“How does one become a butterfly” she asked pensively.
“You must want to fly so much you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.”
“You mean die?”
“Yes and no,” he answered. “What looks like you will die, but what’s really you will still live”
~ From Hope For The Flowers by Trina Paulus
20 years ago, conscious business was a topic of conversation for hippies and a few outliers like Paul Hawken and Lynne Twist. Even 10 years ago, the people making their living doing this work were a few solopreneurs and micro businesses (like Mark Silver).
My how things have changed!
From CONSCIOUS Business to Conscious BUSINESS
The early proponents of conscious business tended to be grounded in the philosophy of consciousness and early conversations in the field often relied heavily on theory. This is changing …
Fred Kofman is one of the best known authors in the field of conscious business. In fact, his 2007 book is called Conscious Business: How to Build Value Through Values.
For years, Fred made his living as a consultant at Axialent, the consultancy he is the founder of. However, Fred has a new job – as a Vice President at LinkedIn.
It turns out Fred and LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner are long term friends. Here’s what Jeff said when asking Fred to come work for the company:
“If you are serious about our vision,” Jeff said now intensely, “you have to join LinkedIn. We can put conscious business in practice first, and then disseminate it through our publishing platform. Let’s develop ourselves as an example of conscious business, and then inspire and share the knowledge with all the world’s professionals.” Here’s a post that discusses this more.
Linked In is not the only company with a growing interest in conscious business. Evangelists include Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post to Whole Foods to AETNA Insurance. Even Fast Company is writing articles on 3 Reasons Everyone At Google is Meditating.
To be prepared for the realities of today’s marketplace, make sure you’re comfortable with the terminology and the science of what today’s thought leaders mean when they use the term conscious business. You don’t have to agree with them. But pretending they don’t exist is not likely to serve you. The best resources I know to get prepared are Fred Kofman’s Conscious Business book as well as Meng Tan’s Search Inside Yourself.
Conscious Business Communities are Growing
In the framework of Malcolm Gladwell, most early conscious business thought leaders were Outliers. Renegades who named the many dysfunctions in our current ways of doing business.
Back in the day, there weren’t many places for people who cared about the topic to gather. Most professionals in the conscious business field worked in small consultancies and spent much of their time working individually with organizational leaders.
This has changed
Today we have communities like Emerging Women (with 1000’s of women business and entrepreneurial leaders), Wisdom 2.0 (over 3500 participants expected in 2016) and The Big Shift Experience. These communities and others like them are growing beyond a once a year live event into ongoing communities that use a combination of technology and in person gatherings to support year round connection among different elements of the conscious business tribe.
The days of being an isolated conscious business leader are over.
Conscious Business is Getting More Diverse
I recently learned about The Mindfulness Summit from a connection on Twitter (the first one ever). I was really excited about the topics being presented. And, looking over the speakers, I said to myself:
“Shit! Another mindfulness event where all the speakers seem to be white.”
Instead of letting that frustration sit, I decided to take action. I tweeted Melli O’Brien, the founder of the Summit.
She was responsive and we had a conversation on Twitter about leaders of color in the mindfulness world that could be great speakers for the event. Folks like Meng Tan, Jeena Cho and Jerome Braggs. She says she’s going to contact them and see if they are willing to take part in the summit.
I remember a similar conversation at Wisdom 2.0 2013 when a group of us gathered around the conversation of how few people of color there were attending. We started a deep dialogue about the need for more attention to diversity in the North American wisdom world.
We weren’t the only ones talking about this. From the California Institute for Integral Studies to the Reverend Jesse Jackson taking on Silicon Valley’s “epic diversity issues“, the conversation is becoming increasingly prevalent.
If you call yourself a conscious business thought leader and everyone almost sitting in the room (or on the conference line) is white, of certain age and from a fairly privileged financial background, there’s an increasing likelihood that you’re going to get called out. Maybe by me (I’ll try to do it gently). 🙂
On a positive note, for Wisdom 2.0 2015, founder (and my friend) Soren Gordhamer implemented a variety of diversity enhancement strategies. Like bringing my friend Melissa Green on as Outreach Coordinator and having a significant number of diversity scholarships. The strategies lead to an increase of diversity among participants in 2015 that many people noticed and appreciated.
How Do You See Conscious Business Changing?
It’s the nature of the marketplace to dislike stagnation and want innovation. The above areas are some of the ways I’m seeing the conscious business world changing.
What changes are you noticing in the conscious business world? I’d love to hear your observations and experiences in the form of a comment below.