I’ve recently been nominated for Businesswoman of the Year in the Entrepreneurial category, sponsored by the Women’s Business Network of Ottawa. In addition to my appreciation for what I know is the honour of being nominated, I have also become very mindful of my own thoughts about what, exactly, my business is about.
Many years ago, when I started the first company (Partners in Renewal Inc.) that eventually spawned the WEL-Systems Institute, I was keenly aware of my motivation to do so. It was not about making money. Nor was it about making my mark in the world. It was about finding a way to change the way children are treated in the world.
Long story – short version: I discovered that one of my children had been abused at the babysitters. Great turmoil in my life ensued as I went from child protection services to police reports to the discovery that not much was going to happen. I sat stunned, telephone in hand, watching my very young son playing on the floor in front of me, as a child protection services person (who two days earlier had interviewed my son and was very clear that he had been victimized) asked me to call and comfort the woman whose care my son had been in during this incident since ‘… she’s such a nice person and is very upset about all this”. Stunned… shocked… sick… and filled with a wave of immense force that screamed NO in every cell in my being.
I hung up the phone and my body shook uncontrolably and violently as I wondered: “Just how dead are we? Just how numbed out have we become?” In that instant, I knew where my future lay. I knew that child abuse was not a child’s problem , it was an adult’s problem. I knew that far too many adults had become disconnected from themselves – from the truth of their own experience – and had now become able to disconnect from (become deaf, dumb and blind to) the truth of the experience of others.
I also knew I had to find a way for adults to hear and see what they tried so desperately to push out of their awareness; and they needed to have access to hearing it in a way that there would be no excuses for them to NOT hear and see, anymore. The frontline for children is always their parents and, in particular, the mother. If a mother cannot protect herself, she cannot keep her children safe.
Fast forward to 2008 – and here I sit, a nominee for this award. As I revisit the roots of the creation of not only my business but the entire body of knowledge of WEL-Systems that was birthed from this intensely committed, personally driven exploration of what it is to be human and how we engage with each other, there is great clarity about a number of things.
For all the reasons that I’ve shared so many times, in so many other places, I continue to be very clear that:
* Our children are the future. No children – no future. Broken children – broken future. If we, as the adults that run the lives of these children, do not find a way to come to terms with our own experience of being broken, we cannot and will not find a way to create a different experience for our children. We can’t give what we haven’t got – and the wheels just keep turning ’round and ’round, recreating what we already have in ways that are moving faster, getting smaller and tighter and less able to support life!
* Women are the key to a different future. Not only because women are still the ones that give birth but because an Emerging Future is a body process that demands the same abilities as does pregnancy: complete surrender to and trust in the process of the body to lead. For this to become possible, the body must be clear of hidden, trapped and ‘undigested’ experiences.
I am also very clear that work is the one place where as adults, we will spend more time than anywhere else in our lives. Work is the one experience/event that every single one of us is and will be encourged to engage, without question, as a demonstration not only of value and meaning in our lives, but as essential to our capacity to function in a living organic collective that we call ‘society’. If we want to reach people; if we want to connect with the adults that are shaping our children… that are shaping our future; if we want to find a way to touch the lives of hundreds of millions of people, work is the channel.
My work – my business – is intended to be a conduit for the transformation of a people. No longer can we continue to sit back and consider that it is enough that ‘work’ is about making things, selling stuff and generating wealth. In my world, those values are archaic and dangerously arrogant in a world that is in serious decline.
In my world, business – all business! – must become a conduit for the growth and evolution of the people who are engaged in it. This does not mean that business does not do as it has always done (offer something of value that shapes the world in some way), but that HOW business does this transforms in such a way that the invidual lives of the people in that business; the lives of the people who are touched by this business, are in some way transformed and become ‘more’ – not just bigger, faster and richer.
I’m not against wealth and abundance – I’m for wealth and abundance at multiple levels of being. Not just the physical where they can be measured by the bank account and how much stuff we have, but at levels of health and wellness; at levels of insight and awareness; at levels of awakened presence and connection to Self and other; and at levels of creation of a much larger, collective experience that allows a way of moving through the world that brings life and does not destroy it.
So, as an entrepreneurial woman, my intentions go far beyond the immediate (paying the bills and keeping the doors open on the Institute), far beyond the expansive (creating opportunitues for others to benefit from and expand in and from their experiences of what the business offers) and goes to a mindful awareness that not only CAN I make a difference in the larger collective, I already DO make a difference in that collective. No matter which path I walk, I make a difference. The question I choose to pay attention to is am I making the kind of difference that will MATTER in a world so desperately in need of something that does?
I know that I matter. I also know that every other person who inhales and exhales, matters. I also know that the vast majority of people in the world do not believe that of themselves. As a generalization, most people don’t think they matter. They believe that their presence is non-essential in the great scheme of things; and that they are, in many ways, pawns to be moved around by someone else on the great gameboard of life. Not so in my world.
And so, as a nominee for BYA in the Entrepreneurial category, I am very clear what I’m here for: to create a business that will not only bring value at the level of what it offers, it will also BE the channel through which much greater intentions are created and expressed. I believe, with every ounce of my being, that business is the key to creating conduits for massive change. And it needs to happen now!
Breathing is good….