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Conscious love, conscious business, conscious spirituality! In this episode, I had the privilege of interviewing Tami Simon, the brilliant, soulful and very authentic CEO of Sounds True; the world’s largest living library of transformational teachings to support and accelerate spiritual awakening and personal transformation. For me, this stunning interview was a spiritual experience. Not to be missed!
Table of Contents
- Realizing The Desire Of Sharing Spiritual Teachings
- Opening The Door To Financial Abundance
- Stepping Into The Magic Of Life
- Inner MBA Program
Love, Spirit And The Entrepreneur’s Journey: An Interview With Tami Simon
Conscious love, conscious business, conscious spirituality. Today, I’m so excited to be interviewing Tami Simon. The brilliant, soulful and very authentic CEO of Sounds True, which is the world’s largest living library of transformational teachings to support and accelerate spiritual awakening and personal transformation. Stay tuned to this episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.
Hello, everybody and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page. I’m a psychotherapist. I’m the author of Deeper Dating and the Co-Founder of DeeperDating.com. In this podcast, I’m going to share with you the greatest tools and the greatest voices of wisdom that I know to help you find love, keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process, because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love, and those are the greatest skills of all for a happy life. If you want to learn more or join my mailing list, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com.
Today, I am so excited to be interviewing Tami Simon about the intersection of love, entrepreneurship, spirituality and business. Tami is the Founder of Sounds True, which is a multimedia publisher based in Boulder, Colorado. Tami started Sounds True in 1985 at the age of 22 with a clear purpose, to disseminate spiritual wisdom. Over its 36-year history, Sounds True has produced over 3,000 learning programs with the world’s leading wisdom teachers. It’s been twice named to the Inc. 500 list of the fastest growing private companies in North America. Tami also hosts the Sounds True Podcast: Insights at the Edge, which has been downloaded more than twenty million times. She’s also the Founder of Sounds True’s Inner MBA Program, which is now in its second year. It’s a nine-month immersion program that trains entrepreneurs, managers and employees on the inner wisdom skills needed for outer business success. Tami lives in Boulder, Colorado with her partner of twenty-plus years, Julie Kramer, and their two spoodles, Raspberry and Beulah. Tami is a true teacher of spirituality, wisdom, entrepreneurship, decency and integrity. I love her and I love her work. I’m so excited to be interviewing her.
Tami, it is so good to be with you. Welcome and thank you for taking the time to be here on this podcast.
It’s wonderful to be with you, Ken.
Thank you so much. You’re someone I have looked up to for a really long time and I have seen you as a visionary in what you do in the world. God knows, I have listened to the recordings of Sounds True and sent them to people I love. Numerous people who have been through surgery have been through the visualization tapes that I’ve gotten again and again from you, for people that I love. The work that you do is very inspiring on so many levels, and I’m excited to talk with you about entrepreneurship, love and intimacy.
You’re bringing up my favorite topics all in one sentence.
Oh, good, good, good. Yeah, because you live those things and so many people I know are entrepreneurs or really trying to create their own vision of what they want to contribute to the world and care deeply about love. I would just love to start hearing about your journey, your love journey, your intimacy journey, your entrepreneurship journey, your Sounds True journey, and how all of those have woven together. I know that’s big but I’d love to hear about it.
Love, intimacy, and entrepreneurship come from a lot of pain, anguish, and alienation.CLICK TO TWEETThat’s okay. Well, you know, the truth is it comes from a lot of pain, anguish and alienation. That’s the starting point for all of these beautiful things, love, intimacy and really entrepreneurship. That word makes it sound maybe bigger than what it feels like inside. What it feels like inside of me is being creative, giving to other people, making enough money to support myself, sharing my gifts with the world, really. That’s what it means to me. I think, the reason I say it comes from a lot of anguish and alienation is I grew up feeling kind of like I’d landed here from another planet and I wasn’t quite sure I belonged. I didn’t feel necessarily like I belonged in my family, and I certainly didn’t feel like I belonged as part of the human race, a race that I saw heading swiftly to destruction, and treating the way humans treated each other, which I thought was at such a gross level of existence. I was a very sensitive and idealistic young person.
