"To be identified with your mind is to be trapped in time . . . Time isn't precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed." --Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now
When success strikes in your business, it can be easy to find yourself cutting corners on your well-being. Rather than relaxing and celebrating your victories, you might find yourself struggling to keep up with all the momentum.
When launching the Client Accelerator for Conscious Entrepreneurs, the business generated record breaking sales in just 3 weeks. Yet in leading up to the launch, I noticed how quickly I started cutting back on my morning ritual routine, bedtime routine, or mindful exercises throughout the day to make more time to work.
I'm sitting in my energy session with my energy coach, and keep falling asleep. As I grew aware of my body's sensations, I noticed all the pain arising, the headache that just minutes before I was blissfully unaware of in my own numbness. For a moment, I freaked out. IS it possible to make lots of money AND live a balanced life?!
Thanks to my energy coach, she reminded me what great news it was I could actually feel my body's pain--the first step to being present. In the past I would have unconsciously ignored my body's pain, felt numb, and pressed forward to the point where my body would "force" me to stop from sheer exhaustion.
Instead, I am catching it sooner, noticing I need more water, the shoulder pain. I can hear the gentle murmur of my soul's inner wisdom: I love you. Connect within. Please take care of yourself.
As I continue to discover what work-life balance looks like at different phases of success in the business, it's critical that we treat work life balance as exactly that. A balancing act. Imagine balancing on a board that's on a ball. You never expect yourself to ever be at a standstill, perfectly balanced in the middle. Instead, balancing on a ball is a constant moment to moment push, then pull, tensely shaking, then catching yourself from falling. To the observer from afar, it might even look easy. But you know balancing is constant work.
This is no different than in business, balancing work-life balance. So how do you manage work-life balance when success strikes?
Here are a few tips:
1. Close your eyes and sense your inner body. What pain, tingling, soreness, stiffness, tension, or hard spots do you feel? There is great wisdom in your body. You must first be willing to listen to it and not use alcohol, work, entertainment, caffeine or any other thing that distracts you or makes you numb to what your body actually feels for at least 24 hours.
2. Say outloud to your brain exactly where it hurts and in what way. Ie. There is tension in my upper back by my shoulder blade. There is some pain and hardness in my gut. If you can actually feel your tiredness, pain, stiffness or be aware you are numb--this is a HUGE first step to reawakening your body's natural healing.
3. Do gentle body and brain yoga exercises that will help clear any blockages or lessen the pain. Here are free you tube videos you can use to start to build a relationship connecting your body and brain. As you do the exercises, stay mindful by bringing your awareness into the feelings of your body. Body and Brain yoga Exercises
4. Connect with your body like this 3x day, by repeating steps 1-3 above. You can also you a free app called One Minute Change and do 1 minute exercises through your day to stay connected with yourself.
Bonus: Think of one bold action you can take for yourself to bring more relaxation and focus into your business.
My action was planning a deliberate staycation during 4th of July week with my 7 year old and husband. I got to really unwind, reflect, and connect with myself planning out my next 2 quarters.
How about you?! Please comment below what bold actions you can take for yourself and/or sharing from doing the exercises above!
Anna S. Choi helps conscious businesses and social entrepreneurs attract more clients through her signature program The Client Accelerator for Conscious Entrepreneurs. She takes clients from scattered marketing approaches to an intentional strategic marketing plan. If you're interested in gaining focus, clarity, accountability in a community of conscious entrepreneurs, please watch this free training video on attracting clients or join her email list.
When you’re operating off a shoestring budget, it’s essential to leverage your impact through your network. Better yet, how do you transform your network into a tribe of strategic alliances?
If you take the case that people generally love contributing—the question becomes understanding in what way? You will then find an abundant resource of generosity that is a win-win solution with no money required.
To clarify, I’m defining network as a loosely affiliated group of one on one associations, while a tribe member is someone you could call up at 3am in the morning and they will ask “how can I help you?”
At the height of my networking, I would attend two networking events a week averaging five one-on-one “coffee meetings” per week. These conversations gave me insight into what motivates people to contribute. Over many years of networking, I noticed a pattern of how different relationships like to express giving back or contributing. And I created the 6 Faces of Contribution based on those patterns. And just like a love language, I learned how to speak in terms of my network’s “Contribution Language” activating them into lifelong tribe members who were eagerly ready to contribute to the success of my business.
