Time to Meditate?

I asked Glenn why he sets aside time for meditation. His response put a huge smile on my face – I wholeheartedly second his thoughts:

“This may seem counterintuitive, but the more stressed I get, the more time I carve out for meditation because I realize that I’ll be more productive during the day. I’m an efficiency-minded person and meditation helps me be more efficient and effective. I don’t panic, I stay focused and I see clearly what needs to be done. In the end, I save time and energy. Meditation also helps me better relate to clients. I have become better at getting to the very core of their issues, I ask more pointed questions and come up with better solutions. It’s like I’m really walking in their shoes.”

The more stressed I get, the more time I carve out for meditation because I realize that I’ll be more productive during the day. Click To Tweet

Then he continued: “Meditation works because it helps reduce the negative self talk we all experience. It is very grounding and helps us understand that most of the things we’re worried about will never come to fruition”.

In business terms: meditation is an investment. It’s an investment in a tool that’s at your disposal 24/7. In exchange for just a few minutes a day, you can gain a lot from it. Other executives and leaders swear by it too. So why not give it a try?

Glenn, thank you for your openness and words of wisdom. Meditate on!

 

*Source: Brainwave Research Institute, Meditation Can Boost Endorphins
Image by alitaylor, freeimages.com

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  • Great article and insight into a CEO’s journey through developing a meditation practice. Mindfulness, meditation, compassion… I’m convinced that Silicon Valley is reaching higher levels of consciousness, even if one Thought Leader at a time. Cheers, and thanks for sharing.

  • Thank you for sharing Glen’s story Petra.

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