I wasn’t quite sure, actually, I would have a place here, a place on Earth, and it started with being drawn to philosophy. I wanted to make sense of things and then that turned into religious studies because at least that’s direct. It’s about personal revelatory experience. I was searching, searching, searching. What I didn’t know is that I was actually searching for, are you ready for this, connection. Connection with other people, connection with my own body, and in connecting with my own body, connecting with a lot of very intense emotions that as a young person, I didn’t even know how to turn towards and be with. In some ways, my whole spiritual search was just a way to be at home in my body through meditation with intense emotions. I would say, I became an “entrepreneur,” to use your word, primarily because I was completely unemployable.
There’s a lot here, Ken, but you know, I dropped out of college. I went to India to study meditation for a year. I traveled through Sri Lanka and Nepal. I committed myself to bringing these internal practices, which helped me feel connected inside myself for the first time in my life. I committed to bringing those to as many people as possible. I wasn’t particularly interested in starting a business. It took me years before I even realized I was in business. I wanted to help bring inner connective practices to other people because I felt like they had saved my own life. Then in my journey as a lover, I came out as a lesbian in my early twenties and had painful relationships really until I was 39 years old. I met the woman that I’ve been with for the last twenty years, a woman named Julie Kramer. I think there was so much deep healing I first had to go through on my own to even be ready for that kind of partnership. Then that partnership has been the greatest source of healing in my life, and has given me so much energy and inspiration for my work. I think of it as a reservoir, and my work comes from that reservoir of energy and goodness and overflow that can go towards others.
Thank you for your deep honesty and truth-telling. There are about a million points that I relate to you on, and I have a number of questions but I just want to start with one from what you shared. Could you tell me, can you tell us about the moment that you realized that that was going to be what you wanted to do? How that happened that you realized that that was what you wanted to do, was to share these teachings?
Realizing The Desire Of Sharing Spiritual Teachings
Sure. Well, I left college really on a search, and when I went to Sri Lanka originally, I was introduced to meditation in a ten-day bootcamp style with someone named S. N. Goenka who’s a Burmese meditation master. He was teaching in-person. For people who know of his work, it’s kind of a big deal because he’s such a legendary figure. There he was. Ten days you wake up at 5:00 in the morning and you go to sleep at 10:00 PM, and you meditate all day for ten days in what’s known as noble silence. You’re not speaking at all during this ten-day period. At the end of my first ten-day retreat, it’s kind of like the lights went on inside me, in a way, for the first time. Afterwards, I went and I spoke to a professor. I was staying at his home. He had been at Swarthmore College one year on a Fulbright scholarship.
When he left with his family, I left with him to go to Sri Lanka, but he looked at me when I come out of the ten-day retreat and he said, “Your eyes look so different, Tami. There’s suddenly this kind of light in them that I always knew was there, but now I can see it and feel it and sense it,” and I could feel that inside myself. I don’t really know how else to describe it but it was a quality of homecoming and the lights going on. Then I decided I want to do another one of these ten-day retreats so I’m going to travel up to Goenka Center in India. As I was traveling, I stopped at various Buddhist temples on the way, and this is to answer your question.
What I found myself doing was lying in the dirt at these temples outside, and they would have these full moon ceremonies so people would stay up all night and chant at various temples. I would lie down in the dirt with my arms outstretched in a full prostration and said, “I give my life to these teachings. I give my whole life to it. This is it. Everything I have. All the cells in my body, may you be used in service of bringing as many people as possible to this type of inner discovery.” It started with those kinds of prayers but of course, that’s not a business. That’s a 21-year-old kid lying in the dirt in India, praying. You know what I mean.
I just have to back up here for a minute and say that that is incredibly beautiful and incredibly personal, and thank you for sharing it. It’s very moving.
That’s when you learn a little bit about my heart and the kind of gonzo nature of my heart that that’s what was in me, but I had no idea what that might look like. When I came back from my travels in India, my parents were like, “Now it’s time to get a college degree, right? Game over. Adventure is over.” I wasn’t able to get a college degree. It didn’t make sense to me to pursue an academic path. They said, “We’re not going to support you anymore.” I said, “Make sense. Why should you support me? I’ll go get a job.” I started volunteering at the same time that I was working at a Chinese restaurant. I started volunteering for the local community radio station because I wanted to interview spiritual teachers to try to understand what happened to me.
I wanted to get a sense of where am I on this journey. “What’s going on? I feel so different. I feel like I’ve been rewired. I don’t even know myself. I’ve entered a different sense of time, a different sense of priorities. I don’t know who I am. Help me.” I wanted to talk to spiritual teachers and I wanted to keep getting an education, just not an academic education. One of the people that I was interviewing, and this is really interesting because it ended up that he is a very successful businessman. At the time, with this community radio station volunteer show, I was interviewing him of all things about crystals, because he had these huge crystals. We’re talking like 1.5 foot tall and 10 inches wide in his window, and I would walk by them all the time on my way to the radio station.
