The Mindful Business Strategy with Dr. Eric Holsapple

Reading Time: 18 Minutes

In this episode with Dr. Eric Holsapple we discuss the importance of mindfulness and purpose and the impact it can have on your business.

Takeaways We Learned from Eric…

Be present in the moment.

Be with whoever you’re with or whatever you’re doing at the moment, not distracted and something else that you’re going to be doing later on, or something you did before, but just to be there where you are?

Start with gratitude.

That is the number one easy,  few minutes, just to change your mindset.

Mindfulness doesn’t have to take up a lot of time.

It can be started in as little as a couple of minutes a day.

Mindfulness can help in corporate settings.

It can make a real difference in a corporate setting, because we’re so starved for nature, and you know, getting outside and some of the things that help us be more mindful.

Mindfulness can lead to personal transformation.

It was like I had become detached from my body. It got me back in tune with my body had helped everything from my diet, to my exercise to my mindset to my stress levels.

One person can change the world.

It was the first time I saw one person change the world. He just changed. He just opened up and was more open.

Meaningful life.

It often comes down to family and relationships.

Key to happiness.

Long-term relationships are the number one thing that leads to happiness.

The pillars of mindset.

Being in a state of gratitude and happiness now, rather than waiting for something to happen in the future.

About Dr. Eric Holsapple

Eric was a tough entrepreneur and real estate CEO, yet he was overweight, angry, and frustrated in his personal life. His real success began when he learned a new way to lead and succeed in business: one anchored in mindful presence, peace of mind, and gratitude, without sacrificing profits or performance. This led to him founding Living In The Gap, where he educates business professionals, entrepreneurs, and CEOs on principles of leadership and business growth that increase performance and productivity while lowering stress levels.

Read the Transcript

Allison: Welcome back to the Deliberate Leaders podcast. I am your host and Executive Business Coach Allison Dunn. Our topic today is the mindful business strategy. Our guest is Dr. Eric Holsapple. Eric is the upcoming book author of Profits With Presents: The 12 Pillars of Mindful Leadership. According to Eric, he was a tough entrepreneur and a real estate CEO. Yet he was overweight, angry, frustrated in his personal life. His real success began when he learned a new way to lead and succeed in business, one anchored in mindful presence, peace of mind and gratitude without sacrificing profits or performance. This led to him founding Living in the Gap, where he educates business professionals, entrepreneurs and CEOs on principles of leadership and business growth, that increased performance productivity while lowering stress levels. Eric, thank you so much for joining us.

Eric: Thanks, Alli. Thank you for having me.

Allison: Absolutely. I love to kick these off with a deliberate conversation. What would be your number one leadership tip for our listeners?


My #1 leadership tip is to be present, be with whoever you’re with.

And with that, whatever you’re doing at the moment, not, you know, not distracted and something else that you’re going to be doing later on, or something you did before, but just to be there where you are?

Allison: Yeah, that’s a gift. I feel like as a humanity, we don’t always do very well. So that’s a great tip, thank you very much. Do you have a tip on how to make yourself present for during a time with someone?

Eric: Yeah, it takes practice. But, you know, the good news is, it doesn’t take hours, you know, or months in a monastery or, you know, hours contorted as a pretzel, you know, sitting in Lotus Pose, you know, it can be started in as little as a couple of minutes a day.

Start with an intention. Start with gratitude.

That is the number one easy, you know, few minute, just to change your mindset. And then from there, some breathing techniques or something if meditation is something that you’re willing to give a try to, it can be make a real difference in a corporate setting, because we’re so starved for nature, and you know, getting outside and some of the things that help us be more mindful. But if you do that group, just a couple of minutes to start with.

Allison: Fantastic. I think that I’m certain that many listeners can relate to where you came from in kind of where you are today. And I’m just curious, how did you get started in mindfulness? And when did that business connection happen for you?

Eric: Well, you know, as you said, in your intro, I was successful in business early on, I was a CEO in my 20s.

And in my early 30s, I just had an epiphany moment that said, Hey, you got to make some changes, you’re not going to be around very long.

