There is something truly magical about the entrepreneurial journey. It starts with that calling to fulfill a purpose, the vision of how you want to make your mark on the world. The energetic pull to solve a problem, create, and innovate, becomes so strong that ignoring it becomes impossible because not following your intuition becomes too much to bear. Now your courage is put to the test. You can hold on to the security within your current state of reality or dive headfirst into a sea of uncertainty. That choice is your make-or-break moment.
Some people will think you are crazy, maybe a little delusional, or not fully understand why you would take the risk of starting a business. What the naysayers, the worriers, and the contrarians will never understand is the driving force that exists inside you. The belief in yourself, not listening to the odds, and pursuing your passion with relentless motivation sets you apart from the pack. The choice to become an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart, and the personal growth that will come from embarking on this epic adventure far outweighs the regret of taking no action at all.
Along the entrepreneurial journey, we all need advice, support, and encouragement to help navigate the twists, turns, and unknowns that can make us feel disoriented. That’s where this guide comes in to help. Over the following seven sections, you will take part in an exploration into consciousness and its role in realizing your potential as an entrepreneur. After reading each topic area and reflecting on the content, you will also have the opportunity to put words into practice via The Entrepreneurial Playbook, which contains valuable consciousness-raising exercises.
To prepare to use this guide, please keep an open mind. Conversations into the field of consciousness are not commonplace and require examining the nature of reality, your existence within it, and seeking truth to find new meaning. Get comfortable, relax, and enjoy the journey.
Download this interactive tool to complete exercises at the end of each section, or come back to it when you’ve had more time to reflect on your pathway forward as an entrepreneur. It’s up to you.
Part 1: Knowing the Unknowable
Unless you've had one too many glasses of scotch, you're most likely consciously aware that you're reading this, but do you know what consciousness is? How would you define it? Where does it exist? Are you conscious of consciousness? These questions aren't meant to confuse you but rather help you to realize how abstract the concept of consciousness is and how often we take it for granted.
Consciousness is often associated with our thoughts, choices, and behaviors. We strive to make more conscious choices about taking care of our health, and the environment and embracing our cultural differences. In this case, consciousness relates to our self-awareness. However, consciousness is also omnipresent in all visible and invisible to humans.
What's puzzling about consciousness is that the sciences can't explain it; because of this, it's not typically taught in formal education. In the 17th century, Galileo Galilei, the renowned astronomer, physicist, and engineer, declared that mathematics would be the language of modern science; and would have a purely quantitative vocabulary. This shift made the science of consciousness impossible because consciousness exists in a qualitative, not quantitative, realm.
We can measure the distance to other planets and solar systems, but what exists in the space that lies between them remains a mystery. We can feel love in our hearts, but there is no scientific measurement for how much we love someone. We have tools that can tell us how many calories are in a piece of fruit, but there is no formula for the experience of what we taste. As creators, innovators, and business owners, we have data showing our financial successes. Still, nothing can measure the feeling of achieving our goals on the journey to fulfilling a vision.
Although unknowable to mathematics, the modern sciences provide clues into consciousness. When these clues and known facts integrate with a mix of spirituality, psychology, and philosophy, we begin to see the big picture. Then, consciousness becomes something we can learn to harness by becoming more aware of its origins, oneness, and how to tap into its boundless energy throughout the entrepreneurial journey.
Have you ever looked up into a star-filled night sky and pondered the nature of existence? Sometimes we spend so much time looking down at our phones or are so fixated on life on earth that we forget about our universal connection. Nevertheless, every great story has an origin. None is more perplexing than that of the Universe.
Science believes the Universe first expressed itself through what is commonly known as the Big Bang Theory. To refresh your memory, physicists believe this event happened 13.8 billion years ago when a singularity, a point of infinite denseness containing all of the mass and space-time of the Universe, began expanding. In its early stage, the singularity would have omitted a bright light at frequencies unknowable to human senses. Then, over time, the expanding energy from the singularity began to cool, stars and galaxies formed, and so formed the Universe as we know it.
While there are other, less widely-accepted scientific theories about how the Universe was formed, one thing is for sure; we don't know what caused its creation. Even Einstein said, "Everyone who is seriously interested in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe – a spirit vastly superior to man, and one in the face of which our modest powers must seem humble." While we may know what caused creation, all major religions celebrate the divine nature of an unknowable light. So let's start there.
Light has been interpreted directly as the source of creation and the giver of life. It's been perceived as a symbol of knowledge and wisdom associated with illumination and transcendence. It has served as a beacon to help understand the nature of reality and is sometimes directly linked with God, extending to the heavens and the earth. That's quite an impressive resume for something unknowable to us because the light perceived by humans is known only through the energy it releases, which is why primitive humans worshiped the sun for its life-sustaining capabilities.
So whether you believe in a science-based approach to creation, one rooted in spiritual mysticism, or have another theory, one thing is sure: the Universe does exist, and we are part of it. The fundamental components of reality that are observable and measurable to humans help our minds conceptualize this existence. There is space (the dimensional realm where objects exist and events occur), and time (the infinite progression of experiences from past to present and into the future). Then, matter (substances that have mass and take up space through their volume), and finally, energy (which science defines as the ability to do work or the capacity to move or change matter).
But what about consciousness?
The truth is that reality could not exist without consciousness, which is the foundation of our cosmic connection and essential for knowing the unknowable. What's mystifying about reality is that physical matter makes up less than five percent of the Universe. The rest comprises dark matter and dark energy, which are invisible to humans. Dark matter, about twenty-seven percent of the Universe, holds the Universe together. Dark energy, the remaining sixty-eight percent, fuels its expansion. Though we don't know for sure what dark matter and energy are, they are not to be feared, as their descriptors (“dark”) relate to their unseen and immeasurable nature, not to forces of evil.
The Universe is also a closed system, meaning a finite amount of energy is constantly in flux. In thermodynamics, this is known as the law of energy conservation. This law dictates that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, rather- only converted from one form of energy to another. These transfers happen at the speed of light through photons, massless subatomic particles of electromagnetic energy. To illustrate, imagine a complex highway system full of infinite connections woven together with light and a constant state of motion.
Although philosophical, it may be more realistic to think of the Universe as one massive thought or Universal Consciousness, and all that exists, including humans, are unique expressions of that consciousness. Even the human body emits biophotons generated spontaneously by most living cells, producing an ultraweak light 1,000 times lower than the sensitivity of our naked eye. Beyond the cellular level, we often fail to recognize we are just complex vibrations for energy.
At West Virginia University, Suzanne Bell estimates that a 150-pound human body contains about 6.5 octillion atoms. These subatomic energy systems include protons, neutrons, and electrons, which, when excited, also emit photons. Additionally, at the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) in New Mexico, astronomers surveyed 150,000 stars. They found that 97 percent of atoms found in humans also make up the Milky Way galaxy, proving that we are made of stardust and providing even more proof of this cosmic connection. Furthermore, Lynne McTaggart, author of The Field: The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe, has said, "At our most elemental, we are not a chemical reaction, but an energetic charge. Human beings and all living things are a coalescence of energy in a field of energy connected to every other thing in the world. This pulsating energy field is the central engine of our being and our consciousness, the alpha and the omega of our existence.
Have you ever thought about a very close friend and then almost immediately received a call from them? That's because our energy system becomes entangled with everyone and everything with which we come in contact through a web of electrons and photons. This quantum phenomenon was first explored by Einstein, who called it ‘spooky science’ because one particle, like an electron, can instantly change the state of another electron—even if it's light-years away.
