“How you make others feel about themselves, says a lot about yourself.”

I talked about the difference between leadership and management in the last post. Personally, I clearly recognise to be more of  leadership type persona: I see the world full of possibilities. I will become very passionate and excited about many things. My enthusiasm often leads to inspiring and motivating others. I love to set goals and visions. I recognise relationships between situations and human chemistries. I love to discover people’s strengths and passions.

On the other hand, I am not great in dealing with practicalities and organising. I love generating creative, out-of-the-box ideas, but I may lack the ability to take these ideas on practical level. I do not place much of importance in detailed, maintenance-type tasks. Every personality has their strengths and weaknesses, which of course can be developed when recognised. I will talk more about the relationship between personality and leadership & management later, and on how important is it for anyone to know their personality traits to find their true passions and strengths and utilise them. In this post, I will briefly touch the topic of qualities of conscious leaders derived from Conscious Capitalism, and then go a bit deeper into Emotional Intelligence, mostly based on a great post from Lifehacker.com.

Qualities of Conscious Leaders

Conscious leaders display many of the qualities we most admire in our role models, the people we look up to. They possess qualities we would like to possess too, consciously or unconsciously. They usually find great joy and beauty in their work, and in the opportunity to serve, lead and help shape a better future. Since they are living their calling, they are authentic individuals who are eager to share their passion with others. Being very dedicated to their work, it recharges and energizes them.

Conscious leaders commonly have high analytical, emotional, spiritual and systems intelligence. They also have an orientation toward servant leadership, high integrity and a great capacity for love and care. Being unique individuals, a common feature, however, is that they are self-aware and recognize their own deepest motivations, not trying to be someone they are not. They know who they are and what their purpose is. “Your True North is what you believe at the deepest level, what truly defines you – your beliefs, your values, your passions, and the principles you live by.” – Bill George

Most leaders have high analytical intelligence. We now recognise however, that having a high IQ without also having high emotional intelligence, spiritual intelligence and systems intelligence prevents ability to deal with different situations and can be harmful to an organisation. Bad decisions will be made based on short-term considerations that lack a system wide perspective of what is good for all of the interdependent stakeholders over the long term. Relationships, stakeholder management, and a keen appreciation for values and purpose are essential for effective leadership in the complex world of today, and analytical intelligence by itself does not equip leaders to handle these. A crucial difference between the different types of intelligences is that a person’s IQ does not easily change very much after adulthood begins, while emotional, spiritual and systems intelligence can be developed and enhanced all our lives.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is used to describe how well individuals can manage their own emotions and react to the emotions of others, combining intelligence of understanding oneself and understanding others. People who possess EQ have the less obvious skills necessary to get ahead in life, such as managing conflict resolution, reading and responding to the needs of others, and keeping their own emotions from overflowing and disrupting their lives.

The mixed model created by Daniel Goleman has five key areas:

1. Self-Awareness: knowing your own feelings; having an accurate assessment of what you’re capable of, when you need help, and what your emotional triggers are. Being able to know your own feelings is the first step to identifying any problem area you’re facing. Ways to improve your self-awareness:

  • Keep a journal: At the end of every day, write down what happened to you, how you felt, and how you dealt with it. Periodically, look back over your journal and take note of any trends, or any time you overreacted to something.
  • Ask people: Who know you well of where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Write down what they say, compare what they say to each other and, again, look for patterns. Most importantly, don’t argue with them. They don’t have to be correct. You’re just trying to gauge your perception from another’s point of view.
  • Slow down or meditate: Emotions have a habit of getting the most out of control when we don’t have time to slow down or process them. The next time you have an emotional reaction to something, try to pause before you react (go offline!). Meditation is great to slow your brain down and give your emotional state room to breathe.

One strategy I personally use is to go on long walks or have conversations with myself discussing what’s bothering me. Often, I’ll find that the things I say to the imaginary other end of the conversation can give me some insight into what’s really bugging me. The important aspect is to look inwards, rather than focusing solely on external factors.

2. Self-Management: being able to keep your emotions in check when they become disruptive; being able to control outbursts, calmly discussing disagreements, and avoiding activities that undermine you like extended self-pity or panic. Handling your emotions, controlling your outbursts, distinguishing between external triggers and internal over-reactions, and doing what’s best for your needs.

