Mindful Vulnerability
Heartfulness eMagazine|January 2022
Scott Shute is a pioneer in creating workplace mindfulness programs and advancing the discussion around compassion at work. He blends his experience as a Silicon Valley executive with his lifelong practice and passion as a wisdom seeker and teacher. In his recent role at LinkedIn, Scott was the Head of Mindfulness and Compassion programs, and he is the author of the highly acclaimed book, The Full Body Yes. Here, he is interviewed by Emilie Mogensen.
By Emilie Mogensen. Illustrations by Ananya Patel
Q: I am super happy that Scott has kindly agreed to talk to me about conscious business and entrepreneurship. It means a lot to me in my journey as an entrepreneur and as a student at the Inner MBA program, where Scott is a faculty lead. His work on how to implement ancient wisdom traditions in modern work life is really cutting edge.

In his book, Scott explains how we can learn from each other’s stories. His story really resonates with me, especially the fact he started his spiritual search at a very early age, and later in life became an entrepreneur with an achiever mindset.

I take a few deep breaths like he taught us in one of the programs. I can do this.

Hi Scott!

(The fact Scott starts by thanking me for the work I do in the world makes me grateful because I have met a humble and kind man.)

I am curious how a young boy in “super rural Kansas” became inclined to seek within.

Yes, I grew up in rural Kansas, which is the exact middle of America. I am the youngest of five children and went to a traditional little country church. I always felt I had a deep love for the Divine, but I didn’t really understand or resonate with our religion.

When I was ten or eleven, I started asking lots of questions to my parents and pastor, and I didn’t like the answers I was getting, so I started searching for something different. I knew and believed there was something different. One of my brothers had been touring America, and when he came back to run the farm with my dad he kept disappearing for long weekends. Nobody knew what was happening. Finally, my sisters and I pinned him down and he shared that he had found a different path. He was going to spiritual retreats, and when he shared some of the teachings and belief systems from those retreats, I started weeping.

It was a feeling of connection – a sort of knowing when I am in tune with something powerful. I knew I had come home after lifetimes of being separated, like two parts of a magnet that knew the other side was out there and finally they were together. It has been a big part of my life ever since.

My parents were concerned and thought we had joined a cult. For some people, anything that is not their traditional religion is a cult. But over time they realized we are good people, regardless of what we believe. My mom, especially, has seen the growth and impact it has had on me and in what I do in the world.

Q: Is it the same spiritual practice that you do now?

Yes, it is. I tend not to give the name of it, because I am out in the working world and I don’t want spirituality to get in the way of what I do at work. But I am also happy to share more about it when people reach out and are interested.

Q: Can you share what you do in your spiritual practice? Do you meditate?

It looks like meditation, but I don’t call it meditation. I call it a spiritual exercise and the purpose is to get in touch with the deepest part of myself. In my worldview, that is soul. I believe that I am soul, that is my true identity, and I have a personality called Scott. The body, the mind, the emotions are the things the soul uses to get around. When I operate from the perspective of the soul, then things go better. I have deeper insights, more understanding, and I can be more in tune with life.

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