Here are the six faces of contribution unveiled: Investor, Connector, Masterminder, Builder, Supporter, and Champion.
The 6 Faces of Contribution:
Investor: Investors use money as their medium to support you. Either as direct clients, or funding you—money is how they engage with you. Not all investors want to do more than just pay you. When I was the Director of Development for an impact investing wealth management firm, I quickly discovered how clients did not necessarily want to make introductions to other people—no matter how happy they were with their service. It’s counterintuitive to the noise you hear out there that if people are happy, they’ll naturally share with others. Not necessarily. On the other hand, there were several instances of people wanting to refer you without having ever been a customer or client! What a paradox. Or is it? Haven’t you noticed some people simply enjoy connecting people for the sheer joy of it? Which brings me to the next Face of Contribution
Connector: They are sometimes referred to as an influencer, center of influence, or someone “well-connected.” These people are rarer to come by and are the hub of influence in their community. If you authentically build relationships with these people, they become an invaluable resource for years to come, once you can “activate” them and give them an opportunity to engage—more on activation later. Connectors don’t need referral fees. Unlike Investors who use cash as their medium of contribution, Connectors use reputation as their medium. When a good match is made, boom—up goes their reputation for having made that connection and the more valuable they become in being known for making a quality referral. Connectors are your best sources for referrals—NOT Investors. They may never even buy from you, and they love to matchmake. Caution: There are a lot of posers out there who claim to be a connectors, but don’t take the time to really understand your business to be able to give a good referral or match make in other ways. They either say they’ll keep a look out and don’t deliver or if they do, it’s just not the right person to talk to or unclear on why you were connected in the first place.
Masterminder: These people LOVE sharing ideas and are strategizers. They make the best sounding boards and likely love research. One of my colleagues was the quintessential Masterminder. She loved to vet my ideas, build on them, play with them and when it was time to check out our new project idea, she’d happily research, compile, synthesize and report back her findings, often bound with a plastic cover . . . free. That’s right, people’s contribution language is a boundless, limitless resource free of obligation, indebtedness, or duty. Might I even go as far as to say—their joy. You can’t put a price on that, especially when doing mission driven work—and your company’s purpose is what drives them to offer very professional services for free.
Builder: Builders are your worker bees. They don’t want to strategize, they don’t want to make introductions, or pay you, their medium of contribution is time. They will do stuff for you . . . happily. That’s how they best feel fulfilled. They are folks who simply help you get-it-done. Nuf said.
Supporter: Supporters are typically your network of personal relationships that have nothing to do with business. They simply are your friend and love you. Their contribution medium is caring. Think spouse, mom, or best friend. However, they are in your network. They often know nothing about business but give you a reality check and tell you straight how it is, out of concern or worry for your overall well-being. Supporters do not make the best people to consult with or get advice from business-wise. But they are great at getting a totally outside perspective and alignment check in forwarding your purpose.
Champion: Champions are your professional fans and followers. No matter where you go in your journey, how many pivots you make in business, how many life changes impact your expected path and take a turn, they stick with you and love your work. They may not directly engage with you but are like the professional version of your supporters who are in business and whom you can go to for support. Think cross-sector colleagues who are your kindred spirits you meet at a business conference or event. Again, may never buy from you, or be in a position to offer strategy or advice—they simply cheer you on. They lift you up when you’re down and believe in you.
To activate your network into a tribe, you must understand what face of contribution they most like to play. Meaning, what is their primary expression of contribution or contribution language? Then have conversations creating opportunities for them to express their contribution to participate in what you are up to creating.
Like any categorization, most of your network is going to have multiple faces of contribution with one or two as a primary language. Your job is to discover their primary language and create win-win propositions from there.
Analyzing your Social Capital
Brainstorm a list of all your top 30 relationships into a spreadsheet. Don’t worry about screening people in or out. Just jot down people who support you, believe in you, cheer you on, buy from you, or listen to you. Try to come up with at least 15. Then label 6 columns across with each face of contribution, and rate each person 1-3 (1=not a fit 3=yes, this is how they love to contribute!)
