How You Serve Anything is How You Serve Everything.
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Mindful & Holistic Service 101.
Serve Conscious is an educational resource to help you up-level every aspect of your personal and professional service life so it feels complete and growth-inspiring.
I'm a writer, educator, podcaster and hospitality professional. My main mission is to bring principles of mindfulness and conscious living into the grit and grime of service life. Why?
1. To give your service role the purpose and power it deserves. Things like serving tables in a restaurant teach us everything we need to know about mindfulness and self-mastery. Any form of work can be your laboratory of personal and professional growth. And things that would drain others can be your source of inspiration.
2. Every avenue of life can be upgraded when you implement a mindful service mindset. But truly knowing how to serve (professionally and personally) means knowing how to serve the needs of the moment. Properly showing up to this role can have a transformative effect on everyone around you and mastering it is an inner journey. It requires awareness of yourself, your environment and the people in it - inspired empathy, care and understanding of others.
I have lived and breathed the art of service all over the world for more than 13 years, and this inside-out understanding of service was ignited when I learned meditation. Not only did it propel me towards my full professional potential, but it also gave me the inner strength to be my unique self, connect with others better, and live a healthy happy life. Meditation also made me realize my potential as an educator and gave me the fearlessness to leave a leadership role at a high-profile bar/restaurant to India and Taiwan to teach meditation and mindfulness.
I re-entered the hospitality world with a powerful new toolbelt and experienced my work in ways I never thought possible. So I started the Serve Conscious education platform to provide these tools and perspectives drawn from Vedic meditation, Cha Dao (the Zen Way of Tea), mindful communication, Karma Yoga, advanced mindful service principles and anything else that can elevate our life and work to our own personal monastery.
We know that fulfilling the needs of others should give us deep satisfaction, so why does service feel so frustrating, drudgerous and energy-sapping? We're just missing the right understanding of what service really is. It's not just a matter of good training or learning all the "tricks" and formalities. Service is a mindset that we take everywhere. It's a lifelong path of self-cultivation. And when it clicks then everything we do (including our service job) becomes deeply satisfying. "Holistic" means "accounting for every aspect" - especially the crucial subtle ones that our conditioning may cause us to oversee or dismiss. This project will connect all the dots in your life of service by enriching the core of who you are, what you do and how you perceive the world around you.
Every avenue of life can be upgraded when you implement a "mindful service mindset".
We truly learn service from the inside out...and then the outside in. Techniques, practices & philosophies drawn from...
This is not a place to learn strictly about the mechanical points of good service - y’know, the right language to use in each situation, when and how to sell certain things, how to address certain problems, etc. There are plenty of people who are better at coaching you on that than I would be. Getting this stuff right is important and rewarding, but there is work you can first do on yourself that will certainly accelerate your practical job learning, but also take things much, much further. These surface-level aspects of “good service” are just the beginning.
Real service feels like the person serving has an abundance of happiness and goodwill to share. So finding success in your ability to serve depends almost entirely on your well-being. Being generous of self requires inner resources. So it makes sense that nurturing what you need to in yourself allows you to more effectively nurture others. Which then nurtures you further - it’s a self-perpetuating cycle.
Learn service as a universal skill.
Here's the thing: to perform any act of service you need to be fully present. And to be fully present is to be inspired to serve the needs of the moment. How you serve anything in your work and personal life is how you serve everything. It's all your crucible for self-mastery. And that "always in service mindset" is what the Serve Conscious education project hopes to give you a doorway into.
What if we could tangibly experience how our work in the service industry can be carried over into our lives? After all, in every avenue of life, our call to service never stops. Living our lives fully is an act of service. Our success and happiness depends on how well we offer our attention, energy, and care to the needs of the moment. If everyone did their jobs or interacted with others like someone serving with love and purpose, then the world would be an incredible place.
What if the most important skills and lessons we learned came from a waiter at a table? Or a cashier at a supermarket? Or the receptionist retrieving your medical records? Even the most specifically-applied service skills are driven by universal principles of human connection. And what is more valuable than being able to connect with your fellow man (and, consequently, yourself). After all, humans are everywhere. We're surrounded. Maybe it's time to learn how to really interface with them.
Put mindfulness to work.
Essential tools to reach your fullest service potential...that no one is telling you about.
Myself and everyone I know has seen a profound and immediate impact on how they do their job and what they get from life when they upgrade their mind and body with practices like meditation. So I’ve made it my mission to bring these ancient and modern practices to people living a life of service. This is the place to fill your toolbelt with practices to not only make you battle-ready for the service-oriented aspects of your life, but to maximize the self-development you experience through your role as an agent of service.
Tools you learn here.
The bow is pulled back by meditation...the arrow is fired by the art of service.
You’ve heard of all the benefits of meditation? Enhanced awareness and understanding. Greater intelligence, creativity, self-control, fearlessness, general health & well-being. All of that happens. And this is when it starts to actually matter...
Meditation is simple and easy. In fact, the more effortless it is, the more effective. You’ll learn all about this. There is nothing too mystical about it, and there’s very little to actually get good at. It’s a necessary maintenance program you need to run.
Meditation alone is not enough. Because next comes life.
