Matteo Fantacchiotti is the General Manager, Urban Development at Carlsberg, global citizen, dedicated father and passionate tennis player. As someone who spends a large amount of time traveling for work, he has incorporated meditation into his daily routine in order to thrive at work and enjoy life to the fullest.
Back in 2014 I was killing time during one of my travels and reading The New York Times technology section. Something caught my eye. It was a review of an app called Headspace, designed to guide you through meditation so that you can empty your mind, be more efficient, rested, sharp, everything! I am always curious to try new things. Double Click, download, Install. 10 lessons for free. Let’s do it!
Fast track 3 years and meditation is a part of my life. And it likely kept me afloat a few times, especially where I was going through periods of tiredness, stress, change, anxiety…or all of those together
I have been traveling for work for the last 7 years around the world: Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin and North America. I can’t say how exciting it is when you travel for the first time into a new city. The sense of discovery and eagerness to see it and I can’t tell you how exciting it is to come back to it when you have new friends, bonds to people, places, food, sensations.
Not to mention my Instagram #hotelroomviews…the cities of the world from high rise 4/5* buildings. New York, Dubai, Moscow, Seoul, Santiago, Nairobi…to name a few.
But zoom in, please. Yes, zoom in. Who is that in the room? I am alone, at dawn. Yes, a fantastic time to observe the city. But I am tired, I only slept a few hours, I have been out late and had a few drinks and I need better sleep, for my own health.
The truth is, everything comes with a price, and the price for me is spending long hours traveling alone, longing for my family and my kids. Broken sleep on airplanes, jet lag kicking in and waking me up when it’s dark and “cold” outside and my laptop is my only companion. Eating in fancy restaurants and longing for a simple home-cooked meal and being ‘ON’ 24/7. Emails never stop, Instagram and Linkedin are always on and I don’t want to miss out! #FOMO #alwaysON #globaltraveler #neverstop #citizenoftheworld
I was on a plane about to land in Cape Town when I suddenly realized that time in my life was running so fast. An exciting, yet packed life, filled with meetings, events, dinners, trips; always on the move and I said to myself: but what if I stop? Where is my family? Where are my friends? What is next? Is this life passing too fast? And importantly…can I stop? VOGLIO SCENDERE! (I WANT TO GET OFF!)
I felt overwhelmed. Unknown people were all around me and I was sad and a bit shook up, but I knew I could not be sad, people were waiting for me, with EXPECTATIONS.
The truth is that out of all the glamorous Instagram pics and smiley faces that communicate my life, from time to time I experience anxiety, sadness, tiredness, restlessness, and loneliness. And I felt I was close to burning out.
And this is where I trust meditation played a key role:
To keep me afloat.
To keep me balanced.
To bring perspective.
To train my mind to manage those “dark” moments.
Not to overreact.
To re-structure my mind from time to time.
To let preoccupations to surface, label them and acknowledge them. Or plan actions.
To reflect on impermanence.
To feel more in control.
TO STOP, even when I am on the move.
Everyone’s life today is hectic and fast and actually, no one stops. I suggest you give it a try. You do 10 guided practices for free and you learn the core method. Then you can go on your own or keep being guided. But the key is discipline, you’ve got to have it in your daily routine, you can skip it from time to time., but you need the routine, both to learn the practice and to have the benefits. I can tell you when you get used and do it regularly, as soon as you stop for few days, you will notice it immediately. Feeling less balanced, more reactive, less in control.
Meditation is a gift and I hope more people can find some joy and support from it. Especially those folks who wear a smile every day, work long hours, are patient in, taking good care of thirsty and hungry people and living through the good and the bad of the marvelous world of hospitality.
As Arrigo Cipriani said once ‘to serve is first to love’, to start, I would encourage you by loving yourself just a little bit more.