Thomas Vidick, a computing and mathematical sciences professor at Caltech, said, "It may be tempting to think that the particles are somehow communicating with each other across these great distances, but that is not the case. There can be correlation without communication.” Entangled particles are so closely connected that there is no need for communication; we can think of them as one object.
So, along the entrepreneurial journey and in life, beware of the people with whose energy fields you become engaged because not all energy is created equal. Take human thoughts, for instance. These invisible waves of energy can resonate at constructive or destructive frequencies. When we connect with people who show encouragement, appreciation, and recognition, it keeps us motivated. On the other hand, if we let people bring worry, fear, or jealousy into our lives, we can feel defeated.
Remember, energy waves attract like frequencies, so what you put out is just as important as the energy with which you connect in the field of Universal Consciousness. Create the vision statement for what you wish to achieve, review it daily, and watch doors open at the right time to help guide and support you along the entrepreneurial journey. If you feel lost or off course, take time to appreciate the lesson you are learning at that moment and redirect your consciousness to the fulfillment of your vision.
Seek connections that inspire your creativity, that helps with problem-solving, and make you a better version of yourself. Stay open to new thoughts and ideas. Don't be afraid to let go of relationships that aren't serving you, and realize that you are never alone, but one with Universal Consciousness, which holds an infinite pool of knowledge and wisdom from which to draw when we embrace our connection to it.
A New Era
We’re entering a new area of human evolution, one where the success of entrepreneurs lies in their ability to harness the power of connected consciousness and innovate with a purpose of helping create a lasting impact on this world.
In the past 200 years, the population has skyrocketed from 1 billion to over 7 billion people. That's insane growth, considering it took 200,000 years to reach the first billion. Humanity has achieved so much, but many have been ignorant of our connection to Universal Consciousness. We have perceived ourselves as separate from others, created division, and started wars. We have stripped the earth of resources, polluted, and killed off species essential to the diversity of our planet. And we've made countless innovations that have led to addiction, diseases, and depression.
However, a Nielsen study found that 73% of global consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their environmental impact. Conscious consumerism is more than a trend. It will become a way of life. Thus, the more we embrace oneness and repair the damage created by humankind, the more balance we will bring back to our energy ecosystem.
Self-Reflect on Your Existence
What is your interpretation of creation? How often do you ponder the nature of reality? Is one origin story better or worse than another? How do you choose to connect with Universal Consciousness? Do you belong to a spiritual group, pray, or meditate? How does that help you? In what ways can you strengthen your connection to the source of creation? How are we all connected through unknowable light?
Whose energy are you deeply entangled with in life? Do these connections promote constructive or destructive frequencies? Who provides you with helpful energy? Who sends out hurtful energy? What kind of energy will be of help to you? Are there toxic relationships that you need to release? What collaborators do you seek to partner with on your entrepreneurial journey?
How would you like to see this world changed for the better? What are some of your natural-born talents? How can you use them to help serve the needs of humanity and the earth's ecosystem? Are there accomplishments you want to be remembered for after you no longer exist on earth? How will these actions inspire others? How can your purpose-filled goals translate to a business opportunity?
Personal Exercise – Creating Your Own Mantra
One of the most meaningful ways to connect with Universal Consciousness along the entrepreneurial journey is by sharing our intentions, goals, and ambitions. A well-documented and proven approach to this method was shared by Napoleon Hill in his timeless classic, Think and Grow Rich. Hill spent the early 1900's interviewing and studying the habits of influential, innovative, and wealthy leaders such as Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, and Henry Ford and came up with this formula for the manifestation of vision into reality:
1. Fix in your mind the exact amount of money you desire. It is not sufficient merely to say, "I want plenty of money." Be definite as to the amount.
2. Determine precisely what you intend to contribute for your desired money.
3. Establish a definite date when you intend to possess the money you desire.
4. Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire, and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action.
5. Write out a clear, concise statement of the amount of money you intend to acquire, name the time limit for its acquisition, state what you intend to give in return for the money, and describe clearly the plan through which you intend to accumulate it.
6. Read your written statement aloud, twice daily, once just before retiring at night and once after arising in the morning. As you read, see and feel and believe yourself already in possession of the money.
One inspiring example of putting this concept into practice is the great Bruce Lee, known to have more than 2,000 books on philosophy and martial arts. After his death, this mantra was found among his confidential papers inspired by Think and Grow Rich.
My Chief Personal Aim In Life:
I, Bruce Lee, will be the highest-paid Oriental superstar in the United States. In return, I will give the most exciting performances and render the best quality in the capacity of an actor. Starting in 1970, I will achieve world fame and from then onward till the end of 1980, I will have in my possession the sum of $10,000,000—then I will live the way I please and achieve inner harmony and happiness. - Bruce Lee – 1969
Now it's Your Turn
To start, set your future intention with Universal Consciousness. Energy attracts like energy, don't hold back, dream big, and stay the course!
Complete this exercise in the Entrepreneurial Playbook - click to download.
Part 2: A Tale of Two Minds
It's been said that the mind is a terrible thing to waste, but with a clear vision and plan on what you wish to create in this world, the more equipped you become to put your mind to good use and manifest the reality you desire. But there's a catch. A mantra alone won't make all of your wildest dreams come true. It will take a lot of hard work, grit, and determination. Above all, the greatest asset and obstacle you will face along the entrepreneurial journey is yourself and the thoughts generated from your mind.
Do you ever appreciate the power of thought and what a gift it is? Our thought comes from self-awareness, which is the ability to be the object of our observation. Humans were not always self-aware. There was a time when we lived instinctively through an unconscious intelligence, just like other living creatures on earth. However, over 500 million years, our brain grew, and we evolved from primitive to modern humans.
Think of the brain as a bio-computer that resides in our heads. Throughout evolution, the brain has had numerous upgrades. It started as a basic processing unit focused on survival and reproduction. Next, a mammalian formed that gave us social skills and emotions. Then, the biggest game-changer for humanity was the addition of our prefrontal cortex or the thinking brain.
As the thinking brain developed, a new capability called language emerged, arguably the most epic innovation in human history. Language helped to connect tribal members, share knowledge, and increase the chances of survival. Humans also began to use language internally, having conversations in their minds about past and future events, severing the intuitive connection with Universal Consciousness, which came with a divine gift and a uniquely human challenge.
The gift can be summarized as “I think; therefore I am.” This was when humans became conscious of consciousness. With self-awareness, we began to ponder the nature of reality and our existence and began partnering with creation through the transformation of natural resources. When the thinking brain formed, language was created, thought emerged, and the entrepreneurial dream was born. Humans became innovators through decision-making, creativity, and the choice to pursue their passions.
Now the challenge. “I think therefore I am, but who am I, anyway.” The gift of thought can create an existential crisis about the meaning of one’s life, one’s purpose, and how to find peace in our existence on earth. Also, not living instinctively in the present moment led to regrets about the past and fears of the future. The good news is that when we learn about how our mind functions, both unconsciously and consciously, we become more equipped to take an active role in our evolution in life and as entrepreneurs.
The Unconscious Mind
Although we have the ability to think, we rely on unconscious intelligence for our survival. The autonomic nervous system (ANS) tells the heart to beat, the stomach to digest food, the respiratory system to breathe, and even controls your sexual arousal, among many other bodily functions. Aside from the ANS, we also have an unconscious mind that develops shortly after conception and evolves as we age.
