Scott Paton: ‘We need to stop talking so much, and start listening’
By B.C. Manion
On the surface, Scott Paton’s life seems fairly routine.
He lives in a nicely kept subdivision in Lutz, with his wife, Janice, and their three children — Tyler, 9; Nicholas, 5; and Hanna Rose, 3.
His day-to-day activities seem somewhat ordinary, too. He spends most of his days tending to his busy practice, Paton Chiropractic and Sports Medicine at 24722 SR 54.
But this is a man who has rubbed shoulders with members of the World Bank, dined with a Pulitzer Prize winner, sat on a panel with an Olympic gold medalist and met a former NASA astronaut.
He even has his photograph snapped with Sri Sri Shankar, a world-renowned humanitarian.
Those heady experiences occurred just last year when Paton, a chiropractor and author, was invited to speak at the World Forum for Ethics in Business, an international gathering held Nov. 17-18 in Brussels, Belgium.
The annual International Leadership Symposium on Ethics in Business brings together leaders from business, politics, academia and faith-based organizations to talk about how leadership styles can support sustainable and inclusive development, while ensuring profitability for businesses.
The 2010 conference was the seventh in the series and the fifth to be held at the European Parliament in Brussels.
Paton’s presentation at the conference wasn’t his first appearance on an international stage. In 2004, he was invited to give a presentation at the Scientific Congress before the Olympic Games in Greece.
His trip to Brussels stems from a connection he made at the Scientific Congress in Greece. Before his talk there, Paton wanted to see what the room was like where he would be speaking the next day. His wife went with him to check it out.
When they got there, Christoph Glaser happened to be leading a group of people in meditation exercises.
Paton’s wife didn’t want to intrude, but Paton was intrigued and wanted to listen. So, they stayed.
After he finished, Glaser came over to chat with the couple. The next day, Glaser attended Paton’s talk. The two men have stayed in touch since.
Paton said speaking at the Scientific Congress was a humbling experience.
He estimates there were about 800 people in the lecture hall from all over the world.
“It was unbelievable,” Paton said.
After the scientific gathering, Paton spent 3-1/2 years writing the book, “Health Beyond Medicine: A Chiropractic Miracle.”
After the book’s publication, Paton had some interviews and he sent the links to Glaser.
He said he had no idea at that time that Glaser had a position of influence in helping to select speakers for the World Forum for Ethics in Business.
Glaser has served since 2006 as managing director of the annual International Leadership Symposium on Ethics in Business, according to conference materials. He recommended Paton to speak at the conference.
“This was the first time they included mind, body and spiritual equilibrium as it applies to leadership in business,” Paton said.
Paton had prepared his remarks well before the event, but decided the night before to revise them. He wanted to place a greater emphasis on the importance of silence.
“Silence is so pure,” he said, comparing it to a spiritual cleansing.
“We need to stop talking so much, and start listening as employers,” Paton said. When it comes to employers, he thinks employees care most about two things: That their employer listens to them and that the employer cares about them.
Paton said people often have the notion that business and values are in two separate worlds. However, he said, there are compelling reasons to maintain high ethical standards in business.
“Enron didn’t happen because of Enron employees. Enron happened because of the CEO,” Paton said.
Paton said his personal story is one of perseverance.
“When my book first came out, it didn’t sell as much as I expected it to,” he said. He also was unable to land a television interview for quite some time.
Still, he did what he could to try to promote the book.
He blogged. He gave lectures. He spread the word wherever he could.
At one point, he was so discouraged he thought about forgetting about the book and moving on.
Somehow, though, after he began to simply take pride in the fact that he had finished his book, Paton said, things began to pick up.
Within five months, he had 14 radio interviews and 10 television interviews. His book sales shot up, too.
He realizes how important it is for people to carry on, no matter how discouraged they become.
“Never give up,” Paton said.
“The problem with a lot of people is that they paint a picture in their mind and it’s so realistic they expect it to happen as they planned it,” he said.
They envision themselves achieving their goal, but they don’t visualize the struggles they’ll encounter along the way.
Adversity isn’t the enemy, Paton said.
“It’s just part of the game. It’s just part of the training.”