Thank You for Confirming Your Presence
11 February 2019
A lawyer by trade, Nicolas St-Vincent later added tax advisor and financial planner to his resume, allowing him to establish two highly specialized businesses: Fiscalité Financière St-Vincent and Strip & Secure. This 44-year-old ultra-marathoner and family man is no stranger to spinning a few plates at once. He practices mindfulness to help him maintain balance in his life. Here’s our interview with him.
DH.tv: How did you hear about mindfulness?
Nicolas St-Vincent: “Throughout my life, I visited a few countries in Asia, and I had the chance to witness the inner-self culture that is not present here, in our Western society, but very prevalent in Asian philosophy. Five years ago, I stumbled upon the book Mindfulness for Dummies at the library, and I was ready to open the door.
To help me practice regularly, I downloaded the meditation app Petit Bambou on my phone. I also took eight mindfulness for leaders sessions with a trainer & coach.”
How did you integrate it into your day-to-day?
“I set aside some time during the day to practice and recharge properly. I meditate as soon as I wake up in the morning, and at night before bed. I do a 10-minute meditation session mid-day. Whether I am in a quiet or busy place, I manage to find inner peace. I also have two alarms set on my phone reminding me to take three deep breaths, and to be mindful of what I am currently doing.
Those moments help give purpose to what I do. Am I currently contributing to the mission and vision of my business? Am I in my element? Am I competent? As leaders, we all have moments when we navigate on autopilot and lose track of the big picture.”
“The only way to enjoy life is to be present in the moment. Mindfulness doesn’t mean shutting people out, it means being more conscious of your surroundings, and choosing what’s in your best interest and what makes you happy.”
What is your definition of mindfulness?
“A good way to have a clear mind, paradoxically, is to be less cerebral. It’s coming back to your senses, your breathing, how your body feels on the chair, and paying attention to ambient sounds When we remove the buzzing of ideas, we calm the soul and become more efficient when accomplishing tasks. There used to be so much turbulence in my head! Meditation allows me calm the storm.”
How did mindfulness help you in your role?
“My concentration is sharper, more sustainable, and more durable. I am able to work for longer periods of time, and I enjoy it more. At the end of the day, my vision is maintained which means the business is thriving. Everything I do, I do it better, and I want to keep replicating that.”
Has mindfulness helped you discover yourself?
“Yes, of course. I have learned what I am good at, and what I struggle with. This realization has allowed me to develop my listening skills. I noticed that when I am talking, I’m not learning anything, but when I listen, I learn something. Not listening harms the business because the leader is missing opportunities to utilize the skills of all the competent people around him.”
Has your mindfulness practice influenced your teams?
“My approach is to meditate without hiding it, but I don’t tell people to do it. I simply wait until they bring it up, for example, if someone asks me how I stay so calm when faced with a crisis. My meditation station is at my desk, for employees and clients to see. When I close my door, and turn the sign to “meditation in progress”, my employees know not to disturb me under any circumstances.”
“I like to stay active. And for me, meditation is exercise for your soul. Just like for my body, it’s the first thing I make time for in my schedule. If I don’t eat right, or don’t get enough sleep, or I’m not active, I won’t be a good businessman. I take that time for me.”
Mindfulness if one of the many popular trends in business for 2019-2020. Nicolas St-Vincent is for us, an inspiring example of a #mindful leader.