Profit with Presence
Mindful Leadership Blog

Mindful Leadership Definitions: What the Mindful CEO Is and Is Not

Feb 14, 2023

The ways in which mindfulness is good for business are well-documented, but practically speaking, what does mindful leadership look like?

What the mindful CEO is

The benefits of mindfulness are important for everyone in the company, however it’s especially important for the CEO and members of the executive team. Mindful CEOs, leaders, or professionals have the following characteristics:


  • They are present and mindful and know their purpose.
  • They create clarity, vision, intention, commitment, and habits around things that matter for themselves, their families, and their organization.
  • They reside in and show up with Presence, take appropriate actions from looking within for guidance, and detach from results.
  • To them, profits are important but not the purpose of their life or organization.
  • They take responsibility, practice nonjudgment and compassion, and foster relationships through service, the integrity of their word, and listening to others.
  • They stay in Flow, both with a regular routine supporting these principles and by staying connected to others.
  • They create affluence for their families, organization, shareholders, executives, and employees (as applicable) to improve their lives and influence others in a meaningful way.
  • They are grateful, give generously, and serve others and their communities while accepting what is without resistance or complaint. 
  • They take everything impersonally, let life flow through them, realize they know very little absolutely, and are genuinely curious.
  • They do not require perfection in these things from themselves or others, but they have these principles, or similar ones, as a paramount intention.
  • They keep these standards as ideals to work toward as they move through the world and complete their journey.


What the mindful CEO is not

I’ve been around many transformational leaders and high-level CEOs who’ve taught me a lot. I have also witnessed their blind spots to various degrees, despite their high levels of awareness in other areas.

Far from taking that to mean they’re not extraordinary and present, I take it to mean they’re human and not perfect. They are as close to being Enlightened as I have seen for householders with responsibilities in the world (i.e., excluding renunciants). They are searching for the important balance between the spiritual and material worlds, and I applaud them.


They’ve also taught me what mindful leadership (for most of us) is not:


  • Perfect
  • In a state of Presence 24/7
  • Void of material possessions


This may be a relief for you; I know it was for me. Keep your intention, do your best, and practice compassion for yourself when you fall short—and you will because you’re human.

The mindful leader makes a series of mindful choices and if they result in errors, fixes them when possible. They are not perfect but endeavor to do the right thing in each moment. When the moments are added up, it makes a meaningful difference for the leader, their family, organization, community, and the world.

I wrote a book, Profit with Presence: The 12 Pillars of Mindful Leadership, which goes in to further detail about this topic and more.

Although the world is currently abuzz with the term “mindfulness,” some believe mindfulness is a fringe activity to be practiced before or after the workday, if at all. Too few business professionals take the time needed to be present and aware throughout the workday, which is counterproductive. Mindfulness is not only a path to personal success, but a sound business strategy.  

My hope is to positively impact the world through infusing more mindfulness into business -- and it starts with each of us individually. Together, we can create a future where mindfulness is deeply embedded in our work culture, leading to greater well-being, productivity, and meaningful success for all.

- Dr Eric Holsapple


Get my free mindfulness resources here

Learn more about my book, Profit with Presence: The 12 Pillars of Mindful Leadership here

Check out the Profit with Presence Podcast Miniseries here

Watch videos on YouTube here

Learn more about my nonprofit, Living in the Gap, here


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