One key way to manage your emotions is to change your sensory input. Giving your physical body a jolt can break the cycle. If you’re feelings sluggish, bothered, dull, stuck in an emotional loop – do some exercise. Anything that can give a slight shock to your system or break the existing routine can help.

3. Motivation

= your inner drive to accomplish something, thought of achieving a meaningful goal. Goleman’s model refers to motivation for the sake of personal joy, curiosity, or the satisfaction of being productive. It consists of:

  • Will for social power; personal fulfillment by having a positive affect on others or towards the greater good
  • Need to connect with others, be around them and do things together
  • Need to accomplish, work towards a meaningful goal. People who find this important strive continuously to enhance their performance, learn new and always strive for better outcome

Everyone has something they want to do with their life. When your motivation is working for you, it connects with reality in tangible ways. Motivated people act towards achieving their goals. Daniel Goleman suggests that in order to start making use of that motivation, you first need to identify your own values. Many of us are so busy that we don’t take the time to examine what our values really are. Use your journal to find times when you’ve felt fulfilled. Create a list of things you value. Most of all, accept the uncertainty in life and just build something.

4. Empathy: skill of reading the emotions of others and responding appropriately.

Your emotions are only one half of all your relationships. It’s the half you focus on the most, sure, but that’s only because you hang out with yourself every day. All the other people that matter to you have their own set of feelings, desires, triggers, and fears. Empathy is your most important skill for navigating your relationships. Empathy is a life-long skill, but here are some tips you can use to practice empathy:

  • Shut up and listen: This is the most important. You can’t experience everyone else’s lives to fully understand them, but you can listen. Listening involves letting someone else talk and then not countering what they say. It means putting aside your preconceptions or skepticism for a bit and allowing the person you’re talking to a chance to explain how they feel. Empathy is hard, but virtually every relationship you have can be improved at least marginally by waiting at least an extra ten seconds before you retake the conversation.
  • Take up a contrary position to your own: One of the quickest ways to solidify an opinion in your mind is to argue in favor of it. To counter this, take up a contrary position. If you think your boss is being unreasonable, try defending their actions in your head. Would you find their actions reasonable if you were in their shoes?
  • Don’t just know, try to understand: Understanding is key to having empathy. As we’ve discussed before, understanding is the difference between knowing something and truly empathizing with it. If you catch yourself saying, “I know, but,” a lot, take that as an indicator that you should pause a bit more. When someone tells you about an experience that’s not your own, take some time to mull over how your life might be different if you experienced that on a daily basis. Read about it until it clicks. It’s okay if you don’t spend all your time devoted to someone else’s life, but putting in just some time—even if it’s idle thought time while you work—can be beneficial.

By definition, empathy means getting in the emotional dirt with someone else. Allowing their experiences to resonate with your own and responding appropriately. It’s okay to offer advice or optimism, but empathy also requires that you wait for the right space to do that. Be mindful of people’s feelings and allow them space to feel it.

5. Social Skills: application of empathy as well as negotiating the needs of others with your own. This can include finding common ground with others, managing others in a work environment, and being persuasive.

Social competence takes many forms – it’s more than just being chatty. These abilities range from being able to tune into another person’s feelings and understand how they think about things, to being a great collaborator and team player, to expertise at negotiation. All these skills are learned in life. We can improve on any of them we care about, but it takes time, effort, and perseverance. It helps to have a model, someone who embodies the skill we want to improve. But we also need to practice whenever a naturally occurring opportunity arises – and it may be listening to a teenager, not just a moment at work.” Daniel Goleman

Resolving a conflict, for example, can be one of the best ways to learn how to apply your emotional skills. Social skills also involve meeting new people , socializing with people of different mindsets , or just playing games . Disputes are best resolved when you know what you want, can communicate it clearly, understand what someone else wants, and come to favorable terms for everyone. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll notice that this involves every other area of the emotional intelligence model

Sources:

Lifehacker

Conscious Capitalism, 2013 John Mackey & Raj Sisodia

Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman

“I’m not here to be average, I’m here to be awesome.”

I read an great post at LinkedIn with points I want to share with you.

As co-founder of Hotwire.com and CEO of Zillow for the last seven years, 39-year-old Spencer Rascoff fits most people’s definition of success. He is a father of three. What is the one thing that Spencer refuses to do on the weekend? Work—at least, in the traditional sense. Rascoff says:

My weekends are an important time to unplug from the day-to-day and get a chance to think more deeply about my company and my industry. Weekends are a great chance to reflect and be more introspective about bigger issues.

new study from Stanford shows that Rascoff is on to something. Successful people know the importance of shifting gears on the weekend to relaxing and rejuvenating activities. They use their weekends to create a better week ahead. The following list contains 10 things that successful people do to find balance on the weekend and to come into work at 110% on Monday morning.

