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Taking a Personal Inventory with Joe Burton

Founder & CEO, Whil Concepts Inc. |  San Francisco, CA

Joe Burton lived a busy, cluttered life with a focus on driving his career forward and climbing to the top. His success in the world of business is what aided him to build his own company from scratch, but it was realizing his financial-focused career lacked purpose that inspired an idea. It’s never too late to start over, which is exactly what Joe Burton, the founder and CEO of Whil Concepts Inc, did. Whil is the leader in digital wellbeing training. They help employees reduce stress, increase resiliency and improve performance with programs based in science, mindfulness and positive psychology. As somebody who once lived his life focused on everything but his mental well-being, it took a lot of self-reflecting and learning to get there.


Mental Well Being > Physical Well Being

Joe Burton is naturally a type A personality. With a drive to win and a focus to be the best of the best, he worked for years in the professional services industry climbing to the top. But by doing so, his life was passing him by. As a global COO, he was travelling from country to country. “I’ve worked in 50 to 60 countries,” he explains. “I flew in, I worked late, I went to my hotel, I worked late, I flew out.” He was missing out on a lot of what life had to offer, and working so much was taking a toll on his body. Joe realized that stress and a lack of mindfulness was causing a lot of his physical pain. Recognizing that his mental well-being was just as important as his physical well-being was a huge turning point in his life, leading him to resign from his position and begin a journey towards mindfulness.

I want to enjoy my life. I want to create and build things. I want to savour and love what I’m doing. Click To Tweet

Asking Important Questions

Joe found himself drawn towards people who, like himself, had a connection to the corporate world but had dedicated themselves to becoming trainers in mindfulness and meditation. He took courses about stress, resiliency and how to sleep better and began to journal. He began by writing about what was going on with his life, what his challenges were, what was important to him, how he felt, etc. Joe shared the importance of asking yourself, “Who are you now and who do you want to be?” and “What are three things you stand for?” Asking yourself these kinds of questions allows you to evaluate where you are in your life versus where you want to be, something that proved very beneficial in Joe’s life.

Practice with Intention

One of the things that worked well for Joe was guided practice and practice with intention. As a former athlete, Joe recognized how the repetition of techniques is what helps develop skills. “That’s what we work on creating a Whil. How do we create learnable, repeatable skills for your average stressed-out professional?” Joe continues, “One of those repeatable skills is the art of journaling.” He shares that journaling is a technique that calms and focuses the mind so you can actually get something done.

I look at journaling as the life skill that you can learn and that is repeatable. Click To Tweet

Taking a Personal Inventory

Joe Burton discussed the importance of knowing where you’re starting from by taking a personal inventory. In order to live a mindful, fulfilling life, he suggests you start by asking yourself questions like, “What do you stand for? What are the three things that define you at your core? Who are you?” and comparing it to, “Who do you aspire to be? What kind of life experience do you want to be having?” Acknowledging that you are not where you want to be is the first step to getting there.

You have to understand where you are and where you want to go. Click To Tweet

Three Steps of Mindfulness

“Mindfulness meditation practice for yourself is wonderful, for other people it’s even better.” Joe shares how involving friends and colleagues in your journey towards mindfulness can make a huge impact. “Mindfulness meditation starts within”, he begins. “Then you take the next step outside of yourself with journaling, writing, exploring and thinking through issues.” He shares that the last step is to take mindfulness with you into your conversations and relationships, in order to bring it all to life.

Joe’s Questions for KYŌ (App):

  • Who are you?
  • What do you stand for?
  • What are three things that define you?

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