He also had a yin yang symbol, you ready for this, with a dollar sign in the center. I was like, “What’s going on?” He said, “It’s a transformational economy.” I’m like, “What’s the yin yang sign with the dollar symbol in these crystals? What’s going on with this person? I want to talk to him. I’ll interview him for my radio show.” He and I are getting to know each other, and in the course of getting to know each other, preparing for the interview, my father passes away. My father died when I was 21 and when he died, I received a small inheritance, which was about $50,000. I said to this gentleman, “I’ve now received this inheritance and I don’t know what to do with it. I don’t know what to do with this money. You seem to know a lot about transformational economy. What should I do? I’m looking for some advice? What should I do with this money?” He said, “Why don’t you put it into yourself?” I was like, “Really good idea, but what are me and my bad self going to do with that? We don’t know.”
All the multiplicities of me, “What are we going to do with this money? I don’t know.” He just looked at me and he said, “Tami, come back in three days and we’ll talk about it. I have a feeling you know what you want to do.” I was like, “Okay, I’ll come back in three days and talk to you again.” I walked out of his office and Ken, you know things like this happen. It happened to me. You know, you hear stories like this so this is my story. I walk out of his office and suddenly, I started feeling quite odd like I was walking a few feet above the ground. That was, first of all, something that I’d never experienced. I was like, “This is really weird. I feel like I’m walking on air.” It’s a really weird feeling. Then I heard a voice and of course, I don’t know where it came from. It was an inner voice or what, and I heard the words, “disseminate spiritual wisdom.” Those three words. Then my feet hit the ground. I started walking and I started thinking about it and how I might be able to do that. It was from that experience that Sounds True was born.
Wow. I don’t really have a lot of words for that. That’s incredibly beautiful and powerful in its own entity, its own entity of truth. Thank you so much for telling that story.
You know, there are so many things in life the older I get. I’m almost 60 now so I’m sharing with you something that happened 38 years ago, but there are so many things that are mysterious, and the older that I get, the more dimensions of intelligence that I see operating in my own life. Like I think so often that what’s happening is what Tami Simon, the embodied ego person, is thinking about. I think it’s so much more complicated than that. There are so many more factors, and quite honestly, there’s so much more support for us when we’re in a place of deep sincerity and service and open-heartedness. There’s so much support that wants to collaborate and work with us. That’s really been my experience, and the older I get, the clearer it is to me.
How beautiful. I would like to ask you about that and again, I’m kind of putting aside about a million shared stories and other questions, but I want to follow this thread that feels so significant to me. For everybody who is listening to this episode who is thinking, “I would like to enlist that shared support in my search for a loving relationship,” or “I would like to enlist that support in my search to be able to have financial abundance or both.” Can you talk to us about what opens that door?
Opening The Door To Financial Abundance
Yeah. Well, this is what I’ve come to see at this moment in time and it’s about our life being for others. We think we want these things for ourselves, and I think when we have that kind of viewpoint, if that’s what’s leading the charge, I don’t think that evokes the same kind of magic if you will, as when we devote ourselves to other humans, just to others, to life. When we say, “I am here as a servant. I’m here. I want to bring love into my life so I can really love someone, so I can give all that I have to give,” which is a little different than, “So that this person will admire me and do all these things for me.”
A healthy partnership can be your greatest source of healing, energy, and inspiration for your work.CLICK TO TWEETIt’s like, “I want a creative business life where I’m bringing my best talents to lift up our suffering world in every way I can. I want to bring so much value to other people. I want to deliver value, value, value to others in the ways that are most meaningful, that lights me up and where I see other people come alive from my generosity.” I think when we lead with that kind of spirit, and not just in words, it’s actions. It’s actions we take every day to go out of our way for other people, really. I think when we do that, we become so magnetic. You know, you can’t keep people or projects away from us.
Two questions here. One question is what about the people who are listening and saying, “I give, I give, I give, I give, I give, I give but I’m still not in a relationship. I’m in a relationship with people who I give to” or “I give, I give, I give but I’m not making much money.” They say, “Yeah, I love that service concept but there’s a depletion that comes because I’m not taking. I’m not receiving.”
