People Of Presence: Yvon Chouinard
Presence is about the process over the end destination and few understand that as well as Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia. Patagonia’s mission is to do business in an inspiring way that implements solutions to the current environmental crisis. Yvon’s philosophy is to do no harm and actually improve the world through business. The Patagonia Brand was built on the backs of climbers and surfers knowing the value of living a minimalist lifestyle.
At The Helm
Yvon Chouinard began his adventures in climbing at the age of fourteen in Southern California. This connection to the earth set him on a journey of discovery. Not finding the gear widely available that he needed, Yvon started a shop in his parent’s backyard. Eventually, with such an entrepreneurial spirit, this first shop expanded into what Patagonia is today.
Yvon has built his company around the freedom to be in the present moment, basking in nature and life. He values those who work under his care and the care of his team. He says business should be run as a village- eating together,socializing, and being present with one another.
“When I'm in the office, I always eat lunch with the staff. We serve a subsidized healthy lunch daily in our café. Not only are we feeding our employees good food, but we are building a community, too. Socializing is important. We also have on-site child care for our employees. That was my wife Malinda's idea, and it was radical when we first introduced it, in 1981. It really does take a village to raise a child, and we don't live in villages anymore. So companies need to be more like villages. I think the kids who come out of here are Patagonia's best products.” Interview for Inc.com
Getting to where you want to go whether in meeting your life goals or climbing a mountain, you need to know the destination, but then bring yourself back to the present moment, the process at hand.
“If you focus on the process of climbing, you’ll end up on the summit.”
Step by step. Yvon Chouinard believes that the solution to the world’s environmental problems is to simplify our lives. And, what better way to bring in more presence than by eliminating the excess.
“You know where I wanna be right now? Right here. Nowhere else. Not in the future, not in the past. This is what I worked for all my life (…) Just live for the moment.”
Right here, right now, in this moment for there is no other. I think we can all learn from that. Let’s simplify the process and embrace it. Let’s examine how we may simplify our lives and be more present in our homes, in our relationships, and out in the world.
May you reach your summit one step at a time.