You know, this, you’re successful by all outward means, but inside, you’re not, you know, you’re single, you’re drinking too much all those things. So I just made some changes, I left that job. I lost some weight. I started running again, I was an athlete, I hadn’t had an exercise in five years, got that going, met my now wife, I decided to go back to school to get a PhD in economics, I said, I need to find more purpose. I need, you know, business. I am good at it. But I’m not fulfilled.

In that journey, I found yoga and that was my first my first entry into mindfulness and it was like I had become detached from my body.

So it got me back in tune with my body had helped everything from my diet, to my exercise to my mindset to my stress levels. And then a year or two later, my older brother, who was a poet, and was kind of estranged from my dad, who was a football coach, introduced me to meditation. I watched him come back to my dad after about 10 years where they barely talked. And were they talk through me, you know, did you What did he say? No. And I watched my brother get closer and closer and closer, and he opened and my dad open. And it was like, we got our whole family back. And I said, Heck, yeah, I’ll try that. So it was the first time I saw one person change the world. You know, he was he just changed. He just opened up and was more open.

And so I tried it. It was a mediately I took it was a game changer. Although I was a closet meditator for years. I just did it myself. I didn’t like tell people I was doing it or just did it myself.

I just changed and I became someone that was more approachable and be People would come to me with problems and things, and I would introduce them at work, you know, we’ll try this, we’ll try this. And we started a C group at work. And for I knew that the room was full and company changed this mission statement or vision statement to mindfully creating community.

And later I started offering to others, you know, through living in the gap, because I just saw a tremendous difference that it makes, never have never had, I see it makes somebody less successful in business, some become more focused, you know, more family oriented, more community oriented, and more like somebody people wanted to do business with.

Allison: I think that what you’re possibly leading to is that mindfulness and meditation and being mindful about your strategies, does actually improve the business.

Eric: You know, I hear so many in the business community tell me, you know, that’s woowoo, you know, it’s so soft and time consuming. Gosh, maybe someday, you know, when I get retired, I’ll take that up. And I say, you got it wrong. You know, woowoo is the current state of the world, divided, distracted, gridlocked, you know, can’t agree on anything.

Mindfulness is focus, and it’s focused with happiness. Now, not waiting, you know, we’ve been trained, we have to wait to a restraint, achieve these great things, and then we can be happy.

And my experience is we just, we just add more to the list. You know, we just want a bigger house and a third car, and another condo, we don’t, you know, rather than if we learned to be happy, now, I’m grateful now we can have those things, and enjoy the ride and be someone worth being with on the journey. You know, someone that’s worth working for? Makes people’s lives better not just makes profit, profits great, we need to make it but it’s not a purpose. You know, it’s a result of providing something meaningful.

Allison: Is there a, you know, I have the meditation apps that I use? Do you have one that you particularly love? Or do you have a practice that you’d suggest?

Eric: You know, I don’t use apps. But I have I know a lot of people in waterproofing that do. And I don’t have a problem with them, although I say, you know, use of whatever it takes to get started. But they’re like training wheels, eventually, I want to be able to do it without the app. So even if I use an app, I’d say, you know, do a few minutes before a few minutes after without the app, because what I want to happen, it’s like the stimulus response, I don’t want to have to be in a certain environment, to have that happen, what I want to have happen with me, and what does happen with me, not all the time, but often, is, when I get in a stressful situation, I just start noticing my breath and noticing my body and notice and then from there says, I can handle anything.

You know, rather than just going up in this bundle of thoughts in my mind, which is where stress and anxiety reside. So I don’t have a problem with apps and I see whatever it takes to get started, do it. But then try to as you get going with it, try to wean yourself off. And you can always use them some, it’s fine, but also do some meditation, eventually, at least, where it’s just you and nothing. Yeah, you know that you’re just there so that you’re training your body, when the stress comes, you’re residing in your body, you’re residing in your breath, you’re residing in presence. And from there, from that perspective, problems get a lot smaller.

Allison: Well, apparently, I need to take my training wheels off, I have relied, I’ve relied on an app, Calm, and I’m probably in my lane here. And it is a habit that I have created. I rely on. Like, that’s the time I select. And that’s what I do. And it’s the tool to get me there sound.