Well, you have to give to yourself too. You’re a part of the equation, and so it’s not just out there. There has to be a sense of energetic balance in the whole thing.
Which is where your journey started with someone saying you should give to you. That was kind of the first step there.
Yeah. Treat yourself like the number one person you’re responsible for, but that’s still a different lens that I think a lot of times, especially when people approach business, they are really looking at the financial gain picture that is leading the picture. I just don’t think that works if you’re trying to create a business with soul. If you’re trying to create a business that you know is filled with goodness and meaning, I don’t think that can come first. I think the value you’re bringing to other people comes first.
I’m trying to not make it quite the same in the relationship world because I don’t think necessarily the business and the relationship thing are you know. I haven’t thought about that this much, Ken, so I don’t want to just group them together. That feels very clear to me in the business world. In the relationship world, what I see is just an infinity symbol, and this notion of utter reciprocity and generosity between you and another person where the outpouring of that is something that benefits your community. I can feel that. That makes sense to me.
In a sense, I see the connection between those being, that it’s about being in a state where you’re caring about love. Like when you’re in that place that you are caring about love, that is what you’re thinking about, and that’s what matters to you, that space makes all the difference I guess in both arenas, really. I know for me, my story is so similar to your story in so many ways. From growing up queer to a lot of pain, leading to a spiritual search and a spiritual path that I started in high school with a guru whose name is Yogananda, who has been my guru since I was like seventeen years old. Not really fitting into the college world or the academic world and kind of the importance of spirituality, and then really struggling with finding a relationship, and then finding it really late.
So many deep connections, but I know that for me, which I think relates to what you’re saying. When I was in the place of looking, looking, looking, there was an emptiness inside. There was a stillness. Not a good stillness, an empty stillness inside of me, and when my longing for the reciprocity of love became the most important thing, well, there was a lot of pain with that, but that reciprocity of love, that was the thing that mattered the most, and that’s what changed things. I think that’s the key.
Another big thing occurs to me, Ken, which is we’ve kind of placed the listener into this special like, “I’m going to magnetize. I’m going to manifest. I’m going to manifest the love in my life and I’m going to manifest the business thing in my life.” To be honest, I think that’s not how I see stuff, and I actually think it’s a little bit of an egoic overlay that we’re putting on the magic of life.
Oh, how beautiful.
If it’s more like the magic of life will deliver life through me, it will bring all the partners that I need. It will bring the email connections. It will bring the investors. It will bring the friends because life itself is teeming with intelligence and wanting to be in this gorgeous dialogue. My job is to be a patient participant, and to give what I have, but it’s not like it’s my show. You know what I mean. It’s more like I’m in a show and I’m listening and I’m looking and I’m seeing what has to happen. You know, there’s a teaching from Thich Nhat Hanh that has to do with things happen when conditions are sufficient. Conditions are sometimes sufficient not on our timetable.
For example, with Sounds True, I have been on this journey for 37 years now. It’s not like it was so profitable for the first X number of years, but it was the thing that was right for me to do and I knew that. I wasn’t going to waiver from it like, “Oh, it hasn’t made this amount of return in this amount of time. I guess, I’ll hop to a different career.” I was like, “No, that’s not how the great mystics thought when they were creating a hermitage. They did it in a devotional style and how long might it take for this partner, for conditions to become sufficient for this person to come? We don’t know.” I look at it more like being a participant in a magical, creative, brilliant, sparkling world, and things happen when they happen.
You know, usually, I have a lot to say but I find myself being completely silent when you say things like that. Very beautiful, very powerful, and that was a gift. In my podcast, I usually try to take some moments that feel important and turn them into practices. I would love to do that with our listeners with what you just said. We get taught so often this kind of force thing about manifesting. They really does have this I quality and this struggle quality and a pain around it. What you just said is, this is how I’m experiencing what you said, what about if we do this differently? What about if we enter into the search for love, life, abundance, entrepreneurship and creation by saying, “I want to step into the magic of life?”
Stepping Into The Magic Of Life
That’s going to be the medium, stepping into the magic of life. I think of those kids who are really good with jump rope, that could just step into this amazing kind of jump rope thing. They know when to step in, but I would invite everybody now to take a moment and imagine what would that mean for you, and I’m going to do the same, to step into the magic of life and have that be the way we approach our search for a career, our search for love. What if we did it by stepping into the magic of life? I encourage people to pause the recording if you like. I’m going to take a moment, but I just think that that was pure magic and I adore it.
