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Inspire: Andy Robins: Director – Institute of the Zen Leadership

Andy bio photo 350x350 1 - Inspire: Andy Robins: Director - Institute of the Zen Leadership
Written by James Langton

There is leadership and there is Zen leadership,

  • Leadership development without Zen never cuts to the core of ego, which is the source of all fears and frailties that make leadership small.
  • Zen without leadership may stay on the mountaintop and not serve the world that needs it.
  • Our mission is to bring the two together for the betterment of leaders and the world they create.We combine the tools of Zen training with world-class leadership development to help leaders radically reframe not only the challenges they face, but also the self that faces them.
  • We go beyond mindfulness to show leaders how to authentically embody more powerful, energized and agile leadership. Bringing this profound training to the service of leaders, and more awakened leaders to the service of the world is the purpose of the Institute for Zen Leadership.

What do you do?

I am UK / European Director for The Institute for Zen Leadership, a role where I oversee workshops and programmes, as well as run programmes.

What is your greatest challenge at the moment?

In the last couple of years it has been getting businesses and organisations to open up, in order to discover the benefits that zen can have on not only their staff, but also the bottom line.

What is your greatest joy?

I was recently part of what we call our HEAL programme, Healthy, Embodied, Agile, Leadership. It is specifically aimed at the healthcare sector with the majority of participants being Doctors & Nurses and some senior leadership roles in hospitals. Burnout is a serious problem not only in the UK but also the USA and our programme is making a real impact on those who have attended these programmes. It is very moving when you hear how what you’re delivering is making such a difference to peoples lives, knowing that the external conditions in which they operate haven’t changed.

Do you follow your own advice?

This question makes me smile…a lot! There is lots of stuff to talk about in zen, but for me it comes down to 4 simple things, and what I call the 4P’s, these are Practice, Patience, Persistence and Perseverance. There are no short cuts and you have to embody some daily practices, embrace them and make them part of your life. Once you do this I believe that the practices will grow and your life will change, probably in ways you never imagined. I sit (meditate) for 45 minutes each day, and have a yoga practice of somewhere between 30 minutes and 90 minutes depending on the time available. There is no (very little) compromise on these practices.

A week never goes by without…

Thinking how amazing life is and what it just presents to you, if you let it!

What makes you optimistic in the world?

A good question, after a very difficult period in my life, that could have been seen as success by many, instead inside I was battered and in a dark place. I flipped where I was and began on a path opposite to the one I had followed, and seven years on I can see the difference in my whole being, everyday is a joy.

You’ve come back to London after living in Cornwall for many years what do you do here in London when you want to get back to some country living?

I am currently in and out of the UK with some training in the USA, I am lucky to get the rub of both rural and city life. I do spend a lot of time alone, but this is something that these days I feel very settled with, as I am not chasing anything, I am truly waiting to see what will be.

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