Tag Archives: conscious business

Wellness Living That’s Good for the Planet

Child Tending Broken Baby Seedling free creative commons

We all know the health of our planet takes a daily beating from us. A few of today’s major environmental problems include water contamination, air pollution, soil depletion, overflowing landfills, and global warming – all influenced by conventional industrialized production and our daily routines. While none of us want to give up our modern conveniences, there are ways that you (yes, I’m talking to you!) can decrease the toxins that enter your body, support the wellness of the planet, and entice businesses to do the same – all without quitting your day job.

  • Check Wellness & Beauty Product Labels: Today, chemicals and additives are in practically everything, including common products you put on your body, face, and hair. Unfortunately, many of these products contain petroleum-based ingredients, parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and pesticides – all ingredients linked to a host of health problems including skin issues, hormone problems, endocrine disturbances, allergies, liver/kidney damage, and cancer. These nasty chemicals and side effects not only affect you, but they contaminate the fresh water supply and contribute to environmental issues. One easy solution is to start incorporating natural health and beauty products such as shea butter, essential oils, herbs, and beauty supporting foods for your skin and hair into your routine. Also, the next time you plan to buy commercial beauty and wellness products (sunscreens, face creams, lotions, etc), be sure to check the ingredients for harmful chemicals and additives before you buy. If you don’t like what you find, consider switching to products with less or no chemicals or additives.
  • Opt for Organic: I know it’s practically impossible to choose organic food, beauty, and wellness products all the time (hopefully one day it won’t be!). For now, make an effort to buy the organic option as much as possible. You don’t want to expose yourself to the harmful effects of pesticides that include birth defects, nerve damage, hormone changes, headaches, and cancer. Luckily, one of our modern conveniences is the Internet, which is a great place to find organic products (often less expensive than brick and mortar stores) and get them delivered directly to your door. Not only is organic the way to go for your body’s health, it’s better for the environment too. Those same ingredients you and your family should be avoiding, the Earth’s soil and water don’t want either.
  • Choose BPA Free Water Bottles (and other products): Part of wellness living involves drinking plenty of quality water. However, if you’re still using plastic bottles, you could be exposed to a harmful chemical called bisphenol-A (BPA). BPA is in most plastic bottles (including baby bottles) and the harmful toxin leaches into the water when the bottles are exposed to heat from the sun (a common occurrence). Exposure to BPA is linked to endocrine system disruptions, reproductive problems, heart disease, and diabetes. Additionally, plastic bottles are terrible for the environment as they take an average of 450 years to decompose (and some never do). The best way to limit your risk to BPA and decrease waste in our landfills is to use a reusable, BPA free water bottle. Many companies are also eliminating BPA from their packaging and products – choosing these companies’ products is a great way to avoid BPA’s harmful effects.
  • Support Conscious Companies that Focus on Sustainability: It’s vital that you support companies that consider the health of the planet in their business decisions. For example, in addition to understanding the health risks to consumers, a conscious company might choose to produce organic products out of concern for water contamination, destruction of wildlife, and the worldwide increase in soil erosion. We need more companies like these, and not only do you support them when you purchase their products, but you support them by sharing your experiences with others. It’s easy to do – if you love a product or company tell your family, friends, co-workers, and mention it on your social media sites. Word of mouth and personal experience is huge to creating conscious consumers who make purchasing decisions that are not only good for them, but also good for the environment. This leads to more companies creating organic, chemical free products that align with your personal health and environmental values.

These four wellness living tips give you tremendous power to enhance your health, share health with others, and help combat global environmental issues that we all contribute to. You may be one person, but your daily actions and choices do matter and make a difference in the world.

What ways do you practice wellness living that’s good for the planet? Share in the comments below. 

The Power of Patience: Instead of Pushing to Make Things Happen, Learn to Slow Down

When I was younger (but no so much younger than today!), I pushed a lot. Perhaps it was a symptom of my Taurean nature exacerbated by my birth order and upbringing (got to credit something and someone!) And before I write on about how that has changed, I have to admit that my 11 year old daughter Meryl Fé wrote a big post it note and placed it above the kitchen sink one morning last week which reads ‘Slow Down!” (But you try to juggle a new puppy, breakfast and lunch, a dawdling daughter, and a very full schedule!)

 

Anyway, a couple times this week on conference calls with some of my “millennial” colleagues, sensing their anxiety about certain issues and hearing them wanting to push to make things happen, with great ease and, what felt like, deep congruity, I said to them “relax, no need to push,” I proceeded to give rational justification for no need to push. Subsequently, each of them acknowledged how my statement and the way I expressed it and backed it up with rational really helped them to stop pushing and relax into the moment and the unfolding process.

