What does it mean to be Noble in the 21st Century?

What does it mean to be Noble in the 21st Century?

“To me Noble means to be a vulnerable and loving human being. Noble is the awareness that with each meeting and path crossed, we share the human experience. It is the understanding that the wounds of others are also a reflection of my own, including the shadows. To be noble is to prioritize the well-being and happiness of others — this is my driving force and mission in life.”

GUILLAUME GAUTHEREAU for NOBLE magazine.

Also published on HUFFINGTON POST Impact.

 

Photo Courtesy:  Guillaume Gauthereau

Iliana María Such: Can you reveal to us a childhood experience, which influenced your business career, especially your relation with bees?

Guillaume Gauthereau: When I was 12 years old, Professor Sogorb, my biology professor would take us into the forest to create various molds of animal footprints. He taught me to listen, identify the different sounds of birds, also to examine them under a microscope to witness how a single drop of water drawn from a pond could contain thousands of creatures and microbes. He enjoyed raising all sorts of insects in our classroom. I think to be surrounded by nature, learning about so many different species and later training as a Veterinary Surgeon influenced my connection with nature greatly. It became my quest to understand and support all forms of life. This combination of interests led to my pursuit of bees, who are such an integral part of our eco-system. And it led me to another truth that without bees, our world would be a very different place. I realized that they played a critical role in our world, and this influenced me enough to take action to help them.

Such: Can you provide us with an insight into the creative process behind the New York Bee Sanctuary? In a few sentences, why should people care? What do you recommend as a first step in taking action and getting involved?

Gauthereau: The creation of the New York Bee Sanctuary came from an idea I had when I was trekking the Himalayas in Nepal during a year of personal transformation. I realized that there were botanical gardens to preserve and educate the public about flowers and plants along with zoos or animal preservation centers. However, very little has been done on that scale for pollinators and especially honey bees. Bees are disappearing at a fast pace, so it’s a critical issue as wild and honey bees are responsible for over 30% of our food supply in the world, allowing plants to make fruits and vegetables.

One of the first easy steps anyone can take is to stop buying insecticides, spraying their flowers and gardens with those products, and plant flowers that are “bee friendly.” You can even register your garden or land as a BEE-SAFE certified landwith New York Bee Sanctuary.

Photo Courtesy:  Guillaume Gauthereau

Such: Which philosopher has inspired you throughout your career? Why?

Gauthereau: John Muir; I like that his writings keep us connected to what is essential and real. In the business and the modern Western worlds, often we are driven by success, fame, career achievements, all of which are often the chasing of illusions. I have spent an enormous amount of energy in my life doing all of this. Until I started to realize that none of this was a foundation for happiness. It can be an outcome but not the foundation. John Muir reminds us of all of this in his powerful writings about nature, civilization, and “modern” human societies. He invites us to be inspired by something that is more powerful, mysterious, and magnificent. I wish his teachings were offered in every business school!

Photo Courtesy:  Guillaume Gauthereau 

John Muir, c. 1902. Unattributed, Library of Congress

Such: What is a good personal experience in defining The Sanctuary? What are your challenges?

Gauthereau: The Sanctuary Coaching and Healing Center was part of my personal “rebirth.” I realized that many executives, CEOs and leaders often feel depressed, stuck, anxious, angry, and feel “far from their life purpose.” Though they might have material success, they were not happy. I had a vision that the world will only change when we each do our own individual “work” – to undertake self-introspection to heal our hearts and lives. We think war, conflict, and suffering are external issues in this world. But really, these issues exist within each of us, in different ways and at different levels. We call ourselves “leaders” yet we often demonstrate poor inner leadership, which directs our emotions, the mental ups, and downs. The main challenges are often that CEOs and business leaders, especially men, are not easily vulnerable or open to doing the required inner work. We often want to make everyone around us believe that we have “everything figured out.” We have to be strong. So, it leaves little or no place for inner transformation. It can be achieved, however, through a deliberate and often painful self-inquiry process. These are challenges I have faced on my journey, and now I witness that many others are going through the same process. The Sanctuary was created to assist others in the process of self-inquiry and inner work, which is a pathway towards inner peace.

WATCH: An Introduction to Meditation

Photo Courtesy:  Guillaume Gauthereau

Such: Can you tell us more about Sequoia Lab and the importance of aligning social values with a sustainable lifestyle?

Gauthereau: Sequoia Lab is a boutique strategic agency that houses a diverse team of business leaders, creative geniuses, and strategists. What brings this group together is the idea that business can thrive more if it integrates social values, sustainability and a vision of a better world. Business not only “makes things”; it must serve others and the world. There is a small possibility a business will thrive in the long-term if it does not recognize the interconnectedness of all things. It is of vital importance to create organizations that incorporate social values and ethics as well as sustainable practices. All of my ventures are interconnected. The Sanctuary, Sequoia Lab, and New York Bee Sanctuary are all connected.

My logo is that of a tree, and I like to think of my work like this. The trunk and roots of the tree are the work done at The Sanctuary – looking at individuals, one on one, doing self-inquiry and healing. The branches of the tree are the work I do with Sequoia Lab. It is the process of bringing business knowledge, coaching, strategic and venture experience to fruition – to extend the personal transformation work for each business leader and entrepreneur and develop skills and programs that bring results and harmony. And finally, the New York Bee Sanctuary is the foliage and flowers of the tree. It is the fruit of the labor, the giving back to the earth for all it has provided and at the same time serving the creatures that this world needs – our bees. All three organizations work in harmony. It is necessary to integrate all of these elements to align both business and your personal life as one.


Photo Courtesy:  Guillaume Gauthereau

Such: It’s interesting how you combine a “luxury lifestyle” with a more humble spiritual lifestyle. How do you balance these two opposing realities?