Eric: Well, don’t judge yourself. So, so what I would say is just like when your app is finished, keep going for two minutes. And then maybe, you know, do that for a while and then maybe one day a week, try it without and when you try without go with go for two minutes and two, five, don’t. You know, whatever it is, it’s a little tiny thing over a long period of time with consistency. But if it I would say to somebody if the only way you can do it was with an app, do the app. So much better. I mean, that’d be a million times better than not doing it all.

Allison: I don’t know that I can’t do it without it. It’s Is that has been my practice to create a practice of having.

Eric: It’s worked? Yeah. You know? And then so I’d say from here, I always say they’re all it’s all a process. So from here, what can you see? You know, now you’ve got there, which was better than what better? We’re not supposed to say that word mindfulness, but different than where you were eight years ago. So now what can you What can you see from there? So I would say, and if you do it just we knit small, and that you always use an app? Some I don’t see any problem with that at all. It also the other difference is, you know, I’m old. I’m not a tech dog. I’m not wired for technology, like, you know, young ladies, like yourself are more wired for that than I am I you know, I have trouble getting a TV turned on.

Allison: I’m Eric, can you share with us? I mean, the, you know, the name of your company is brilliance, I can assume what it means. But would you share what living in the gap means for you?

Eric: Well, there’s a lot of gaps. The first one of the primary one is a little gap between thoughts like when one thought stops, before another one starts, or a gap between thoughts and who I am, where are my consciousness is because I find that joy and happiness reside in the gap, that stress and anxiety reside in thought, it’s not what happens is what we think about what happened. I mean, life is a series of disasters. You know, at one level, there’s nice things that happened to but there’s all of us have, you know, there’s a series of things that happened to us and our friends and our loved ones. But if I can resign in those gaps, there’s also gaps between where I am and where I want to go. You know, and really getting flat with myself. And really where I am, I find so often it’s hard for us to really admit where we are.

But once we accept it, then we’re ready for real change. We’re open and we’re ready for real change. And then we see from there, we set a nice vision of where we want to go. And that’s a gap. And that once we set those two points, it’s natural, that it’s a development line to fill that gap. So there’s a lot of different gaps. The main one is between thoughts. They’re just thoughts are not who we are. We have thoughts 6000 thoughts a day, they say a lot. Mostly repetitive. I don’t know about you, but all mine aren’t that helpful. They’re I mean, they’re, they’re there to try to help me. But in reality. I mean, what meditation does, or mindfulness does is let me choose which of those thoughts that I want to manifest. And which of those thoughts I want to just let go. Thanks for sharing. No, thanks. I’m not going there. Because, you know, I have a lot of unholy thoughts.

Allison: That’s funny. I don’t think I’ve ever shared this, please. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the keyboard. But like when you type something, or that you want to like you accidentally erase something like it’s Ctrl. Alt Delete? Yeah. It’s a function of a computer. And when I have unholy or unhelpful or negative, or non serving thoughts come through my head, I, in my head, say Ctrl, Alt Delete, like that.

Eric: Oh, perfect. That’s beautiful. That’s labeling something to have it go away.

Allison: Yeah. And it immediately gives me a reset of like, I can’t, I won’t even like linger as a pathway in my thinking. That was brilliant.

Eric: I would continue sharing that because you’ll help people, you know, label what you want to go away. You know?

Allison: Yep. Yeah, that’s super fun. So you have a new book that is coming out and profits with presents the 12 pillars of mindful leadership, are you willing to share some of the pillars that are nearest and dearest to you?

Eric: And there’s, there’s 12 pillars, there’s three or four that are foundational. The others are like mindsets. So pillar one is, you know, be present and practice mindfulness. It is a practice. I mean, in this day and age anyway, I mean, if we lived out in nature, maybe it would just come naturally. But we’ve spent most of us have spent a long time not being present. And most of the things in society are still wired not to be present. So in my experience, it takes a regular practice and an intention to be that so presence. And then I say, once you once you identify with that a little bit and have some practice, really work on what your purpose is, who you really are, what your values are. Why are you here? You know, people always say I can’t get motivated or I can’t get the team motivated. And I say, what’s your purpose? I find when people find their purpose, they pop out of bed.

