My Favorite Mistake — 228: Marc Lesser’s Enlightenment: A Journey from a Zen Monastery to Business Management

Episode Page with video, transcript, and more

My guest for Episode #228 of the My Favorite Mistake podcast is Marc Lesser.

He is the CEO of ZBA Associates, an executive development and leadership consulting company – and he’s a Zen teacher and coach. He founded and was CEO of three highly successful companies and has an MBA from New York University. Prior to his business and coaching career, he was a resident of the San Francisco Zen Center for ten years, and director of Tassajara (Tassa-hara), Zen Mountain Center, the first Zen monastery in the Western world.

Marc helped develop the world-renowned Search Inside Yourself program within Google – a mindfulness-based emotional intelligence training for leaders which teaches the art of integrating mindfulness, emotional intelligence, and business savvy for creating great corporate cultures and a better world.

Marc’s most recent book is Finding Clarity: How Compassionate Accountability Builds Vibrant RelationshipsHis podcast is called “Zen Bones: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times.

Having spent a decade steeped in the teachings of Zen, Mark highlights his experiences, from living the life of a monk to taking over as the director for Tassahara Zen Mountain Center. But, the shift from Zen life to the corporate world was not seamless. Despite successfully launching a publishing company, Mark shares his ‘favorite mistake' of avoiding difficult conversations that led to his departure from the company he built from scratch. Is it a mistake to refer to him as a “former monk”?

Questions and Topics:

  • Using a better relationship to small mistakes as a way to prevent big catastrophes?
  • What causes the fear of conflict?? What exactly are we afraid of?
  • What advice would you give your younger self about that? Courage? Safety? 
  • Avoiding a repeat of that mistake at the next company? 
  • How do you choose which difficult conversations to address?
  • The risk or danger of deciding to avoid a difficult conversation or not?
  • R.D. Lang – “The Politics of Experience” book
  • Buddhism and the view on mistakes?
  • “Buddhists don’t sweat mistakes”??

Support this podcast: