If you’ve arrived at a crossroads in your life when you’ve realized that making another buck won’t make you any happier or more fulfilled, you’re not alone. The question is, what can you do about it?
It took being in a morphine-infused, bedridden state in a hospital at age 39 for me to reconsider what business meant to me.
Staring my own mortality in the face, I asked myself the question: “If I died today, did I make difference?” The answer was a resounding no. There was so much more I could be doing. I knew that success is not about what you “get” in life, but about what you give. From that moment I vowed to become a “go-giver” instead of a “go-getter” and to instill a new conscious capitalist mindset into how I approached doing business.
Conscious capitalism is a powerful idea. It’s a modern way of thinking about capitalism that leverages all the skills and energy of entrepreneurship in a way that has a positive impact on the triple bottom line: people, profits, and planet.
Becoming a conscious capitalist won’t just help you sleep better at night; it’s actually good for business. According to professor and author Raj Sisodia, conscious companies, or “firms of endearment,” as he calls them, significantly outperformed the S&P 500 index over a period of 15 years.
This really should come as no surprise in a world where consumers — especially Millennials — increasingly demonstrate a preference for and loyalty toward companies with missions to make a difference (in addition to making money).
The good news is, you don’t have to wait until you’re in a hospital bed to start making a difference through your business. Here are three ways you can amplify your business model right now to start creating the change you want to see in the world:
A great place to start is to find a social mission you truly believe in. Figure out what’s important to you, and then explore ways your company can have an impact.
For example, glassybaby founder Lee Rhodes vowed to help the people she was meeting in the chemo room as she battled cancer. Her glass votive company was founded on this desire to help others afford basic needs and gives 10 percent of sales to charitable organizations (now totaling more than $7 million in donations since opening).
What can your mission and impact be? Find what mission speaks right to your heart, and look for opportunities to make an impact, aligning with likeminded partners along the way.
Some of the most successful conscious companies today are ones that have integrated solutions to social problems directly into their business models.
For example, when the founders of BOMBAS discovered that the most in-demand article of clothing in homeless shelters was socks, it created a model whereby it gives away one pair for each pair sold. It’s a key part of the company’s business plan, and consumers know it and love it.
Is there a way to integrate your product or service into a one-to-one giving model, or perhaps even a new business opportunity that would work perfectly with this model? Consider how to fold giving directly into your business plan.
Lao-Tzu once said, “He who obtains has little. He who scatters has much.”
Operating from giving mindset and a commitment to the triple bottom line is simply a more holistic way of approaching business, and it offers a path to greater fulfillment, as well as increased success.
Employing a “carousel of care” mentality can help further that triple bottom line. Choose to give a percentage of your company profits to a rotation of meaningful charities every month. That allows you to respond to crisis in real time and cater your giving based on the interests of your employees. Some companies, such as Salesforce and Deloitte, even offer employees a set number of paid days off a year to volunteer.
The bottom line is, it’s easy to avoid asking yourself tough questions like, “Am I making a difference?” However, if you’re brave enough to face the truth, then the more important question to answer is, “If becoming a conscious capitalist has the potential to change the trajectory of my business and create a lasting legacy that my family can be proud of, why wouldn’t I immediately begin making that shift today?”
How you answer this question and the next action steps you choose to take, or not to take, will ultimately determine your destiny.