Leadership Alchemy: Shari Cedar’s Daily Rituals, Affirmations, and the Power of Mindfulness

by Jed Morley
Shari Cedar

"Our body is a temple, and food is the fuel that nourishes mind, body, and spirit in harmonious balance."

Welcome to WellnessVoice’s exclusive interview with Shari Cedar, an exceptional entrepreneur whose journey of over 25 years exemplifies the intricate dance between purpose, passion, and a profound commitment to mindful leadership. Serving as the President and Co-Owner of AK Building Services, a distinguished family-owned commercial janitorial services provider in Florida, Shari’s story transcends traditional narratives of business success.

In this intimate conversation, we navigate through Shari’s professional evolution from her early days in TV production to her current role as a driving force behind AK Building Services. Shari brings to light a unique fusion of strategic insight, community engagement, and an unwavering dedication to cultivating a mindful corporate culture.

Join us as we uncover the layers of Shari Cedar’s narrative, exploring the deliberate practices, rituals, and principles that form the bedrock of her distinctive leadership style.

Name: Shari Cedar
Company: AK Building Services

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Table of Contents

Thank you so much for joining us. Please introduce yourself to our readers.

Shari Cedar: For 25+ years, I have been leading with purpose and passion. Whether in TV production, where I spent my first chapter, or commercial cleaning, where I am now fully dedicated to creating growth opportunities for AK Building Services, my goal is to make an impact.

As President and Co-Owner of AK Building Services, an industry-leading family owned and operated commercial janitorial services provider in Florida that I own with my husband, Mark, I am laser-focused on leadership and growing the organization for the team.

I am an active participant in the industry representing the company as a member of Building Owners and Managers Association International (BOMA), CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) Network, and the Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce.

When I am not serving my clients and teammates, I can be found supporting my community. I am a board member for the Pace Center for Girls, an active member of Women United®, and a member of the Nova Southeastern University Ambassador Board.

As a working mom of two boys, I hope to pass on her commitment to making a difference, both in business and in the community.

As an entrepreneur, how do you incorporate mindfulness or spiritual practices into your leadership style? Can you share an instance where this approach significantly impacted your business decisions or team dynamics?

Shari Cedar: As an entrepreneur dedicated to fostering a culture of mindfulness and purpose, I recognize the profound impact that leadership has on every facet of our lives, both personally and professionally.

In the dynamic landscape of business, where every decision and interaction reverberate through the organization, the importance of leading with intentionality cannot be overstated. I firmly believe that a company’s culture starts at the top, and the tone we set as leaders influences not only business outcomes but also the relationships we cultivate within our teams.

So how do I achieve leadership with mindfulness and purpose? For me it takes work and discipline. While the comparison might seem drastic, consider the wisdom imparted by flight attendants on airplanes—they always instruct passengers to secure their oxygen masks before assisting others.

Applying this metaphor to my daily routine, I find that engaging in regular exercise and meditation serves as my essential self-care, providing the fuel for purposeful and clear leadership.

When I wake up before the sun for a run (and that’s not always easy) I am 100% guaranteed to have a better day.

I know I will have a better day, because the fresh air and exercise not only energizes my body but also sharpens my mental focus, setting a positive tone for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. The quietude of the early morning run allows me to center my thoughts, fostering a sense of clarity and resilience that profoundly influences my decision-making and overall outlook throughout the day.

In the service industry, where the demands can be overwhelming and the unexpected is a constant companion, maintaining a mindful approach is not just a virtue but a necessity. Juggling customer expectations, a diverse workforce, and circumstances often beyond our control (i.e. torrential rains and flooding) underscore its importance.

Consider the following scenario of managing emergencies: how you ask someone to respond to an emergency can make all the difference in the outcome of the job. If you bark orders, that is not as effective as taking a deep breath, and calmly stating that there is an emergency, and you would be grateful if everyone could do their best to help resolve the problem for our customer.

If I lead with calm, kindness, respect, and compassion, my leadership team will do the same, and so on and so forth. I set the example. It starts with me.
Starting my morning with a ritual I hold close to heart is important to me. Each morning I share a daily affirmation with our leadership team.

This is more than just a routine; it’s a powerful catalyst that propels positive energy through the ranks. The affirmation cascades down to all members of our organization. This morning, I shared the following affirmation with our leadership team: “You are full of energy and good ideas.

Today, I celebrate the boundless creativity and innovation within each of us. As leaders, we channel this energy to drive positive change and inspire breakthroughs. Our ideas have the power to transform challenges into opportunities.”

On a daily basis, I believe my mindfulness impacts my business decision and team dynamics. With a large team spread across a wide footprint geographically we rarely can connect in-person so how we remain connected is via mindfulness – being aware of one another’s schedules, how we all like to communicate and how we maintain strong relationships to act as a unified organization.

Balancing a busy professional life with healthy eating can be challenging. What strategies or habits have you adopted to ensure your diet supports both your body and spirit, especially under the pressures of entrepreneurship?

Shari Cedar: Our body is our temple and food is our fuel that nourishes and balances mind, body and spirit. Don’t get me wrong, I do sometimes say “yes” to that cheesecake dripping with chocolate or a big steak and mashed potatoes.

But like anything in life it is all about balance. Let me tell you I love some good food. For me there are times when I am better than others, of course, but I am at my best when I prepare my food and have an outlook on the week to come from a preparation perspective.

That requires a lot of planning, especially with my commitment to giving back to the community in addition to being a mother of two busy boys with many commitments and running AK Building Services, but it really does make a difference.

Business lunches and dinners can derail this plan, so I do my best to stay disciplined. When I eat out, I order a grilled protein and veggies and NO dessert. Admittedly, I need to do a better job, but I am working on it. Maybe it should be my New Year’s resolution for 2024!

How have you transformed your workspace to enhance focus, creativity, and inner peace? Do you have any specific routines or environmental changes that have made a significant difference in your workday wellness?

Shari Cedar: I LOVE my dogs, Blackjack and Marvin, so having the option to bring them to the office with me always makes my day shine brighter. I am calmer around them, and they bring a sense of peace to the entire team.

Also, a tidy and organized workspace makes a big difference for me. When there is a lot of clutter surrounding me, my brain feels the same – cloudy and on overload. Maybe it’s because I am in the cleaning industry, but I truly do see a difference, both at work and at home, when my surroundings are neat and clutter-free as opposed to when the paper piles take on a life of their own.

Quality rest is crucial for peak performance. What sleep hygiene rituals do you follow to maintain high energy and clear thinking? How have these practices contributed to your success and well-being as a business owner?

Shari Cedar: I read somewhere that Martha Stewart sleeps only four hours a night, for me that would be a disaster. Quality sleep is essential for me to not only function, but to feel strong and have a clear head. My sleep ritual goes hand in hand with my exercise routine.

I need to exercise, not only for my physical wellbeing but also for my mental wellbeing. I find that when my activity levels are high, I also sleep much better, feel refreshed when I wake up in the morning and feel more energized throughout the day.

For my best sleep: no eating after 7:00 PM, be in bed by 10:00 PM and wind down with a crossword puzzle (for some reason this relaxes me and calms my mind). And lastly, while I LOVE a glass of wine in the evening, I’ve learned that wine disrupts my sleep, so a cup of chamomile tea is much better.

Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to WellnessVoice and the host of this interview would like to thank Shari Cedar for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.

If you would like to get in touch with Shari Cedar or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page

Disclaimer: The WellnessVoice Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

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