When interviewing The LEGO Group Executive Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer Loren I. Shuster, it’s difficult to hold back the droves of questions about what it’s like working for one of the most innovative and globally successful companies on the planet. So, we didn’t. “It’s a wonderful company to work for,” says Loren, and that’s saying a lot considering his resume includes names like Google and Nokia.
To put into perspective, the joy LEGO brings worldwide, Loren tells us, “I travel a lot and I’m constantly going through immigration. Immigration officers aren’t known as the nicest people, but when they find out I work for LEGO, nine times out of ten I get a smile or someone tells me a personal story about how LEGO has affected their lives. It’s an amazing product to represent and be a part of.”
A Mindfulness Master
Loren’s job is to lead over 4,000 colleagues across the world to deliver the wonderful LEGO playsets we’ve all experienced in our lives. He travels a lot, is constantly in meetings, and motivates thousands of people in multiple offices around the world. And his secret is simply to live a mindful life.
“Mindfulness has been in my life for over eighteen years,” says Loren. “I’ve found it to be a foundational practice for maintaining a high level of general well-being.”'Mindfulness is the foundation of my physical and emotional well-being.' Click To Tweet
The Gift of Presence
For Loren, being mindful is what keeps him centered. He says it, “plays into my capacity to stay focused and stay present when I’m working.” This notion of being present isn’t something he takes lightly. “I’ve come to learn that as a leader, the greatest gift you can give a colleague is the quality of your presence,” he shares.
Whether it’s in a large meeting with multiple team members, or an intimate one-on-one conversation, Loren prides himself on showing wholeheartedly that he’s focused on what his colleagues are envisioning. This could be anything from personal challenges to general feelings, he says the important part is to, “build a connection and fellowship to energize them.”'the greatest gift you can give a colleague is the quality of your presence' Click To Tweet
Micro Mindfulness Moments
As one of LEGO’s international leaders, you can imagine how busy Loren’s day can get, but no matter how many meetings he has, he’s found a way to stay mindful throughout. “I have a lot of micro mindfulness moments,” he begins.
“For instance, when I’m going from one meeting to the next, I intentionally slow down my final five or ten steps before entering the room. I feel the sensation of the ground and I leave behind my previous meeting so I can connect with the next one. By the time I step into the room, I’ve gone through a transitional phase,” he says.'Mindfulness can cultivate some critical emotional intelligence skills.' Click To Tweet
Another secret micro mindfulness moment is when Loren finds himself getting distracted in meetings. “I centre myself by feeling the sensation of my feet in my shoes, my shoes on the floor, and that brings me back quickly,” he shares.
Name, Contain & Reframe
As a EVP and CCO, presenting is a major part of Loren’s job. At any given time, he’s leaving an impression on thousands of people’s minds. With that kind of daily pressure and responsibility, he’s also found that anxiety is normal.
But instead of giving into the anxiety, Loren has learned to channel it. “With presentation anxiety, first I name it. Putting a label on the emotion helps calm my nerves. Then I contain it, meaning I feel where my body is reacting like my jaw, or butterflies in my stomach. Finally, I reframe it and channel that energy to propel my voice with greater confidence.”
Practice Makes Perfect
Loren didn’t just wake up with all this mindfulness wisdom, it’s something he’s practiced for a long time and continues to practice every day. “I wake up at 5:30 and meditate for thirty minutes every day,” he tells us. “I learned that it controls my impulse to get anxious,” he shares.
He’s also journals regularly and finds that airplanes are the perfect environment. “I’ll journal when I’m on a plane, and it’s usually to reflect,” he says. “Usually it’s just a stream of consciousness. I’ll write whatever comes to mind.” But journaling doesn’t only come in the written form for Loren as he often draws pictures. “I learned that if you use pictures, it’s a way of circumventing the logical lines,” he explains.
Loren Shuster truly lives the The LEGO Group brand. He’s a curious creator who enjoys the playfulness in learning. He’s an incredible motivator, and he does so in such a way that inspires others to act in a similar manner. And by living and practicing a mindful lifestyle, he’s helped people, companies, and even immigration officers experience the joy of building.
Loren’s questions for the KYŌ App:
- What quality would I like to bring more of into my day?
- What triggered me today?
- Am I living up to my purpose?
Photographs: The LEGO Group Facebook