Do you remember all of the experiences you've had in life? Though you may only remember some of the most impactful moments of your life, everything you've perceived, from when you were a newborn until today, has been stored in your brain, creating the contents of your unconscious mind. This information helps form your identity and holds sparks of inspiration to guide you along the entrepreneurial journey but can also create blocks to realizing your potential.
The most formative time of the unconscious mind's development is from conception until six years of age. The mother's emotional state creates cellular memories that impact their unborn child in the womb. After birth, infants rely on positive emotional connections from caregivers for social and mental development as they decode the world around them through the senses. Then, the most significant change happens around the age of two, when children become self-aware.
Self-awareness can be observed by a classical experiment dating back to the 1970s called the mirror test. Researchers studied the responses of children ages 6 to 24 months with a spot of lipstick placed on their noses. They put the children in front of a mirror to see how they responded. Around the age of 20-24 months, toddlers seem to recognize that the reflection in the mirror is their own. While looking at the mirror's reflection, they touch the dot of lipstick on their nose instead of touching their reflection in the mirror as younger participants did.
Even when a child becomes self-aware, their core beliefs are still forming. Until the age of 6, their brain waves operate in a theta state, which is highly imaginative and deeply impressionable, so what they take in is stored as truth. Remember your early childhood: did you believe what adults told you? How long did it take to find the truth? While some false beliefs may have been innocent, such as fairy tales, others can limit our chances of success because they harm our self-perception.
For instance, if a parent told their child they would never amount to anything in life, they might carry that false belief with them, and it could stunt progress on their entrepreneurial dream as an adult. We all experience different types of traumatic life experiences, and it's essential to address any experiences that may be holding us back because these experiences don't dictate what we're capable of achieving. As psychologist Peter Levine said, “Trauma is a fact of life. It does not, however, have to be a life sentence."
The unconscious mind continues to develop throughout adolescence and adulthood. Some of these developments come in the form of personal identifications. Examples include where we were born, grew up, and received quality of education. Additionally, there are tribal connections, such as our ethnicity, our culture, our religion, our politics, and even our sports team affiliations. With all this information stored in our unconscious mind, we navigate life through a filtered set of lenses.
Because of our filtered lenses, our unconscious mind is constantly judging, comparing, complaining, liking, and disliking based on what it knows to be true. Some researchers estimate that we have up to 60,000 thoughts a day, and 80% of them are negative. Sometimes those thoughts surface as an inner monologue or voice in your head; other times, we may experience impulses, and many of us get fed mental imagery. So, whenever there is an association/connection between a past life experience with a new one, the unconscious mind sends us an aggregate of information that helps to inform a response to the situation.
For example, suppose a college student has an innovative idea for a business. They share this information with close friends, who get excited and encourage them to pursue it. Some are even considering investing in it and want to join in as partners, but there is one big obstacle in the way. The unconscious mind continues to replay what it heard as a child. Even though years have passed, a person will still have to face and overcome their past emotional trauma.
Our unconscious mind sends us countless messages every moment to try to protect us. Still, if we begin to identify with these thoughts, it can cause emotional distress, block us from the true nature of reality, and impede the chance of realizing our full potential. As Eckhart Tolle said, "To realize that you are not your thoughts is when you begin to awaken spiritually," which, in turn, helps us find purpose on earth through our entrepreneurial endeavors.
The Conscious Mind
Let's get back to the gift of self-awareness, which allows us to be the object of our own observation. Some research estimates that 95 percent of the decisions we make are unconscious. The power of choice is our greatest gift, so how we choose to use the remaining 5 percent or how we choose to increase that percentage is where our potential lies. The conscious mind goes far beyond identifying that we are the image in the mirror. When learned and practiced, self-awareness allows us to observe thoughts generated from our unconscious mind before acting on them and, most importantly, helps us stay in the present moment.
Because of the conscious mind, we can tap into all of the life experiences that exist in our unconscious to solve problems, make new connections, and create products, services, and solutions inspired by our life experiences. When we start a business, we don't just become entrepreneurs. We become co-creators with Universal Consciousness, which has bestowed natural talents and abilities in each of us that yearn to be fulfilled and shared with humanity.
Over time, our talents and purpose may change, but the ability to manifest new realities will not change. Manifesting new realities depends on where you direct your consciousness. The vision statement you wrote as a mantra is your guiding beacon of light. No matter how uncertain the future may look, always keep the faith because you are not on this journey alone. That is why reading your mantra aloud upon waking and before bed is essential because it reaffirms your intention and connection with Universal Consciousness.
There will always be naysayers, those who don't believe you can pull it off, but you control your destiny. You have the power of choice. The choice not to hold onto destructive thought frequencies and not to become attached to negative thoughts and emotions that arise from your unconscious mind, which they will. The entrepreneurial journey is not easy. Otherwise, everyone would choose it, but the rewards are plentiful, as you can find growth within all challenges, setbacks, and successes.
The conscious mind does not judge experiences as good or bad because it is impossible to know what is good and what is bad. As the philosopher, Epictetus said, "Don't seek to have events happen as you wish, but wish them to happen as they do happen, and all will be well with you." For example, you may feel that a missed opportunity was a loss, but always remember what's not for you won't pass you by in life. The right doors will open at the proper times to guide you on the path of vision fulfillment, and we have to stay open to those opportunities by living in the present moment.
The past and the future do not exist when we live through the conscious mind, and we do not fall victim to thoughts of regret, worry, or fear of failure. As the late Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, wrote, "Control of consciousness determines the quality of life." The choice to be an entrepreneur is part of your life's work. Find the opportunity in every moment because all of them will contribute to a story that is uniquely yours.
Meditation is one of the best practices you can institute on the entrepreneurial journey because it helps us become more conscious of consciousness. Yes, at times, we need our mind to become engulfed in thought during problem solving and creativity, but an overactive mind can lead to burnout, anxiety, and depression. When practiced regularly, meditation is the antidote to these symptoms, improving cognition, energy levels, sleep, and well-being.
The brain science behind meditation is quite simple. Through continued practice, the prefrontal cortex thickens, creating more time for thought observation before acting on impulses. Meditation also shrinks the amygdala, that part of the brain responsible for sending impulses. So when we meditate, we create space between thoughts, increase our self-awareness, and strengthen our connection to Universal Consciousness.
Practice meditation on your terms. There are many thought leaders who offer varying approaches, so find a method that resonates with you and stay the course because it will take time to reap the reward of this practice. Feel like you don’t have time to meditate? Research indicates that the average person spends 2 hours and 24 minutes daily on social media. Seek to replace unhealthy scrolling habits with a daily dose of meditation.
One evolutionary challenge all humans and entrepreneurs face today is that their consciousness is hijacked by innovation. Just as the invention of language served our pure connection to Universal Consciousness, many of the tools we use daily, such as the internet, social media, and the devices we carry in our pockets, further divide consciousness. Technology is not inherently bad, but we should be with knowledge of how the mind functions both unconsciously and consciously to ensure unhealthy or addictive behaviors don't set in that cause a loss of focus on entrepreneurial dreams.
Take your many feeds, for example. They may help you keep you connected with friends, keep you informed, and even inspire creativity. Still, the overuse of social media comes at a cost because it prays on the unconscious mind. According to the Pew Research Center, 69% of adults and 81% of teens in the U.S. use social media, an addictive distraction that can also lead to anxiety and depression.