Perhaps it is age (and the real recognition that pushing wears you out and rarely produces the results you want, and there are always other, easier ways to facilitate results than pushing), but I do notice that I rarely push any more. And when I do, it is almost always a conscious choice to do so (sometimes it just feels good to push and sometimes it is necessary or a prudent choice!).

One of the biggest lessons from my experience last week of supporting my colleagues not to push is the recognition of how the good advise given with the right energy and supporting information can quickly and easily facilitate a shift for others, that serves them and your collaborative process.

So, want to push? Ask yourself if it is really necessary or if you really want to do it (even if it is not necessary). Ask you heart, your mind, your body, listen to what they say, and settle into the answer, either way.

Yours in Working for Good,

Jeff

 

Nothing is Undone

I had a very strange experience Thursday. At some point during the day, I picked up my iPhone to make a call, and staring at me were the words “Nothing is undone” with no attribution to a sender of this text message. I quickly unlocked the phone to see who sent it and what else, if anything, they wrote. I found nothing – no message, no sender. I called a friend who had recently sent me a text to ask if she had sent it. She hadn’t. Goose bumps.

This passage from the Tao te Ching flashed across my mind’s eye, especially the lines “When nothing is done, Nothing is left undone.”

In the pursuit of knowledge,
Every day something is added.
In the practice of the Tao,
Every day something is dropped.
Less and less do you need to force things,
Until finally you arrive at non-action.
When nothing is done,
Nothing is left undone.

True master can be gained
By letting things go their own way.
It can’t be gained by interfering.

Tao te Ching # 48

While I am careful not to jump to conclusions, I could take this message as a reminder that, while doing is necessary to getting things done, being and not-doing are even more essential, especially if the doing is done with pushing or forcing. Things have a mysterious way of working, without us having to “make them happen.” We can participate in the process (watering plants, adding fuel to fires, providing useful information, etc), but we don’t need to make them happen.

And, in a larger sense, in some way, everything is perfect the way it is and nothing really needs to be done, but that’s another story!

What Is Purpose

"When the dust settles from this Armageddon, the only companies left standing are going to be the ones that stand for something that improves people’s lives.” ~ Roy Spence

Purpose is the essential, core, single underlying or overriding reason we move, as individuals and organizations. It is the big “why” underlying what we do. On the most basic biological level, we may be driven to survive and reproduce, yet that is hardly the purpose of our existence. In the words of Ed Freeman, author of the stakeholder model of business management, “We need red blood cells to live (the same way a business needs profits to live), but the purpose of life is not to make red blood cells (the same way the purpose of business is not to exist to make profits).”

Purpose is an activating, motivating, and animating force. It is what moves us to get up in the morning to dive into life with our full being. Purpose sustains us when times get tough, and serves as a guiding star when we stray off course.

Purpose is one of the three core principles of Conscious Business™ as articulated by John Mackey and Conscious Capitalism, Inc (aka FLOW). Knowing and embodying our purpose focuses our business’s products, services, and processes toward goals larger than just making money.

Purposeful people build purposeful companies. And purposeful people make an impact through whatever their work or role may be.

Jim Collins, author of the bestselling Built to Last and Good to Great, defines purpose as a company’s fundamental reason for being—its soul. In It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For, Roy Spence Jr. and Haley Rushing tell great stories of the power of purpose in the success of clients like Southwest Airlines (to democratize the airways: “Freedom to Fly”), Wal-Mart (to save people money so they can live better: “Save Money, Live Better”), and BMW (to enable people to experience the joy of driving: “Sheer Driving Pleasure”). Great companies with the most significant impact and influence invariably have clear and compelling purposes.

The same is true for great beings!

“This is the true joy in life—the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy…. Life is no “brief candle” to me. It is sort of a splendid torch, which I have a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it over to future generations.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

LINKS

It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For

The High Purpose Company by Christine Arena

Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren

Just Be Human

Earlier this week, best-selling author and master blogger Seth Godin wrote a blog post entitled “lessons from very tiny businesses.” The last line of the post was “just be human” referring to the essential lesson he derived from the stories of several small businesses.

In my web radio interview with leadership consultant Cheryl Esposito, which will air in the next couple of weeks, we landed on similar terrain, and at one point Cheryl observed that idea of “just being human” is just good common sense.

Yesterday I had a delightful conversation with Norman Wolfe of Quantum Leaders, Inc, who is part of an emerging group of business people explicitly organizing around the idea of spirituality in business, which, when he articulated it, sounded like “let’s just be human” and apply our humanity with the systems and processes of business to create conscious businesses.

“Just be human” is the principle message of Working for Good: Making a Difference While Making a Living, and my principle mantra at work. Part of that message is a call to cultivate the skills for becoming more human – at work and in general – and apply all of your humanity, which includes, among other things, awareness, the full spectrum of your intelligence, and the ability to connect and co-create with others.