1. Disconnect

Disconnecting is the most important weekend strategy on this list, because if you can’t find a way to remove yourself electronically from your work Friday evening through Monday morning, then you’ve never really left work. Making yourself available to your work 24/7 exposes you to a constant barrage of stressors that prevent you from refocusing and recharging. If taking the entire weekend off handling work e-mails and calls isn’t realistic, try designating specific times on Saturday and Sunday for checking e-mails and responding to voicemails. Scheduling short blocks of time will alleviate stress without sacrificing availability.

2. Minimize chores

Chores have a funny habit of completely taking over your weekends. When this happens, you lose the opportunity to relax and reflect. What’s worse is that a lot of chores feel like work, and if you spend all weekend doing them, you just put in a seven-day workweek. To keep this from happening, you need to schedule your chores like you would anything else during the week.

3. Reflect

Weekly reflection is a powerful tool for improvement. Use the weekend to contemplate the larger forces that are shaping your industry, your organization, and your job. Without the distractions of Monday to Friday busy work, you should be able to see things in a whole new light. Use this insight to alter your approach to the coming week, improving the efficiency and efficacy of your work.

4. Exercise

Exercise is also a great way to come up with new ideas. Innovators and other successful people know that being outdoors often sparks creativity. Exercise leads to endorphin-fueled introspection. The key is to find a physical activity that does this for you and then to make it an important part of your weekend routine.

5. Pursue a passion

You might be surprised what happens when you pursue something you’re passionate about on weekends. Indulging your passions is a great way to escape stress and to open your mind to new ways of thinking.

6. Spend quality time with closed-ones

7. Schedule micro-adventures

Buy tickets to a concert or play, or get reservations for that cool new hotel that just opened downtown. Instead of running on a treadmill, plan a hike. Anticipating something good to come is a significant part of what makes the activity pleasurable.

8. Wake up at the same time

Your body cycles through an elaborate series of sleep phases in order for you to wake up rested and refreshed. One of these phases involves preparing your mind to be awake and alert, which is why people often wake up just before their alarm clock goes off (the brain is trained and ready). When you sleep past your regular wake-up time on the weekend, you end up feeling groggy and tired. This isn’t just disruptive to your day off, it also makes you less productive on Monday because your brain isn’t ready to wake up at your regular time. If you need to catch up on sleep, just go to bed earlier.

9. Designate mornings as “me time”

Finding a way to engage in an activity you’re passionate about first thing in the morning can pay massive dividends in happiness and cleanliness of mind. It’s also a great way to perfect your circadian rhythm by forcing yourself to wake up at the same time you do on weekdays. Your mind achieves peak performance two-to-four hours after you wake up, so get up early to do something physical, and then sit down and engage in something mental while your mind is at its peak.

10. Prepare for the upcoming week

The weekend is a great time to spend a few moments planning your upcoming week. As little as 30 minutes of planning can yield significant gains in productivity and reduced stress. The week feels a lot more manageable when you go into it with a plan because all you have to focus on is execution.

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I truly underwrite each point and thus wanted to share them. To find your maximal potential, foster creativity and personal development, be a inspiring person to be around, taking care of yourself is crucial. For me, exercising is in inseparable part of my life. I disconnect myself for some time every day. Most of my closed ones know that I love the flight mode. 😀 Steady sleeping pattern is best nurture and meditation for your body. I reflect through writing, planning. I receive and let go through yoga and meditation. For me, morning yoga is simply the best way to start a day. Spending quality time with my loved ones acts as therapy as well as a source of inspiration for me. I feel rejuvenated after these special moments. On Sundays or Monday mornings, I make sure to set my weekly goals and to do lists to get a feeling of being organised and determined. I’d add something to the list treat yourself with little things daily: be it dark chocolate, cappuccino, yoga, red wine, walk with a friend -whatever makes your day a bit more luxurious. Also, talking about your dreams and vision out loud is never harmful. You’d be surprised how inspired you can be and also how happy it makes you to inspire others through genuine excitement. 

xx, S

“Leadership is unlocking people’s potential” – Bill Bradley

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Without conscious leadership, little else matters in a conscious business. It is the most important element: the most conscious corporation can be led badly off path and even destroyed if it hires or promotes the wrong kind of leaders.

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The shareholder right movement has led to a model where CEOs are rewarded heavily – given strong incentives to become personally wealthy – for increasing the stock price of the company. Such leaders manage by numbers, viewing the business as an impersonal object, usually having no passion for any particular business,. They are hired guns who have the ability to spur companies to perform at a higher level and thus increase their market value. However, such leaders usually operate with short time horizons and tend to largely disregard the interests of stakeholders other than shareholders, because their own personal wealth is tied to the share price. Often, they take actions that are harmful for the business in the long term. Their leadership approach is particularly ineffective at creating team member engagement and enthusiasm.

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Conscious businesses are led by emotionally and spiritually mature leaders. Such leaders are primarily motivated by service to the purpose of the business and its stakeholders – not by power or personal wealth. They develop and inspire, mentor and motivate and lead by example. Rather than militaristic or mercenary, they are missionary leaders, embodying Mahatma Gandhi’s dictum “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.” Conscious leaders are strong individuals who possess exceptional moral courage and are able to withstand constant critical observations from those who view business in a more traditional, narrow manner. They seek to nurture and develop the business for future generations, not to exploit for the short-term gains.

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Rise of feminine values

For thousands of years, most societal institutions have operated based on “masculine” traits of aggression, ambition, competition, and left-brain domination. These traits have traditionally been viewed necessary for a leader to be successful. However, appreciation of the “feminine” values are constantly rising; caring, compassion, cooperation, and more right-brain qualities, proclaiming for a harmonious blend of these values in both work and personal life. Conscious businesses embody both perspectives whether led by men or women. The women who rise to positions of power today are different from their earlier counterparts, who had to show toughness in order to rise to the top. Most women leaders today are comfortable with their feminity, recognizing and respecting their ability to use caring and nurturing as an approach to lead organizations. Interestingly, as men age, they also start exhibiting more feminine qualities in their leadership style and relationships, reflected by their life experience. Likewise, many women become more assertive, independent, and straightforward as they mature.

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Leadership and Management

Leadership and management are not synonymous. Leadership is mostly about change and transformation. Management is about efficiency and implementation. Leaders are high-level architects, builders and remodelers of the system, while managers ensure that the system works smoothly and take corrective actions when it doesn’t. Leaders have an inherent systemic sensitivity that enables them to understand both how a group of people will behave as a system and how to change the system in order to change its behavior. Leaders imagine and bring into that which did not exist before and which most thought could not be done. Businesses need both leadership and management but in right measure. Approaches need to be in harmony. “Too much management without leadership leads to too much stability and inward focus. This eventually results in stagnation, decline and probably the death of the organization. Too much leadership without enough management is also dangerous; the company lacks organizational capacity, operational discipline and efficiency, and the business can become very risky.” – John Kotter


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“If I’m honest I have to tell you I still read fairy-tales and I like them best of all.”  – Audrey Hepburn

I did want to make a film that was about courage and about kindness and about a psychological modernity in the middle of this traditional story. The Cinderella myth continues to capture our imaginations” Kenneth Branagh

Do you believe in fairytales? I certainly do. Not surprisingly Cinderella directed by Kenneth Branagh, the story inspired by Charles Perrault’s fairy tale, hit me hard. Although not a direct remake, the film borrows elements from Walt Disney’s 1950 animation.

I believe that good always triumphs evil. Dreams will come true as long as you can visualise it and believe in it. Cinderella, for me, was inspiring not only with its beautiful costumers, stunning sceneries, great cast, magical elements and touching music, but primarily because of its powerful message. A piece of advice and living up it to can have such a great impact on a human life. “Have courage. Be kind.” Living up to this made Cinderella be genuine, generous never give up chasing her dreams. Such a simple message for anyone.

A wonderful, truly inspiring movie that has the old Disney magic. The acting is great; Lily James as Cinderella who felt like the most beautiful, hearty human in the world; Cate Blanchett in the challenging role as the evil stepmother; Helena Bonham Carter turning the course for Cinderella in the film, boosting her confidence and enhancing her beauty to confidently go for her man. This film is truly the old storybook brought back to life.

If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.
― Albert Einstein

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photos: http://www.stitchkingdom.com/disney-cinderella-theatrical-poster-high-resolution-stills-73403/

This film went straight into me and my sister’s top one film. I recommend everyone to give it a chance and it won’t let you down. I for sure will watch it over and over again as the magic never disappears. 😉

xxx, S

What do we mean by a Conscious Business?