Gauthereau: I don’t think I ever really lived a “luxury lifestyle.” I never collected expensive watches, cars or properties. I did love my expensive shoes and suits for many years, especially when I was working in the luxury fashion industry. But when I look back at it, it was more about wanting to “fit in” with a firm belief it was the way things had to be. The more I advance in life, the more I have been simplifying my lifestyle. Somehow living a simple life has made me feel more free and happy. And the more time I spend in nature or in communities that have a strong support system, the more I realize what matters most: family, individuality, and compassion. The simplification of my life happened as a consequence of my spiritual work.

Such: What is the single most inspiring video you have seen addressing today’s biggest challenges, which include: climate change, food security, poverty reduction, and quality of life for all?

Gauthereau: The incredible speech of Severn Cullis-Suzuki at the Rio Summit in 1992. Almost 25 years ago! It has all the messages we need for today. The most tragic thing of all is that little has changed since that time. Most of those issues, if not all of them are in a much more dangerous place today.

Such: You have a creative and poetic soul, could you describe for us through Haiku poetry your personal connection to mother nature?

Gauthereau: You are asking me to write Haiku! Wow, I have never done that; it’s going to be hard but interesting!

Forest is asking

Our heart to open with Love

So our buds can bloom

Photo Courtesy:  Guillaume Gauthereau

Such: What role does music play in your creative process?

Gauthereau: I always listen to music in the background when I work. I was raised in a family with a musician; my mother was a great pianist. Also, I played the violin for over 15 years in an orchestra, which influenced my love for classical music and opera. Music helps me significantly through the work I do with healing and plant medicine. It brings me to a state of flow, helping me to feel deep and receive messages from my spirit guides. When I am creating plant elixirs for my clients, music infuses a very powerful energy into my work. More recently, I have started drumming using a beautifully handmade shamanic drum. Drumming is now part of my daily practice, and I use it in workshops. Also, I made it to the top 30 of the “New & Noteworthy” section of iTunes Podcast on Spirituality. Later this year, I will release a CD of “spiritual sound healing” featuring my drumming.

Such: Was there a particular human exchange you can describe which inspired you towards taking charitable action regarding the causes you love?

Gauthereau: Jane Goodall inspired my interest in animal preservation and welfare, and Mother Teresa inspired me to help the poorest of the poor. I always saw these women as saints, dedicating their lives to others, either it be animals or humans, without expecting anything in return. It’s a beautiful experience when you witness someone fully aligned with their soul purpose in serving others.

Such: What advice can you share with the world on the importance of empowering others to reach one’s full potential? How do you empower others in your daily life?

Gauthereau: I believe we all have a note to play in the symphony of humanity and a song in our heart to sing. We all have a calling; that is the reason we are here. Unless we can all express our purpose, the universe will be missing an essential note and the unique message that is contained within each of us. So our role is to empower every individual so they can express their “raison d’etre”. I empower others by giving speeches on this topic and encouraging people to listen to their heart. Also, I try to show my vulnerabilities so that others can feel understood and respected.

Such: You describe yourself as a spiritual person. Can you share with us one of your more profound spiritual experiences?

Gauthereau: I think it’s hard to put into words the most profound spiritual experience because not only is it very personal, but also it is difficult if not impossible to put into words. However, I can try my best to describe one spiritual experience I had three years ago when I was volunteering at Mother Teresa in Kolkata. One day I felt a very direct, soul shaking, connection with Jesus Christ. I never prayed to Him before nor was I raised as a Christian. Ironically, it was Christ that came one day into my prayers with very direct messages and for a few hours, I believe I had a “conversation” with Him. I journeyed to India to learn more about Hinduism; this was a surprise even for myself. What happened after will forever be in my Heart. I know with certainty that prayers are answered when we ask from the depth of our hearts.

Such: What is your message for entrepreneurs who struggle to launch their ideas?

Gauthereau: I want entrepreneurs to realize that most, if not all, successful entrepreneurs out there struggle! They have all failed many times in their entrepreneurial life! Steven Jobs was fired from his own business. Jeff Bezos pitched to several investors who told him Amazon was a stupid idea and that it will never work. My message is to persevere, learn from the fall, rise stronger and try again, and you will succeed if you keep doing this. Hard work, focus, and belief are what it will take.

Photo Courtesy:  Guillaume Gauthereau

Such: What is your greatest hope for the future? What is next for Guillaume Gauthereau?

Gauthereau: My hope is that we come closer to each other as human beings. That we finally understand that only love can get us closer and that the differences we “see” are never a reason for hate or anger. I launched Gauthereau Group last year with the idea that we can foster a better world if we learn to cooperate for the greater good. I am focusing more than half of my time mentoring, coaching and doing healing work for leaders and CEOs. I believe the world will only change when those who lead it will have found peace, clarity, and compassion in their hearts. I launched a program called Awakened Leadership™to help leaders discover ancient wisdom and practical tools to make sure their success is leading towards a sense of purpose, inner peace and happiness, not only at a personal level but for all those they come in contact with in their lifetime. Additionally, I am working on a project related to plant medicine and healing. I continue to be involved in the New York Bee Sanctuary and the extension of BEE SAFE Certified pollinators friendly lands in the US and globally.

Such: How would you like to be remembered?

Gauthereau: I would like to be remembered as living a life based on the Prayer of St. Francis. As someone who cared to understand others more than to be understood, focused on loving others more than to be loved, and a great contributor of peace, harmony, and joy in the world.

Iliana María Such: Lastly, who are your top three living NOBLE thought leaders?

Guillaume Gauthereau: My three top NOBLE thought leaders are: the Dalai Lama, Pierre Rabhi and Jane Goodall.

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1Comment
  • Gauthereau
    Posted at 06:04h, 18 April Reply

    Chouette interview! Bises

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