The Intersection of Zen and Productivity

Finding peace in a fast-paced LA law firm may seem like an oxymoron, but I’ll go one step further. Said tranquility came courtesy of my extremely productive high billable hours boss. None of this makes sense, right?

Well there I was in the staff kitchen getting coffee when my boss strolls up to add hot water to some concoction in his mug. In a throwaway comment, I asked if that was his tea, after which he told me it was not just any tea – it was matcha tea. When he saw the dismissive look on my face, he said “Mary, you don’t know about matcha tea?!” As the resident vegan runner of the 22nd floor, I am known as the health aficionado, so he was shocked when I didn’t demonstrate the proper amount of reverence at the word “matcha”. The truth is, like most coffee drinkers, you kind of don’t pay too much mind to tea. Tea is cute, but let’s be real, I had just spent time on a coffee farm in Colombia, so tea…meh.

My matcha tea set-up at work.

My boss then went on to explain all the benefits of matcha tea. Hmmm, now he had my interest piqued. I am always looking for the Next Big Health Thing. Listen, I am the same person who spent $25 on a jar of coconut yogurt because I wanted maximum gut health. Anyway, here’s the short list of the pros of matcha tea that got my attention:

  • packed with antioxidants including the powerful EGCg
  • Detoxifies effectively and naturally
  • Enhances mood and aids in concentration

OK, I’m definitely listening. But then this dude clinched it when he (1) mentioned special “high grade” and (2) whipped out a bamboo whisk. I am a sucker for exclusivity and accessories. My boss proceeds to walk me through his entire matcha routine: from using special ceremonial grade matcha (swoon) that he spoons out with a special bamboo scoop (what?!), to the whisking 30 times (you can YouTube videos on proper whisking technique), to the special ceramic whisk stand (IKR?!?), to the finishing touch: White Gold Raw Honey. This honey is also an antioxidant powerhouse and contains phytonutrients which have anti-inflammatory benefits which helps recovery for runners. But honestly he had me at “gold.”

The color is the same as my birthstone — peridot.

Obviously I love the pomp and circumstance of ritual. But the hook was the promise of increased focus leading to high productivity and goal attainment. That, friends, is my very legal drug of choice. I am a stereotypical Type-A high-achieving Asian, and the idea of Accomplishing More will usually get my heart racing. Having worked with my boss for over two decades, I have never met anyone so focused and productive; this man can review and analyze complex transaction documents for significant blocks of time without a break. If this green powder was his secret weapon, I was in.

But a funny thing happened on my quest to that apex of productivity and getting more done — I actually found this quiet space in my day. Somewhere between using that delicate bamboo spoon to carefully scoop out this uber-refined bright green powder, hearing hot water pour over it, and then meditatively whisking for 30 seconds…well, I experienced this *pause* in my afternoon. Things slowed down for a brief period of time, and I could catch a breath and just sip my tea. The taste is subtle and soothing and just sweet enough to almost count as dessert.

Did I tell you about the special matcha bowl? It’s lovely.

When I went back to work I did so with better focus and energy but without the jitters or high-highs of coffee. To be honest, though, I couldn’t tell you what helped more — the matcha tea or the matcha tea ceremony. As has happened several times in my life, I have found gifts along the way to my goal that turned out to be better than the goal itself. Whether it’s the green drink or the whisking of the green drink, what a wonderful surprise to find that moment of space and peace in the middle of the work day.

Five Things: Shoe Steaze – My Boss – Surreal Invite – Photo of the Week – Living Cyclically

This week’s Five Things: Some Shoe Steaze; My Boss Almost Made Me Cry; a Surreal Invite; Photo of the Week; and Living Cyclically (For Women Only).

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3 Keys to Finding the Right Coach

The coach-client relationship is a unique one, so it is of top priority to choose the right person to help you reach your goal. After all, not only is there a significant financial investment, but you will also be entrusting them with your dream — whether it be athletic, entrepreneurial, or an overall vision for your life. In my case, I had a dream. A crazy dream: Qualify for the Boston Marathon. I was a good-plus runner, but to qualify for the Boston Marathon, I was going to have to cut over 30 min. off my marathon time, and I had spent the last four marathons stagnating at around the same finishing time and then suffering from chronic injury. Fortunately, my first coach was the right coach. While I thought I had just lucked out, after listening to a high performance podcast featuring best-selling author and leadership speaker David Horsager, it turns out there are some key points that made this partnership work so well. It begins with building the trust necessary to reach one’s goal, and that requires a solid framework based on competency, character, and connection.


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Five Things: Fall Fashion – Gross Food – Spirituality and Grammar – “Liberal” L.A. – and Lisa

New Five Things: My favorite Fall look (beware!); A Gross Food I Low Key want to try, Spirituality and Grammar, “Liberal” L.A., and Why Lisa Bonet is still the Queen.

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One Week in Medellín, Colombia

A few people have expressed shock at our choice in Colombia as a vacation destination, but it has been on my radar for a while now. One reason was because of a man; the other because of its transformation. Read below for how we spent our one week in Medellín, Colombia fka the most violent city in the world and now, according to Urban Land Institute, the most innovative city in the world.

View from our Air BnB

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