Reaching critical mass on mindfulness

It was another magnificent morning at MassMutual South Florida, one of the largest insurance and financial services firms in the region. General Agent Partner Erik Sussman and some of his team members had just completed the transformational Mindfulness, Meditation and Movement (MMM) workshop. This six-week on-site program teaches individuals how to make modifications in their daily lives and give them the tools to create positive long-term change both personally and professionally in their thoughts and lives.

Sussman believes that performance is most often a reflection of one’s ability to manage thoughts. He also maintains that how we relate to others can create significance and meaning in our lives and notes that the program seems to be having the desired effect. “This workshop taught us how to transform our attitudes, to develop the skills to become more self-aware, empowered, engaged and calm,” he says. “We’ve also seen that these strategies ultimately drive performance.”

Daniel A. Henley, a successful advisor in the MassMutual office, says, “In a recent meeting, I was completely engaged with no agenda and it was an outstanding experience. Certainly, my communication has improved. I’m enjoying everything more and it’s showing up directly as success. I have spent thousands of dollars in coaching, have read all the books and traveled to numerous seminars, but this is the first time that I’m following through and seeing results. I’m even slowing down and doing more. My wife definitely notices that I’m calmer. This has changed my life.”

Practice and Performance

The application of learned skills is the most important measure of the effect of a performance program. Afterward, participants noticed that they had the ability to apply what they learned immediately.

Esther Francis, another financial services professional in the office, says she is definitely more resilient and less fearful. “I close my door, do a body scan (a type of mindfulness practice taught in the workshop), and I’m no longer scattered. I’ve prepared myself for the next appointment,” she says. “I wasn’t expecting to notice real change in my work and my home life this quickly.”

Mindfulness also teaches you that feeling stressed is not a function of a situation; it’s a function of the view you take of that situation. 

Jason Heller, an investment specialist, says that he was feeling so stressed that it was taking a toll on his health. “I didn’t have the mechanism to separate or pull away from the stress and needed something to assist me.” After only two weeks in the program, he discovered that his blood pressure was the best it had been in years. “Being mindful and self-aware has been a significant change.”

“At the end of the day, there is nothing more important than helping each person be the best they can be in all areas of their life, both personally and professionally. That goes for our employees and our clients,” says Sussman. “It feels great to be making a difference.” ?

Linda Janasz is a coach, researcher, journalist, Emmy winner and RYT 200 yoga instructor and holds a Ph.D. She created and teaches Mindfulness, Meditation and Movement (MMM) training that has helped hundreds of people find balance, meaning and success in an unbalanced world. Visit mindmedmove.com for more information.

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky



Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.