Then add up the total points for each person listed. Find out who has the highest point value. Notice what you discover to determine next actions to take for each relationship. What value can you offer each relationship? What requests can you make of each relationship?
Pitfalls to Watch Out For When Making Requests of Your Tribe
1. Pride. What I’m talking about is when someone genuinely offers you (no strings attached) in an area you KNOW and WANT help with, and you refuse for some reasons (fear of looking needy, or a mooch, or not wanting to be in debt and owe them). Receiving true generosity is a gift takes a tremendous level of courage that honors others.
Solution: Get good at graciously saying thank-you. And accepting offers of help. Think of a time when you genuinely wanted to help someone move, or make a meal, or offer service—and they refused. What did you feel? Did you feel compelled to make an offer again? Now think of a time when you were the one who refused the offer. Were you aware of how it made the other person feel when you refused?
2. EXPECTING others to give to you and having resentment or disappointment if they don’t. When you make a request, you get what you get. If it's a no, honor the no, and find out how they would like to engage or contribute to the business.
When I started up TEDxBellevue, I knew a team was critical to success. In order to be profitable while fulfilling the mission of the event theme Sustainable Happiness, first things first—I had to activate my network into a tribe.
How? I analyzed my top relationships by their primary contribution language that reached out to each relationship. I created win-win propositions by understanding how they best like to contribute.
The end result? I recruited an entire team of professionals from cross sectors in tech industry, non profit, and entrepreneurs to lead 8 different aspects of the event. This resulted in selling out 2 weeks before the event, at $100/person tickets. Through the help of my tribe, a $10K event to put on, cost us $2K, and the event profited $2500.
Post event, I wondered if it was only successful because the TEDx brand. To test this assumption, I launched another event the Creativity Symposium from scratch with the same ticket pricing and audience size, again, with no money, and this time--no brand awareness. Different cause. Created a tribe to rally around the cause of women’s leadership.
This time we doubled in net profitability over TEDx. How? Two factors:
1) Rallying around a purpose (in this case women’s leadership)
2) Activating my network into a tribe by understanding their contribution language
By analyzing your network of relationships or “social capital”, you can learn to leverage your connections more wisely into a tribe that will eagerly help you grow your business.
Being contributed to takes tremendous courage, vulnerability, strength, and is a huge source of power. Master both sides of contribution and the world will be your oyster to create greater impact!
Anna S. Choi helps conscious companies grow their client flow through business and marketing coaching. She loves synthesizing, adapting, and distilling strategic marketing plans into executable daily actions to take that get results to grow your business. If you're interested in taking focused action on an intentional strategic marketing plan to energize more client flow, please watch this introductory video to see whether we are a fit. I look forward to connecting and supporting you! You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-330-6426.
Social enterprises are companies with heart. They're the businesses that don't just work to make a profit but focus on creating value for society, and the world as a whole. These are the companies that think more carefully about the solutions they need to bring to the marketplace, with innovative strategies to support people, the environment, and more.
From coffee bean companies that source ethical work, to green businesses who build environmentally-friendly offices, social enterprises often face many complex challenges. After all, you'll need to find a way to stick to your values no matter what, while keeping costs as low as possible. Of course, as the demand for socially-conscious organizations grows higher, businesses as a whole are beginning to implement more programs that allow them to give back to their community, donate to people in need, and more.
So, what's fueling the move towards a more conscious business environment? The simple answer is that the time is ripe for companies to start showing their social side. Let's look at some of the reasons why now is a great time to launch your social business.
1. Greater Governance Flexibility
In the past, it was difficult to run a company focused heavily on giving, as the stipulations for launching a business placed significant importance on delivering value for stakeholders. Now, there are new regulations in place that support the concept of a "triple bottom line". In simple terms, benefit corporations agree to generate profits for themselves and their shareholders, but they also assist with solving social and environmental problems.
A greater degree of flexibility is crucial to running a successful social enterprise because it means that today's entrepreneurs have the freedom to do what's right for the world, as well as what's right for their companies. In an environment where the profits of the stakeholders come first, it's difficult to maintain a good balance between serving the environment and serving the company. Today's conscious enterprises are finally free to officially stand for what they believe in.
