With a lineup of prominent local business owners, Bumble’s “Mindfulness Matters” workshop offered suggestions on how to create a better work and life balance for an ideal career.
Story by Zoe Judilla
Photos by Rachel Lai
Bumble recruited four local businesses’ employees for a night of mindfulness on Oct. 23 at Meet at Relay, a gathering space in East Austin’s new Center for Social Innovation.
The event encouraged four different pillars of balance and self-care: perfect productivity, kindness, refocusing your inner self and owning your journey. “There’s a weird overlap between productivity and mindfulness,” says Kelly Stocker, marketing consultant and productivity coach. “You’re trying to figure out what in the world is trying to draw [your] attention away from what [you’re] working on. What is trying to pull me away from getting shit done? What is pulling me away from creating, innovating and building?”
Stocker’s presentation emphasized the importance of hacking your brain, whether it be with to-do lists, conscious calendaring, utilizing the Pomodoro Technique (five minutes of break time for every 25 minutes of work), or honing in self-awareness when necessary. Keeping yourself in tune with your posture, hydration levels, energy levels, “snackitude” and movement were essential for productivity.
Stocker ultimately encouraged bringing it all back to careful uses of time in order to maximize productivity. “Pay attention to where you’re spending time, focus your energies on what is creating distraction – that’s mindfulness in action.”
Andra Liemandt, founder of The Kindness Campaign, spoke on self-love and empowerment during her presentation. “I go around telling people that they’re enough,” Liemandt says. “That’s been my job for the last couple of years.”
Liemandt and The Kindness Campaign’s mission is to spread messages of empathy and care towards the younger generation. They serve over 40,000 kids in 80 schools through hands-on work. The organization is most known for their “Magic Mirrors,” which are essentially one-sided mirrors with people inside them who compliment you through a headphone system. The prop garnered national attention, as they were previously featured on Good Morning America and were also chosen as a charity for Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation. Attendees were given the chance to experience the mirrors for themselves.
Liemandt shared advice on maintaining kindness towards yourself and others in a tense workplace. “We all want to start and we all want a happy ending,” Liemandt says. “Once you’re more in touch with the internal landscape, you’re free to focus on the external. And the external – really what we’re talking about is empathy. It’s innate in all of us.”
Liemandt shared how essential it was to start at home when it came to spreading positivity. “If we build that kindness connection, our workplaces will be better, or communities will be better, our homes will be better,” she says. “Take your time to do that, every day in the mirror for yourself, for a friend – or just for a stranger. Having the passion to do that for one another is why we’re here. That’s the beauty of humanity.”
Kaysha Patel, the founder of Stretch Yoga Studio, provided a more hands-on approach for her lesson on refocusing your inner self. The experimental workshop was a quick yoga and meditation class that served as a moment of reflection for attendees. With an emphasis on breath, balance and being as present as possible, Patel gave a much-needed break from the business aspect of the event.
Finally, Zach Horvath, founder of Live a Great Story, made the conversation more intimate by focusing on attendees’ personal values in order for them to “own” their respective journeys. Horvath led attendees in sharing their ideals and helping them identify why particular traits were so valuable to them. The interactive discussion allowed people to share how they planned on developing as workers, friends and people in general. “The idea is that, on the journey of living a great story, it’s sometimes easy to get knocked off track,” Horvath says. “The way we don’t is to keep being conscious of the decisions that we’re making and to stay aligned with what we’re doing. We can meet people from a place of authenticity and practicing that helps inspire others to do the same.”
As the event came to a close, attendee Melissa Lau shared why such workshops were so meaningful to her. “I think it’s really important in our culture,” she says. “We glorify business. Mindfulness is kind of that voice that reminds you that just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. It’s about being happy with where you are, and enjoying and appreciating whatever the moment is, and where you are at that point in time.”