The Freedom to Be 70% Businesswoman & 30% Gypsy.

Via on Jan 25, 2013

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You know those moments when you’re sitting in the exact place you’re supposed to be at the exact time?

I had one of those moments tonight.

Normally, when I have that right place, right time, serendipitous feeling, it has to do with a guy, some stars and some crazy romantic story.

Tonight was different; it was about business. Not so sexy at first glance, but when you put a bunch of people in a room who are super passionate about making the world of business a better place—sure, in some way you can say that’s sexy.

Tonight I attended a discussion about Conscious Capitalism in San Francisco with Jeff Klein, author of Working for Good and Doug Rauch, the former CEO of Trader Joes. I was sitting in this room listening to these guys talk and found myself nodding my head in perfect synergy with mostly everything they were saying. It was one of those nights where every conversation was compelling, informative, yet familiar and reinforcing of ideas that I have had many for years. A room full of conscious, amazing business people who collectively participated in a form of guided meditation before they started engaging in conversation.

I’m home, I thought to myself. Yet, it took me a while to get here.

Before I get into the rest of my story, I want to briefly explain what we’re talking about when we use the word “consciousness” as it relates to business.

“To be conscious means to be awake, mindful… A conscious business fosters peace and happiness in the individual, respect and solidarity in the community, and mission accomplishment in the organization.”

~ Fred Kofman, from Conscious Business

Conscious Capitalism recognizes that capitalism is an amazing means for exchanging energy. However, we have to ensure that this exchange is done in a meaningful sustainable way, and that yes, this is possible. I would recommend checking out the book Conscious Capitalism, but the long story short of it, as translated by yours truly: be kind, innovative, creative, sustainable, create trust and opportunities where everyone (and everything, i.e., the environment) is positively impacted.

Simple enough, right?

For years I could never find a way to marry these concepts: business and consciousness. Like many of us, I had my businesswoman, Ann Taylor Loft-wearing, Lexus-driving, somewhat materialistic side. Then I had my conscious, yoga, hippie, gypsy side, who was afraid that making money would derail my path to enlightenment. These two sides of myself spoke different languages, wore different ‘uniforms,’ played different parts, and were completely unaligned.

During my many years of working in the corporate world, I often wondered why there was a lack of consciousness in business. Why is everyone so fake and competitive? Why is it okay to use “it’s business” as an excuse to throw all compassion, empathy, kindness (and sometimes ethics) out the window?

Colleagues would often say, “I’m only like this at work. I am actually a really cool, funny, nice person outside of work.”

Really? Well, then just be a nice person right now. I dare you.

I actually once had someone say they were working on being more of an asshole as part of their leadership development strategy (true story). Good luck with that.

As a former communications manager, I knew how to speak “corporate,” but would sometimes use words like “holistic” and “empowerment” in the development strategies I was creating—a clear no-no in business. I wasn’t surprised when responses to those words would often sound something like this: “Stop saying the word ‘holistic’ if you want to work in corporate America; it scares people.”

All of these instances in the corporate world eventually made me want to have nothing to do with it and I eventually became a full fledged “hippie/gypsy” who lived in a garage and decided I didn’t want to own any material possessions because capitalism was bad. But then, after my last stick of Nag Champa burned out, I realized that sitting in a room, in a garage in a beach town in Southern California wasn’t proving anything, and the entrepreneur spirit in me was begging me to get back out there.

So, I packed up my garage and began the co-creation of a company where we do things a little differently.

A year later, I have a growing brand and event management company that is committed to integrating purpose and meaning into everything we do. We ensure that every project we take on positively impacts the health, happiness, well-being and prosperity of all involved. I no longer have to play the part of an unaligned competitive businesswoman/part-time hippie. I can just be me: 70 percent businesswoman, 30 percent gypsy.

So, yes, tonight was one of those nights where the stars aligned, the messaging was clear and my thoughts of a business world where people were kind to each other didn’t seem like an impossibility. It was a night where I could talk about the beauty of collaboration, purpose and meaning in business, and people didn’t look at me like I was crazy.

No, the world won’t change tomorrow, but it’s nights like these that really make you believe it is possible.

