ABOUT PAUL ZELIZER
Paul is also the former Director of Social Media for Wisdom 2.0, one of the premier mindfulness brands in the world. In 2017, he founded Awarepreneurs because he saw the need for more honest conversation about the power of combining the power of conscious business practices with the dynamism of the social impact movement. Today he is the Founder and Chief Entrepreneurial Activist of Awarepreneurs.
In addition to conscious entrepreneurship, Paul is passionate about just about anything you can do in the mountain high country, power yoga, dark chocolate, sustainable living, ecstatic poetry and deep centering breaths. He lives in an adobe home in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Learn more about Paul’s work.
The Unabridged Story
Even as a kid, I was aware of the ethics of things. We lived a very comfortable middle class life. And that lifestyle came from an industry that caused harm.
I was surrounded by adults who worked for oil, soda and pharmaceutical companies. My young self was deeply concerned that the way we humans were conducting business on Planet Earth.
Embracing Psychology and Spirituality
In my mid-teenage years, I got into drinking and doing drugs. At 17, this intensified. One night in a blackout, I had a violent incident with a friend. That scared me. Enough so that soon there after I agreed to a session with very wise woman. She told me something that changed the course of my life:
Paul, you are wired for poignant experiences. People with this kind of nervous system tend to either 1) live a life of drama and addiction or 2) find a way of creating a rich inner life that works for them. I hope you choose the second path.”
I heard her. And made spiritual development the north star of my life.
Reading about psychology and spirituality became leading pastimes. I majored in psychology in undergraduate school.
Then in 1989, I entered into an awareness based Counseling Psychology master’s program at Lesley University. Jon Kabat Zinn’s house was about 12 miles down the road in one direction (he’s the founder of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) and the lab of Dr. Herbert Benson (author of The Relaxation Response) was a mile in the other. Other professors were Sufi psychologists, former monks, psychoneuroimmunology scientists and women’s spirituality leaders. I was steeped in a culture of mindfulness, awareness and the science of wellness. #AMAZING!
The Land of Art & Soul
For over 15 years, I did community work through mental health centers and started an innovative non-profit that used awareness based approaches to change.
I worked in rural Hispanic villages and the native reservations like Taos Pueblo – the oldest continually inhabited building in North America.
Coming into Coaching
By 2007, I had worked with over 13,000 people. I had seen more trauma and addiction then I could handle. I was burnt out and tired of being broke. It was time to reinvent myself. And a friend of mine, Soren Gordhamer, was in a similar place.
I dreamed up a mindfulness/wellness based coaching practice. And Soren wrote a little book titled Wisdom 2.0.
We started exploring the growing world of social media. Soon, largely through our Twitter connections, we started having some magical experiences:
Meeting with Tony Hsieh and the Zappos leadership team in 2009 to discuss conscious business and transformational uses of social media.
Going to Google to learn about the Search Inside Yourself program (which teaches mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence to Google employees).
Meeting the Facebook employee who coordinates their mindfulness sessions and Compassion Days.
Before I knew it, people were hiring me more to discuss the growing field of wisdom entrepreneurship and mindful social marketing than wellness coaching. The Universe tricked me into becoming a business and marketing coach for wisdom entrepreneurs. 🙂
Growing My Coaching Practice
In 2012, I was contracted as the Director of Social Media for Wisdom 2.0 – one of the premier mindfulness brands in the world. As part of the Wisdom 2.0 team, we developed strategies that almost tripled the number of conference participants in one year (from 650 to 1800) and quadrupled our rate of growth on Facebook and Twitter.
Thought Leader and Awarepreneurs founder
By 2013, my coaching practice was doing well. I was on the leading edge of the world wide wisdom entrepreneur movement. I had committed clients who did deep work and wanted help to grow their businesses. I also was increasingly being hired as a speaker on topics related to conscious entrepreneurship, mindful marketing and transformational leadership
But the Universe wasn’t content to just let me put my feet up on the coffee table, drink green tea and eat dark chocolate. I was being called to doing something with more impact and legacy.
To be honest, I didn’t immediately say yes. The scale of what I was being invited to do scared me.
After weeks of deliberation, I said yes to the Universe again. Still running my coaching practice, I left Wisdom 2.0 and began a series of conversations with people in the social impact space.
I started a community that eventually became known as Awarepreneurs.
Awarepreneurs Goes Global
Since then, Awarepreneurs has grown to one of the most vibrant conscious entrepreneur and social impact communities in the world. Through our highly respected podcast and dynamic Facebook group, we bring together leaders and emerging leaders from around the world. Our goal is to explore how to optimize a business for both financial success and positive social impact.
This amazing tribe keeps me on my toes and helps me stay informed about the latest trends in the conscious business, social impact and transformational leadership worlds.
Aliveness and Fun!
REPORTS FROM THE INTERSECTION OF WISDOM & ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Since 1988, I’ve continually said yes to a life of increasing levels of being of service based on awareness principles. I’ve never done any other work. And, even when I could have stopped growing, I chose to keep moving in the direction of more ability to have positive impact in the world.
I work with best people who are ready to go beyond the conversation of just how to get a few more clients – they are ready to become thought leaders. To say “Yes” to more impact and a bigger legacy of making this world a better place while still having a life with plenty of spiritual practice, prosperity, intimacy, self-care and FUN!