PictureMIndful Life, MIndful Work founder Jonathan Reynolds and his family. Courtesy image.

For the past 25 years, Mill Valley resident Jonathan Reynolds has been a meditation teacher who has had a knack for translating that skill and expertise to corporate America. In 2016, he launched Mindful Life, Mindful Work, a business that codified that work. Now he’s on the cusp of a massive leap forward.

Before we dive into the details of what has propelled Reynolds’ business forward, it’s helpful to consider the journey that got him here. He grew up in Door County, Wisconsin, a peninsula between Green Bay and Lake Michigan that is “paradise for the thousands of people that visit in summer but mostly miserable” for the 28,000 or so who live there year-round and get to experience nearly nine months of winter each year.

Reynolds studied biology in college “because I didn’t know any better,” he says. But like many a young person in search of answers, he was drawn to yoga and meditation.

“I needed to find better ways to live,” he says.

Reynolds took a trip to India, a “soul-searching adventure” that showed him that he wanted “mindfulness to be a cornerstone of my work.” He became a therapist for several years, only to realize that he “really wanted my sphere of influence to be greater than what it was,” he says.

That’s when mindfulness-oriented coaching came into play, as Reynolds began to draw on his psychology degree from John F. Kennedy University as well as an executive leadership certificate he earned from Cornell University.

He built that solo practice to the point of launching Mindful Life, Mindful Work two years ago, bringing mindful meditation, a type of meditation that focuses the mind on the present moment, into Bay Area companies big and small. Whether he works with individuals or teams within companies, Reynolds seeks to identify “simple and practical ways to improve performance, efficiency, and workplace cultures by integrating mindfulness sensibilities,” he says.

His primary focus has been leadership coaching – helping leaders shift from a supervisor mindset to a coaching mindset. “How to get the highest performance out of your employees and yourself,” he says.

Over the years, Reynolds has worked with everyone from lower level employees who need help with “negotiating, leveraging and positioning” their way up the food chain to companies that reach to work with their entire “C-Suite” of executives.

“It’s all about people, pay and purpose – the culture, the money and the reason you get out bed in the morning,” he says.
Reynolds’ leap occurred around the time that mindfulness meditation became wildly popular and catapulted into a billion-dollar business, according to Fortune magazine.

A pair of chance encounters in recent months have led him to start thinking big, he says. Reynolds offered an opportunity to be a guest blogger on his network to members of The Hivery, Grace Kraaijvanger’s co-working space and inspiration lab.
Beth Crittenden, a one-time bookkeeper whose mindfulness practice has expanded her skill set to include “spreadsheets to empathic listening; P & L reports to identifying and practicing healthy boundaries; data analysis to deep, clarifying conversations,” took him up on the offer. The two hit it off, and she now serves as Mindful Life, Mindful Work’s chief financial officer, among other things.

And at a dad’s event at Edna Maguire Elementary School, Reynolds met Stephen Morse, who had recently launched his own Kenja Project, a pair of ventures that build on his background and complement one another and seek to reach “both the mind and the heart.” Morse has joined Mindful Life, Mindful Work as its chief operating officer and director of business development.

Over the years, it was mostly individuals and occasional companies reaching out for Reynolds’ services, “but we’re getting a lot more companies approaching us now,” he says. “It just feels like the energy is significantly higher than it was two years ago. I wanted to be in bigger conversations – and the way to do that is to scale.”

“For much of my career, I felt like I had to push to get more work – but now it feels like the work is pulling me along and it’s a lot more fun,” he adds. “I feel like I could be in a very, very different place in nine months,” Reynolds says.

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