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Mindfulness Is A Superpower That Enables Mental Hygiene – Exclusive Interview With Alex Bravo

Alex Bravo, Sr Director with strong business acumen, HBS Grad, and Certified Mindfulness Teacher who is disrupting the way Mindfulness programs are delivered in the Corporate Arena during these stressful times of economic uncertainties. Alex Bravo is disrupting the way Mindfulness Programs are delivered within the corporate arena. He is a Harvard Business School grad who combines + 22 years of experience as General Manager in the IT arena and Senior Director leading Innovation, Customer Experience, Transformation and large Operations teams for Fortune500 companies with +16 years of experience as Sr Executive Coach and Mindfulness Teacher. His background enables him to deliver a unique, pragmatical and very effective approach to deploying Mindfulness Programs. He has mastered to show the corporate arena what Mindfulness really looks like at the workplace with practical examples of traits, behaviors and results of leaders operating on an “auto-pilot mode” vs. operating on a “mindful mode.”

Alex Bravo, Sr Executive Coach and Mindfulness Teacher

Alex, the individuals and organizations that have participated on your Mindfulness programs normally highlight 3 facts:

  1. Your passion for Mindfulness at the workplace

  2. How powerful your personal story is

  3. How effective your programs are? Can you elaborate on these 3 topics?

Absolutely. I can not be more grateful with the individuals and organizations that have participated on our programs. Their stories, authenticity, vulnerability and trust are an extraordinary source of inspiration to me. It is true that every time I meet someone to explain the content and benefits of our Mindfulness programs I receive a great compliment on the passion that I show doing so. I believe that it has to do with different variables: the conviction that I have on Mindfulness benefits, my mission on spreading the message to the corporate arena that is ok not to be ok, and my personal story that took me to the Mindfulness path. Since I finished college, I was very determined to have a successful and thriving career. At the very beginning, I struggled with the fact that I was perceived as a very introverted professional and I had some issues accelerating my growth. That propelled me to search for an Executive Coach. One of my key lessons learned was that I didn’t have to change my essence to thrive. I just needed to explore some non-preferred traits in key moments. I mastered how to do it until I actually enjoyed exploring extroversion in very specific contexts and in addition, I became a Certified Executive Coach. My career was growing, and I kept receiving more responsibilities, lows and highs but in general, I was growing. I was not really aware about how stress was companioning me on the journey. I was getting things done, making them happen and hitting targets in my different roles, having influence beyond my team but the effort was more and more incremental. It was like having two jobs at the same time: the one outlined in my job description and the other trying to manage stress. The compliments, job titles and money were not enough anymore. I was not enjoying my career path. I was getting up from bed exhausted, gaining weight, started having health issues, striving to have a restful sleep and with a lot of concerns throughout the day. This was day after day. There was this night when I woke up around 3:00 am to start crying without knowing the exact reason. I just couldn’t stop crying and had issues to breath. Some weeks after I learned that it was a panic attack. That was the first time in my life that I had the courage to visit a psychiatrist. I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression and I was prescribed medication together with therapy. It was my psychiatrist who recommended me to get started with Mindfulness. I was not sure at the beginning but since the very first session I promised myself two things: Mindfulness would be part of my life forever and I would relentlessly disseminate its benefits specifically in the corporate arena to support leaders that may experience the same stress I did at some point. Today is just astonishing and tremendously exhilarating to be able to witness the personal transformation of so many leaders that have participated on our programs. The 85% Net Promoter Score we have in our programs is just fascinating and inspiring. One of the features that my clients really value is the fact that they can measure the progress and the effectiveness of the programs thanks to the tests that our participants complete before and after the program: Mindfulness questionnaire, The Wheel of life, a 360º assessment and customized KPI dashboard. The participants can expect an enhanced engagement, focus, communication, emotional intelligence, creativity, problem resolution, and reduction of stress and burnout. These benefits of individuals, also drive expectations to their organizations: an increase on the voice of employees (VOE), collective productivity, a decrease in absenteeism due to stress and also a decrease on other costs related to health care. What is the definition of Mindfulness that you disseminate in your programs? I share that is the practice of maintaining a nonjudgemental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, stories and sensations on a moment-to-moment basis. Braking down this definition we can note:

  1. Like any other practice it requires discipline.

  2. Our mind tends to judge everything too soon: “I like it,” “I don’t like it,” “this is good”, or “this is bad.” Adopting a nonjudgemental state of mind is critical within mindfulness practice.

  3. During our mindfulness programs I have asked the participants “when was the last time you truly paid attention to your thoughts, emotions, stories or body sensations?”. 50% of the participants have responded “I have never paid attention to them”; 40% of that population has added “I have always tried to block them or neglect them”

It is very important to note that disciplined meditation is the path to mindfulness. Why is it important to be a Mindful leader? I like to think about Mindfulness as a superpower that enables mental hygiene. I truly believe that the way we deal with our internal world defines everything: it defines how we show to ourselves, how we show to others, how we deal with stressors, how we solve problems, how we make decisions, how we lead, how we show care and how we love. We’ll always have two options: to operate on an “auto-pilot” mode or being able to operate on a “mindful mode” given the discipline of having mental hygiene. My experience has shown me that Mindful leaders are the ones with greater ability to have emotional intelligence, deliver psychological safety, and communicate, lead change, build relationships, create accountability, inspire others, develop talent and think critically effectively. At the same time, they are very successful in exploring self-awareness, self-regulation and self-compassion. What other programs are you currently offering to individuals and organizations? I have delivered executive coaching programs to individuals and groups for 16 years through Revelation 360 (my own coaching firm) incorporating different tools as part of the journey: 360º assessment, Myers Briggs Type Indicator, Harvard Career Leader Test, Find your Why methodology, and Fingerprint for Success. After becoming a Certified Mindfulness teacher I started offering “The 8 Week Mindfulness Program”, then I started also delivering “The Mindfulness at work program” and nowadays I’m integrating both disciplines (executive coaching & mindfulness) with very good results. In addition, I have recently become part of the extraordinary roster of HumanQ leadership coaches a Coaching Firm based in San Francisco, CA. After being a while in the executive coaching industry, I can tell that the 6 steps-proven framework that we use within the Group Coaching Tracks is truly unique and extremely effective.

Are you currently 100% dedicated to deliver Mindfulness and Executive Coaching programs?

Even when I’m very active in delivering Mindfulness and Executive Coaching programs, I’m still also active within the Corporate Arena. I’ve recently been appointed as Mexico Country Manager of Talan ‒ a French IT Consulting firm with a presence in 16 countries, 4,500 associates and certified as a Great Place to Work.

I really like this combination since it allows me to be effective at both worlds and have a broader impact. From an Executive Coach perspective, it really helps me to show rapport with my coachees. I can understand them because I face every single day the same challenges they do.

And finally, what are your next relevant events or projects?

There are exhilarating events and projects coming soon:

I’m thrilled for having been invited to join as a speaker at the Alumni Society’s ninth annual Leadership Summit in New York on June 22nd to talk about Mindfulness at the workplace.

In addition, I’m launching a new Mindfulness Program to support participants during these stressful times we’re living in the economic uncertainties, the job losses, the high achievers who are burning out, etc. My objective is to build the most active and vibrant community of leaders who practice Mindfulness.

Last but not least, continue partnering with Wellness Companies around the Globe to strengthen their Mindfulness value proposition. My mantra is Mindfulness delivered by business leaders.

Follow me on LinkedIn for more info!



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