This is the transcript of an interview I recently did for Accenture Europe, where I have been teaching the Beyond Mindfulness course for many years now.
I hope you enjoy it!
This is a story that started back in November, when a bit fed up with long hours of work and desperate for the stressful multitasking (inside and outside the office), I saw the chance to enrol in a course called “Beyond mindfulness”. Some of the content sounded really attractive for such a practical and earthy person like me. How to stay present, explore personal moment, practical mindfulness exercises, … Wow! At least I need to try- I thought- Hard work they need to do with me. My last and unique experience with Yoga class was me planning dinner while rest of colleagues meditated.
In short, I landed there looking for ways to improve my well-being. A little agnostic and expecting to find a contemplative, spiritual, religious, pious, ascetic instructor who probably has no idea of what work in Accenture is about. But… there I found Mónica, who looks like one of us, she does not even wear robe neither was burning incense aside. She helped me to realize that I could go much further by training my mind to be calm and not get carried away by emotions or worries, and finally improve my performance.
With a degree in Economics from the Complutense University of Madrid and a Master in Foreign Trade, she began her professional career as an economist in London and Paris. Since 2008 she has been professionally dedicated to coaching, Leadership teaching, Emotional Mastery, Self-awareness and Mindfulness applied to companies and organizations. But she is much more than that, she is the only person in the world able to keep in through a guided meditation!! And that is a miracle, believe me!! and now she politely dedicates some of her time to this interview. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did while preparing it.
Who is Mónica Esgueva?
I am a sovereign being who tries to live this life with depth and purpose in order to increase her level of consciousness by helping others.
How would you define “Mindfulness” for those that probably have heard about it, but has not a clear idea of what is about?
Beyond a sort of meditation, Mindfulness is a way of living. It is all about being focused on the present moment, accepting what arrives without fighting against it or attaching to it, and relate to the current experience directly not through the stories you create in your mind. It also implies observing your own thoughts and behavior (instead of behaving from automatic pilot), and having a general attitude of kindness towards all.
When did you start practising “Mindfulness” and how this changed your life?
I started meditating when I was a teenager and nobody had the slightest idea of what that meant. Fifteen years ago I started studying with lamas in Nepal and in the north of India, and began attending the Dalai Lama’s teachings.
My life changed when I started practicing regular meditation and mind training fifteen years ago. I decided to leave everything behind, including my successful corporate life in France, and I started contributing to create a better world.
“Beyond Mindfulness” is a programme that you created for companies like Accenture. Why this programme is so innovative and how can help us at personal and professional level?
I learned from Google in San Francisco, and with them I found out that introducing the regular program of Mindfulness in such a corporation did not work out. Executives, engineers and directors need a broader training that includes Mindfulness but also Emotional Intelligence, Self-knowledge and learning about our own brain and mind functioning.
The program gives the person many different tools to regulate one’s own emotions and lack of focus. It also provides basic knowledge about how our mind works, and how to stop acting like a robot in daily life. It helps people to have the opportunity of choosing one’s thoughts and actions in order to increase performance, as well as having a much better quality of life.
All this commented around mindfulness, emotional intelligence, etc.. Is it something available to anyone? Or do we need to have some predisposition?
Both. It is available to everyone. Fortunately, in this era we all have the knowledge accesible. If you do not learn or practice, it is really because you do not have an interest.
Therefore, when you really want to improve your skills, your peace of mind and keep developing as a professional and as a human being, you will do whatever it takes. It is just a question of priorities.
For those who are feeling tempted after this interview, what would you advise their first steps to approach this discipline should be?
I believe there are some tools available already at Accenture that you could take advantage of.
In this times of lockdowns, the easiest way would probably be by listening to some youtube short guided meditations and then trying to practice 5/10 minutes a day of focus on your breathing and letting go of your thoughts during that short period of time. You can also practice by calming your mind while walking in nature or in a park.
And if you are in Spain, I recommend you sign up for my course ;-))