Business is based on cooperation and voluntary exchange. No one is forced to trade with a business. Customers have competitive alternatives in the marketplace, team members have competitive alternatives for their labor, investors have numerous alternatives to invest their capital, and suppliers have plenty of alternative customers for their products and services. All stakeholders need to cooperate to create value for customers. Business is a win win win game. Voluntary exchange for mutual benefit has led to unprecedented prosperity for humanity.“

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For years, I’ve taken a rather critical view towards most businesses. Before choosing to belong to any stakeholder group – be it a customer, employee, investor or member of a community – I make sure that I can identify to the higher purpose, values and corporate culture of the company. Having worked in two listed companies, I came to a conclusion that corporations exist purely to maximize profit, not to increase human wellbeing – which I as an entrepreneur would primarily seek for. I then worked for a start-up, which ultimate purpose indeed was not primarily to maximize profit, but:

Our mission is to democratize mushrooms. We see immunological issues ‘along with hormonal and digestive problems’ as the key thing to solve in order to help people live healthier.” Four Sigma Foods

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Generating profit is a secondary yet important purpose for the company. Conscious businesses strive to create value for its all stakeholders simultaneously. For me, this is the only right way to do business. I later gained greater understanding and interest towards public companies and the (positive) impact they have potential to make. While living in New York and working for this start-up mentioned earlier (this was Summer 2013), I found myself from The Whole Foods Market every day. I was truly inspired by their products and the vibes I got from this organic grocery store chain. I was a happy everyday customer, happy to pay a premium of better-than-average quality products and I immediately decided that one day I want to work for this company. Further, everyone I spoke with in New York seemed to love Whole Foods too and indeed did their groceries in this chain. All this inspired me to do some research on the company. What was the ideology behind the business model? I wanted to learn more of the founders of the company, which is how a found a true inspirer and business mentor for myself – the co-founder of Whole Foods Market and co-author of Conscious Capitalism, John Mackey.

Following is mostly derived from Conscious Capitalism, written by John Mackey and Raj Sisodia. As said, Mackey is the co-founder and co-CEO of Whole Foods Market. He has led the natural and organic grocer as it has grown into a Fortune 300 company with a market capitalisation of over $20 billion. A strong believer in free-market principles, Mackey cofounded the conscious capitalism movement. He aims to defend and reimagine capitalism and encourage a way of doing business that is grounded in ethical consciousness. Mackey cut his pay to $1 in 2006 and continues to work for Whole Foods Market out of a passion to see the business realise its potential for deeper purpose, for the joy of leading a great company and to answer the call to service he feels in his heart.

I just finished the book and cannot appraise it enough. This book is my business philosophy written in words. I feel so grateful to have found a true inspiration and business bible for myself. John Mackey, you have found a Conscious Capitalism ambassador from Finland 😉 I will reflect my thoughts based on the themes of this book, starting with this post.

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“Business plays a central role in our lives. We are affected more by businesses than by any other social institutions. Most of us earn our livelihood and provide for our families by working for companies, and all of us purchase the goods and services from companies that we choose to for a reason of other be superior to their competitors. The quality of our lives, our health, our overall well-being and even our happiness depend greatly on the ways in which businesses operate. Business is fundamentally about people working together cooperatively to create value for other people. It is the greatest creator of value in the world. This is what makes business ethical and what makes it beautiful. Business is fundamentally good. It becomes even better when it is more fully conscious of its inherent higher purposes and extraordinary potential for value creation. “

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Human beings are evolving rapidly, becoming more intelligent on multiple levels, being better informed, more closely connected, and more driven by higher-level aspirations and values. Both men and women are increasingly integrating masculine and feminine sides of our personae. We are becoming more conscious: evolving ethically, taking responsibility for more of the consequences of our actions, and better understanding interdependencies of larger systems.

Conscious businesses have powerful positive impacts on the world. Their higher purpose enables them to harness for the greater good. Extraordinary level of team member commitment results when intense personal passions align with corporate purposes. Consciousness enables them to see the interdependencies across all stakeholders and to realize synergies that otherwise might seem like trade-offs between different stakeholder groups. They create lasting and inspiring, engaging cultures that enable the business to continue operating in a conscious way even after their founders pass from the stage. Their leaders consciously build the culture to be self-organizing, self-motivating, self-managing and self-evolving.