You know, when they’re dragging when you’re dragging yourself work really have a lot of thought about, you know, is that really what you were born to do? You know, is it who you are and what you’re born to do. So purpose is really, really important. And I find there’s an inner purpose and an outer purpose. And then there’s more like discovering my presence and my consciousness. And then our purpose is what I’m doing, I’m doing a podcast, I’m playing baseball, I’m, you know, the CEO, whatever that is. But if I can bring presence to what I do, I’m very powerful. If I’m not there don’t really want to be there or not. Or if it’s not aligned with my skill set, it’s hard for me to be really present in an effective. But if I can get that alignment, I find that that makes a huge difference for performance. And that’s what your big performers are, they found that alignment. And then from there, I say, find clarity, vision, intention, commitment, and habits. That’s pillar three, clarity, clarity, vision, intention, commitment, and habits. So clarity is really, you know, mindfulness presence, finding your purpose that’s really summarizes that a lot of ways.

But from, I just find that most of us have a vision that was society gave us, our parents gave us a culture gave us. And it’s mostly to do with consuming things, producing things, consuming things, increasing gross domestic product, having high profits, you know, all those things, which none of them are bad, but they don’t give us purpose. So find out what you’re really what really meaning for you. And most people, you look behind, you know, look behind why you want those things. Well, it’s to be happy to feel like I’m in relationship, to feel connected rather than disconnected to be present. Is that why we want those things, but if we go about them not being present, we find we get those things, and we’re still not happy, we’re still dissatisfied, we’re still mean, look at the world. mean, it’s just not in a satisfied content place.

You know, it’s always more and more and there’s, I’m an economist, so I love economic development, because it brings more physical things. But you know, the science shows over about $80,000 people don’t get happier, they just get more things.

And I think that’s really a travesty. So really work on that vision is your unique vision. Most people I find it comes back to family and relationship.

Harvard just completed a study of 80 year study on that they had with a group and they said long term relationships with a number one thing to happiness, you know, and where are we going to get those? Well, they’re our family. Number one, we’re so busy running around trying to make money to provide for our family, we’re disconnected from our family. So we got to get straight with that. You know what our priorities are.

Intention is huge intention is what puts that vision in my daily action that I stopped wasting time I stopped going into the things I’m just I have an intention.

And then commitment and habits have to align. Because I make commitments, people make commitments all the time. But if they’re not in line with our habits, we can’t keep our commitments very long. So we’re about 95% stat show that we’re just the next habitual thing that we do. So we can split. The good news is we can create the habits we want little small things over a long period of time, create the habits that are aligned with my commitments, because things fall off, right, like holidays, sickness, pandemics, all these things happen, that I fall off my habits, then the commitment brings me back to my habits.

And then later I might have something where my commitment wanes a little bit that I’m distracted, what not my habits keep me going and bring me back. So they’re really a hand in glove phenomenon, commitments and habits, start noticing whether a disconnect, because it’s really tough to make progress. If those things aren’t in sync. The rest of the pillars are mostly around mindset around being in a state of mind being in gratitude, being in that state of mind and happiness and joy now not waiting to get somewhere and then say, and then I’ll be and then oh, and then I’ll go and I’ll work at the food bank. Oh, and then I’ll go and be this great person. Oh, and I’ll spend time with my kids. Well, your kids won’t even be there anymore. You know, they’re going to be somewhere else. So getting straight with those things and being that person that you think you’re going to be now in a nutshell.

Allison: Thank you for sharing those. I think that working with at least you know clients In friends and family purposes, always a very, sometimes challenging thing for people to identify in words. What do are you willing to share what your purpose is?

Eric: Sure. Okay, I think my purpose is to be present and to share presence with busy professionals. Okay, no, my purpose is number one is to be present. And to be here on this podcast right now, and when I’m done this to be what I’m doing then. And I just found for me and my unique you know, I’m, I’ve studied the Eastern traditions, I’ve studied the science or I love people a lot smarter than me. They can, they’re a lot better at English. And they’re a lot all those things. But where I have a niche, is I’m shown how to bring it in the business and between the four walls and make a difference in people’s lives still make a profit. And I think that’s what’s missing from capitalism. I love capitalism. I love business. I think a little more mindfulness would make it work for everybody, not just 10% or 1%, or whatever it is we’re doing, but it could really work for everybody. Yeah. I don’t think any of our problems are unsolvable. I really don’t.

