The Moment | Chrissy Abram
5 MINUTE READ
We believe that life is a collection of Moments. Some ever so big, some fleeting, some small. It is in these Moments and the choices we make within them, that shape the people we become and what our lives will stand for.
We are reaching out to the most interesting, inspiring & successful leaders around the world to ask them about their Moments. In the spirit of our number one value, collaboration, our goal with this series is for you to experience development and enrichment from today's most inspirational leaders.
….You realized you were in the presence of a great leader/teacher
A few years ago, I was on my first 7-day silent retreat, it suddenly became apparent to that I was in the presence of the greatest teacher. His name is Tim Burrnett. Tim is the Mindfulness Northwest Executive Director and a game changing human. He is an ordained Soto Zen priest and practiced a 20 year apprenticeship with the well known Zen teacher Zoketsu Norman Fischer. In 2011, Tim decided to bring his knowledge and wisdom to the Pacific Northwest and hold space for mindfulness to be explored. Holding space in silence is something I truly admire; during retreat there are very little spoken explanations and a major request for the leader to be a strong communicator beyond verbal communication. His passion for creating access to mindfulness to be practiced and his compassionate nature is something I truly look up to in a leader.
….You knew you were on the right path in your career
While growing up, my dad always reminded me to follow up a path that puts my two feet on the ground in the morning. The morning I woke up and walked to 1818 Cornwall Ave to join Lululemon’s innovation team and taught yoga after work for the first time (all in the same week) was the moment it all clicked. I was beginning to understand my purpose and how I could contribute to something bigger than myself. I was making career decisions that aligned with my purpose, destigmatizing mental health, and that puts my two feet on the ground in the morning.
There was a time in my life that I looked back on this moment with shame and disappointment. It was also the time I brushed under it the rug because of the negative associations I made with it. It was my first year of university, I almost flunked out and found myself on my parents’ couch back at home in Vancouver, WA. Here’s what I know now; I was too scripted, I fell into the trap of false certainty. I went to elementary, middle school, high school and conditioned myself to a well paved path. As I entered university, the next ‘logical’ step, I chose a bio major because I did well in biology classes in high school and that seemed like the obvious choice. I chose a career, family doctor, that I found on my career counsellor’s desk and then, drove 100 miles an hour towards it. Here’s what I know now, I am not a logical person and the hindsight on this previous failure is spot on. I am an empathetic entrepreneur which means, the road less travelled is where I thrive. I set myself up for failure the moment I decided to let logic solely reason my next move. The university parties, new boyfriend, new job and long copious amount of hours training on the soccer field probably contributed too, but I digress. I am a firm believer in the proof behind logic, but the wisdom that comes from trusting my own inner compass is undeniable. This failure and realization forever changed my practice of truly listening for what puts my two feet on the ground in the morning and where I choose to hand out my hell yeses.
….You chose something different than what was expected of you
I experienced a slight health scare at age 22, which also happened to be the year I was meant to graduate from university and find a grown up job just like all my friends. The warm August summer was coming to a close and I was stopped dead in my tracks with a case of E-Coli poisoning. Unfortunately, the E-Coli poisoning led to renal failure (don’t worry, I am okay!) and all of my doctors advised me to take the next year off of school and move home with my parents to recover. Of course, being a stubborn Capricorn, I acknowledged the suggestion and swiftly moved by it as I began to craft a new, slower life back at school. I owe this moment of choice everything. To this day this was one of my most defining career moments that drew back the curtain of my purpose. What was nurtured during this journey back to well-being was a part time job in the nursing department that I could do from my bed (hemoglobin was too low to move around a lot), seeking out slow yoga practices and befriending my daily meditation practice. My trifecta was born out of something that was very unexpected; personalized wellness, mindfulness, and self-love.
….You wake. And the ritual you have to start your day
I say good morning to myself outloud (#gratitudeforanotherday), check in with my body by doing the horizontal stretch, press start on my coffee machine and fill my mind with one guiding word for the day.