The power of directed consciousness has been proven through many studies on multitasking. According to Harvard Business Review and based on over a half-century of cognitive science and more recent studies on multitasking, we know that multitaskers accomplish less. On average, reorienting to a primary task takes about 15 minutes after a simple distraction such as checking social media or an email. Because of this, efficiency can drop by as much as 40 percent, as problem-solving and creativity suffer.
Beware of the technologies that keep you from embracing the moment you are in by splintering your consciousness and creating an overactive unconscious mind. Realizing your potential as an entrepreneur will require tuning out distractions and focusing on your tasks for the day. Your connection to Universal Consciousness will provide the answers to your questions. Let the power of infinite knowledge work through you without unneeded distractions.
Self-Reflect on Your Mind
The Unconscious Mind
What are three significant challenges you've faced in life? What have you learned from those experiences? How have they shaped your view of reality? How might other people see the world differently from you? Are there any traumatic events from the past that are blocking your personal growth? When does your mind become overactive with negative thoughts? Do you identify with those thoughts? Why?
The Conscious Mind
What is humanity's greatest gift? Are you aware of being aware? How often do you observe thoughts before acting on them? What energy system do you partner with on the entrepreneurial journey? How do you stay connected to the present moment? Do you judge whether experiences are either good or bad? Why? How will becoming more conscious of your thoughts benefit you in work and life? Why does this choice matter?
How can technology and innovation help you as an entrepreneur? What are some of the challenges inherent with 27/4 connectivity? How often does your consciousness get divided during any given day? How often does social media divert your attention? What are the benefits of eliminating unneeded distractions? How will you benefit from replacing social media time with a session of meditation?
Personal Exercise – Commit to Consciousness
Identifying and living through the unconscious mind requires little to no effort, but in the long run, you will lose the power of choice, live in the impulse zone, and make decisions before even thinking about why you are making them. In the end, you may fall victim to identifying with negative thoughts and emotions, leading to anxiety and depression, all of which can make achieving your entrepreneurial aspirations more difficult. It is a dangerous road many humans travel without realizing it because most people are unaware of consciousness.
The choice of consciousness over unconsciousness allows us to take an active role in our evolution. Although observation of thought is not intuitive for most of us, we can all learn to be more self-aware, embrace reality as it is, and direct our consciousness to the actions that will help turn vision into reality.
Commit to Consciousness
Without making a commitment to become more conscious, it’s almost impossible to hold yourself accountable on the path to realizing your potential.
- Do you commit to reciting your mantra morning and night?
- Do you commit to being the object of your observation?
- Do you commit to not identifying with destructive thoughts?
- Do you commit to limiting your time spent on social media?
- Do you commit to engaging in daily meditative practices?
Complete this exercise in the Entrepreneurial Playbook - click to download.
Part 3: Levels of Consciousness
Although omitted from the vocabulary of modern science during the time of Galileo, researchers in many diverse fields have dedicated their lives to unlocking the mystery of consciousness. Some look to unlock clues to consciousness by examining the brain, while others take more non-traditional approaches. One of the most prolific contributions came from Dr. David Hawkins (1927 – 2012), who used Applied Kinesiology, also known as muscle testing, to calibrate the first scale of consciousness, published in his New York Times Best Seller, Power vs. Force.
Dr. John Goodheart, a chiropractor, invented the method of Applied Kinesiology, and the approach was developed by psychiatrist Dr. John Diamond and documented in his book; The Body Doesn't Lie. Inspired by their work, Hawkins began using the method in his research. What's fascinating about muscle testing is that the human energy field is the tool for measuring levels of consciousness. Remember, we are vibrations of energy within one energy field, so this approach connects us directly to the all-knowing source of Universal Consciousness.
Here's a high-level example of how muscle testing works. First, it requires a teacher and subject already operating at a high level of consciousness with an innate curiosity for seeking the truth for the sake of truth, not to gain some reward like winning in the stock market, as Hawkins explains in lectures on The Basics Of Kinesiology. The rooms must also be free of directions, such as music or background noise that could distract truth-seeking.
The subject stands upright with their arm stretched out to the side and is instructed to resist any pressure. The researcher will then say an affirmative statement aloud, "Acceptance calibrates higher than grief on the level of consciousness scale," and then presses down on the subject's wrist. When the arm goes weak, it indicates a "no" response, while a strong arm suggests a "yes" response. It may sound simple, but becoming a practitioner takes years of practice.
During 20 years of research, Dr. Hawkins used this muscle testing approach and conducted more than 250,000 calibrations to define his map of consciousness, a logarithmic scale of 1 to 1,000 with corresponding values, attitudes, and emotions. Lower levels of consciousness include destructive frequencies such as shame, apathy, grief, fear, and anger. In contrast, higher levels have constructive frequencies such as willingness, acceptance, reason, love, and enlightenment.
While some contrarians have challenged Hawkin's method of measuring consciousness or debate the values associated with the scale, it's difficult to argue with the truth that destructive frequencies are energy depleting and constructive frequencies are energy gaining. Just search books in the self-help or personal growth department. Almost all are about overcoming lower levels to achieve higher ones to realize our potential.
So, with Hawkin's map of consciousness as a framework, let's start by unpacking the lowest energetic frequencies and work our way up to the highest levels.
Shame, Guilt, and Apathy
Have you ever been humiliated by someone? How did it make you feel? Probably worthless, miserable, and sucked all of the energy right out of you. That's because shame is the lowest level of consciousness. Let's go back to the example of the child whose parents told them they would never amount to anything in life. That's just one form of shame, but are there any moments in your life when someone made you reconsider your self-worth? Release that energy. No human life is more important than another.
A step above shame on the scale of consciousness is guilt. Is it easy or difficult to forgive yourself when you feel guilty about something? Carrying around guilt can make us live in the past and blame other people or external factors for our transgressions. The most difficult person to forgive in life is most often ourselves. We all make mistakes, take responsibility for them, learn, and move on because what we do in the present defines us. Make every moment matter. There's no looking back.
Now apathy. Still at the lowest of the lows, feelings of hopelessness set in as darkness clouds any possibility of pursuing dreams, achieving goals, and, most importantly, feeling good about oneself. When we become numb to life, we block our inner light, and rather than take an active role in our evolution. We choose to become victims of circumstance. Always choose to give a damn and overcome indifference by taking on the challenge.
Grief, Fear, and Desire
Have you ever dealt with cataphatic loss? If so, then you’ve likely experienced the cycle of grieving. The Kübler-Ross Grieving Model lays out the stages of grief, including denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. What's difficult about navigating the grieving process is that we move through stages in a non-linear manner, and reaching acceptance, a high level of consciousness, can be difficult because we become trapped in a perpetual state of loss.
If you are in a state of grief, take these words of wisdom from Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, "If you truly want to grow as a person and learn, you should realize that the universe has enrolled you in the graduate program of life called loss. The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, suffering, struggle, loss, and found their way out of those depths."
Next on the scale is fear, a negative thought frequency that halts many from deciding to become an entrepreneur. When you work for a company, there is some sense of security, but to cut that cord and pungle into the depths of the unknown when starting your own business can be frightening. How will I make money? Will I succeed? What if I fail? What if's will only fuel fear-based anxiety. Don't let fear limit your potential. Confront what discomforts you, and take action! Always remember that fortune favors the bold!
Desire is considered a low level of consciousness because it's associated with craving more in the material world, such as money, objects, or fame. Remember that the desire to pursue your goals does not fall into this category. Desire can also manifest into unhealthy addictions to drugs, alcohol, and other destructive vices.