 

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Ed: Brianna Bemel

About Traci Wallace

Traci Wallace is a New York born Californian and former New Delhi resident, who considers herself a 70% businesswoman and 30% gypsy. She is currently part of a amazing team of humans on a mission to cultivate conscious community and Seva via the Yoga Rocks the Park and Friday Night Yoga Club series throughout the U.S. She also likes to surf and write. www.goingwiththeflowblog.com

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15 Responses to “The Freedom to Be 70% Businesswoman & 30% Gypsy.”

  1. Evan Silberstein says:

    Great read Traci! A wonderful evening indeed; filled with inspiration and confirmation of what is possible and so needed in the world of business today.

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  4. Kristen Beau says:

    Your speaking my mind-heart-spirit lingo Traci! Adding vibrations of 'holistic' change to our World, and I like! Excelent read. ~~~~~ Kristen Beau

  5. breakfastwithsussi says:

    Perfect timing for me to read this,Traci. I've spent most of my life being productive in business for everyone but myself. Finally, I've jumped into the deep end and have started a blog to support people like me who are living with chronic health issues as I am, and still have much to contribute within the framework of collaboration, cooperation and love, universal love. Thank you for this…

    • Hi Sussi! Thanks for taking the time to say hello and reach out. Here's to collaboration, cooperation and love. It's working for us, which is an amazing sign for the world. Looking forward to keeping in touch!

  6. Lindsay Collins says:

    thank you for this great read Traci . . . how we do anything is how we do everything <3

  7. jim_fry says:

    Traci,

    Since you feel to be more adept and experienced as gypsydom, than I, I'm curious if there are 12 steps, or 2, for our kind. I left Corp.KillingMySoul.Ville back in 2005 and it was the most liberating risk I'd taken in my life. I am of the nomadic flavour and already I feel urges to move, extract myself from one realm and experience a new one, every three to six months.

    Re: "During my many years of working in the corporate world, I often wondered why there was a lack of consciousness in business." After my trial separation became a permanent divorce, what I found from a new vantage point outside the structured cube life was that it isn't really the people within that directly lacked consciousness as much as they were responding, generally in compliance, with a larger level – the very 'spirit' of the organization. This Corp.BEing is *not* human, though it has humans as cellular constituents. Within that particular (dimensional) dynamic, entrainment is nearly universal (to the detriment, of most – within & without).

    Warm appreciation for your shared reflections!

    • Hi Jim, I hear you on all of that. I am in the process of writing more about my gypsy tendencies (and tips to go along with it) and will be sure to share when it's ready. In the meantime, here's one of my old posts on "How to be comfortable, being comfortable." http://goingwiththeflowblog.com/2011/08/03/my-fav…. I will have you know that I just got back from traveling around the west coast for three weeks so I am working on staying put a little put for a bit. It's a challenge. :)

      With regards to your divorce from Corp.KillingMySoul.Ville (haha) … there are more and more companies that are building a "conscious culture" within their organizations. Yes, it is a small minority, but it is happening. This culture is more 'human' than the corporations of the past and does recognize the spirit in others thus taking on a life of it's own with meaning and purpose. People may say I'm crazy for being so optimistic, but my world works better that way and the people that I surround myself with are working towards changing corporate America (and the global economy) and providing new insights and implementable change.

      We have A LOT of work to do, but the more people that demand more from their life (travel, happiness, health, purpose, meaning, an outlet to share their gifts with the world, LIVING!) things will change. Leaders, the good ones, are conscious of their responsibility in this shift towards creating environments (where most of us spend our days) that provide opportunities for their employees to have all of these things. And if they do, everyone wins … and the money follows. This isn't rocket science. We just have to demand more from ourselves, each other, the leaders of the world, and be optimistic for change (oh, and be kind to each other in the process).

      Some cool books if you're interested:
      Marketing 3.0 (Marketing to the Human Spirit, not the subconscious or ego)
      Winning the Story Wars – Jonam Sachs
      It's Just Good Business – By Jeff Klein (Super easy read, lots of cool quotes and stats)
      Conscious Capitalism (Outlines the 4 fundamental values of a Conscious business)
      We: How to Increase Performance and Profits Through Full Engagement

      All the best, my fellow gypsy!

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  10. Michale says:

    This is great! What advice would you give someone who is you in reverse? 70/30 Gypsy/Business?

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