Heart in business is something I am incredibly passionate about and I know there are similar souls craving for businesses to embrace care and kindness. In 2012 I wrote: Is there room for Heart in Business?
I was revisiting the concept of heart in business a year ago when I stumbled upon Big Hearted Business, the brainchild of Clare Bowditch – singer, songwriter, actor, businesswoman extraordinaire. Big Hearted Business is about helping creatives learn business, and businesses to learn creativity and to work from the heart. Needless to say, I signed up to everything, including their Big Hearted Business (un-)Conference which was recently held on the weekend of 3 & 4 May 2014.
The weekend left me raw and overwhelmed with inspiration and knowing I wasn’t alone in wanting to do something big to leave a heartfelt mark on the world.
The (un-)conference had a selection of speakers who have embraced listening to their heart and living according to their passions and values.
Here are my 10 biggest take-away lessons from the speakers that I hope will inspire you to think about doing business a little differently; dare I say authentically.
- Work that is easy is the common denominator for mediocrity ~ Joost Bakker
Do you want to be a benchmark for your industry or to do more of the same? It’s hard to do things differently and challenge the status quo, but, in my opinion, that’s your obligation if you aspire to be a business leader. Just when I was doubting if one person could affect change, Joost swooped in and demonstrated how one can start the process – it’s not easy but it can be done.
- “Don’t be so overwhelmed with ego (that you) forget the steam of life” ~ Fabian Dattner
We’ve all met them, people determined to be successful at the cost of others and their feelings. But, as Fabian says: “People and connections are what life’s about”. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if more businesses focused on its people (internally and externally) being a priority? Being a very loyal person, it was great to hear someone say that while dreams are important, they shouldn’t come at the cost of the relationships in your life.
- If you can’t say no, the power of (your) yes means nothing ~ Fabian Dattner
What more is there to say other than remember your worth. (A lesson I’m still learning.)
- You’re not chasing a goal, you’re chasing a feeling ~ Danielle LaPorte
Fans of Danielle, and there are millions worldwide, know that she is all about focusing on core desired feelings – 7 feelings that are most important to you to live with purpose. I’d take this a step further in business and ask: How do you want your clients, networks, suppliers and team to feel? And how would achieving this make you feel?
- Do you want to achieve 12 great goals or 3 f$cking great goals? ~ Danielle LaPorte
Business meetings are often a platform for people to say how many goals they’ve achieved. But, do you want your business to be known for quantity or quality? And back to Joost (point 1), do you want to be doing work that is easy or difficult? Danielle took this a step further: “Products are like your children, nurture them with time”.
- You don’t need to be liked, you need to be respected ~ Cath Nolan
For all the heart-centred people reading, remember this and don’t be apologetic in fighting for your (and your business’) ‘bottom line’. Not everyone will like us, but we can aspire for everyone’s respect.
- You’re not going to transcend yourself every day ~ Missy Higgins
Accept you won’t reach your goals every day. We’re not robots nor perfect. Plus there’s this thing called “life” that can get in the way of our best laid plans. But Missy also added: “Endure the uncomfortable stage and don’t abandon ship”. Wise words indeed, and up on my whiteboard.
- Don’t fear failure ~ All speakers
Universal theme of the weekend was that everyone had experienced failures. Some were monetary, some were health, some were relationships, some their own expectations. But just as universal was the message that some of the best work can result from failures. Missy Higgins said we “need to suck a long time before reaching your full potential”.
- Just start ~ All speakers
Just like accepting failure, another repeated message was to just get started. There will be no perfect time to start, so strap yourself in and start working. But remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint, so getting started doesn’t mean achieving your goal/s straight away.
- Telling the truth has become so rare it’s now a commodity ~ Missy Higgins
I often write and talk about this and, without being too confronting, see how far I can get business owners to tell their story. Too often businesses sit in the comfort zone of their industry, not considering how customers are craving real stories to connect with.People say to me: But who cares about my story? It’s boring. Well heed Missy’s closing words to her speech: “By telling our stories we’re keeping each other company”.
Imagine how letting people know they’re not alone will make you, and them, feel.
This article first appeared in Australian Businesswomen’s Network in May 2014.