Mindful Living: Carry Your Mental Couch to the Curb


We are continuing our ongoing series with Michael Tompkins, the visionary CEO of Miraval. Once a month, for the last 3 months, we have had Michael on. It has been fascinating and we’ve been highlighting the program that is going to happen this July at the Miraval.

Michael is a 15-year veteran of the luxury hospitality industry. He began his career at Miraval at 2007 and has been instrumental in the Miraval Life in Business Spa with Clarins and the creation of the Andrew Weil MD Integrated Wellness Center and completing the development of the villas at Miraval, which is one of the fastest selling luxury lifestyle real estate projects in the country.

Today, Michael is going to continue talking with us and he will bring on his guest Leigh Weinraub.

Weinraub, Leigh sized

As a competitor, Leigh Weinraub was a top nationally-ranked junior tennis player and a full scholarship athlete for the Big 10 championship Northwestern  tennis team. Leigh’s background playing at the highest levels provides her with a sound foundation of the principles of performance enhancement and stress management. Because of this foundation, Leigh has the ability to help others execute in high-pressure situations and understands how to motivate top-tier individuals and groups.

Her passion for sports led her to a career as the tennis coach at Dartmouth College and at Northwestern University. While coaching at Northwestern, Leigh led the team to four Big Ten championships and the #3 ranking in the nation. She has over ten years of experience coaching individuals and teams to maximize success, enhance performance and develop the self-awareness to improve. As sports are a metaphor for  life, Leigh helps her clients develop skills that apply to life including body awareness, concentration, overcoming fear and trusting intuition, thus facilitating clients to perform at their highest levels in work, in sport and in life.

Leigh received her Master’s degree in counseling psychology from Northwestern University. She believes in a client-centered approach thatprovides guidance, enlightenment and support to help clients grow. Her  extensive training in Positive Psychology, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy and her cognitive-behavioral approach provides Leigh with a wealth of therapeutic options that allow her to offer an individualized program for each client.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: For those of you who have been following our progress here, we do have a fantastic program called The Mindfulness Mastermind at Miraval which will be July 23-27. Michael and Leigh will be talking about Miraval and some new aspects of mindful living that it offers. Michael, I just want to say that you are just such a special person. It’s always an honor to have you on the show.

Michael Tompkins: Thanks so much Cathy, I really enjoyed being part of this show particularly as it relates to mindfulness and Miraval and the great program that we are putting together on the Mindfulness Mastermind for July.

When I started with the program 3 months ago, it was really an introduction to what is Mindfulness and how could people maximize their potential both personally and professionally through the use of mindfulness. We had mentioned that that Miraval had written a book called Mindful Living. Each month, Mindful Living teaches us a different tool that we can use in order to be the best individual that we can be. What I thought was, that over the series of the next few months I would bring one of the professionals that we have here at Miraval and talk about what they do in helping CEO’s and CFO’s to excel in both their work life and their home lives.

I’m very excited today to bring on Leigh Weinraub. Leigh has been here at Miraval as both a Tennis coach and a wellness counselor.  One of the things that I found that makes her a little bit different is that she comes from the mind of an athlete. For me, when I have seen her work with CEOs and CFOs and I’m talking from the individual to large groups of 125 or more, I have found that she has a really unique way of getting people to focus.

Part of the book, which is the October month in Mindful Living, is” finding balance in an unbalanced world.” Leigh is the expert in that month and part of that is her work Athleteology. I’m really excited that she is going to join us today.

Dr. Relly Nadler: Welcome Leigh! Tell us a little bit about what you do at Miraval, and then we will get into what Athleteology is.

Leigh Weinraub: A lot of the work that I do there is walking & talking sessions with individuals in which you are imagining a wellness session, a counseling session, a coaching session, but in motion. So the minute we take to the path people start seeing the world differently, they start solving their problems more effectively. It’s a calming experience. So many of these sessions I have are in motion. I also do a lot of talks that I gear toward the CEO/CFO minds which are called Athleteology which is essentially teaching people how to think and emotionally maximize their energy through the mindset of an athlete. I also do something there called “Carry Your Mental Couch to the Curb” because many of us often times get stuck, life is overwhelming, life is stressful, and this is a lot about how to get up and take action and use behaviors to dictate and change emotions in your body. So I do these different inspiring talks and I also can amazingly learn more about a person and their personality in one hour of a tennis lesson than potentially months and months of therapy with them.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Tell us a little bit about how you came up with the concept of “Carry Your Mental Couch to the Curb.”

Leigh Weinraub: “Carry Your Mental Couch” has a lot of components to it, but I’m going to link it conceptually specifically to mindfulness and dealing with the corporate brain. Having studied lots of different psychology and learning that it’s obvious that in our brains we have all of these thoughts on average based on current research, let’s say 70,000 thoughts that stream through our brains.

By the time I meet an adult their typical 70,000 thoughts are deeply imbedded and the changing of a person’s mindset can be a long-term process. I know that having studied cognitive behavioral theory. When I am working with people in this specific talk, I try to teach the idea that changing your behaviors can happen very quickly and the moment you learn how to project certain behavior, you can instantaneously start changing your emotions, start changing your chemistry. Emotions dictate behaviors, but behaviors also dictate emotion.

When I’m working with really ambitious, really competitive people who want to be leaders and want to do extraordinary things, I have to be able to get them to tap into the emotion or the energy inside of themselves to execute and motivate the actions that they want.

Many of the principles that I’m teaching are how to succeed emotionally and energetically.

Dr. Relly Nadler: Leigh often people are kind of  “human doings” verses “human beings.” We all have our working definitions, but especially for the CEOs and CFOs, what is the working definition that you would use with them that would resonate with them about what actually is mindfulness?

Leigh Weinraub: I could talk about this question with you for hours. I love it, I find it interesting. So, if we were to take 1,000 people and have them write a definition, they’d be very different. How I try to teach it and how I think is a really important tangible way of seeing it.

We are all sources of energy. We are expending and conserving and many of us are expending too much and not very skilled at recovering. I see mindfulness as learning how to do things that work for you to recover your energy; that would be my most simplistic definition.

How I try to each people from more of an athletic brain is an active brain is you are “in the now-in the moment” which, at Miraval, I want to say 99% of guests look at me and say that they want to be in the moment more,  I don’t want to let life pass by, I want to learn how to be in the now.

When people are in the moment being “mindful” they are actually aware that they’re having a sensory experience so they are heightening their sensuality. Having been an athlete where everything you are doing is about feeling things, because it feels so good and you know that if you train certain things you will feel certain ways, it’s a great sensory experience.

Learn about “let-go” tools to let go of past injustice, past performance; tangible process goals that you can be in charge of to be empowered and to clarify, and a place of safety to be who you want to be. What is Athleteology? Learn more about the Mindfulness Mastermind at the Miraval Resort and Spa in July 23-27, 2014. Get tips and tools to tune-up your performance, listen to the complete recording above.


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