“You see my friends; the entrepreneur is not actually alienated from reality. The entrepreneur is not lost in a self-reference, cut off from the universe; actually we live in an entrepreneurial universe.
The nature of reality itself is entrepreneurial. Quarks, subatomic particles, seek connection with other particles to create a higher value proposition which is called Atoms. Atoms seek connection, interpenetration, relationship with other atoms to create a higher value proposition which is called molecules.” – Marc Gafni
Gafni makes a good point in his aptly-named article Conscious Entrepreneurship.
The faceless figure called the ‘entrepreneur’ is often seen (indeed by entrepreneurs themselves, according to Gafni) as a creative, narcissistic whirlwind of ideas, jumping around founding new initiatives.
And it is true that entrepreneurship is often glorified in capitalist society: it goes along with the creation of ideas, realization of individual aspirations, and making the climb to wealth and power through the free market.
But entrepreneurship is never an isolated event. At its heart lies a dynamic and continuous interaction with people, places, and capital, as a catalyzing force to make things happen. It doesn’t work to be a self-serving entrepreneur because no one lives in a vacuum.
You aren’t in a closed system where you can simply pour your hard work into your goals and reap the results without giving or needing a helping hand along the way. You combine resources and talents in innovative ways, giving freely of your time and skills.
That is why conscious entrepreneurship is not only the humanitarian way to approach entrepreneurship, it is also the most logical for your success.
“A conscious entrepreneur does business with their values and well-being at the forefront of everything”, says strategist Lisa Princic.
This means that you value yourself and you value others. Conscious entrepreneurship involves the courage to give, ask, and receive. You apply this to yourself and to others.
How then, does a conscious entrepreneur deal with the everyday challenges of taking care of his or herself to continue delivering value?
Not surprisingly, CEO Kelli Richards found out upon interviewing Steve Jobs that it wasn’t just his astounding talents that set him apart; it was the way he respected and sustained his brain consistently that allowed him to achieve success.
By committing to a balance of body, mind and spirit, that is how you respect yourself. Plus, when you optimize health, that in turn optimizes work performance. Sounds like common sense, but we have a ways to go in implementing it in the professional world.
How conscious entrepreneurs treat themselves:
You show up with your full self at work, not just the brain.
The second piece of the equation of being a conscious entrepreneur is how you interact with others. Kindness and helping others should be a backbone of your business growth.
A conscious entrepreneur knows that he is intrinsically linked to others. There is less emphasis on winning and losing, and relationships should be valued for what they are: as meaningful connections and vehicles for creating a shared vision together that is good for the world.
A conscious entrepreneur is aware of the effect her business has on the immediate community, the industry, society, and world. There are many dimensions of this, such as: How does this work environment impact the people that spend 40 hours a week here? How will this affect their lives at home? How will this affect the environment? How does what we do contribute to making life better for people, and how can we optimize this?
And quintessentially, am I being a genuinely good human doing what I am doing?
However we define conscious entrepreneurship to be, it is above all a creative vehicle for the new era of sustainability and solidarity.
(See startups by our alumni here)
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