I used to “think” about success as a state of mind, a point in time, that could be identified, measured and emulated — that people could compare and contrast one’s worth in the area of physical endurance, intellectual rigor, emotional balance, personal achievement, and business impact.
This is no longer my understanding of what success is. I have come to realize that: “Success Is the present moment.” It’s the total focus of all of one’s being in the present moment, and that’s all that matters.
Real success is found when you avoid the comparison of places, people, data, messaging, and emotions. There’s no need for interpretation with baseline experiences when one is called into a conversation. The part about being attentive and truly listening with ones being has been taken to a whole new level of understanding.
It wasn’t easy to get here, and I cannot say that I have “arrived” completely. There’s always the possibility to stray from this realization, as we all have the propensity to fall back on old ways at any time. However, staying in the present is possible using techniques that have been developed through various practices, traditions, and schools of thinking.
In my early years, as an undergraduate who majored in philosophy, I was fortunate enough to delve into many different eastern and western philosophies. A questioning mind has always been an integral part of my psyche, that includes a curiosity that wants to grasp the meaning of life and unravel what we’re doing here, and how to achieve, create and succeed.
Although the wisdom of the ages was revealed to me through scriptures, books, and programs, the real connection between success and the present moment did not truly unveil until recently.
I cannot say there was one single teaching or program that caused this realization. It was a combination of circumstances that moved me in this direction. It may have been my readiness to experience this reality, a yearning to move to a place of surrender, the eagerness to serve humanity and the discomfort in witnessing around me the greed, destruction, and exploitation of people and our planet. I don’t have the answer as to exactly why this all happened and even if it was divine timing. It doesn’t matter now.
The connection between being in the present moment, doing what needs to be done, giving all my attention to the present moment without a waiver of doubt, results in a deep sense of joy. This is my new reality.
Expanding on this notion of doing what needs to be done in the present moment — it’s important to note that the doing has to be effortless, without conflict and with the absence of ego. The ego is driven by thoughts that elevate oneself, which suggests a state of comparison. This comparison then conjures up a feeling of inadequacy or superiority.
This is a falsehood of success as this perception is a thought process that conjures up a reality that is not real. Thought and comparisons can never truly experience all that has occurred in the life of another. There is not, and never will be, an ability to experience what another person goes through. We may use words to express an experience of reality, but our salvation of life’s experiences can only be found in the here and now.
This leads us to what we can truly control: ourselves, through thoughts, emotions, and actions. This is the first step toward the journey of success. The next step is a real leap. If there is one way to describe the experience, it would be the “losing” of oneself to the experience — without thought or emotions.
It’s a connection to what is alive and present. Be it a tree, ocean waves, the act of gardening, or the ritual of a meal. True success is the joy of being in the moment, consciously having all the senses engaged in an activity and delighting in the journey. When happens, success takes place in every experiential moment.
For me, this true leap didn’t happen suddenly. It took a concerted effort, and it didn’t occur in a vacuum. The place where I discovered and explored my connection to the world was Vista Caballo, a leadership development center for conscious leaders based in Dove Creek, Colorado. With the help of technology and online and offline courses, we were guided toward personal transformation, and able to use our unique gifts to help advance humanity towards a healthier planet. This was one experience that I consciously invested in, and which has been instrumental in the unstoppable intensity I experience today.
Seizing success in the present moment does not only have a profound effect on your well-being and fulfillment — it also correlates to success in business. And as a leader, the success spreads to others.
In my role as CEO of Dhana Inc., I’m responsible for the hiring process — be it employees, consultants, or outside expertise. It’s essential — if not vital — to tune in to the interviewee and listen without interpretation to what the person is saying in response to a question or comment. You need to gather what motivates the person, how that person connects with people and the planet and how they want to be a part of the solution. They need to suggest how they will drive change and be a force for good. This is only achieved by being present, genuinely attentive, and listening without comparison.
Listening to answers while being totally present is equally important to asking the questions. Without this presence, I wouldn’t find talented individuals who perfectly align with Dhana’s mission and values. I would be caught in a trap, as many are, of asking questions that tick off a checkmark list in comparison to other candidates.
The Dhana team today is made up of one of the most talented, committed, and conscious people who believe that fashion can unite humanity as well as tackle climate change, and promote sustainable and a regenerative Earth. As we travel this journey called life, and reinvent ourselves, every step of the way, I’m forever grateful to have found success in the present moment.