….You made your best hire
Am I allowed to say my sister, Court Abram? We co-founded mndsight together, our mindfulness consulting company. Court is a ‘YES, AND’ person, which means, she is always up for being open to new thoughts and seeks to build on the wild ideas together. We both love to romance failure and continue to set aside fear in the pursuit of helping others when possible.
….You felt the most successful in life
I recently arrived home from a 3 day retreat on the Sunshine Coast, Dear Future Self, hosted by my company mndsight. mndsight had a clear vision 3 years ago, when the company was first founded. To create space to explore different modalities of wellness. This vision came to life after attending many 7-day silent retreats, yoga nidra trainings, high performance camps, self-compassion retreats, and countless numbers of doctor visits, and hours in and out of innovative studios across the globe. As we sat back to absorb all the magic that laid in these wellness modalities we wondered what would happen if we built our own three day recipe. It turns out, it made me cry. Sitting on a log all by myself as I snuck away for a few moments, not wanting to miss any time with the 15 women that attended, I truly felt a wash of gratitude come over me. I felt successful because we (everyone at retreat) created a space where we could feel unapologetically authentic as we explored many different supportive wellness practices.
…..You received feedback that was hard to hear but worth listening to
I am an eager beaver and my legs, hands, and head move way quicker than they should sometimes. During my second year working at lululemon on our innovation team, I remember distinctly sitting in a meeting with my manager as he began to tell me that I needed to say no to certain requests that came my way. If we remember, I am an empathetic entrepreneur and the by-product of that can be, ‘saviour mode.’ At that time I was managing our wear testing program and let me tell you, I was recruiting wear testers every hour of the day and looking at one too many surveys. The sentence I still have in the back of my head is this, ‘when you say yes to everything it makes your real yes weak and that will catch up with you’. Thanks, Joe Santry (lululemon innovation director).
…..You chose to walk away from someone or something
If you know me, you know I am a creature of habit and comfort by default. To an extent, I like predictability because it provides me with stability and to an extent I like the cozy clothes in my closet because they make me feel like I am one with my couch. However, I was raised my entrepreneurs and I love the hustle. In 2013, I chose to leave the comfort of Victoria, BC, a place I came to know, love and feel at ease in. In the pursuit of getting to know myself, I knew deep down that I had to get uncomfortable. Try things on that felt bigger than me, listen to ideas that challenged my understanding of the world, and seek out new ways of being that demanded growth. I moved to the city of Vancouver and for the past 5 years have explored what it means to be be uncomfortable in the pursuit of my vision.
….Bit of more than you could chew
All the time?! (insert palm in face). I am learning to love the practice of gracefully declining requests in order to hold space for things that are 100% yeses. At lululemon there is a practice called, commit to commit which means, if I am unable to commit to a yes or no in the moment I can offer a date when I will provide a transparent response that I can say with integrity. This has been an amazing practice for me.
…..Saw yourself & your true potential
Everyday. I believe in following my inner compass. The practice of mindfulness meditation helps me cultivate the awareness I need to listen to this guide. I am my biggest advocate and hardest critic. But for me to show up for others I need to first show up for myself. Every morning when I wash my face I see potential in what I have yet to achieve and what I have accomplished, but both on the path of my vision. I constantly remind myself of the flexibility needed to reach my true potential, my vision. This journey called life is not rigid and logical, and life offers me challenges in order to shed a layer of myself to create room for an evolving me.
…..You understood advice your parents gave you (what was it?)
My parents had three speeches on repeat, which I could lovingly recite to myself after the age of 13. I heard variations of them on a weekly basis. At first I thought I was being cheeky by remembering and reciting the words of my parents however, the joke was on me because it turned out to be a dose of wisdom. One of the speeches was called, champion the cause. This may have started because my sister and I would talk about experiences we’ve had at school, the news (mom loves her CNN + NBC), and seeing/hearing local heros that were speaking out about things they cared about. The latin word for champion is campioen which means, gladiator fighter. Mom and dad are smart cookies and instilled this in my sister and I since I can remember, to protect or fight for what we believe in. They wanted us to have an informed opinion and be okay to say, ‘I’m not sure yet, let me get back to you’ when we don’t. Beyond grateful for speech 1 of 3. Thanks mom and dad!