Carson Finkle goes all in, head first, with his ‘Create Meditation’


“Business owners and entrepreneurs like me tend to put ourselves last on our to-do list,” affirms Carson Finkle, acting CEO of e-commerce site Tenth Street Hats and e-commerce advisor to the Brand Growth Experts Accelerator. Even if Finkle cheerfully took on a lot of responsibility and has a palpable passion for his businesses, successes, failures and the pandemic prompted him to take stock of his situation and empathize with fellow entrepreneurs.

He explains that with so much happening, it can be easy for an ambitious person to get lost in the crowd, especially if it is of his or her own creation. His own “entrepreneurial burnout” ultimately led him to engage in meditation, therapy, and reflection to refresh his mind and spirit. From there, he says he made it his mission to parlay his healing process into Create Meditation, which he describes as his “side hustle for good.” After developing his modality through consultations with a handful of friends and colleagues, Create Meditation was launched as a service to provide customizable guidance to entrepreneurs, business owners, and companies. The “transformational breathwork-meditation sessions,” in turn, help clients activate their power from within and become the idealized versions of themselves, according to Finkle.

“Think of it this way,” explains Finkle. “If you think of yourself as the top glass in a Champagne tower, and you choose to fill up your own cup first, good things are going to overflow into the cups of those closest to you. It’s a positive cascading effect in society because you have chosen to fill up your own cup first.”

Another analogy Finkle uses to explain how Create Meditation works is to shift the paradigm of the ages-old “chasing the carrot on the stick” metaphor. “Assuming your business is a massive carrot at the end of the stick at the top of the mountain that you get to eat when you get there, why not take little bites of that carrot the whole way along the journey?” he says. “That would make more sense”

From there, Finkle shifts gears to explain how his biggest “a-ha!” moments separating and then harmonizing his personal needs with his professional objectives led to his “side hustle for good” to empower others to be their personal best in a more balanced way.

Millennium: Tell us about the moment you recognized you needed to reconcile your professional career and your mental well-being.

Carson Finkle: A little over four years ago, I was in the start-up grind, winding down one business and starting another. After months of burning the midnight oil, I had a severe panic in my sleep that came out of nowhere–a nightmare that I couldn’t wake up from. I found myself crying uncontrollably. It was the scariest moment of my life, as I realized that the universe was sending me a message that I need to make some changes and look inward. I went on my own personal pilgrimage to get back to me being me. To achieve this, I tried everything under the sun, from attending conferences and reading books on the subject to working with a shaman and getting every kind of Western medicine test done. After all of this trial and error, I found a form of breathwork that had a very profound impact on me.

Millennium: How did you translate this personal experience with this modality to something you could share with others?

Carson Finkle: Through my marketing and branding background in e-commerce, I wanted to be able to create something to give back to the world. Once I found my own inner peace, I received the proper training to help teach others the specific breath work that worked for me. From there, I combined it with other healing modalities and personal development tools to develop sessions I could personalize for a given client. From there, I started doing that facilitating free sessions for friends and family during the early days of COVID-19. From there, those early subjects started referring other people to me, and the concept took root. This is when I realized this could be a service business that could help many people—including those who may not have benefitted from other types of life and career coaching.

Note to Andrew(Readers may want to know where he got trained and certified to practice as they will want to know it is not a cult-y thing or quack medicine)

Millennium: How has Create Meditation benefitted Tenth Street Hats and your other businesses?

Carson Finkle: People are still going to wear hats, and I am still the acting CEO and a member of Tenth Street’s parent company which is celebrating its 101st year in business. My work with Create Meditation and the work I’ve done on myself has allowed me to be a better leader on behalf of my team and the company.

Millennium: How can people who are not big into meditation or familiar with the practice grasp the ideas and make it work for them?

Carson Finkle: (Meditating) can be intimidating for some people, and the sessions allow me to break the process down really simply. Basically, everyone breathes all day long. And I am a big believer that achieving mindfulness allows somebody to see life differently, focusing on the breath is ultimately something everyone can grasp. It’s not some out-there spiritual thing. Just being able to focus on our breath can have a very profound effect on the mind, providing a gateway to the present moment. It’s about getting to the realization that one can live more in the present, rather than be worried about the future, creating to-do lists that are too ongoing, or dwelling on the past.

Millennium: What is the general process a client goes through in a session?