Well, also even this notion of stepping into it right here together, we could just fall into this very moment, which is this very moment right here. You and I, Ken, new friends. New friends who value each other and who see a kind of preciousness and this timing of the intersection of our lives together, whatever comes from it. We feel that, “Oh, my gosh,” wherever the listener is right now, right here, tuning into the quality of something like light in the room. What is light? What is it? Feeling or breathing, the miracle, the unbelievable savoring miracle of a full inhale, just take it in. Feel it, whatever part of your body, it touches your belly, your chest, your nose. I mean, this is exquisite.
You don’t need a partner or a business or anything out of this moment of the inhale, the top of the inhale, the fullness. How full we are each with life at the top of the inhale, bursting? Then the exhale itself, which is a huge release and letting go, and then the interesting space at the end of the exhale, which has a kind of openness to it, no boundaries to it. That’s just one conscious breath, savored, enjoyed, supremely delighted in. I think when we have this kind of spirit and we keep living with that sense of utter appreciation, and it can even be something hard you discover inside in your experience when you’re breathing. Even if you hit some heartache or something, even that has a richness and intensity, and it’s sort of deeply fascinating, even if it’s difficult, and sometimes it can be difficult, but I think when we have that kind of attitude and we’re in present time, that’s where there’s so much power to actually celebrate all that we already have right here.
May all the cells in our body serve others and bring them to inner discovery.CLICK TO TWEETWell, that was a beautiful spiritual ice cream sundae for everybody.
Yeah and I think sometimes, we have our ice cream sundaes and then we put them aside, and we’re like, “Now the search is back on and the me-show is back. Like, that’s great. That’s my spiritual sundae,” which is okay. I mean, that’s over here when I do my practices or whatever but then it’s up to me to manifest this thing. What I’m actually offering is this idea that we can live more like that, and when we do, we find really a lot of opportunities are naturally coming to us.
First of all, you become very magnetic. This is what I was saying to other people. If you’re like, “Well, people don’t seem very attracted to me or interested in me or dah, dah, dah.” Well, someone who’s in the present, who’s appreciating the sky, suddenly people are like, “I’d like to be sitting next to that person. I’d like to be in their presence, in the field of their being, because being around them is so calming. It’s so loving. It’s so warm. I love being near them.” I mean, we love being near people like that. I love being near people like that.
It’s almost like being next to a fire when it’s slightly cold out or something. You’re warmed by such a person. In terms of relationships, it’s a way that people just want to be around you. “I want to be around you.” Then I think in terms of creative business life, I know I love having people on our team who are very open. Their minds are open and they are really present because what I know happens is that the best ideas come from working with people like that. They listen, listen, listen and suddenly, they say this thing and I’m like, “That’s cool.” I know there’s kind of enough space for the good new stuff to come and be part of the conversation. We’re not just recycling what other companies have done and other people have done, because we’re looking outside in a desperate search to copy the moneymaker out there. No, we’re listening. What’s ours to do? What’s the part we can contribute? There’s an openness to receive that.
You’re listening for that magic and then when you hear it, you go with it.
Yeah. You can feel it.
You know, what this is leading me to think about too is humility because you have that spiritual ice cream sundae. You have the beautiful connection to magic and I know for myself, what’s so often follows this is this humbling experience of seeing my clay feet when it comes to love, when it comes to business, when it comes to whatever. I just want to say something about the magic of that too, right? Like you were talking about this beauty not just coming out of happiness and fun, but out of suffering as well. I think that manifestation approach doesn’t let us be humble and stop and say, “I feel broken here. I don’t feel ready here. I feel scared here.” That’s part of the magic too, and the way that you speak invites that as well. I just want to make room for that treasure of not knowing, that treasure of feeling lost, of being humbled by seeing where we are not ready for the next step yet, and holding that with cupped hands.
I hear what you’re saying. What occurs to me for a moment is something I learned from somebody I work with. This is somebody I’ve worked with now for the past six years. Her name is Sibyl. She has really powerful faith and trust, and she’s pretty gosh darn fearless when it comes to all the different projects that we’re doing at Sounds True. Many of which are very high risk and certainly might not work. I’ve been trying to understand, “How do you get this way? I want to get more of what you got. I want to have that kind of attitude.” She told me something. She’s like, “Look, Tami. I live by the 70/30 rule. The 70/30 rule is that I’m only responsible for 30% of what’s happening, and 70% of what’s happening is up to the universe. First of all, I’m only 30% here, and here’s the thing, I’m going to give 100% to my 30%. I’m going to give 100% to that, but I know I’m only responsible for 30% of what might happen.”
