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The LinkedIn CEO Who 'Did Nothing'

Former Linkedin CEO, Jeff Weiner, gives life advice to 22 year olds and talks about keys to happiness

Imagine you are the CEO of your company. Lots of work, tight schedules, need for quick fixes, jam packed schedule. Would you allot a slot on your calendar during the work hours to ‘do nothing’? It might sound counterintuitive, but that's precisely what Jeff Weiner, the former CEO of LinkedIn, did.

Weiner helps us realize that in the corporate world where success is measured by graphs and quarterly reports, the true essence of leadership lies in recognizing the intangibles. No wonder why he was given the title of Highest Rated CEO.

Earlier, when Linkedin was just another another in the sea of social media sites, Jeff saw potential. It wasn't just about connecting with old college friends or colleagues, it became a global hub where  professionals could connect, collaborate, and carve out their career paths in order to exchange ideas, create opportunities and build careers.

Amazingly, even after achieving so much he hasn’t lost sight of what really matters in life. He once tweeted:

“One of the benefits of my getting older: Far greater appreciation for three things that are often taken for granted: Health, love and time.”

Jeff Weiner's LinkedIn legacy

Former Linkedin CEO on incorporating meditation

Before he became the big boss at LinkedIn, Jeff Weiner had already made a name for himself in the tech scene. He did some cool stuff at Yahoo!, but it was really at LinkedIn where he showed everyone what he's made of.

Prior to becoming executive chairman in June 2020, Jeff was the CEO of LinkedIn. During his 11-year tenure, LinkedIn's membership base grew exponentially from 33M to more than 690M, its revenue soared from being $78M to over $7.9B and it expanded the team from 338 employees to over 16,000.

Previously, he served in key leadership roles at Yahoo! for over seven years, including Executive Vice President of Yahoo!

Why top CEOs, including Jeff Weiner, choose meditation

Former Linkedin CEO, Jeff Weiner, shares life advice regarding meditation at work

Staying mentally resilient and productive consistently at this position of CEO can be quite difficult as there are various moving parts, stress, pressure and responsibilities. It’s important for them to think quickly and creatively. That's why it’s necessary to train your mind as a trained mind can be the best friend you’ve never had and through it, you can achieve things you never thought would have been possible.

Recognizing this, many CEOs incorporate meditation into their hectic lifestyles in order to reduce stress and stay more motivated and productive in their daily life.

Also read: The millionaire who tuned monk for inner peace

Mindful approach to time management

Weiner's approach to time is both unique and enlightening. Jeff Weiner takes out time to do this everyday, no matter what- do nothing. Sounds absurd? Well, sure he’s one crazy busy dude. Jeff Weiner believes in the power of mind meditation through reflection. By setting aside dedicated "buffers" in his calendar, he ensures he has uninterrupted moments to 'just think'.  For him, this is the single most important productivity tool which he utilizes to think about the future in order to improve his business.

According to him, this focused and uninterrupted time is for "questioning assumptions, connecting dots, bouncing ideas off of trusted colleagues, and iterating through multiple scenarios."

But why take out your time specially for this? And in our ever-busy lives, such time can only be ensured when we intentionally set it aside for ourselves.

The power of prioritization

"If we could only do one thing, what would it be?"

Weiner's approach to time is both unique and enlightening. Jeff Weiner learned this powerful hack of prioritization from Steve Jobs which he practices daily. Most of us are so focused on achieving everything altogether that we don’t realize keeping too much on your plate, not saying no to people when needed will lead to nothing.

So, as Brian Tracy asks you to Eat the frog”, make a list of the most important, crucial or difficult tasks of the day and focus on fewer things and do those things well.

Meditation at work: The CEO's secret weapon

Former Linkedin CEO, Jeff Weiner, shares life advice on mind clearing

"One of the most powerful benefits of meditation (and greater awareness) is the ability to improve issues that may have previously gone unrecognized," remarks Jeff.

The secret to Linkedin CEO’s success is productive meditation. This means using your unproductive time to perform deep thought which can lead to remarkable breakthroughs. He champions the concept of productive meditation, leveraging seemingly idle moments—like commuting, running or bathing—for deep reflection. Use that time to work out a challenging problem in your thoughts or solve an unresolved issue.

Next time, whenever you have to face a big problem, use this technique during your downtime and see what solutions you can come up with.

Also read:

What is the right type of meditation for you?

9 Buddhist mantras that will turn your life around

Is it safe to meditate to regulate periods?

Jeff’s advice for 22 year olds

If you’re someone who has graduated and doesn't know what to do next, there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s perfectly normal.

Recognize what you’re good at, recognize your natural skillset, your aptitudes and to recognize what you’re the most passionate about, what do you enjoy the most.

"If you’re reading the news, what kind of headlines do you gravitate towards naturally, what kind of companies do you follow?"

Try different things, it’s a big world out there and see what resonates and what doesn’t and of course correct, you’ll figure it out as you go.

Compassionate leadership: A hallmark of the LinkedIn CEO

Important things for leadership

One of the most important lessons that I’ve learned about leadership is the importance of inspiration. The ability to inspire others to achieve shared objectives to me is the heart of leaderships. To achieve this, there are top 3 things that are important:

  1. Clarity of vision- Understand what it is you ultimately want to accomplish
  2. Courage of conviction- There are going to be a lot of people who criticize you, and in order to achieve your vision, it’s very important that you believe in what you’re doing so that people follow you.
  3. Effectively communicate both your vision and courage of conviction.

Role of compassion in leadership

Leadership, for Weiner, goes beyond strategy and vision. It's about compassion. He openly acknowledges engaging in a kind of leadership that he terms "managing compassionately"—a kind of leadership that is characterized by "walking a mile in another person's shoes." This involves understanding and empathizing with others while maintaining enough distance to make effective decisions.

Weiner clarifies a common misconception: A lot of people tend to consider compassion synonymous with empathy and there are key distinctions between the two. Empathy is feeling what one another living being feels whereas compassion is maintaining a distance between you and that person so that you can do something about what they feel.

"Managing compassionately isn't merely a strategy for team-building; it's foundational for constructing a thriving company," Weiner asserts.

He takes a conscious approach to leadership by sharing a story by the Dalai Lama. As Dalai Lama shares, if you were walking and you come across a person with a boulder on their chest and they’re suffocating, the empathetic response is to feel the same sense of suffocation and if that were the case you wouldn’t be able to do anything about their suffering and the compassionate response is to recognize that they’re suffering and to draw on a previous experience that you’ve had where you’ve been suffering a similar way and do everything in your power to lift the boulder off their chest.

“For me, being compassionate at the workplace is putting myself in the other person’s shoes and helping them achieve their objectives that are relevant to both of us and we’re aligned on it.”

Jeff Weiner's life advice: Five pillars of happiness

Jeff Weiner, while talking to Oprah Winfrey, reveals the 5 keys to happiness he lives by which he picked up from his mentor, Ray Chambers:

1. Live in the moment

2. It’s better to be loving than to be right.

3. Be a spectator to your own thoughts, especially when you become emotional.

4. Be grateful for at least one thing everyday.

5. Go out of your way to help others every chance you get.

Final thoughts

Not just corporate success, Jeff Weiner's journey is a testament to the power of mind clearing through meditation in leadership. His story promotes the importance of self-awareness, compassion, and prioritization in achieving success, be it professional or personal. As we navigate our own paths, Weiner's practices offer valuable insights into leading with clarity, purpose, and heart.

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