About Ed Maxwell
My passion is improving people’s lives. I want people to experience the benefits of mindfulness: less worry, greater happiness, clearer purpose, and better job performance.
I’m especially excited about mindfulness’ potential to increase diversity and inclusion. In fact, I gave a TED talk about the scientific research that shows how mindfulness reduces our unconscious bias and discrimination.
Coming from corporate finance, I understand that leadership needs to hear a strong business case to approve new training, so I explain the research and connect the results to the financial impact this training has on the bottom line.
My first experience with mindfulness began years ago when I realized I needed some help dealing with stress.
I found the help I needed in the words of a Buddhist monk named Thich Nhat Hanh. His book Peace is Every Step introduced me to mindfulness. I was astounded at the impact that practicing mindfulness had on my life.
At the time, I was a middle-school English teacher, as well as a cross-country and track coach. Although I loved the opportunity to help young people grow, I suffered from the stress of being responsible for over a hundred human beings who were in the throes of profound changes to their minds, bodies, and emotions.
My mind also was prone to worry on its own. Some nights, I went with only a few hours of sleep. Occasionally, I couldn’t sleep at all.
When I started practicing mindfulness, I didn’t expect much. I was surprised to find a deep sense of calm and happiness within myself. This calm and happiness gave me patience and understanding for my students and athletes.
I also found myself worrying less. When I did worry, I recognized the worrying as just another thought rather than absolute reality. Sleep came more easily to me, and so did smiling!
After my wife received a job offer in Madison, I earned my MBA from the Wisconsin School of Business.
While working in corporate finance, I discovered other ways of practicing mindfulness. My curiosity led me to be trained in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) from both the University of Massachusetts Medical School and from the University of California at San Diego.
Just like in the field of education, in the corporate realm, I saw a deep unmet need. Employees suffered from today's frantic pace and reactive rather than proactive mindsets. The more I learned, the more I realized how much mindfulness could help individuals and organizations.
I created my own curriculum inspired by MBSR that includes the latest research-based applications from other mindfulness practices. Piloting the curriculum at Springs Window Fashions where I worked in finance, I was encouraged by the positive response. HR asked me to teach my course again to expand the reach and impact.
With this, I decided to launch Third Left Wellness to share the benefits of mindfulness with more organizations. (The name comes from the expression “Three lefts make a right.” Mindfulness is an unconventional approach to take organizations in the right direction!)
The important thing is that people practice mindfulness so they can begin to experience these benefits. I’m eager to help individuals and organizations do so. I hope you consider experiencing what mindfulness can do for you and your organization.
“I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.”
~ Henry David Thoreau