What happened for me after hearing this from her is I started looking at projects that way, and I just started thinking, “Okay, I’m going to give 100% to my part, to my 30%. I’m talking ‘business speak’ here, just kidding with you Ken.” It’s like, “Of course, I’m going to respond and dot my I’s and follow through.” When I get an idea then I say to somebody, “I’m going to send you this,” I do 100% but that’s only 30% of the equation, and the rest is this huge letting go. It’s this huge letting go. When the universe is ready, when conditions are sufficient, these things will happen. I’m not taking it on as it’s up to me. I just did my part. What I’ve watched is it works incredibly well. It takes a lot of the pressure off.
I get it. I instantly feel a relief of pressure, but tell me how it works well.
It works well because it opens the space for unforeseen things to happen because you’re like, “Okay, 70% of this. I’m going to follow these little breadcrumbs when I see them, because that’s how the universe is playing with me.” Now remember, the universe is alive. We’re not like in some dead world where we humans are. The whole thing, everything, all the air molecules, all the Earth molecules, all of the dimensions we can’t see. It’s all living, breathing, interacting, interacting with our thoughts and feelings, everything. This very alive universe is also, “Oh, okay.” It attunes us to that. I also think it gets us out of this good me, bad me. I’m here talking about humility. There’s the, “Look what I did. I magnetized my partner and I built this great successful company and sold it for XYZ.” The universe gets the credit for these things.
Yeah. I did my part and I played faithfully, and I did what I could. It’s naturally humbling in that sense, but it also gets us out of this self-flagellation that I think is so terrible like in terms of the timing of meeting a partner. Well, what if it’s like some problem you have? No. What if 70% is this universal timing thing? So relax about it in that sense.
Your 30% is to step into whatever it is that you’re learning, whatever is the magic that is possible, whatever the dance is that’s in front of you. I love that. I think that’s so big too because I think that people define their success with love based on, are they in a good relationship now? I don’t think it works that way. I mean, yes, that’s a big deal to be in a loving good relationship. It really is but so many of the skills of love are love itself, and if you’re learning those skills, you can’t determine the success of your journey by, do you have a partner right now?
Well, I’m going to say something weird, Ken. I haven’t said this to anybody but that’s okay. You know, I’ve been feeling very fortunate in my life about a couple of different things, and Julie, my wife, and I were talking about how we’re now, I’m using this as a metaphor so I’ll try to be quick here, but how we’re now working with a contractor that we really want to work with to do some remodeling in our house and how fortunate we are that he’s available next summer, because in Boulder right now, it’s very hard to get contractors. They’re booked out years in advance and everything. I thought to myself, “You know, like with so many things, we had to fire the old contractor that wasn’t working.”
The best ideas come from working with people whose minds are open and present.CLICK TO TWEETIt’s not so much like, “Okay, this person I just described to you that I work with.” I bless my lucky stars that I get to work with this woman named Sibyl. I feel so fortunate like how could the universe have brought me my business soulmate, if you will, like this? Oh, my God, and yet I had to break up with a couple of other people, previously, before Sibyl came on the scene, and breaking up with those other people was really hard. Business breakups are hard. I knew it wasn’t right, though I had to muster all my courage. I thought if anything, this is getting to my point here, the gratitude I have. I’m like, “God, I feel so lucky that I did the hard work of getting out of the situations that weren’t working.” Then the universe, over time as I grew, delivered something to me, but getting out of those previous situations was tough.
Oh, saying no is so hard and so liberating and so important, so thank you for making space for that too. Tami, you’ve shared all these practices and these concepts that are just delicious and powerful and revelatory. Can you talk a little bit about this Inner MBA Program that you have created for people who might want to learn more of these tools and really apply them?
Sure. Well, I think one of the things that are really important to me is that our work relationships, just like our intimate relationships, become part of our growth path as individuals. People often say that intimate relationships are the crucible for spiritual growth and development. True. Well, now we have these relationships with all these people we work with. They’re not our intimate love relationships. They’re our relationships at work. I have learned and grown so much from the people that I’ve worked with. I would go so far as to say that the workplace can be, and needs to be, a crucible for personal growth. The reason I say that is even for people who are maybe not signing on to say, “I want to do a lot of deep therapy work, et cetera.” They’re working with other people.
