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By Sunita Sehmi, Walk The Talk

Can you imagine what it's like to be able to completely clear your mind and experience a deep sense of calm whenever you want? What about the power to switch into a state of intense concentration, but at the same time be completely relaxed?

Developed at Google and based on the latest in neuroscience research, the Search Inside Yourself (SIY) Certified Program teaches attention and mindfulness training that build the core emotional intelligence skills needed for effective leadership. This results-oriented program is designed to empower individuals, strengthen teams and transform entire workplaces. This course is coming to Geneva and my interview is with both SIY certified teachers Angelika von der Assen and Robert Chender who will co run the two day workshop. Enjoy!

1. What is SIY about?
The Search Inside Yourself (SIY) program was originally developed at Google end 2007 as an in-house mindfulness and emotional intelligence training for employees. Due to great demand, starting in 2012 it was offered to other companies and to the public through the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, a non-profit organization. SIY takes a science-based approach that combines neuroscience, mindfulness and emotional intelligence. Through these three disciplines, SIY helps participants integrate the key building blocks for well-being, collaboration, and leadership. The program is highly interactive. It is approximately one- third content and two-thirds experiential exercises, including one-on-one and group conversations, attention-training practices, listening exercises, and writing activities. Each program is tailored for the client’s needs and presented through a different lens depending on the audience, while maintaining the combination of neuroscience, mindfulness, and emotional intelligence that has made the program successful.

2. Do you need to have any previous training in mindfulness to do the course?
No, this is not at all necessary. All that is necessary is an interest.

3. How does meditation (a la SIY) positively impact life, relationships and work?
We’ve found statistically significant improvements in SIY participants in the following areas: reduced stress, increased resilience, increased focus, and increased ability to collaborate and manage challenging situations. 

In general, after an SIY program participants have reported reduced levels of stress and a greater ability to focus, as well as being mentally ready to meet daily challenges, and better being able to maintain their cool in emotionally charged situations.

siyli results2x

4. Who has been a big influence in your life?
Robert: My primary meditation teacher, Chogyam Trungpa. Without his guidance and kindness I would not be where I am today.
Angelika: My parents. I grew up as the fourth of five children in a very busy veterinarian household, lacking intimacy and attention. Thanks to them, I started to look deeper, to study psychology and then, in 2008, became a Zen student.

5. What is the one thing you can’t live without?
Robert: My body.
Angelika: If we talk about objects, I think there is no such thing; maybe the air I breathe?

6. What is the hardest thing you overcame (could be life, work, school, friends, marriage, etc)?
Robert: My confusion and lack of emotional intelligence as a child and young man, which I have been able to overcome with the help of a regular meditation practice.
Angelika: As I said before: my clinging to the story of an ‘unlucky childhood’. This was possible with mindfulness practices. Through meditation, which can also be described as a radical examination of our minds, I found a deeper truth.

7. What is the phrase or quote that describes you the best and why?
Robert: “Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.” While pain is part of the human condition, I have spent my life examining how I and others tend to compound pain by either acting out or repressing our emotions. By looking deeply, we can start to decrease the suffering that arises by how we react to pain and emotions.
Angelika: ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’. That’s quite a shift for somebody who used to fight for a better world demonstrating on the streets in my student years. And it’s why I engage in bringing mindfulness to the business world.

8. What object has a special meaning to you?
Robert: I wear a cord around my neck which reminds me of my teacher.
Angelika: A black and white photography of my parents who died some years ago, taken on the day of their engagement in 1952.

9. How did you get out of your own way?
Robert: The only and best way I have found to get out of my own way is to practice mindfulness meditation. The practice involves noticing thoughts, emotions, sensations that distract us, and returning to the present by refocusing attention on the breath. This practice helps us to recognize when we have been carried away by our habitual ways of reacting, and then to be able to choose an appropriate response in any situation.
Angelika: By practicing meditation on compassion and loving-kindness for a longer period. It taught me to love myself and others, with all our imperfections, shortcomings and so-called failures.

Mindleader Presents: The Search Inside Yourself (SIY) Certified Program in Geneva.


Date and Time
Thu, Jun 27, 2019, 9h-17h30
Fri, Jun 28, 2019, 9h-17h30

Webster University
Route de Collex 15

The program starts at 9:00 am and ends at 5:30 pm on both days.
Food is included in the ticket price.
The program is taught in English.


Sunita's Bio

sunita Sehmi

Sunita is an Executive Coach, Trainer and Consultant. She is of Indian origin and was born in London before moving to Geneva in 1992. She has a Psychology background (specialising in Occupational Psychology) and a Post Graduate in the Development and Training of Adults. She also completed a Masters in Ressources Humaines, Coaching et Gestion des Carrières at the University of Geneva.

During her 26 years experience Sunita's drive has always been to help people to do their best and hence led her to create Walk The Talk.

In her free time Sunita is a Mentor for the Branson Center of Entrepreneurship and a proud member of the School in The Cloud Team.