I firmly believe that if a great number of people simply approached work as a forum to “just be human” together and to co-create products, services, and businesses that embodied and served humanity, the world would quickly become a healthier, happier place for millions if not billions of people, and would continue to become ever more so.

The Emergence of Conscious Capitalism

Last Thursday I had the great pleasure of talking with my friend and publisher Tami Simon, founder of Sounds True, a purveyor of wisdom through audio recording, books, and now through video and other media on line. As part of the release of my book, Working for Good: Making a Difference While Making a Living, and as part of our ongoing conversation about Conscious Capitalism®, and Tami’s Insights at the Edge podcast series, Tami and I recorded a video podcast, which Sounds True will distribute sometime this fall.

One of the questions asked me, only as Tami can, was something to the effect of “do you think this Conscious Capitalism movement is really happening and really going to make a difference?”

My short answer was an unequivocal “yes, it is really happening. And I do think it can and will make a difference.” Here are some of the reasons why I feel this way and some of the things I said in my more detailed response to Tami.

  • In 1981 I wrote a study of the Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) Movement for Robert Rodale, then Chairman of Rodale Press. At the time, the SRI was in its infancy. In the past several years it surpassed $1 trillion.
  • At the same time as trust in business and in business leaders is at an historic low, support for companies that serve their communities is at an all-time high. The marketplace is demanding more conscious and responsible business.
  • Meaning is becoming more important than things to the aging Baby Boomers (in what is being called the Age of Transcendence) and money and material success alone does not provide the depth of meaning people hunger for.
  • The Millennial generation will stand for nothing less – as employees, consumers, community members, and in all of their roles. Integration between values and value, between work and the rest of life is essential to them.
  • More and more businesses employing the principles and practices of Conscious Capitalism are building exemplary, successful companies.
  • It makes common sense and it works better.

In the same way that I witness the growth of the social investment industry, I am witnessing the emergence of a Conscious Capitalism movement and where I found myself alone in the woods or the desert (so to speak) for most of the past decades, I now find countless colleagues, collaborators, teachers, and others who share similar values and visions of how business can and must be conducted to manifest a healthier, sustainable society, and who are living it daily, building substantial companies of all sizes.

While greed-based, devour and conquer capitalism is not going to disappear anytime soon, if enough of us focus on the emerging Conscious Capitalism, build, work for, buy from, challenge (to help them improve) and otherwise support Conscious Businesses, whose products and services make a difference, and whose conduct of business deliver value to and bring out the best in all of their stakeholders, then we may see a very different reality in the years ahead.

Yes, I am an optimist and an idealist, but I also observe what I encounter and I notice changes over time, and Conscious Capitalism is a garden that is growing. With the right attention, care, and nourishment, I trust it will become an ever more beautiful and bountiful one.

Yours in Working for Good,

Jeff

Conscious Capitalism is a registered trademark of Conscious Capitalism, Inc. Working for Good is a registered trademark of Working for Good, Inc.

Ease and Grace

The past couple of weeks have been quite extraordinary. The experience of releasing my book, Working for Good: Making a Difference While Making a Living, is clearly a key catalyst for this extraordinary passage. Another catalyst is the people who are showing up in my life and the nature of the conversations we are having, specifically, about collaboration. And another key is the deepening of my practice of being a full-time single dad, and the accelerating growth of my (as of today) 11-yeard-old daughter. A unifying theme tying these three, and other catalyzing elements, together is that of integration.

The process of writing the book was one of deep integration and preparing for its launch, and applying 3 decades of experience with marketing and business development to my own work, is deeply integrative. Similarly, the process of explicitly exploring collaboration with a myriad of highly talented people, with similar values, and shared vision and purpose, connected to the idea of Working for Good and the Working for Good brand, in ways that reflect the content and intention of the book is also highly integrated and integrating.

And finally, but certainly not the least important, the process of establishing ever-greater flow with Meryl Fé, finding more ways to be together, slowing down for the moment, preparing more complete meals, engaging her in the garden, teaching her to body surf, supporting her to pursue her passion more rigorously, rather than to shrink in the face of criticism, all foster a deep sense of integration.

In the past two weeks, in an ongoing conversation with a new friend, one of the fruits of this integration process became strikingly apparent in the form of ease and grace. Through our conversation I realized that I am feeling and purposefully cultivating a sense of ease and grace in nearly all that I am doing (and when I witness or experience otherwise, working to do so there as well). While I have no illusions that this is the way things will be from here on, there is something very nourishing and sustaining about this feeling and recognition.

