October 5, 2011

Can Businesses Be Mindful?

Short answer: hopefully.

Long answer: read everything ever published on elephant journal.

I interned for Waylon and elephant journal last spring. Waylon is constantly discussing (maybe demanding is a better word) the importance of elej, it’s interns, employees, and readers to be competent of elej’s mindful mission:

elephantjournaldotcom is your guide to what we like to call ‘the mindful life’: yoga, organics, sustainability, genuine spirituality, conscious consumerism, fair fashion, the contemplative arts…anything that helps us to live a good life that also happens to be good for others, and our planet.

At Hapa Sushi on the Hill, he reprimanded the team for using the throwaway, wooden chopsticks. At the time, I was thinking, “I want to dig into my rolls, bro. Just give me a freakin’ break.”

In retrospect, he should have waylaid into us even more. The destructive nature of the logging industry is just the tip of the iceberg. A tree gets chopped down, shipped, cut, shipped again, re-cut, packaged, shipped again, stored in a weather controlled warehouse, and shipped again—all so my cucumber roll can be dunked in soy sauce.

I understand it’s just some freakin’ chopsticks. Who gives a damn?

You should.

Photo: Raffi Asdourian

The more we (businesses are collections of people too, just ask Mitt Romney (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2h8ujX6T0A)) band together to help save the world, the better our chances of making a difference are. I know that this reads like tired babel. How many infomercials, day-time television specials, 60 Minutes presentations, and paper pamphlets passed out on Earth Day, down on Pearl Street (which is pretty peculiar when you take the time to ponder on the message they are prescribing) that discuss how we can save Mother Earth? Well, that doesn’t mean they aren’t all pointing to the truth. We can save the world.

Fleeing the overly conservative and repressive of Boulder to Chicago, I have brought this sense of mindfulness in my knapsack. Personally, my wife and I adopted a dog compared to sending our money to a puppy-mill. I am also biking or riding public transportation to work everyday.

Businessly, BigMarker.com, my fellow employees, a few awesome career coaches, and I are taking on unemployment. Literally, the four of us are getting into a ring with that fat 10% devil, and we are gunna wrestle it to death.

Basically, we are offering free career coaching to anyone in need. I see the webinar platform, much like elej, as a way for a community to connect and educate each other.

We’re a .com start-up, and we want to be global citizens, compared to social media leaches. We’re trying to be mindful, even if it just means that we can help one person write a better resume. So far, we’re helping around 20 people per conference, from Belgium to Kentucky, and I am very proud of what we’ve accomplished.

Yes, it’s a small gesture (it’s certainly not going to stop Climate Change), but it’s a start.

Truthfully, can businesses afford not to be mindful?

With social media, camcorders built into cellular devices, and the 24-hour news cycle, businesses, just like people, are potentially being recorded at all hours of the day. Look at the Bay Area Rapid Transit “censorship v. riot” debacle. One false move and a business is on the “don’t buy from” list.

Photo: GanMed64

Toms is a perfect example of the do-goodery perception. I say “Toms”, you think, pretty sweet company (oh, and they make some hot sunglasses and shoes, and when will they come out with purses and wallets [when that happens, what will they donate?]). I say “Crocs”, you shrug your shoulders. Guess what, Crocs donates more shoes than Toms (and Crocs are vegan and eatable). Pangea Organics, based in Boulder, is a perfect example of local heroics. They stand on their principals.

Yeah, can one web conferencing platform save the world?

Probably not.

Scratch that question. Is it our job to save the world?

Yes. It’s our collective job.

An individual doesn’t need to be responsible to save the world (they should want to be, but need and want are two different words). The community needs to be responsible for their work toward a better tomorrow.

I am dedicated to tomorrow, even if it means bringing my own chopsticks to a sushi joint today.

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