Anger, Pride, and Courage
When you become frustrated, you often become angry because what's happening in life is not meeting your expectations. At times, anger can motivate us to operate at higher levels of consciousness, but its abusive nature often brings you down in the long run. One powerful saying of Lao Tzu, founder of Taoism and the author of Tao Te Ching, is, "The best fighter is never angry." So, while you’re fighting to achieve your goals, be purposeful and just in your actions by releasing anger and feelings of hatred.
Pride is next on the scale and presents a unique challenge because it makes us feel good but relies on external factors such as being in a position of power, having wealth, and even our attachment to group affiliations. Pride can lead to self-righteousness and the false belief that you are in some way better than other people. Then, we can become closed off to thoughts, options, and ideas that help us see the world from another's perspective, which is essential for a successful leader.
Let there be light. We have reached courage, the level of consciousness that opens us to new worlds of opportunity. Courage gives us the strength to overcome, feel empowered, take an active role in our evolution, and become entrepreneurs. Do you have the courage to go after your dreams? What's stopping you? Courage begins the journey and must also be practiced daily on the path to achieving greatness. Plato said, "Courage is knowing what not to fear." Don't fear sharing your talents, purpose, and passion with this world!
Neutrality, Willingness, and Acceptance
Welcome to neutrality, a destination known to many who have chosen to work for themselves. This state is relaxed, open, and flexible. Whatever comes your way, you can handle it. When in a state of neutrality, there's nothing to prove. You trust your abilities, know you are putting them to good use, and feel satisfied in life. Neutrality does not mean being indifferent. Instead, it generates feelings of self-worth and trust that your connection to Universal Consciousness will guide you, and events will unfold as they should, not as you desire.
A level up from neutrality is willingness, where consciousness becomes directed. Willingness focuses attention, eliminates distractions, and increases productivity. It's not about how much you can get done but how wisely you use your energy through proper time management. The discipline created from willingness causes complaints to fade as hope surfaces with every milestone. You create a sense of optimism that comes from rolling up your sleeves and putting in your best effort to get the job done, whatever the job may be!
Acceptance is about taking control over what you can have control over – yourself. In this level of consciousness, through the process of forgiveness, you’ve released any feelings of being a victim. You’ve gained a new sense of clarity of your role within existence through life-altering lessons, which can drive you to set new goals or chart a new course to create more meaning in your life!
Reason, Love, and Joy
When we reach the level of reason, natural talents and abilities become used to make contributions that serve the greater good as we transcend lower levels of consciousness. Reason comes with an open mind, curiosity, and an insatiable thirst for knowledge. Limiting beliefs no longer exist, and the potential within you is expressed through a commitment to seek truth for the betterment of humankind.
Next is love, which is one of the most powerful expressions of energy in the universe. Through love, we begin to live through the heart, the first organ that forms in the human body and does not rationalize as the brain does. With love, we embrace the connectedness with Universal Consciousness and our role within it, awakening to our higher purpose. At this level, there is complete selflessness, and we become guided by intuition and compassion for all.
Nearing the highest levels of consciousness is joy. This level is often associated with saints and spiritual teachers because self-identification is released as we become synchronized with oneness. Some people who have had near-death experiences have felt the completeness that comes from joy. It is a calm state of harmony, and its presence immediately makes others light up inside. As Dr. Hawkins said, "Victory over others brings us satisfaction, but victory over ourselves brings us joy."
Peace and Enlightenment
According to Dr. Hawkins, only 1 out of 10 million people will reach the level of peace. In this state, there is total transcendence. No destructive thoughts, desires, or impulses arise from the unconscious mind. Imagine that—no non-accepting thoughts, just pure consciousness. Confucius said, "Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it." That's because the transcendence that comes from peace brings us directly into the light and love of Universal Consciousness.
The highest level of consciousness is enlightenment, a state where divinity becomes expressed within the human experience. Although it might seem unreachable, remember these words of encouragement from Buddha: "To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one's family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one's mind. If a man can control his mind, he can find the way to enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him."
Self-Reflect on Levels of Consciousness
Are you held back from any feelings of shame? Do you carry guilt from any mistakes you’ve made in the past? Do you become apathetic about putting in the necessary work? Are you stuck in the grieving process? What fears are holding you back? Are your desires destructive or constructive? Do you let your anger get the best of you while working with others? Do you think you make other people feel less important than you?
The Gateway: Courage
Why is courage the gateway to raising your level of consciousness? What are some key moments in your career or life when you had to demonstrate courage? What rewards came from your acts of courage? How do other people perceive your courageousness? Do you have an entrepreneur who you admire for their acts of courage? If so, what of their courageous efforts can you incorporate in your life’s journey? Do you have the courage to make your entrepreneurial dreams a reality?
Do you trust your abilities? Are you willing to eliminate distractions and put in the effort to build your business? How will this endeavor bring more meaning into your life? How do you intend to help humankind and the connectedness we are part of in Earth's ecosystem? What joy will come from this work? How will you stay centered on the path to finding peace? Is it possible for you to achieve enlightenment?
Personal Exercise – Assessing Your Level of Consciousness
For the exercise, we will take a qualitative approach to determine your current state of consciousness by using your self-awareness, the ability to be the object of your observation. You might be thinking, how can I choose just one since I fluctuate between many levels? While you tend to coast between levels, you inherently have a resting place within the scale.
However, our environment and life events can move us up or down, depending on how their energetic frequencies affect us. For instance, the news and media might send you a sense of existential dread or anxiety; a night of drinking too much may result in guilt; financial insecurity from a job loss can cause us to grieve. All of these scenarios can result in lowering your level of consciousness.
On the other hand, expressing gratitude for a healthy meal, reading an uplifting book, and even small acts of kindness toward others can all raise your consciousness. Because of this, most of us move up and down between varying levels as we navigate life.
So, which level of consciousness are you currently in? To find out, first identify the three levels you currently move between. Next, from that range, choose the level that you operate in when in stressful situations because that level is often classified as your natural state. Finally, reflect on the next level you seek to reach. To maximize the benefits of this exercise, it’s important, to be honest with yourself. If needed, take time to meditate and look inward to select the levels that most accurately represent where you are, and more importantly, where you’d like to be!
Highest on the scale
Lowest on the scale
You can probably look back at times in your life when you operated at lower levels of consciousness. Reflect on what it took to overcome those destructive frequencies. Remember, there are no shortcuts for progressing up the scale; it takes a lot of time, energy, and commitment. According to Hawkins, a whopping 85 percent of the people on Earth are still below courage, the gateway to higher levels of consciousness. Just one life change can make all the difference in leveling up. What's holding you back in realizing your potential?
Now it's Your Turn
The choice to take action and raise your level of consciousness will be one of your most outstanding achievements along your journey in life and business!
Complete this exercise in the Entrepreneurial Playbook - click to download.
Part 4: Navigating The Journey
It's difficult to ignore that we are in the midst of a mental health crisis, and those that start a business are more likely to suffer. According to a National Institute of Mental Health study, 72 percent of entrepreneurs have dealt with or currently experience mental health issues, compared to 48 percent of the non-entrepreneurial population. Although the current state of well-being is in turmoil, it is something that we can course-correct by preparing ourselves to face and navigate some of the most common self-awareness blocks that can arise during the entrepreneurial journey.
