Expo East: Jay Shetty shares 3 mindsets to connect people and purpose

Noted mindfulness coach and author outlines how consciousness of the why, coaching well and embracing childlike curiosity can engender innovation.

Melaina Juntti

September 26, 2023

4 Min Read
Expo East: Jay Shetty shares 3 mindsets to connect people and purpose
Bryan Beasley Photography

To cap off the final Natural Products Expo East, global influencer Jay Shetty captivated the crowd with an inspiring message about connecting people and purpose, which he called “the greatest competitive advantage in our lives and in business.”

Kicking off his Saturday morning keynote, “Innovating with Purpose: A Conversation with Jay Shetty,” the mindfulness coach, health podcaster, entrepreneur and best-selling author of Think Like a Monk and 8 Rules of Love expressed the importance of the human touch in today’s digital world.  

“We get so enamored by what is the next technology that’s going to change the industry or change the brand?” Shetty said. “It’s almost like the new technology is humanity: just being present, being aware, being conscious.”

He outlined three key mindsets—conscious, coach and childlike—that can help leaders connect people and purpose inside any business or organization.

Conscious mindset

As Shetty explained, having a conscious mindset means always being conscious of and rooted in your “why.” He said it’s easy to become distracted or get lost along a journey, making it critical to “recenter ourselves with our conscious intention of why did I start? What’s driving me? Why am I here?”

To illustrate, Shetty shared his purpose in starting sparkling tea brand Juni with his wife. Growing up in London, his immigrant parents both worked a lot, yet he and his mother enjoyed tea together daily.

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“Early on, I started equating teatime with presence, energy, love, joy and meaningful time with my mom,” Shetty says. “Tea has always been part of my love language.” The desire for others to experience that same feeling and connection is what led him to pursue tea instead of a different product.  

“So I want you to think about, what was that thing that got you started?” Shetty says. “Why did you get started in the work you’re doing now? What drove you in beginning? Because I promise you, that never runs out of fuel—you never, ever run out of that fuel.” 

Coach mindset

Shetty’s second mindset that can help leaders align people and purpose is that of a coach.

“Teams are hard, and leading a team with purpose is hard,” he said. “We love the mission so much that we want everyone on the team to get the mission.” When it seems like team members don’t get it, he added, leaders feel frustrated. “But the truth is that we’re all looking at things through our own lens.”

To convey this concept, Shetty asked attendees to separate into one of four groups based on personality type: outgoing and people focused, outgoing and task focused, reserved and people focused, and reserved and task focused.

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“Every company, every organization, every brand, every team is going to have this kind of split,” he said. “And a big part of innovation is knowing how to have a coach’s mindset to make sure that all these people can actually work together for the same purpose. But the interesting thing is everyone sees the purpose differently.”

One group sees the purpose as getting things done, he noted, while another sees it as making the product looks incredible. One group views the purpose as ensuring that the product actually works; another wants to make sure that people are happy in the process.

“All of these people are needed,” Shetty said. “All of these people can add so much value to the product and company—if their voices are heard.” He then explained how he and his wife each bring unique and different strengths to Juni, both recognizing and respecting the other’s skillset.

“Think about who on your team has specific strengths that you’re maybe not spotlighting enough?” Shetty said. “If someone has something they’re obsessed with, can you utilize and engage that in a way that’s powerful for you?”

Childlike mindset

Shetty detailed how children are infinitely curious, humble and uninhibited—attributes that yield creativity and innovation. But as adults, we become programmed to nail tasks and hit deadlines; we become self-conscious and afraid of being “wrong.” As a result, we lose the curiosity, humility and creativity needed to spark the next great idea, the next industry-transforming innovation.  

Shetty used the example of Blockbuster. The once-omnipresent, now-defunct video rental chain passed up multiple chances to purchase tiny Netflix, feeling it wouldn’t be worth it.

“What in your organization are you thinking, ‘Oh, that not going to take off; that’s 20 years off,’” Shetty said. “What are you ignoring that could be the very thing the entire industry is based off?” Answering these questions honestly, he added, takes childlike curiosity and humility.

“It’s fascinating how so many incredible brands and organizations get so disrupted because they didn’t believe something else would take off,” Shetty said. “I always ask myself, What am I kind of scared of or unsure about that I need more time to investigate, that I need to almost be a student of and learn about?”

To wrap up his speech, Shetty expressed his hope that audience members remember the three mindsets and find them easy to practice: “If you are able to always be conscious of your purpose and why you started, if you’re able to be a coach to the one, two, 20, 200 people on your team, and if you’re able to always remain childlike in your curiosity and you creativity, then I know that you’ll be able to connect people and purpose and continue to innovate.”

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About the Author(s)

Melaina Juntti

Melaina Juntti is a longtime freelance journalist, copy editor and marketing professional. With nearly two decades of experience in the natural products industry, she is a frequent contributor to Nutrition Business Journal, Natural Foods Merchandiser and NewHope.com. Melaina is based in Madison, Wisconsin, and is passionate about hiking, camping, fishing and live music. 

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