If you start creating that as the norm, for example, at Sounds True, we have a commitment. We are committed to grow and transform. It’s one of our core values. It’s part of what we’re doing. That means that we say things to other people like, “When you interact X, Y, Z way with me, it shuts me down in the meeting instead of creating an opening for me to bring forward my ideas,” or “Do you realize that that’s your own kind of fear of being left out that’s putting you into all these meetings that you don’t really need to be in? That may not be the best use of your time,” and so committing to the workplace being a place of personal growth is a really important idea to me and that’s because like you, I want people to grow.
I want to grow myself and I want other people to grow because I have a vision of a different kind of society where people have a different level of self-awareness and personal accountability and responsibility. I think the workplace can be that incubator. Knowing this and experimenting with this for many years at Sounds True, I started seeing what some of the core ideas were that really support that kind of growth and development. First of all, you have to have a level of self-awareness. You have to know that managing yourself is actually the most important job for anybody, whether you’re a manager of other people or not. That means managing your reactivity, starting to know your own mind and heart, the skills of emotional intelligence at work, how to have difficult conversations, how to speak from a place of vulnerability and listen deeply to other people, how to recognize the cognitive diversity that’s in the room, as well as all the other forms of diversity, visible and invisible, and what that means to let each person at work show up as a unique soul at work.
What is their unique perspective and how that’s what actually creates exceptional teamwork when the best is brought out at everybody, how to create that kind of psychological safety at work. I could keep going here, but you’re getting the notion. These are all of the skills that we decided to bake into the Inner MBA because unlike a traditional MBA that teaches you accounting, finance strategy, fundraising, etc., this teaches you how to grow as a person, knowing that the more you grow as an individual, you’ll be able to bring that to your workplace and grow with other people and grow your business too.
It’s so wonderful because then the skills of intimacy are the skills of a workplace and the skills of business, because all the skills you’re describing are the skills of intimacy.
I think the skills of intimacy become the skills in business, and we get a lot of reflections in our business world that help us also in our intimate relationships. I think too often in the past, the idea of a successful entrepreneur, first of all, only 4% of all businesses in the United States right now are run by women, have female CEOs. Most of the CEOs historically have been men, and after spending a bunch of time talking to many CEOs, I also discovered that a lot of them did not have what I would call very intimate relationships. Meaning they’re traveling 50 weeks who has time to be a husband or a father. That’s an old model, and I think it’s a model that actually doesn’t serve us as individuals, and I don’t think it serves our culture either because then you have children growing up without fathers because they’re gone out being the warrior making money.
For example, one of the things at Sounds True that’s been so important to us is to support mothers and fathers and having the time to be family people, to be with their families, to have flexible jobs where they can prioritize that. We want you to be family people. Don’t make those kinds of sacrifices for the corporation. We’re going to be fine. The more you are whole with your family, the more your creative heart will come to the company and that’s going to benefit our business. I think it’s important to have a different vision of success and I think that’s part of what the Inner MBA is about. It’s about creating businesses that say, “Yes, of course, we’re interested in financial flourishing but primarily, we’re interested in human flourishing.” Humans flourishing together.
Yes. That’s the principle that all of this radiates out from.
Yes and it’s a nine-month immersion training. We created online training in partnership with LinkedIn and then also Wisdom 2.0, which is an organization that brings together a conversation with technology leaders and wisdom leaders, and then also a division of NYU called MindfulNYU. We’ve all partnered together to create this nine-month online training, really to change the world of business so that business supports human growth, human flourishing, and becomes a force for good in the world with the goal, because once we have our hearts online, we want to bake that into everything we do at work. You know, what’s interesting is we’ve had a CEO storytelling track. We’ve had, for example, Rose Marcario, who’s the former CEO of Patagonia, a $1.5 billion company, Joey Bergstein the CEO of Seventh Generation, half billion dollar company, Eileen Fisher, half billion dollar company, Steve Macadam who’s been running a dual bottom line company, a manufacturing company called Enpro, a public company doing close to $2 billion in sales.
