If one were to understand why “Conscious Entrepreneurship” is being thrown around a lot these days, it is probably because we’ve been a generation of people chasing success rather than those trying to understand the purpose of what we do or why we do things.
If I were to begin breaking this idea, I’m reminded of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs which is central to the idea of his theory of self-actualisation. Maslow’s theory says that once our basic physiological and emotional needs are met, our primary motivation is to reach our highest potential. Simply put, it means we strive for self-growth.
This indicates that the desire for self-improvement and personal growth is not simply a luxury afforded to a small group of ambitious and self-motivated people, but is a critical part of our identity as human beings. The drive to achieve our highest potential, to “be your best self” is a fiery core burning in each of our hearts.
Conscious Entrepreneurship could, in other words, be termed as the collective awakening of the business community.
Heart & Soul-connected Business
Well, if one were to look at some examples, Simon Sinek is the first one that strikes me. With a notion of connecting your soul and business, his “Start with Why” emphasises bringing conscious awareness into your business and having a “just cause” to support your purpose. I call this a “heart and soul-centred business” which also highlights the significance of gut instinct, the power of intuition and the need to constantly learn and evolve.
Some key life skills of such “Conscious Entrepreneurs” include being open to change and their willingness to learn; patience before taking any action; strong contemplative skills and empathy in all relationships. Most importantly, they appreciate humility and humour while also keeping their mission at the centre of their work and life.
What is impressive about high-conscious entrepreneurs like Simon Sinek or Vishen Lakhiani of Mind Valley or Arianna Huffington of Thrive Global or Oprah Winfrey and many others, are that they are happy people. Not only do they see the possibility of doing things differently and allowing their work to be a transcendental experience, but they also ensure that there is no place for oppression or any domineering power.
Conscious Culture & Leadership
That reminds me of how brands are now choosing their message consciously and carefully with changing times. Let us consider the Bhima Jewellery ad which took India’s social media by storm in the middle of a global pandemic. The ad beautifully captures the journey of a transperson and how her family’s acceptance grows with her transformation.
Titled “Pure as Love”, is one of the best examples of how empathy and good storytelling came together. In the process of showing how “love of every kind” should be accepted, the brand also won the hearts of many Indians (eventually, winning several customers).
This empathetic message from a brand only stems from conscious leadership. If you approach a conscious leader, you are most likely to hear that they don’t believe in the concept of “I” in a team. They energize, educate and empower their teams around the company’s higher purpose and look to create value for all stakeholders. They purposefully cultivate the company’s culture around a long term vision that benefits all.
Take Rujuta Diwekar as an example of conscious entrepreneurship. As a nutrition and exercise science expert in India, she emphasises setting realistic health goals, emphasis choosing local, seasonal foods and educates people on the importance of age-old healthy recipes and habits across different cultures of India. She also teaches us that a conscious entrepreneur thinks of people and the planet in all the decisions they make.
This also brings us to how conscious entrepreneurs choose to live in a healthy way (mentally, physically and emotionally). From developing healthy habits to drastically transforming their lifestyles, all great leaders lead in the best way from within. When inner mastery is aligned with outer performance and actions, you have a “conscious leader leading a valuable organisation” that can do a lot of good for all.
Conscious Business = Higher Profits
A decade ago, one couldn’t even think of the words “conscious” and “capitalism” being put together in the same sentence. Now, there’s a lot of talk on “conscious capitalism” and its long-term benefits to businesses.
Conscious companies treat their stakeholders better, says John Mackey, author of the book, Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business. As a consequence, their suppliers are happier to do business with them. Employees are more engaged, productive, and likely to stay. These companies are more welcome in their communities and their customers are more satisfied and loyal.
Conscious companies aren’t just feel-good, do-good organisations, belting out poetic verses. The most conscious companies give more, and they get more in return. Data suggests that Conscious Capitalism companies outperform the market by 10.5 times. The inescapable conclusion is that “it pays to care, widely and deeply.”
Growing Tribe of Purpose-driven Workers
The world is now seeing a positive shift towards purpose-driven workers. Across the two industries studied through the Yale team’s research — healthcare and education — they found a 10% increase in the number of purpose-oriented workers since the 1997 study. An increase in purpose-oriented workers would likely boost the economy, given higher performance.
First, it would improve our level of satisfaction with our jobs, where we spend the majority of our lives. Second, it would boost our well-being and improve healthcare outcomes. Third, it would likely lead to more ethical companies.
According to Imperative 2015’s Workforce Purpose Index (WPI), 50% of CEOs are Purpose-Oriented leaders. These leaders see work as fundamentally about helping others and being a source of personal growth, rather than defining work as simply a source of ego or social status. The mighty corporates and businesses are already taking advantage of the “Purpose Economy.”
For instance: PwC recently appointed a Chief Purpose Officer. E&Y created the Beacon Institute with Simon Sinek as their spokesperson. Deloitte has made purpose a hallmark under their new CEO. On the other hand, we are observing this shift even in smaller companies and start-ups. These companies see the changing economic climate and realize that being early adopters is not only a massive business opportunity but also critical to their survival.
To sum it up, with issues such as climate change, education, healthcare and the pandemic making every single individual vulnerable at a time when youngsters are more inclined towards purpose-driven life, this wave of Collective Awakening could pave the way to a significant rise in GenZers and Millennials choosing to go the “Conscious Entrepreneurship” way, given their expanding roles in influential positions.
Well, I guess that proves that you can make money and still do good for humanity while simultaneously disrupting the market.