While I expected that a week with a world-renowned sustainability shaman such as Hawken would offer a deep dive into environmentalism and a refresher of interpersonal skills, the experience ended being a deep dive into myself. Throughout the week, Hawken helped me and others align our purpose with how we can make an impact on the planet. I came away with invaluable lessons I will apply to thinkPARALLAX, my broader professional life, and personal relationships.
Flow state, growth mindset, and appreciative inquiry
Changing the way you think isn’t easy. That’s why our variegated days focused on evolving, learning, collaborating, counseling, and rewiring ourselves. Each day began with a Wisdom Circle, in which everyone could speak about what was on their mind followed by educational sessions focused mainly on personal development.
One of these was around the concept of achieving a “flow state” when staying four percent outside of your comfort zone pushes you to move and stay in a growth mindset for continuous self-improvement.
I also learned that in the bell curve of life, at 45 I’m at darn near the lowest point in terms of the happiness scale. So, I think that is a relief, it’s all up from here. We discussed and practiced other theories like the levels of listening or appreciative inquiry. We sometimes worked in dyads or in groups debating and understanding how these new ways of thinking would come to life in each of us.
While developing new ways of thinking, we shed the burdens of the past that served no purpose in our lives. Being in an environment with zero judgment, only acceptance, made me realize how empowering this can be and how much it is lacking in our broader society.
Mindfulness exercises, meaningful conversations, and scheduled introspection made this trip so fulfilling. But, Paul’s anecdotes about his lived experience put the week over the top. He was fully immersed in the retreat — joining an end-of-day hot tub sesh or chatting over fresh yellowtail sashimi — and also guided our group through his life of social ventures, business opportunities, and globetrotting adventures. These stories exemplified how to be steadfast in your ethical convictions while combining deep care for the environment with entrepreneurship. I sat there captivated and nodding in agreement with the insights he shared. Immersed in a session about climate change this takeaway struck a chord with me: “The Earth is fine, we’re the problem. So, how do we fix us?”