These principles and these ideas are not just for the feel good ice cream sundae spiritual teaching company of Sounds True. I’m going to remember that one. Meaning it’s not just this small little niche. Sure, niche businesses are great too but these ideas can scale and they will be the businesses of the future. You know, this is really interesting. It just happened today, Ken. Soren Gordhamer who’s the Founder of Wisdom 2.0, sent me a video clip from Mark Cuban, who’s one of the panelists on Shark Tank. Mark Cuban is saying, “It’s great to be an entrepreneur but you know what’s even greater? To be a compassion entrepreneur, where compassion is part of what you do at your company and for the world, and even the companies that are coming on Shark Tank, the companies that are being run by people in their 20s and 30s, there’s almost always a kind of give back component, and they’re looking to bake in this kind of a compassionate activity into the business itself.” This is also an emerging wave. We say at Sounds True, conscious business rising. It’s happening. It’s the future. It’s what customers will demand of businesses.
I think the research shows that if you’re going against the cultural current to go in this direction of compassion in the world of business, you need support, right? You need people who remind you and support you and have your back as you go against so much of the current in current business.
Yeah. I mean, there’s a lot at stake here too. What I mean by that is I think it’s pretty obvious that we’re in an urgent situation on the planet, and that this is going to take all of us collaborating with each other to create continuity for the human species in the next twenty-plus years. The whole idea that we can be, “Well, wait a second, wait a second. Business primarily has to be about this other thing.” Well, no, that’s not what time it is on planet earth. It’s a different time. It’s a time where all boats need to rise together. All of us need to rise together into a new connected, compassionate species for our continuation, and I think people are feeling it. I feel it.
Yes, you sure do and you reflect it and you radiate it. I think this opportunity to step into the magic is just something that you really, really convey, and it’s so exciting to think about that in our search for love and our search for success in our life and abundance. I experience such a deep welcome from you in that direction.
I’m going to say something, Ken, a little bit because I noticed when you say step into the magic, there’s a moment where I say, “I’d like to say it differently.” Be the magic. I’m sorry. I’m not trying to split hairs or anything but I think the language is important because step into the magic, it’s almost like there’s this mat, there’s you over here and you’re not it. You’re the confused person, the seeking person, the person who wants more money and more love now, et cetera, and then you can step into this magic. What I’m saying actually is you are the magic. You’re breathing. You’re magical right now because you’re alive. You’re an alive interconnected part of this huge web of being. You’re it. You’re the magic. That’s almost like just coming to that recognition. That’s it.
Relationships are the crucible for spiritual growth and development.CLICK TO TWEETThat’s the stepping into it. That’s like stepping into yourself. I guess it’s like saying yes in a way, saying yes to an invitation.
Yes. You know, part of me is like, “Oh, my God. When did I become like the unicorn rainbow person?” Like I’m on the back of a unicorn and a rainbow. Be the magic, you know.
No, no, no, I’m sorry. This is hard work. This is real stuff.
It is real stuff and it is 100% available to each and every one of us listening right now.
So beautiful. I was going to ask you if you had any closing words and those are gorgeous closing words. I think, Tami, you are an invitation to that.
Well, thank you. Thanks, Ken. You know, your warmth brings out my authenticity. What I would say to people listening is we can spend a lot of time in our skeptic mind. Believe me. I have a strong, rational skeptic mind. I have my whole life and there’s a healthiness in that, but if you are a good, healthy skeptic, you want to experiment and see what the results are of experimentation, and let the experiments give you feedback. Experiment with relishing the present moment being the magic and see what happens. Just do it for a while and see what happens. See what happens in your connections with other people. See what happens in your creative life, in your generative life. Experiment with it.
This is such a message, such an invitation and I think that applies everywhere. Like I said, I think you are that invitation and I feel it. I just love this and it’s playtime, everybody. We get to play with that invitation. Tami, can you tell people how they can learn more from you? How they could learn more about the Inner MBA Program? How they can learn more about Sounds True? How they can follow you, et cetera?
Come visit us at SoundsTrue.com. It’s all there and the Inner MBA Program has a special URL as well in our InnerMBAProgram.com. Come check us out. Lots of free resources. We’d love to have you come be part of Sounds True. There’s a place where you can join our email list and then you’ll find out all the things that are happening all the time.
Tami, thank you so much for living what matters so much to you and this was just a joy. This was one of the most wonderful interviews that I feel like I’ve ever done. Thank you so much for being here.
Thanks, Ken. Thank you. Thanks, everyone.
Thank you, everyone and we’ll see you on the next episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.
Watch the episode here:
- Deeper Dating
- Tami Simon
- Sounds True Podcast: Insights at the Edge
- N. Goenka
- Thich Nhat Hanh
About Tami Simon
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