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Mindful : October 2014
aspect to my life, and at a certain point I started feeling like something was wrong. I felt disconnected from myself, I felt separated from communities, f rom nature, and all of these things and it was unsettling. So I started looking for what I was missing. I think the first book I bought was Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind and I started reading it and I was like, “Whoa. There’s something here.” I was living in Germany at the time and was beginning to have a regular medita- tion practice. I could see how it was helping me professionally, too, in being more patient, being a better listener, being a better ma nager, and staying open to other peo- ple’s ideas. Prior to that point I would always be quick to say, “No, no, no—this is how it has to be!” I didn’t even realize I had that trait until I took a step back and took the time to look at it. So I saw the benefits firsthand. And it’s so funny, the more you practice, the more you see it out there in the world—people so impatient in lines, a nd I just felt more connected, solid, a nd happier. So how do you foster that in a rapidly growing, large organization where change and business demand is happening all the time. How do you foster that in Etsy? There are some very tangible things that we do to foster this. We have a learning and development team. We use expe- rienced coaches who are practitioners themselves. And we also have a space for it—we call it the Breathing Room. It’s not specifically for mindfulness meditation; the rules are basically: no digital devices and silence. People can go in there to read and think, but it was mostly the meditators in the company that pushed the Breathing Room project forward. We have regular group meditation times. We have instruction t wice a week. And you can go in there any time you want and just sit if that’s what you need to do. The way that you scale this in a fast growing organization is to give people the tools to do it and create the space for it, both literally and metaphorically. We wanted to create a culture that says, “Hey, this is cool to do this. Take the time, you don’t have to always be working. We want you to take care of yourself.” Once you create that culture, and give people the means, the desire might grow within the organization. It takes time to spark desire in people. Even if they get it a nd ca re about employ- ees’ well-being, ma ny people a re still kind of operating against a long prece- dent of a certain kind of business. They think, that’s good and great but I’ve got to optimize for conversion here, selling this many more units and you do have to consider that because it’s a business. And our business is the business of all these small businesses who depend on us economically. But I do think there’s a shift in consciousness that needs to happen and we have to focus on that just as much as giving people the tools to do business in other ways. So this is also why I like mindfulness, because it’s a reflective practice. It’s taking that time to look deeply into things, and hopefully foster that shift in consciousness that needs to happen. Does thinking differently create any kind of friction within Etsy itself or externally? The Etsy mission is “reimag ine com- merce.” We’re trying to change the way people do business, so it’s a pretty supportive environment. I’d say if there’s anything that ’s a challenge it’s: You look The Etsy Brand Etsy is helping to build a marketplace where self-sufficiency, durability, and happiness are the key measures of success. Mission The mission of Etsy is to reimagine commerce in ways that build a lasting and fulfilling world, by giving people the tools to make decisions in ways that minimize harm and maximize benefit for people and the planet. Values Mindful “Mindfulness applies to everything. We want to create mindful leaders and a mindful workspace. We are mindful of the relationship we have with our consumers, of one another, and with the planet. We want to be mindful of the ramifications of the decisions that we make.” Humane “If we make our customers successful, that makes us successful. If any one of our stakeholders fails, we all fail. If we make our planet successful, we all win. If we hurt it, we get hurt too. We think in this way of interdependence. We believe that our community, our customers, our peers, our financial stakeholders, and the planet are all partners in this enterprise.” Transparent “Etsy embraces transparency and real dialogue. We keep it real, always.” “We are mindful of the relationship we have with our consumers, one another, and with the planet, and our approach is that if any one of our stakeholders is failing, we’re all failing.” 42 mindful October 2014 business