By now, you’ve probably heard about the you-know-what that went down on the Oct. 1 premiere of Shark Tank, the show that has everyone and their mother convinced that they also have what it takes to either launch a startup or invest in one (and you probably do!). Not familiar with the plot line? Allow us to sum up the real-life drama for you: Yunha Kim, the founder of five-minute meditation app Simple Habit, walked into the so-called tank ready to pitch the investors on her business, which was inspired by her own personal meditation journey and struggles with stress and anxiety — and which she valued at $12 million. Fast forward to the part where Mark Cuban calls Kim a “gold digger,” sparking an argument among the sharks that ended with a water fight between Cuban and Richard Branson.
Now that you’re up to speed, we’d like to fill you in on what you didn’t see on Sunday night’s episode, and that’s the 10-plus times Kim meditated before her meeting with the sharks. The most useful meditations? Simple Habit‘s Public Speaking and Calm Nerves offerings.
“I felt especially nervous during the 10-second countdown before the doors opened and I walked out to the stage in front of the sharks,” Kim says. “Thankfully, my meditations helped me feel more focused, calm, and clear-headed. I remained present during all that happened on stage — and a lot happened.”
Luckily for Kim (and for anyone else who’s ever had to give a major presentation to a panel of intimidating people), meditation has been proven helpful in high-stress situations like Shark Tank. Among its other benefits, Simple Habit lists self-control and emotional regulation as two of meditation’s major pay-offs.
“Meditation helps clear the mind and slow down the nervous system so that you can think better on your feet,” Kim says. “The practice of meditation can teach us how to be with whatever we experience in a non-judgmental way. Through this, we can gain mental clarity and can start to respond to situations, rather than react out of habit or fear.”
That mental clarity was especially important for the CEO in the moment that Cuban smacked her with the all-too-controversial “gold digger” label, as well as in the high-drama moments that followed. “Meditation helped me remain calm through all of this,” Kim says. “Instead of reacting out of fear, nerves, or stress — and, of course, I was nervous and surprised by what happened on stage — I was able to stay focused on cultivating the best deal for my company.”
Ultimately, what that “best deal” looked like was actually no deal at all. After negotiating with Branson and Robert Herjavec (and bringing Simple Habit’s valuation down to $10 million), Kim decided to walk away from a counteroffer. Still, the show was a serious success for the company in terms of bringing awareness to the value of meditation for people suffering from stress and anxiety. Less than 24 hours after Shark Tank aired, Kim says her team “had since received hundreds of emails from individuals struggling with PTSD, anxiety, [and] family issues, or individuals who simply needed to find a more approachable platform for meditation.” Sounds like a win to us!
If Kim’s story has taught us anything (and, believe us, it’s taught us a lot), it’s that you can never be too emotionally prepared for what feels like a big moment — because that moment can get even bigger. And if meditation is key to keeping your cool when, say, two billionaires are throwing water at each other, then we’ll gladly take a page out of Kim’s book. Here are the mindfulness pro’s three tips for meditating to help with stress and anxiety:
1. Start with five minutes. It doesn’t take much to reap the benefits of meditation. Simple Habit’s five-minute offerings allow you to meditate in the small windows of free time throughout your day.
2. Meditate on the go. Kim suggests learning to associate meditations with different specific stressful moments (like before a stressful phone call or big meeting).
3. Be consistent. “Putting five minutes of mindfulness every day into your calendar or setting a daily reminder for yourself really works — and you can do both through the Simple Habit app, which will then remind you on a daily basis,” Kim says. Kim, we’ll take it from you!
How do you put meditation to work in stressful situations? Tweet us @BritandCo!
(Photos via ABC/Eric McCandless and Simple Habit)