By Natalie Amsden
We live in perhaps the most exciting time in human history. In a changing landscape of globalization, we find ourselves experiencing a collective and individual shift—an awakening to a new way of life.
As an entrepreneur, I see firsthand how rapidly our financial and corporate economies are changing, and I believe that for the most part these changes are positive—yes, positive. The outdated and unsustainable systems from which our current age has evolved is naturally falling away to allow for a future of conscious business and world unity.
For the greater part of the last century, Americans have lived in a relative state of apathy, content to accept the status quo so as not to upset the apple cart. Recent world changes have tipped many people’s apple carts, throwing apples astray and revealing the rotten fruit that has been hiding just beneath the surface of the pile. As individuals shift to recollect and rebuild their lives, the structure, content, and purpose of their existence is being reevaluated.
As with all things, there is a silver lining and greater purpose contained within all struggles. For those who have been displaced from their homes or careers, opportunities for transformation abound if they are conscious enough to open their minds. Most people choose security over happiness, passion, or growth, and only when life sweeps them down stream do they release their hold and ride the current toward their destiny.
As unemployment has risen, so has enrollment in college, as more and more people recognize the opportunity of free time and restlessness and put it to good use!
Unemployment is the perfect time for personal growth. Many people have found themselves thrown out of a career that was not serving them and are for the first time taking steps toward living a life of purpose. Enrollment in alternative health programs and metaphysical colleges has increased dramatically as more individuals are following their calling into the healing arts. “Solopreneurs,” or independent contractors, such as massage therapists, intuitive counselors, life coaches, and energy healers, have been coming out of the woodwork. For some, career displacement has triggered their passions and for others the tugging they have felt at their heartstrings beckoning them to live their purpose has finally become strong enough that they have taken the leap of faith and followed their bliss.
In the remainder of this article I will make suggestions for books that you can use in following your bliss or developing your conscious business.
“You’re the same today as you will be in five years except for two things : The people you meet and the books you read.” — Sharon L. Lechter and Greg S. Reid, Three Feet from Gold
If you find yourself somewhere along the spectrum of transition, open your mind and heart to allowing yourself to be guided to make a living that is in alignment with your true self. One book I highly recommend for evaluating your natural talents and passions is Do What You Are by Paul D. Tieger and Barbara Barron, who are experts on the theory behind the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator (MBTI), which is the most common (and useful in my opinion) psychological tool used in the business world. Another powerful transformative tool I suggest is The Purpose of Your Life by Carol Adrienne, who coauthored books in the Celestine Prophecy series with James Redfield. Adrienne’s book looks at the coincidences through the history of your life in conjunction with your natural talents and inclinations to determine the purpose behind the trajectory of your life. I personally utilized these books during my own period of transformation, which directed me to where I am today.
Exploring these resources may unlock your latent passions and trigger a career shift. If you are committed to or content with the content of your work, but desire greater freedom, I recommend examining the mind-set offered by author Timothy Ferriss in The 4-Hour Work Week. Whether employee or business owner, learning to automate, delegate, and restructure efficiency into your workday will free your time and mind to a whole new world of opportunities for growth and adventure.
“I will take as a given that, for most people, somewhere between six and seven billion of them, the perfect job is the one that takes the least time.” — Timothy Ferriss, The 4 Hour Workweek
In the business world, the Green Movement has created an abundance of opportunity. New technologies for sustainable energy are creating new jobs, businesses are reconsidering their environmental impact and restructuring their processes, and work environments are changing to minimize commuting and utility expenses by transiting to telecommuting positions. What this means for you, as a worker, is more opportunity to gain freedom of time and location by working your way into a telecommuting position where you can work from home and avoid the inefficient use of your time due to office distractions. As an employer, you have many options for cutting down your own working hours, while at the same time lowering your costs by utilizing the methods offered by Ferriss in his book.
As awareness of global warming and resource scarcity has spread, innovators from around the world have been pushed to create and discover technologies that can not only fix the problems industrialization has created but provide a better future than we have ever dreamed in our past. For example, just recently a fungus was discovered that can live off of polyurethane alone, which means it eats plastic. Best of all, it can do this without sunlight, which is why scientists are making plans to grow this fungus inside of landfills around the world where it will devour our mountains of plastic bottles naturally and safely. Nature always finds a way to sustain life!
When pushed to the precipice, all living systems become more efficient and evolve more rapidly, and humans are no exception. Although many believe we are facing a global crisis of energy and environmental destruction, these struggles act only as fire to ignite the human ingenuity that always steps up to the plate when needed the most. We all know that humans have amassed and continue to produce an unimaginable and unmanageable mound of trash and waste, however few of us have heard of new technologies on the brink of release that can turn our trash into a safe, efficient, and powerful form of energy. This new technology produces no harmful byproducts and has the potential to create so much energy that it will not only solve our waste problem, but could very well elevate us to a new level of access to energy that a whole new world of technologies will be developed that would previously have been unimaginable.
In this changing world of conscious business, even our biggest problems are becoming our greatest catalysts for transformation.
Conscious business people exist within all facets of commerce, from employee-focused corporate giants like Google to the spiritually-minded small business owners, accountants, lawyers, and even car dealers. Our dollars are one of our most powerful tools for creating change in our world, so vote wisely by selecting who you do business with and supporting businesses who represent and implement the values and conscious business practices that are in alignment with you.
If you are an employer, ask yourself if you are operating your business or managing your staff in a conscious manner. Do your employees know clearly what results are expected, do they have the equipment and support to do his/her work right, and do you praise for them for good work and care about their development as a person? According to Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, authors of First, Break All the Rules, these factors are the most important for increasing productivity and retaining talented employees. This book is based off findings from an in-depth study conducted by the Gallup Organization that interviewed over 80,000 managers and found that what matters the most in a truly successful business often goes against conventional wisdom.
As a conscious business person, it is vitally important to recognize that your most important customers are your employees.
This is not just because research has shown that it behooves you to do so. As an employer you have the most amazing opportunity to change the lives of those you work with by developing their talent while at the same time co-creating your business’ success. Conventional wisdom says that a right-handed person is proficient with that hand and so focuses on improving the weaknesses in the left hand, whereas the new paradigm suggests that the greatest use of all talent is to develop that which is naturally predisposed for greatness.
Imagine if talented artists focused on improving the skill of their non-dominant hand instead of allowing creativity to flow where it belongs.
In the world of conscious business, perseverance and allowing yourself to follow your passions are key, whether you are an independent practitioner offering healing or inspiration to your clients or a large company providing services and employment.
Napolean Hill original popularized the true story of a man who gave up “three feet from gold.” A recent book by the same name by authors Sharon Lechter and Greg Reid offers powerful insight from today’s most innovative and influential entrepreneurs. In this story, a man who had gold fever staked his claim, started digging, and found a vein of ore. He returned home to raise the money for machinery and when he returned to mine his ore the vein stopped. He kept digging but found nothing and quit out of frustration, sold his machinery to a junk man for a few hundred dollars, and returned home.
The junk man always knew he would be rich and had saved his meager earnings so that one day, when the opportunity presented itself, he would take action and claim the riches he knew in his heart were already his. The junk man called in a mining engineer who checked the mine and calculated that there was indeed another vein of gold, and sure enough he found it just three feet from where the original miner had stopped digging and went on to make millions.
The moral of the story: Believe in your own success, be prepared to recognize and take opportunities, seek expert counsel, follow your bliss, and never give up three feet from gold.