As an entrepreneur, Mark Meyuhas has long relied on meditation to help maintain balance in his life, both while starting The Tasting Kitchen, the much-lauded restaurant in Venice, California, and running the nationally renowned audio production firm Lime Studios in Santa Monica. Now, as the creator of the meditation app Evenflow, Mark’s goal is to help everyone tap into the power of meditation and mindfulness to better navigate their own stressors.
We recently caught up with Mark to learn more about why he finds meditation helpful, why he believes it can be especially important for entrepreneurs and how even a minimum time commitment can make an immeasurable impact.
How do you think meditation can help entrepreneurs specifically?
For entrepreneurs starting their first business, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and lose focus — but this is a time when you need to be more focused than ever. Meditation can help clear your mind and give you the ability to prioritize what’s important. Also, when we’re continuously under stress, we tend to either shut down or potentially make poor decisions.
Meditation is a great tool for helping entrepreneurs continuously strive to be as focused as they can. I think of it as training your mind and re-evaluating your relationship with stress, so that instead of letting the stress take over, you recognize that it’s coming on and develop tools that can help you deal and handle the stress.
What are some of the other benefits you’ve noticed?
There is a lot of research that shows how our minds are more apt to create negative thoughts than positive ones; in fact, most of our daily thoughts carry some sort of negative connotation. Meditation helps you bring in more positivity. You gain control over your thoughts, instead of having that negativity control you. This is where mindfulness plays a big part in creating consciousness around our thoughts, feelings and emotions.
How does the time commitment fit in? Many entrepreneurs don’t have time to spare…
That’s the number one thing we hear: People think they don’t have enough time to meditate. But incorporating meditation into your life is a bit like exercise — some is better than none, and you should start slow so that you create a sustainable habit. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Instead, tell yourself that you’ll meditate two times a week, maybe as little as 10 minutes each time, then build from there slowly. But the important thing is to commit.
I also think there needs to be an intention behind the meditation habit: What is it you’re trying to accomplish and what brings you into meditation in the first place? Maybe the intention is that you want to reduce your stress, get more focus, be less angry, be more patient, get better sleep or work on your relationships. That intention can be a good motivator to continue practicing, especially once you begin to see change and improvement.
You started Evenflow after a stressful period in your personal life. Can you discuss what prompted you to look for a meditation app and why you wanted one?
The idea of Evenflow was a long time in the making. I have always been interested in yoga, nutrition, meditation and wellness — these are values that my spouse Shira and I have always shared as a couple and as parents.
Life as an entrepreneur can feel at odds with a well-balanced life because taking risks, and tolerating the anxiety that goes with it, can be very stressful. A few years ago, I hit an especially challenging time. I had a lot of external stressors and realized that I wasn’t balancing my work and ambition with the other parts of my life. I needed to create more conscious awareness around this issue. I was searching to find additional support, especially with my meditation practice, and I couldn’t find what I needed.
Essentially, I found myself wanting a meditation app that offered something a little deeper and more specific to help with what I was experiencing.
I started Evenflow with the idea of offering meditations with deeper substance and that are related to the areas and topics that people needed the most help with — whether that involved starting a business, having trouble sleeping, struggling with depression or stress, bad eating habits or parenting issues. We wanted to give people tools to help them understand themselves better and gain more control over the things that cause them stress.
Your businesses have been pretty varied, but they all seem related to your personal passions. What’s been your approach to starting companies?
For me it’s been all about looking at an existing business and seeing how you can improve it. I like taking things that already exist to another level. For example, at Lime Studios we wanted to create a culture around wellness and balance. We wanted to make work something that people enjoy. To that end, we hired an award-winning chef and she cooks for our employees and clients every day. We know our clients are coming from a stressful environment, so we want to give them something beyond just a typical meeting experience. In the same vein, at the Tasting Kitchen, we wanted to create an experience for our customers beyond just having a meal.
How do you balance all these endeavors? Meditation helps, but do you have more hours in the day than the rest of us?
Not at all! We all wish we had more time on our hands. But I am really structured with how I spend my time. I’ve found that for most people who work an eight-hour day, less than half of those hours are productive. I don’t spend a lot of time on social media or watching TV. I do start every day with a meditation in the morning, which helps with focus and keeps me productive.
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