I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the inner life, and what it takes to have a meaningful one. Douglas LaBier is one of the most knowledgeable people in the world on this topic. LaBier, whom I also wrote about in 2010, is a Washington, D.C.-based business psychologist and psychotherapist, and the founder and Director of the Center for Progressive Development. The latter is described on its website as “a nonprofit educational, consulting and research organization. Its mission: to promote psychological health in the workplace and in personal lives.”

He writes regularly for The Huffington Post, and indeed his latest piece is “Redefine Success Through Living an ‘Inside-Out’ Life.” Here is my Q&A with him on how he approaches his own super-busy schedule; plus his reading choices and views on how people experience inspiration through social media.

Douglas LaBier

Douglas LaBier

1. Given your psychotherapy practice, leading an organization and your professional writing, can you provide a sense of how you structure your (work-related) time on a daily/weekly basis?

I like to joke about the “third half” of my typical day! Generally, the mornings are for writing; or, depending on the day, working with corporate clients at their sites – at their companies; and the afternoons, meetings in my office, either with psychotherapy patients or other exec coaching/leadership development clients who prefer to meet at my office, or because it’s more convenient for them. Also, along the way will be some supervision of graduate students from George Washington University; and some lecturing to various groups or organizations. So those are the three or so parts of my work, which fluctuate within any given week.

2. The suggested reading list of books on the center’s website is intriguing. Besides books, what are some of the publications (either print or online) and websites you regularly read that you find valuable for your work?

As far as publications, The Economist is my favorite magazine. Also, others include Fortune, Fast Company, Wired, The New Yorker; and various online pubs, such as Business Insider, Gawker, and others that provide new research and ideas more psych and behaviorally oriented, like Science Daily. And newspapers, the Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal; each day. I find all of these and others valuable and important to stay connected to new knowledge, developments and social/econ/political phenomena. Of course, Huffington Post, and the Daily Beast I’ll check over as well. Lots of reading to keep up with! And that doesn’t count books, etc.

3. Many of us draw brief bits of inspiration from quotes and related inspirational graphics on Facebook and other social media. Are these momentary bursts of inspiration a genuinely new phenomenon? And whether or not this is new, do you have a sense of how effective these are in making an impact on a person’s thoughts or behavior?

I do see lots of those on Facebook and other sites, and it’s interesting that many convey ideas that reflect Eastern perspectives or related thoughts about meaning, purpose, perspective in life. I think that’s a good indicator of a gradual rise of consciousness and transformation towards serving something beyond ego and self-interest; and towards an orientation more towards serving the common good; and having impact through one’s creative capacities upon something larger than just one’s own needs and desires. A positive evolution, in my view, and more visible growing among the younger generations.