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We are in the midst of a historic transition; it is clear that the existing paradigms no longer work well. People’s minds are open to new possibilities, exciting opportunities and great challenges. Visionary thought and bold action is needed. We need to critically rethink of our mental models, assumptions, and theories and question their accuracy and relevance. We have an invaluable opportunity today to fundamentally change the course for our future, as the resistance to change in society at the moment appear to be lower than it has been in a long time.

The transition is gathering some momentum. Many current leaders and established companies are responding to the philosophy of conscious capitalism and taking steps in this direction. Mackey and Sisodia believe that the millennial generation (born between 1980 and 2000) will be the primary creators of change. “Millenials view work as a key part of life, not a separate activity that needs to be balanced by it…They want to work to afford them the opportunity to make new friends, learn new skills, and connect to a larger purpose. That sense of purpose is a key factor in their job satisfaction; according to our research, they are the most socially conscious generation since the 1960s.” (Meister & Willyerd)

Aim of conscious capitalism movement is simple: “One day, virtually every business will operate with a sense of higher purpose, integrate interests of all stakeholders, develop and elevate conscious leaders and build a culture of trust, accountability and caring.” (Mackey & Sisodia)

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Conscious capitalism is a dynamic definition that will continue to evolve as our consciousness grows and collective wisdom of business leaders and thinkers enriches it. It will become the dominant business paradigm for a simple reason: it is simply a better way to do business. Over the long term, it will outcompete other business philosophies. Since conscious companies win in the marketplace, their approaches will be copied over time. When most businesses operate in this way, humanity and our planet will flourish. Many existing companies such as Southwest Airlines, Google, Costco, UPS, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Market have already shown that conscious way of doing business leads to a multifaceted success over time.

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We humans are capable of extraordinary things. Think of all our astonishing accomplishments in just the last two hundred years. We have tunneled through mountains, built buildings stretching thousands of feet into the heavens, sent and safely brought back humans from the moon, put satellites and space stations. We think nothing of putting hundreds of people in aluminum tubes and flying them around the world at astounding speeds thousands of kilometres above the ground. We have created communication systems that can connect us to the remotest locations, to deepest jungle to tallest mountains. These are inventions by ordinary mortals, made in an incredibly short amount of time.

Where each of us could be joyously creating, most choose to settle. “People are settling every day into okay relationships and okay jobs and an okay life. And you know why? Because okay is comfortable. Okay pays the bills and gives a warm bed at night and allows one to go out with co-workers on a Friday evening to enjoy happy hour. But you know what okay is not? Okay isn’t thrilling, it isn’t passion, it isn’t the reason you get up every day; it isn’t life-changing or unforgettable. Okay is not the reason you go to bed late and wake up early. Okay is not the reason you risk absolutely everything you’ve got just for the smallest chance that something absolutely amazing could happen.” (Anonymous) Where we could experience the thrill of discovery, we settle for mindless routine. Where we could live each day suffused in love and fulfillment, we allow ourselves to be imprisoned by our own fear-based thoughts and actions.

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Unconscious businesses focus on creating as much financial wealth for their investors as possible. Leaders proclaim proudly that their focus is profit maximization. This sends a loud and unmistakable message to everyone the organization touches: they too must focus on maximizing their own profits. Team members decide to give as little and take as much as possible. Suppliers try to squeeze and cut corners where they can so that they can maximize their own profits. Governments and local communities think about how they can extract as much out of the business as possible. Customers feel no hesitation in taking advantage of the company whenever they can. Everyone becomes a taker and not a giver to the system. This erodes and eventually destroys a company’s ability to achieve its profit goals because the self-serving impulse becomes rampant throughout the system. It damages everyone’s ability to create value for each other and through that, value and fulfillment for themselves.

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A conscious business aspires to create financial, intellectual, social, cultural, emotional, spiritual, physical and ecological wealth for all its major stakeholders: team members, customers, investors, suppliers and communities. It is said that those of us alive today truly have the opportunity to live the most meaningful lives human beings have collectively ever led (Twist, 2005). Our challenges have never been greater, but similarly our consciousness and deep understanding of them. We have all the tools and technologies we need to solve virtually every one of our challenges and we have the capacity and creativity to invent anything that we need but do not yet have. If we can utilize the energy in each of us and channel it through creative organizational forms, we can and will eradicate poverty in this century, create a more peaceful planetrestore and replenish our environment and threatened species, eliminate most major diseases and enable all humans to lead long, healthy, vibrant, productive and meaningful lives.

