10/17/2013 07:30 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Today in the Mind of Jerry Colonna


Jerry Colonna is a life and business coach and a philanthropist. Formerly, he was co-founder of Flatiron Partners, one of the most successful early stage investment programs in NYC. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees at Naropa University. Follow Jerry on Twitter: @jerrycolonna

What can light up your creativity/inspiration instantly?

JC: Deep conversation. Years ago I realized that deep, authentic, connective dialogue -- what I often refer to as The Conversation because each individual dialogue seems a part of a larger continuum of exploration -- nourished me. Since then, as much as I can, I've tried to organize my life around The Conversation... promoting it, feeding it, caring for it, blowing on the embers of it. From that place, my fullest creativity is inspired.

What's one good question you ask a lot?

JC: "How's your heart?" I like that because it brings attention to feelings in a way that, "How are you?" doesn't.

If now is a good time, what would you let go of?

JC: My need to rescue people. It stems from my childhood -- a very old assignment. And while the impulse behind it is clear and the intention is values-based, it still has an element of ego-preservation: I'll save you to ensure that I'll be saved myself. I'd rather operate more fully from a place of empathy and compassion.

If you could experience for a day the life of one other person, whom would that be?

JC: The Buddhist saint, Milarepa. He was a bad ass. He struggled mightily with awful pain as a child and grew in a poet, a musician, and a great meditation master. Mostly by facing his demons.

What do you know to be true?

JC: That we all want to be seen, loved, acknowledged, held, and honored for who we are. That in doing so, we get to live undivided and whole and that the opposite of sadness is not happiness but wholeness.

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