Meditation will make you more ready for what life throws at you. Not just to get through some aspect of life, but to interact with it in ways that enrich you even further.
One of the best opportunities to maximize your growth happens to occur in the place you clock into every day. Us service people have a life dedicated to connecting with people and meeting their needs. Service is where your inner progress gets actioned and tested. Here, the benefits of meditation get converted into mindful behavior that radiates out into the world. It’s in this arena that you learn the skills and knowledge to be an awesome human being. Service is the art of bringing what you are mastering within yourself into contact with others. Meet the needs of the moment as you uniquely can, and further deepen what you are cultivating.
Adapting these principles to your own life will take you to your fullest individual potential. And then everything becomes more authentic, fluid and generally awesome. This is the epitome of a complete path of self-mastery and what I’ve dedicated myself to helping everyone tap into.
Work with me.
Consult with me directly over phone or video chat to learn meditation and mindfulness techniques that up-level the power of your service and life today.
Lessons from the constant realization that I don't know much about service...or life in general.
I have lived and breathed the art of service for more than a decade. However, the "living" part waned without the necessary self-improvement practices and the "breathing" part was enthusiastic, but often shallow and panicked. My early twenties were a swinging pendulum - new life paths gave way to stretches of “who the hell am I and what can I possibly offer the world?!”
Inevitably I discovered the hospitality industry, a natural fit for this constantly-seeking personality type. But since I generally enjoyed being locked away studying or writing for long stretches of time, being of service to others was challenging at first. But soon it became the necessary antidote to my geeky shut-in tendencies and the gratification of the work seduced me into becoming one of those rare species of North Americans that treated bar/restaurant work as a career.
The service industry revealed a natural tendency within me that unfolded with a sort of pubescent awkwardness. I was a natural people pleaser...however, without many necessary people skills. Bit by bit, I learned the human interface the hard way, leaving my ego with many bumps and bruises in the process. The knowledge I seek to share today will hopefully prevent a few for you.
My first true fascination was with bartending. Mastering the craft of bartending became an obsession of mine. I was attracted to fine dining and high-end boutiquey venues because it also gave me a chance to sharpen my service mechanics. But the inner self that served still needed work. Only then could I properly represent, and therefore export, true happiness.
The creativity, knowledge and enthusiasm I brought to my job quickly propelled me to leadership roles in the restaurant and bar industry around the world (again satisfying to my constantly-seeking personality). However, my tendency for being an opinionated, self-righteous know-it-all often blocked connection to others, which is the essence of true service. Without it, you’re just exchanging words and performing transactions.
Service is about one’s self reaching another. You reach across strangeness, making them feel comforted and cared for by an old friend. You do this in a way that feels effortless and satisfying to you - it's just what friends do after all. However, for me I often made the negotiation of self and other a war when it should have been a collaboration. In subtle ways, my ego disrupted the connection. Whatever I was trying to prove could be boiled down to my many struggles with not feeling good enough, fearing that my co-workers or customers viewed me as deficient in some way.
Fortunately the service industry will repeatedly call you to get over yourself until you listen. One day I listened. The first thing I did was learn meditation and began practicing every day. It gave me the inner strength and calm to not worry about not being good enough and just live life. I became better with people and created a more healthy, mindful, balanced lifestyle for myself. My success in the service industry soared.
My people pleasing tendency changed. Meditation makes you feel better about yourself so you don't depend on the opinion of others to feel okay. As I matured out of needing to impress people (not for their benefit, but to feel better about yourself) with creative drinks, knowledge, or witty banter, I discovered that needing to impress people was driving a lot of my work. Without that, I wasn’t left with as much inspiration to serve. Meditation also makes you understand that you are capable of bigger, better things. I wanted to truly bring people sustainable happiness, not fleeting sensory pleasures. At the peak of my career I left the hospitality industry and flew to India to study my Yogic tradition more deeply so I could then teach meditation. This happened because at the time I didn’t have the right mentor that could show me the power of service. I didn’t see that I loved serving, I just needed to connect with that part of me (and all of us) that thrived from bringing people genuine happiness in any context (including a bar or restaurant).
Everything changed when I began studying and teaching the art of mindful service through a Zen/Buddhist tradition known as Cha Dao, the Way of Tea. Until then, meditation, mindfulness and a healthy lifestyle was a way of surviving life, but not truly thriving in it. I had been misguided in believing that real growth came from practicing meditations and reading Yogic philosophies alone in my room (back into my comfortable cell I crawled), not from being in the world. But when I discovered the Way of Tea, I realized that being mindful in everything we do, and serving anything with our fullest self is the path of self-cultivation. In studying the art of tea service, I soon saw my major flaw as a hospitality professional: I thought it was about the integrity of the thing I was serving, rather than the human connection on either side of it.
Meditative practices certainly sped up my learning ability, but life still involved repeatedly bumping into walls. Traditionally, the role of the master/teacher is to speed up this process by offering principles and techniques that reduce the need for all that stumbling around. So I began Serve Conscious as a community and knowledge resource that will provide the guidance you need to spend less time in bewilderment, uncertainty frustration and progress at full speed towards your fullest potential.