All of your routines are stored in the brain as neuron chains. Think of them as computer programs that develop and strengthen from engaging in repetitive behaviors. When you change any aspect of your life, you must rewire your brain. Essentially, this means developing new programs to replace the existing ones that are no longer needed.
When we first muster up the strength to start our own business, we go through a period of extreme change. Most of your work routines, from taking calls with team members to being needed by others to solve problems, delivering presentations to clients, or whatever your job functions were, no longer exist. However, the neuron chains associated with them still exist, and these programs must be activated.
Furthermore, the brain will resist change, even if the desired change is positive. As a result, you will feel lonely and disconnected as you shift your consciousness from past routines to creating new ones. At the same time, fear and worry begin to surface from the unconscious mind, causing distress.
When you start your business, be prepared for an emotionally charged process, but stay committed because the beauty of the brain lies in its plasticity. The brain is not hardwired; it is continuously reprogramming itself based on input from one's thoughts, actions, and life experiences. Creating new neuron chains in the brain does not happen overnight; it can take 21 to 90 days or longer for new programs to take root as new habits become routines.
That means you will feel emotionally vulnerable for a while, and that's fine because it's a natural part of creating change. The more new routines you begin to build, the more old ones will fade. Before you know it, you'll find your groove.
Here are some helpful tips for navigating the change associated with starting your business:
- Create a workspace at home dedicated to business purposes.
- Get dressed in attire that makes you feel good about yourself.
- Set your office hours, creating a schedule that works for you.
- Take time for breaks every day to go outside and get fresh air.
- Work occasionally at coffee shops or co-working to avoid isolation.
The more actively you set new routines, the more quickly you will adjust to working for yourself. If you are starting this journey with a partner, or multiple partners, work together to create a system that helps create order instead of working in perpetual chaos. Remember, change for the better is not made without inconvenience, so embrace the feelings of discomfort, and know it won't last forever!
"When will I make money? "What If I fail?" "What will people think of me?" "Did I make the right decision?" "If I had stayed at my old job, I would have gotten my end-of-year bonuses right now." These and many other destructive thought frequencies will arise from the unconscious mind during the entrepreneurial journey because we have lost a sense of security in our lives. Because we don't feel secure, we feel a loss of control, and just one negative thought can snowball into the false belief that your whole world is falling apart.
We often feel a sense of control when navigating life, but there is not much we don't have control over. We can't control the challenging life events we all face, the past or future, other people, the aging process, and our inevitable death. We suffer every time we try to control what can't be controlled. Life is chaotic and unpredictable, but when we begin to operate at higher levels of consciousness, we become equipped to navigate uncertainty by realizing what we can control.
You can control the goals you set, your ambition to achieve them, and the choices you make under any given circumstance. As Dr. Viktor E. Frankl, psychiatrist, Holocaust survivor, and author of the globally acclaimed book Man's Search for Meaning, said, "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."
When you start your own business, one could argue that you are more in control than ever. Most employers offer little to no job security. There is a short supply of good leaders interested in mentoring their employees. And many organizations have limited growth opportunities, all fueling the revolving door. The power of choice is not in your hands!
Here are some helpful tips for navigating uncertainty:
- You are not your thoughts but the one that observes them.
- The future is an illusion, all that exists in the present moment.
- Embrace reality for what it is; don't label events as good or bad.
- Identify the opportunity for growth within every life experience.
- Direct your consciousness to achieve your vision through daily goals.
You may have an ideal scenario on how you would like your business plan to unfold. Still, you never know what epic adventure Universal Consciousness will take you through to fulfill your vision and what lessons you will learn along the way. As the great philosopher Epictetus said, "Don't seek to have events happen as you wish, but wish them to happen as they do happen, and all will be well with you."
Philosophy aside, let's get serious about making decisions in the face of uncertainty. First, visualize the best possible outcome from making your decision. Next, determine the worst possible outcome. When making your decision, if you are prepared to accept the worst-case scenario, it will reduce stress and anxiety. For instance, if you are uncertain about bringing on investors, the worst-case scenario might be losing creative control. In this case, you might tell yourself, "If I lose some control in the creative process, I'll learn to live with it and move on." Put this method into practice to help you avoid being thrown into grieving when things don’t go as planned.
Earlier in this guide, we briefly discussed how social media hijacks and divides human consciousness. One of the ways it does so is through a never-ending feed of social comparisons. When was the last time you compared your life to another entrepreneur? Was it a favorable or unfavorable comparison? How did it make you feel? The vast majority of the time, it wreaks havoc on our well-being when we scroll through someone else's pictures of expensive houses, fleets of cars, lavish vacations, parties, and so on.
Unfavorable comparisons can create jealousy, envy, and resentment, which initiates the human stress response, elevating the heart rate and making the body feel tight. Then, the unconscious mind sends a flood of negative thoughts and emotions to contend with that can make you feel as if your life is deficient in some way. And, when you focus on other people's lives, what are you not doing? That's right, working on turning your vision into a reality.
One of the best ways to eliminate the comparison trap is to transform how you use social media. Instead of perceiving it as a reality, which it is not, use it as a business-building tool for connections and inspiration.
Here are some helpful tips for navigating social comparisons:
- Remove all non-essential social media apps from your phone.
- Turn off notifications so alerts don't divide your consciousness.
- Purge your feed of any connections you’d classify as harmful content.
- Commit to a day of the week to not use any social media.
- Create a daily time limit for social media use and stick to it.
We all use social media for different purposes in business, and you must find a right balance. Keep in mind that according to research from the University of Arkansas, limiting social media to less than two hours per day decreases the risk of developing depression significantly. Don't let the highlight reels of other people's lives bring you down. This journey belongs to you, and it deserves your undivided consciousness every step along the way.
Deciding to become an entrepreneur takes courage. Then, soon after, the relentless pursuit for success sets in, and with it, an intensity that can create burnout. One of the challenges with even addressing burnout is that working 80 hours a week, or all night, is often glorified in culture and can make us unconsciously believe you should pursue your passion with obsession. But if you go down that road and feel that you cannot live without your work, you are destined to suffer.
Burnout is a serious issue, so severe that the World Health Organization has included it in the International Classification of Diseases. Hard work, late nights, and the determination to take on many roles are all part of starting a business. However, decision-making, problem-solving, and creativity all suffer when your energy system becomes exhausted. Burnout requires preventative measures because it slowly depletes you; before you know it, you've reached a breaking point.
So, how do you address your level of burnout? Psychologists Herbert Freudenberger and Gail North developed the 12-stage model to help identify signs before losing control of yourself and possibly your entrepreneurial dreams.
The 12-stage model is listed below:
- The Compulsion to Prove Oneself: feeling you constantly demonstrate your worth
- Working Harder: becoming a work addict
- Neglecting Needs: not sleeping or eating well, lack of social interaction
- Displacement of Conflicts: blaming others or your situation for all of your problems, including your stress level
- Revision of Values: your friends and family are no longer as important as your work
- Denial of Emerging Problems: intolerance; perceiving others at work as stupid, lazy, demanding, or undisciplined
- Withdrawal: avoiding or dreading social interaction, using alcohol or drugs to try to feel relief from stress
- Odd Behavioral Changes: changes in behavior such as impatience, aggression, and snapping at friends and family
- Depersonalization: feeling detached – seeing neither yourself nor others as valuable
- Inner Emptiness: feeling empty inside and to overcome this, looking for activity such as overeating, sex, alcohol, or drugs
- Depression: feeling lost and unsure, exhausted, future feels bleak and dark
- Burnout Syndrome: can include total mental and physical collapse; time for full medical attention
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to solving burnout. The best thing you can do is to become proactive in creating solutions that help you avoid a potential meltdown.