And it is not about not working long hours (my average bedtime in the past week was probably 1:00 am, arising at 6:30 or 7:00) or having less to do. It has something to do with my relationship to the work. On some level I have to believe it reflects a deeper level of integration and embodiment of the skills of Working for Good, which I outline in the book. And it certainly has something to do with receiving a flood of recognition and validation for what the book represents and for the stance I am taking with Working for Good: that how we show up for each other and for ourselves in the context of our work is as, if not more, important than the focus of our work.

Since this is the essential message of the book and becoming the principal focus of my work, I am evermore deeply aligning myself with this as what I do and how I do it. What I am getting is that by focusing on this – on how I show up for others and invite them to show up for themselves, for me, and for others, I am tapping into a field that is filled with ease and grace. And by explicitly cultivating this field I am attracting others who understand it, want to play in it, and have the capacity to show up and connect in it.

While I don’t presume (or desire) that this will not shift into some other state or stage, nor am I attached to this experience or condition, I recognize its beauty and power, and the container it provides for exploration, connection, and collaborative creativity. It is truly a state of grace, filled with ease.

I feel fortunate to be experiencing it and grateful that others acknowledge, appreciate, and enthusiastically share it.

I also appreciate having the opportunity to express this more widely, through the incredible new media platforms, and to invite others to reflect on my experience and to meet me and others in this joy-filled, incredibly bountiful field.

Yours in Working for Good,

Jeff

The Power of Love in the Development of Successful Businesses

“What the world really needs is more love and less paperwork.” ~ Pearl Bailey

Boy, this is a big and deep principle that seems to coming up a lot lately. When I am with them, I frequently hear John Mackey and Walter Robb (respectively CEO and President of Whole Foods Market) talk about love and its role in business.

In Firms of Endearment, authors David Wolfe, Raj Sisodia, and Jag Sheth document the significantly higher performance of “firms of endearment” – companies people love doing business with, love partnering with, love working for, and love investing in.

The pursuit and cultivation of Love is essential to Working for Good, and I think it is increasingly informing all aspects of business; from the passion of entrepreneurs originating a new social enterprise, to the reciprocity of customers seeking companies and products they can embrace in long-term, two-way relationship, to the longing of team members looking for a place to make a contribution as well as earn a living, and the commitment of investors looking for places to invest where they can bring their values as well as their capital.

I’d like to believe that the power of Love is beginning to catch up with the love of power in the development of businesses and social enterprises. It is certainly deeply informing me and others I know and work with in our efforts to build conscious businesses. This is particularly pronounced when contrasted with fear-based orientations. Even in the purely social realm – in organizations formed specifically to address social issues, when the motivation shifts from a cognitive, fear-based “this has to be addressed or else…” to a more emotional, love-based “we are inspired to focus on the opportunities to significantly shift…” the implications for the effectiveness of the organization, the health and well-being of the people involved, and the sustainability of the enterprise, are profound and palpable.

Given humanity’s timeless and relentless pursuit of Love, it is encouraging to see it deeply informing an entire generation of social entrepreneurs in all spheres, and animating their enterprises, from Fortune 500 companies to community-based micro-enterprises.

Here’s to love… at work!

Yours in Working for Good,

Jeff

“Conscious Capitalism combines the invisible hand of the capitalism, with the visible hand of love.” ~ John Mackey

LINKS

Firms of Endearment: How World-Class Companies Profit from Passion & Purpose

Lovemarks: The Future Beyond Brands

Keys to Integration

"I do what I say, I say what I think, I think what I feel." ~Mahatma Gandhi

One of the greatest unanticipated benefits of writing my book (Working for Good: Making a Difference While Making a Living) was the deep process of integration it activated and facilitated. Since integration is an essential aspect of learning, growth, and development, to some extent it is something we do naturally, all of the time. But purposefully reflecting on past experiences, lessons learned, and patterns repeated, and probing into shadows and holes–aspects of ourselves we may otherwise ignore or avoid looking at–can deepen and accelerate integration (if we don’t shut the door or run away screaming, metaphorically speaking).

Some of the keys to integration include:

  • Slowing down and taking time for reflection
  • Asking probing questions
  • Asking others for their feedback or reflections on our behavior.
  • Looking for repeating patterns in your story or history–issues or challenges that seem to come up over and over
  • Moving with awareness-that is, doing any or all of the above while you are moving, whether it is running (I recommend ChiRunning) or dancing (like the 5 Rhythms Moving meditation practice) or Yoga, which supports embodiment, an essential step in the integration process

Here are some of the benefits of integration:

  • New levels of awareness, which lead to new opportunities for learning, growth and development
  • Breaking or loosening the grip of old patterns that limit your capacity
  • By definition, becoming more whole, which leads to greater ease, flow, joy, and presence

Worth it? No question!

Yours in Working for Good,

Jeff

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