2. The Rise of a Socially-Conscious Workforce
Any company - whether it's socially conscious or not, knows that it needs amazing people to drive success. The right people, from your those responsible for sales, to those who help you market your organization, can quickly help your business rise through the ranks. Today, many teams are packed full of Millennials, with Generation Z just around the corner.
While many people talk about the digital-savvy nature of the younger generations, they often forget to mention the point that's so important for socially-conscious companies. Millennials prefer to support companies that give something back. Not only are they more likely to buy products and services from socially conscious organizations, but these younger generations will also actively seek out careers with employers who share their values.
There are few things in business more important than loyal and dedicated employees. Now that Millennials have social good so high on their list when it comes to employment and purchasing, it's safe to say that socially-conscious businesses will have a wider pool of talent to choose from. Not only can your social nature help to attract skilled individuals, but it can also keep them around for longer too.
Remember, your employees want to feel as though they're making a difference and contributing to something greater than themselves. Putting social consciousness at the heart of your business gives you a deeper sense of purpose and belonging at work.
3. Appeal to More Investors
Not only will your socially conscious nature help to attract employees and keep them happy, but it could also appeal to your investors too. As consumers continue to hone their focus on social consciousness, investors know that the businesses with purpose are the ones most likely to deliver the best results. As such, they're willing to support the growth of socially-conscious companies.
Businesses who find a way to give something back to their community show investors that they stand for something more important than just making money. As millennials become the more monied generation in the world today, they'll be looking for companies that they can get behind on an ethical basis, as well as organizations that deliver a regular profit.
From an investment standpoint, socially-conscious companies aren't just effective because it feels good to give something back - they're a powerful way to boost profits. As studies continue to show that consumers are willing to spend more money with those who donate to a charitable cause, companies with a focus on the world around them could potentially make more money and stay in business for a lot longer than their counterparts.
4. Differentiate Yourself from the Competition
The business landscape has changed dramatically in recent years. The rise of new technology has meant that there are now more ways than ever before to get involved in launching your own company. Of course, while that's a great thing for the savvy entrepreneur who wants to explore a life in business, it also means that there's a serious amount of competition in the marketplace.
In a world where it's difficult to set yourself apart from companies who claim to do what you do, but bigger and better, socially conscious values can be a powerful way to drive differentiation. A commitment to the environment or social good shows your customers, investors, and shareholders that there's something unique about you that should maintain their interest.
Consider the Toms shoe brand for instance. The company generates a huge amount of interest from day one because it donates a pair of shoes to children in need whenever a pair of shoes are purchased by a customer. While there are plenty of footwear brands out there, few go that extra step to support the world around them, which is why Toms stands out.
5. Healthier Entrepreneurship
Finally, as tempting as the thought of running your own company, choosing your own hours, and selling products you care about can be, it's important to remember that entrepreneurship isn't always a walk in the park. For most business owners, it means long hours and a lot of stress. Running a company is hectic, with ups and downs that may leave you worrying about whether you can afford to pay the bills - never mind change the world.
From consuming extra unhealthy junk food to skipping your workouts and getting less sleep, there are a lot of bad habits that can form when you're running a company. The good news is that running a socially-conscious brand could actually have a positive impact on your health. A study published in the Journal of Science and Medicine found that there's a higher rate of health and happiness among volunteers.
In simple terms, we feel better when we're doing something good for the world. Generosity has a positive impact on your emotional health, which can also change your physical health too. After all, it's much easier to sleep comfortably at night when you know you're doing your part to make the world a better place.
Today, the rise of social consciousness has ensured that every company has the chance to do something important in their industry. It proves that you can make a profit, while also making a difference. If you've been considering creating a company with purpose, now might be the perfect time to explore the avenues of socially conscious entrepreneurship.
Author: Raj Jana is the entrepreneur and socially-conscious mind behind JavaPresse, a coffee company dedicated to delivering exceptional flavor, without compromising on ethics. Raj believes in the importance of businesses with purpose, and when he's not running his organization, he's happy to share tips and advice with budding business owners.
Anna Sun Choi