Here are some helpful tips for navigating burnout:
- Find someone you can talk to openly about your feelings.
- Create a daily action plan to stay focused on essential tasks.
- Delegate tasks whenever possible; you can't do everything.
- Engage in positive stress-reducing activity during off-hours.
- Take time off to recharge your batteries whenever possible.
If burnout reaches a point where you become isolated, depressed, or seek comfort in substance abuse of any kind, seek professional help immediately. Unhealthy addictions can create a false sense of control and make us spiral further into darkness. Please don't wait until it's too late. If you need assistance, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services National Hotline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for confidential, 24/7 support.
Self-Reflect on Your Journey
Change and Uncertainty
Are you currently in a state of change from becoming an entrepreneur? Are you experiencing a change in any other areas of your life? How? What old routines is your brain searching for that no longer exist? What new habits are you creating to help form new neuron chains in the brain? Is the uncertainty of change causing destructive thoughts to arise from your mind? Do you hold onto troubling thoughts or release them?
How often do you use social media for non-work-related purposes? What types of content trigger negative thoughts and emotions when you get lost scrolling through your social media feeds? Who or what are helpful resources to follow for encouragement and inspiration? What entities can you unfollow that don't serve your needs? What is your plan for reducing time on social media to focus on your goals?
Do you feel pride from overworking? Why? When was the last time you felt burnt out? How did it affect other aspects of your life? Did it impact your judgment and cause you to make any poor decisions? What happened? Are there any unhealthy addictions you need to address? What's stopping you from getting help? How will you create space to rest and recharge so you can operate at peak performance?
Personal Exercise – Self-Affirmations
Although many entrepreneurs face similar self-awareness blocks, each of us will contend with unique challenges and circumstances that make the journey our own. When things are going great, it's essential to stay humble and grounded, and when times are tough, we have to work extra hard to overcome destructive thoughts from the unconscious mind. One of the most accessible and helpful ways to transform negative self-talk is by creating self-affirmations.
How do self-affirmations work? First, they help raise your level of consciousness by rewiring your brain to think more positively. Next, research indicates they also activate the brain's reward center, providing a burst of pleasure. And third, according to a team at Carnegie Mellon University, self-affirmation can boost the ability to solve problems under pressure.
Creating Focused Affirmations
To create effective affirmations, they must be personal and include information relevant to your situation. High-level, feel-good statements like, "I want to make this world a better place,” or "I will succeed as an entrepreneur" won't provide you with the benefits you need because they are vague. Create your affirmations with focus and purpose.
In this exercise, you will list the 3 to 5 destructive thoughts that continue to surface. Then, you will create a self-affirmation to combat each of the thoughts on your list.
Destructive Thought: "I should have never left my job; I had such great things going."
Positive Affirmation: "I'm doing what I love and am ready to embrace this change."
Destructive Thought: "If I don't get business soon, I will run out of money."
Positive Affirmation: "My financial success is inevitable; I will attract the right clients."
Destructive Thought: "I've put in so much work and don't feel like I'm making a difference."
Positive Affirmation: "I'm following my dreams, and it's helping bring purpose into my life."
The rewards of affirmations come through continued practice. Repetition is essential, just writing them down once won't help you. Say them aloud with conviction morning, noon and night. At first, you may feel silly doing this exercise, but you will overcome that and begin to say them with conviction in the mirror and to loved ones supporting you along your journey. Keep inventory of the most destructive thoughts you have at the end of every week, and adjust your affirmations accordingly as they will shift as new challenges arise.
Now it's your turn
Replacing destructive thought frequencies with self-affirmations helps release negative thoughts, rewire your brain directly, and raise your consciousness level.
Complete this exercise in the Entrepreneurial Playbook - click to download.
Part 5: Unified Vision Fulfillment
Although the entrepreneurial journey can start with just one individual, many potential investors, partners, and employees will come on board during the evolution of turning an idea into an organization. Anyone who helps you attain vision fulfillment has to be on board with what you seek to achieve. As an entrepreneur, you have to lay the foundation of why your business exists and the principles of how it operates culturally. These will be your guiding beacons of light and help inspire all of your connections as you grow the business.
A company is so much more than the products, services, and solutions it creates. It is a hive of connected consciousness, made up of many minds that become deeply entangled through work. Work helps bring purpose and meaning into people's lives. We spend most of our waking hours at work, and it's the place where we can share our talents. Work also helps us connect with other humans in the spirit of collaboration, allowing us to grow, develop and achieve.
Life can feel empty without work, but the workplace is in crisis now. Due to the 24/7 connected world, longer work hours have created burnout, and work-life balance has become non-existent. The pandemic has only exacerbated these issues. Furthermore, good leaders and in short supply, and many employees feel underappreciated and don't see clear growth opportunities. These are just some of the many variables fueling the revolving door and the mental health crisis.
In 2021, Dr. Anthony Kolz, a professor of business administration and management at Texas A&M University, coined the term 'Great Resignation,' representing the number of employees expected to leave their current jobs during the pandemic. He believes the driving forces behind the millions of resignations are pandemic-related epiphanies about life, death, spending time with family, passion projects, and how employees think about work.
Even before the Great Resignation, the workplace has been plagued by low levels of consciousness. Leaders or team members that make others feel miserable or humiliated. Demanding bosses that show no appreciation for long hours or late nights. Employees that don't take responsibility for mistakes and blame others. And those who are apathetic, constantly complaining, or self-righteous, believing only they have the correct answer to solving problems.
Many companies implement solutions to workplace challenges, such as meditation apps, exercise classes, and other wellness perks. While beneficial, they only plug the holes of the sinking ship of company culture, which is needed now more than ever. PWC's Global Culture Survey of 3,200 leaders and employees worldwide found that 66% of C-suite executives and board members believe culture is more critical to performance than the organization's strategy or operating model.
Modern entrepreneurs like you will lead the charge in transforming the workplace and bring more meaning and purpose back into people's lives. According to a Deloitte Insights report, purpose-driven companies gain higher market share and grow three times faster on average than their competitors, all while achieving workforce and customer satisfaction. Now is the time to develop the beacons of light to guide your company's growth. It starts by creating a clearly-defined vision and mission and clear company values.
Vision and Mission
In all of the work you accomplish while getting your business off the ground, one of the most challenging and fruitful tasks will be creating your vision and mission statements. They will help investors buy into the big picture of what you're looking to accomplish and keep employees and partners engaged because vision + mission = purpose. Properly defining these guiding beacons of light is the key to aligning organizational consciousness and is a must-have for long-term success.
Glassdoor's Global Mission & Culture Survey found that over 79% of workers across four countries (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany) would consider a company's mission and purpose before applying because they become the soul of a company's culture. Then, once onboarded with a meaningful vision, research has shown that employee engagement can soar to 69 percent, which is 52 percent higher than employees who don't feel connected to a higher purpose.
A great example of a purpose-driven vision and mission is Tesla, founded in 2003 with the idea that consumers should not have to sacrifice performance and other benefits when they choose electric cars over those with combustible engines. Tesla's vision is "to create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world's transition to electric vehicles.” Tesla's mission statement takes the vision to another level by transcending the automotive category. The mission is "to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy."
