Mindfulness is a popular mantra these days. There are dozens of books on how to practice it in all aspects of life, from eating to relationships to education. For Gretchen Steidle, practicing mindfulness changed her approach to her work in the nonprofit sector. She has written a book called Leading From Within: Conscious Social Change and Mindfulness for Social Innovation, which looks at how organizations and companies can benefit when leaders invest in mindfulness and bring it to the workforce. Steidle, who runs Global Grassroots, spoke to Knowledge@Wharton about the transformational process of mindfulness. Following is an edited transcript of the conversation.
Those of us working towards a more just society must embody the same principles we envision for the world. This begins with mindfulness, which in turn drives compassion. When mindfulness is applied to social innovation, it transforms the way we diagnose issues and advance change. It allows us to understand ourselves and change from the inside out.
Mindfulness is no longer only a staple of wisdom teachers and wellness practitioners, but is beginning to reach the mainstream as newspaper headlines tout its health implications and companies create spaces for employees to meditate.
So what exactly does mindfulness have to offer the social entrepreneur or socially-minded business person?