Allison: I completely agree. Awesome. What’s, so if one of our listeners is struggling to identify, in their own words, what their purpose is, or maybe their company’s purpose, let’s say there’s organization and there’s purposes for the like inner self? What guidance would you give them to help them evolve to a point where they can articulate it and find that in their lives and in their businesses?

Eric: Number one would be to start some small mindfulness practices. So that you can make a separation between thought and what all culture has put into us and society in which your families told you should be doing and all those kinds of you know, I taught at University for 20 years at Colorado State, the business school, have taught I taught mostly seniors, they come to me time and again, you know, my, my favorite thing to do was help place them where do you fit? You know, where do you fit and accompany or whatever was my favorite thing? What do you what do you want to use while you’re here? Well, mom and dad said, I, they pay for it, if it was business or engineering, you know, but I needed to make sure I got that salary.

When I got out. I always say to him, You know what, it’s the salary than a stop mortgage. And as the family, you wake up, and you’re 50, spend a little time telling Mom and Dad, it’s your turn, to figure out what you want to do. Before you get on that treadmill, you know, so that it’s not just a blackout until you, you know, it turned to be 50 or 60. And you wake up and go, Oh, now second career, I can’t wait, let me add it, you know, so I would say start a little mindfulness, start having an intention to finding your purpose, start reading, you know, a little bit. And when you do any of those things, and a lot of people don’t read, I think that’s endemic of our focus, just start reading a page or two books or listen to Audible. Same of that, I’d say listen to Audible is great, but then work on reading a page or two, you know, to get back because it’s a great flow activity. And there’s just so much information, good information out there about positive development of people.

And you need to start filling yourself, I mean, meditation helps clear out the junk, clear out, you know, give you a clearing in which you can establish your purpose. And then if you want to start when you start figuring out who you want to be, you want to start filling your cup back up a little bit with, okay, I want to be a grateful person, I want to serve, you know, I want to make a little difference in the world. And by the way, I want to be the best damn dad, a kid is ever and I want to be the best at that. You know, and decide which of those. The other thing is it’s usually little, you know, little those little things that add up. Doesn’t have to be this big grand, I’m going to solve world hunger, you know, join the food bank, get started, you know, and if it works into that, awesome, but take those small little steps in.

For me, I discovered I had a soul. And that that could direct my life in every single step didn’t have to be for someone else’s approval. It could be you know, what I really felt what my core moral compass said was to do now and get over that we’re going to starve to death, you know, professionals in the west today.

I mean, I’m not saying there aren’t people going hungry, but it’s not usually the professionals that I’m dealing with. You can make some choices. You may have to make some tough choices. And it may be Eat down a little bit for it goes up. But you can make money at what you love to do. There’s a way usually there’s a long winded answer to a short question. Sorry.

Allison: Yeah, it’s an it was an important question. So I appreciate the, the insight into the answer. You have a beautiful soul. So I just want to position that. I appreciate what you’re, what you’re sharing. I want to make sure that people know when your book will be out where they can get it and how they can best follow you as well. Awesome.

Eric: Well, the book is available now on Amazon. It’ll ship in less than two weeks on March 7, it ships so you can get a copy there. It’s also available on our website. And that’s where you can find anything about me. Our workshops, we run a number of workshops. Right now we’re in an eight week corporate mindfulness program in northern Colorado in Denver. We have a 21 day free mindfulness sent email box 10 minutes a day. Some other free resources book lists, and we run our keynote thing is a nine month mindful leadership program runs in the fall of every year for nine months. And it’s a pretty deep dive.

But that’s what it takes, in my experience feels like why is it so long as it will set those habits that you want to take with you and find that vision takes a little bit of time. And it’s helpful to have a group to go with you so our website is living in the, living in the gap spelled It’s a 501 C three nonprofit. And we’re really up to change in the business conversation, to say to make it be more empowering, and have business take its seat at the table and say, Hey, we can solve these things. Let’s figure this out.

Allison: I love business for good ideas. So thank you so much for your time today and listeners. Hopefully you will head up to Amazon and pick up the book.

I'm Allison Dunn,

Your Business Executive Coach

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