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Conscious Capitalism State of Belief:

We believe that business is good because it creates value, it is ethical because it is based on voluntary exchange, it is noble because it lifts people out of poverty and creates prosperity. Free-enterprise capitalism is the most powerful system for social cooperation and human progress ever conceived. But we can aspire to something even greater. Conscious capitalism is a way of thinking about capitalism and business that better reflects where we are in the human journey, the state of our world today and the innate potential of business to have a positive impact on the world. Conscious businesses are galvanized by higher purposes that serve, align and integrate the interests of all their major stakeholders. Their higher state of consciousness enables them to see the interdepencies that exist among all their stakeholders, and this, in turn, allows them to discover and harvest synergies from situations that otherwise seem burdened with trade-offs. Conscious businesses have conscious leaders who are driven by dedication to the company’s purpose, to all the people the business touches, and to planet we all share. They have trusting, authentic, innovative and caring cultures that make working with them a source of both personal growth and professional fulfilment. They endeavour to create financial, intellectual, social, cultural, emotional, spiritual, physical, and ecological wealth for all their stakeholders. Conscious businesses can help evolve our world in such a way that billions of people can flourish, leading lives infused with passion, purpose, love and creativity – a world of freedom, harmony, prosperity and compassion. Shift to become a conscious business calls for vision, purpose, courage and determination. The journey is joyful but not easy. (Mackey & Sisodia)

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The pics I chose does not exactly relate to conscious business in its true meaning, however, for me they reflect some of the important features of consciousness: authenticity, passion, care for people, society and the planet. Openness for the possibilities this world has to offer for the curious individuals.  

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Oh, how many good memories arise browsing these pictures. Missing my partner in crime in particular. She is in Tokyo right now, organising Slush Asia, an event bringing together people with big dreams and the determination to make them a reality. That’s my girl 😉

Story to be continued.

xxx, S

Easter of superlatives

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The fact that you’re friends are spread around the world has its pros too. You certainly appreciate the luxury of spending time with them when you rarely get the chance. No harm either that often it involves an exciting city or special celebration. For us, it was Chamonix this time – the coziest village in the heart of French Alps, near Switzerland, surrounded by the most impressive mountains such as Mount Blanc. My favourite Londoner Anne’s boyfriend lives there and was willing to let us use his place during his travels. And so we reunited in this stunningly beautiful location with Anne coming from London, Amanda from Uppsala and myself from Helsinki.

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I had no trouble adopting this French Swiss lifestyle. Ski, afteski, eat, sleep, repeat. We ate cheese on every meal, with red wine of course. The chocolate is better than anywhere before (I remember eating Swiss chocolate in Hong Kong which I now realise to have melted and refreeze most likely several times). The mountains surround you 360 degrees.

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What makes a holiday even better is meeting new people. We shared the place with Anne’s boyfriend’s roommate and her girlfriend, a lovely Swedish couple. Rebecca gave a gig in a local restaurant, playing many of my favourite songs. That girl has got an amazing voice. We spent time with these two guys, who also hosted us a raclette night, leaving us feeling grateful for the hospitality. I love to hear people’s stories and history, and these guys definitely have inspiring ones. B has lived all around the US, then Africa, Russia, now in Geneva & Chamonix, constantly traveling around the world for his job.

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I don’t know how to even begin to describe the skiing experience itself. The first day was condition-wise demanding as the visibility was at times zero. I still enjoyed every moment. Skiing really to me is the best form of meditation. The second day, then, was by no doubt one of the most beautiful day of my life. Skiing in these stunningly beautiful mountains, with friends, clear and sunny sky, warmth, fresh air, slopes in perfect condition. You truly forget all worries and concentrate enjoying every bit of the moment. I hope that the photos will transmit at least a tiny bit of the beauty of these days.

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Once again, I am convinced that nothing in this world makes you richer than traveling and the luxury of taking adventures with the ones whose company you enjoy the most. Meeting new people on the way, being inspired by their stories and creating new ones. Thank you girls and new friends for a memorable holiday <3. Like I kept repeating myself to the girls as I simply couldn’t help myself: “I’m very satisfied.” Take adventures people!

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Edit: Coming back home was not that bad after all. It’s SUNNY. ❤