Carson Finkle: During a session, we will go over a lot of different kinds of techniques and tools you can take with you into your personal and professional life. One of my early clients expressed how the process works in a great way. Even if the sessions don’t work immediately, you (the client) are there to just breathe, talk out your ideas and listen to music you enjoy. However, what leads to personal healing and rewiring is that you and I pick five songs that simply give you joy and five others that have an emotional connection for you. Also, what makes it relatable for more people is that you’re not breathing into some Zen spiritual ideas that have no relevance.

Millennium: Is the Create Meditation approach also effective for groups working at the same firm?

Carson Finkle: Whether I’m doing a group session for a company or individual, I always start with the champagne tower analogy. And when it comes to business, it’s easier to explain how “showing up” for your company and colleagues allows you to bring a proverbial full cup to work, which will trickle down to those you work with, from colleagues to clients and down to the customers with better customer service. This ultimately benefits the bottom line, but in a way that’s not at your expense.

Millennium: Does Create Meditation replace the need for a traditional job coach or professional consultant or can it enhance whatever consulting services a person or group undertakes?

Carson Finkle: I also like to think of it as a wellness program for individuals and teams to achieve a healthier mindset. The practice is mostly focused on the well-being of individuals, leading to the well-being of the company. (In group settings) I don’t see it as a competing form of consulting as there’s a wide range of consulting methods. I think my focus is primarily on the overall wellness of a company, communicating with the heads of HR and business leaders to better understand the well-being of their employees.

Millennium: Is there anything that you’ve learned from them that you wish you had known, like way back when you did your first startup?

Carson Finkle: Definitely! I wish I would have grasped the power of what personal mindfulness practice can bring to the table for yourself as a business leader. I think a big part of our job is making the right decisions, being adaptive, and most importantly, being a very good, communicator with our team. Based on the feedback I have gotten from my clients, the most important benefit they received from the mindfulness process is clarity in how they approach growing or improving their businesses as well as with things in their personal life.

Millennium: What advice would your older self give your younger self…and by extension…today’s generation of entrepreneurs?

Carson Finkle: I think we get easily caught up in the rat race of doing things and checking them off an ongoing to-do list. While I like to think that entrepreneurs are great at “doing,” they’re not very good at “being.” And “being” is a skill that takes time to develop. This is why it is important that when you leave work and you’re at home, we don’t want your mind to still be at work. Instead, you need to be present with family and friends when you’re away from the office. This is something I wish I had taken on earlier in my career, to slow down a little bit more.

Millennium: Why do you believe entrepreneurship is going to be a growing sector of the U.S. economy?

Carson Finkle: Entrepreneurship is here to stay. In my opinion, it will probably continue to grow for a couple of reasons. One of the best things about the world we live in is that even with many great schools and educational opportunities out there, with the internet, you can learn anything you want online. Even if you have a solid degree, the internet allows you to learn new things, develop new skills and change the course of your career. They call it “YouTube University.” Something that I’ve learned a lot in this work and that I discuss with a client in the very first session is to explore the web as a way to find or rediscover your North Star, this outcome that you’re looking to achieve, your identity, and so on. It’s very easy to test ideas and tinker and even research ways to raise money to support your idea.

That said, mental health and burnout are so prevalent amongst entrepreneurs that the most important thing they can do for themselves is prioritized being well just as much as doing well in the present and the long term.

Millennium: How does technology play a role in your business?

Carson Finkle: In regards to technology, 99% of the work I do with Create Meditation is through Zoom. This is a beautiful thing. I also use Spotify as a tool to help the client pinpoint the most inspired music. As I am able to relay mindfulness techniques and a client’s playlist, having a nice camera is important so they will truly feel that you are with them by their side, almost in their room because they can do it from the comfort of their own home. Having a great mic is important, as my voice is overlaid with the music.

Millennium: With changes in the economy, how do you see your business making progress and helping entrepreneurs get through any downturns and challenges.?

Carson Finkle: The pandemic hit us all in a multitude of ways between inventory constraints and cash flow, and I think the still the dust is still settling from all that. I think the economy always kind of is going to ebb and flow, but the ones that you can stick to your strong business principles and hopefully make sound clear decisions for the business and not try to get caught up in the fear of the media and the ups and downs that can bring emotionally. Because as a leader, you’ve got to be a sounding rock for the team in your company.

 

Regardless of what stirs a client’s soul or creative process, Finkle believes the power of the breath is really as profound because it is something everybody does unconsciously, about 22,000 times a day. As he sees it, he’s challenging people to take a look at that and become aware of their breath. Whether somebody adopts this mindset from a mindfulness perspective or a business perspective, how one handles the ups, downs, and stresses of creativity has a choice to see them as a deficit or a useful pause.