I'm not a "business-man," although I am a person who, due to the necessity of having to make money has had to learn business savvy. One of the reasons I was turned off by business was the animalistic and ravenously competitive manner in which people approach business. This isn't anyone's fault, it's the way we have been taught in the Western world and it used to work.
However, I see a trend with my generation and younger generations. As a general rule, we understand that there is enough to go around. So the sort of dog-eat-dog model of business seems to be functioning on a lower plane of consciousness. That's all well and good, but I personally didn't want to enter a business market where I felt like there were ravenous dogs waiting to eat my ankles off.
It is possible to participate in the spirit of cooperation and abundance and still carve out a niche for oneself in the business world and, make money?
Some of the most painful professional experiences I have had have been those moments when someone you look up to does not champion or support the work that you do. This phenomenon is not-uncommon, particularly for us 30 something's out there who are trying to make our way, while redefining what being a "business person means".
Many of us have been disillusioned to find out that while our professional mentors and guides may be professionally inspiring, our presence in what is realistically a competitive market, can become a source of insecurity, leading to strained relationships and hurt feelings.
Many industries are predicated around the idea that you shouldn't promote anyone else because they may take your cake. However, in some industries, such as the ever growing website design and blogosphere world, there is a refreshing spirit of cooperation and mutual support. It's a value that sprang forth due to the disillusionment created by the old business model.
I think that my generation is tired of feeling like, finding and performing meaningful work "should be difficult" (as I've heard some people say who have been bred in the "dog-eat-dog" mentality). Even with those who claim a level of spiritual or ethical evolution will still hesitate or even refuse to champion another because of a fear of lack.
There is a disturbing "struggle and compete" message that was broadcast to generations of business owners, which sprang from the very real experience of having to struggle and compete. But to look up and see our heroes pushing down on our heads due to fear of invalidation is disheartening to say the least. However, it doesn't breed persistence, it breeds contempt and propagates the myth of lack.
It is, quite simply, a mentality of war.
Now, I get it. People want to make sure they can feed their own mouths and the mouths of their families. I also think that struggle does build one's spiritual constitution if weathered with grace.
Nonetheless, this philosophy has dominated the Western social structure for ages now and has worn out its welcome. It's flaws have been pasted all over the front pages of newspapers, yet it still lingers in the collective consciousness. It is the American business zietgiest, the Donald Trump method of divide and conquer.
The store owner down the street is seen as competition rather than a potential partner. I think this mentality has created a kind of PTSD, that has been passed down and inherited across generations and the reality is we don't have to live in a business war zone anymore. Put down your arms.
I'm not propositioning a hippy commune where money is replaced with flowers and the work day consists of singing Indian bhajans. Not because it doesn't sound beautiful and peaceful, but because it is wildly unrealistic for American culture.
I'm merely asking for a revolution of thought. Imagine how less stressful business life would be if it weren't rooted in the fear of financial ruin but rather the pursuit of meaningful work.
What if there is enough to go around? What if competition (which can be healthy) were friendly and steeped in respect rather than fear? What if everyone participated in cooperative promotion rather than obsessing about decimating their opponents?
So because I love a good list, here's how I conceptualize business model mantras as emanating from the 7 chakras:
- Business as Survival - "This will pay my bills and feed me and my family." Survivalistic individualistic.
- Business as Glamour - "This will bring me fame, adoration, attention and love." Glamour focused and emotionally charged.
- Business as Power - "This will bring me influence, control and domination"
Power focused and willfully dominant.
- Business as Service - "This will end the hardships of others and help me to feel magnanimous and giving".
Heart centered and healing focused.
- Business as Creative - "This will bring new ideas, creativity, and thought into the world."
Mind centered and focused on creative ideas.
- Business as Visionary - "This will heal consciousness and lead others toward evolution".
Intuition centered and focused on spirit.
- Business as Presence - "This will bring presence into the world".
Focused solely on the needs of the moment and the bigger universal picture.
Ideally we would integrate all of these levels, but most business models function from the lower three centers.
So what do you think, as we move into the next generations can business evolve or are we destined to repeat the survivalist patterns of our business ancestors?