I am writing this letter to express my concern about your business and the way you run it.
Please don’t get so worked up, I can read your thoughts immediately after reading that first sentence and know they go something like this, ‘who does this person think they are to tell me how to run my business? Kindly bear with me and hear me out, infact I have more questions than answers or suggestions and I hope you will be able to answer them.
Let’s face it; most of us go into business to make money to fulfill our own personal needs and ambitions, right? Don’t get me wrong here please; you have every right to do so. Yes absolutely! But while you’re at it, is it too much to ask that you to look at the greater good as well? How so? I hear you asking. I am talking about you coming up with ideas that will make profit and at the same time help to transform the world and make a positive impact in peoples’ lives and the environment. Your business doesn’t have to be a choice between making a living and making the world a better place.
The concept of Social Entrepreneurship aims at creating a positive impact along ‘triple lines’ (profit, people & planet) as opposed to the ‘bottom line’ (profit). It takes into consideration the interconnectedness of all humanity and the environment. If your business is your life, then it should express your highest values, (unless you don’t have any) and your purpose should serve a greater good –something bigger than just you. God didn’t create you to make money, live in Karen, play golf, spend your days away in a spa or drink yourself silly. No! No! No! Your life purpose should express your Soul’s yearning – what some of you call passion- the thing you were created to do on this earth with your unique personality, gifts, and talents. This you do, by the way you make a living and it should matter how you make your money and how you spend it.
Changing the world through business means making conscious choices about how you do business and the people you engage with. Do they exemplify the same values you hold; like integrity, honour, love, compassion and justice? If you sell consumer products, are you concerned about what you sell? That it is wholesome, natural and healthy or are your products full of harmful ingredients that make people sick. As a farmer, do you use chemicals that harm the earth or do you insist on organic and biodegradable inputs? Do you advocate for green products, buy from countries practicing fair trade- to discourage and fight against child labour or slavery or you don’t really care so long as you make your profit?
As a Media practitioner or public relations consultant, do you advocate for or create awareness on issues to do with social justice, inequality or abuse or are you championing the cause of a rogue and corrupt politician who drives people to poverty and dehumanization? As a business or life coach, do you follow through to make sure your client succeeds and is truly empowered or does it end after their pockets get a little lighter and yours a little heavier? As a film producer what stories do you tell and what lessons do you teach? Do your heroes and heroines teach ethics, honour and good morals or do they glorify alcohol, violence, sex and drugs? Are you a catalyst for social change?
Mother Teresa made a difference by simply being angry about poverty. Her resolve to help alleviate the suffering of the poor, stemmed from her deepest Christian values; that all humans should be shown compassion and live in dignity. Her passion gave her access to the corridors of power and saw her address the United Nations to influence policy makers on poverty alleviation programmes. Likewise, as an entrepreneur you have to believe that your business can be profitable, fun, fulfilling, and can make a difference.
As I said in the beginning, I am concerned about how you go about your business. I have seen you focus on making money in ways that are not so pleasing. You are overwhelmed by all these problems around you and think that there is really nothing much you can do, so you shut down your emotions; you refuse to feel, in order for you to function and do what others are doing. You forget, what you become is directly related to what you do and surround yourself with and this dissonance you feel between the values you hold dear and what you practice is injurious to your Soul.
Once you bridge this gap and start making conscious choices in your business life, believe me, you will start to feel respected, valued, honoured, nurtured, and loved as opposed to what you feel now-depleted, used, hurt, guilty and restless. Aligning your deepest values with your purpose helps to release a transforming process that brings about inner growth and feeds your Soul. So, tonight when you reach home, look around at your loved ones and ask yourself this: did I make the world a better place for them today? Then go further, dig deep and ask again: did I feed my Soul today?
I hope you find the answers, and when you do… I hope you can sleep easy.
PS. “Our Soul is like a stream of water which gives strength, direction, and harmony to every other area of life. You didn’t create the stream. God did. But you are the keeper of the stream.” (Dallas Willard).
Eva Chao Mwazige studied communication and Daystar University. She’s an entrepreneur and experienced content writer. She’s currently working on a book and a poetry collection..