Bringing Love to Business

I’ve heard people say that they cling to their painful thoughts because they’re afraid that without them they wouldn’t be activists for peace. “If I feel peaceful,” they say, “why would I bother taking action at all?”

My answer is “Because that’s what love does.”  To think that we need sadness or outrage to motivate us to do what’s right is insane. As if the clearer and happier you get, the less kind you become. As if when someone finds freedom, she just sits around all day with drool running down her chin.

My experience is the opposite. Love is action.

— Byron Katie

 

I

f you had told me five years ago that building a conscious business was about love, I would have smiled at you and thought, Sure it is, until it’s time to pay the bills. Having made my way up through the very competitive environments of school, sports and later a commission-only career, I was pretty damn sure that creating a business was about being better than those around me. When I was pre-med, I looked at every person in my class as competition, someone in the way of my future, someone who had to lose in order for me to win. In my insurance work, the top closers got to keep their jobs while everyone else got laid off.

For the first several years of building my coaching practice, I did it from my old model of scarcity and competition. I thought of other coaches and of people in my field as competition, not as peers. I had many people want to partner with me and I turned them all down out of fear that they would try to take something from me. When someone else in my community would offer a retreat in the same month as one of mine, I would get angry and scared, thinking that they would somehow “steal” my clients. I claimed to be operating a conscious business, but my love and respect was really only reserved for my clients and friends.

Power, Fame & Glory are Junk Food for the Soul:

Cheap substitutes for love, belonging and purpose.

— Dr. Logan

 

Aware of my own hypocrisy, I felt trapped in a constant battle between my ego and my softer, more loving self. I had taken all of the courses and read the books, but I still found it very difficult to leave my old model of working. Deep down, I had a fear that if I stopped competing for what seemed to be limited resources and adopted a more conscious, loving approach based on service, I would lose my edge. I had this image in my head of becoming some kind of a flakey, new age, semi-homeless person, wandering around loving everyone and everything and sleeping on my friends’ couches forever.

It did not take long to learn that I was not the only person thinking this way. Many of my clients had experienced the same fears:

Dr. Ron is an extremely high achieving professional who left his corporate career to start an alternative health business. His goal is to help hundreds of millions of people in his lifetime. If there is one person I know who can make this happen, it’s him.

While he was growing his new practice, he found that he was building it in an unconscious way. He was operating out of scarcity, ego and competition. I offered up to him a different model. I said: “What if you build your organization solely focused on being of service to others, rather than trying to be the ‘best.’” I knew this would be a stretch because a large part of his self-concept was wrapped up in winning.

“Ok, I’ll give it a try,” he agreed. Many months later, his organization was growing quickly, but he was still operating in many of the same old ways. He was attaching his value as a person to his accomplishments. “I want to build something huge, something that really makes a difference. At the end of my life, I want to know I matter,” he said.

“What if you just mattered right now? What if you could find love for yourself right now, in this moment and it had nothing to do with your accomplishments? What if you just appreciated yourself as you are and built this movement out of respect for the people you are helping, rather than out of an attempt to prove your worthiness as a human being on the planet?” His response offered up the answer to my own resistance that I had been feeling for some time.

“I’m afraid that if I were to just love myself as I am and build the business coming from service and a loving place, I’ll lose my desire to achieve and just sit around doing nothing, being perfectly content.”

Without the motivating factors of fear of failure and imagined feelings of significance through success, he was afraid he would cease to act. And this was the very excuse that I had used for years to convince myself that this love stuff really didn’t deserve a large place in a successful business.

After we completed our year of working together, I asked Dr. Ron what he felt he had learned. I wanted to know if love and service had found a place in his business. He shared with me that in his line of work there are very few people that truly understand what he’s trying to accomplish. He used to feel very alone in his mission, he said, but recently things had changed.

When my actions are driven by ego, I feel alone. When driven by service – when really authentic – it doesn’t seem to matter.

— Dr. Ron

 

I reached my own mental tipping point about the role of love in business in a conversation with a very successful healer friend of mine named David Elliot. He shared with me a story that was indicative of how he ran both his practice and life. Before he was a healer, he worked as a construction contractor. He would look at the work that needed to be done on a particular job, and then a price would just pop into his head and that was his quote. Using this method, he won almost 100 percent of his bids. His peers said that he should be measuring by square feet, and that according to the experts, if he was charging enough, he should be getting rejected about thirty percent of the time. “Clearly, you must be doing something wrong,” they said. David ignored the experts and continued to follow his intuition and did very well.

He said to me one day, in a very matter of fact way, “You know with my healing work, I don’t really advertise.” He doesn’t offer promos, or “buy now” deals or even talk about his other events or offerings, at the end of a session. There is not an ounce of fear or scarcity that I have ever detected in the years I have worked with him. And, looking at his schedule, he is booked for the year! Leading with love has not stifled his ability to be successful one bit.

I shifted the way I was relating to my business. When I noticed fear trying to creep in, I just reminded myself that there was no scarcity of potential people I could help. There are hundreds of millions of people in the world who have a deep a desire to make powerful changes in their lives.

Someone asked me the other day, “So tell me, who’s your competition and how are you positioning yourself in your market?” I just stared at him for a while, and for a moment I felt confused by the question.

“I have no competition,” I answered. And I truly meant it.

 

 

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