These powerful guiding beacons on how Tesla seeks to create a better world are energetic magnets for recruitment, retention, and growth. In 2017, it was reported that Tesla received nearly 500,000 applications for just 2,500 open positions. In 2020, they increased their global workforce with 20,000 new employees, and in 2021, they are accepting three times as many applicants as there are job postings to work in Texas. Tesla's stock market valuation also skyrocketed from $117 to $658.39 billion during the pandemic, confirming how purpose affects financial growth.
A great story illustrating the power of an inspiring vision and mission is that of a man walking by a construction site, noticing three stonemasons busy at work. He asked the first one what he was doing and replied, "I'm laying bricks." Then, the man asked the same question to the second stonemason, who responded with a slightly different answer, "I'm building a wall." When the man approached the third worker with the same question, the stonemason looked up to the sky and said, "I'm building a cathedral."
As an entrepreneur, you should be in the business of creating a cathedral. In doing so, you will be able to create a resilient organization, one that is guided by a higher purpose. The truth about work is that the day-to-day tasks of any given job may not always be exciting at every moment throughout the day. However, when job functions connect to a greater purpose, it creates meaning in all aspects of work, no matter how trivial the task may seem.
Now with beacons of light guiding the way of our entrepreneurial dreams for all to see, the next step in connecting organizational consciousness comes from defining the core values that will shape the culture you wish to create. Unfortunately, many companies operate with generic statements that lack meaning and can't be activated. According to a Gallup Study, just 23 percent of U.S. employees strongly agree that they can apply their organization's values to their work daily. In other words, they do not feel consciously connected to vision and mission fulfillment, resulting in apathy, disengagement, and turnover.
The values you create will influence all aspects of your business. They will help recruit, engage, and motivate employees while guiding decision-making, problem-solving, and creativity. They will also help to attract like-minded customers. Leaders will use them for coaching, and teams rely on them for developing integrated innovation, marketing, and sales strategies. Proper values make it possible for internal and external communication to come from one voice and help foster collaborative work environments. Last but not least, they help keep the path lit during times of darkness and uncertainty.
So, what are some commonly used values? In the past few years, we've seen a rise in the importance of diversity and inclusivity. Integrity, honesty, and accountability often make their way to the list. So do passion, leadership, and teamwork. Sometimes values are more product-centric, like innovation and quality. They can also help inspire the workforce to reach new performance levels through continuous learning and constant improvement. There are many values to choose from, but they must be clearly defined and, most importantly, relevant and timely.
One notable example of values worth sharing is that of Google. One of Glassdoor’s 2021 Best Places to Work, Google’s values undeniably connect with its mission: “'to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
Google's 10 Core Values
- Focus on the user, and all else will follow.
- It's best to do one thing well.
- Fast is better than slow.
- Democracy on the web works.
- You don't need to be at your desk to need an answer.
- You can make money without doing evil.
- There's always more information out there.
- The need for information crosses all borders.
- You can be serious without a suit.
- Great just isn't good enough.
Culturally, Google activates its values to create an inclusive work environment with plenty of perks that range from laundry services to parental time off and workshops that help to promote an inclusive work environment, among many other initiatives to support employee well-being. As co-founder of Good Larry Page said, "Make sure everybody in the company has great opportunities, has a meaningful impact, and is contributing to the good of society."
Vision, mission, and values can become meaningless words on a page without leadership taking an active role in bringing them to life. Unfortunately, we are experiencing a leadership crisis in the workplace. According to one study, 80 percent of companies struggle with a leadership talent shortage. Part of the reason good leaders are in short supply is that the type of leader needed to succeed today is much different from the type that existed in years past.
The time of leaders ruling through a forceful, iron fist has ended. Now, employees gravitate to conscious leadership, a style essential to develop at all organizational levels. As an entrepreneur, it starts with you leading the transformation of the workplace. It used to be said that a work team is only as strong as its weakest link, but in the modern business world, an organization is only as awake as its lowest level of consciousness.
Implementing consciousness-raising initiatives for yourself, stakeholders, and partners will provide a foundation of knowledge, resources, and tools to help realize new potential. Here are some examples of training topics to include in your corporate curriculum and why they matter:
Earlier in this guide, we discussed how we often take our self-awareness for granted and how easily it becomes blocked. Organizational psychologist Tasha Eurich has found that 95% of people think they're self-aware, but only 10-15 percent are. Learning to be the object of your observation is the cornerstone of conscious leadership and the key to increased well-being and performance.
There is more that unites us than should ever divide us. A Deloitte Insights Diversity and Inclusion article reported that "Cognitive diversity" — diversity in thoughts, ideas, and values — can increase innovation by 20 percent. Educating teams on the power of oneness, connected consciousness, and entanglement is fundamental for creating collaborative work environments that celebrate 'we' over 'I.'
According to an American Behavioral Scientist study, high-performing work teams receive six times more positive feedback than less effective teams. Still, many leaders don't take the time to share it with their team. Gratitude should be a daily practice and can be expressed through timely notes of appreciation, internal recognition of achievements, and sharing successes across the organization.
You don't have to like the people you work with; you have to love them. Research from Harvard Business Review indicates that the more love coworkers feel at work, the more engaged they are and the more satisfied they are, which leads to high-performing teams. Love comes from educating yourself and stakeholders on the importance of self-love, empathy, compassion, and forgiveness.
Someone may have impressive successes in growing a business, but acting cocky or arrogant is destructive to their future growth. Successful leaders must learn to embrace the gift of humility, which is an endearing quality other stakeholders will admire. Being humble takes courage, a well-known characteristic attributed to human genius because it recognizes the role of Universal Consciousness.
Creating a resilient organization does not happen overnight, but with the proper tools in place, you can create a hive of connected consciousness that works in the spirit of harmony and trust. You can be an agent of change and transform the workplace by bringing more purpose and meaning into the lives of all stakeholders. Once established, these guiding beacons can also help in the section of social causes best suited for your company to support, creating an ecosystem of connections that will drive internal and external engagement now and into the future!
Self-Reflect on Your Company
Vision and Mission
Do you have a current vision and mission for your organization? How do they help bring purpose and meaning into people's lives? Do you need to update or define the guiding beacons for your company? What positive end-state will result from your products, services, and solutions? How will your products, services, and solutions help humanity and the environment? What type of investors, employees, and partners will your business attract?
What are the benefits of clearly articulating organizational values? Have you spent the time to create them for your company? Why, or why not? What are the values, attitudes, and beliefs that will help to activate your vision and mission? Are there organizations you admire that can inspire your thinking? Where can you apply the values you define to business processes and ways of working?
What areas of leadership do you need to improve upon the most? What are the current blocks to your self-awareness? Do you create unity or divisiveness through your actions? How often do you show appreciation to others for their contributions? Do you listen to the thoughts and opinions of others with an open mind? How could you improve making everyone feel connected as one organizational consciousness?
Personal Exercise – Guiding Beacons
Now that you've had time to reflect on your vision, mission, and values, what better time than the present to develop them for your company. If you are an entrepreneur in the early stages of development, this may mean starting from scratch. If you are already a business owner, you can use this time to review what you currently have defined and determine if you need to make any improvements.
Define the ‘why’ of your company. Develop a concise, future-oriented declaration that unifies your audacious dreams for the distant future.
- To establish Starbucks as the most recognized and respected brand in the world.
Define the ‘how’ and the ‘what’. Create a short statement that describes how you will fulfill the vision through tangible goals to create change.
- To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.
List out 5-7 values necessary to achieve your vision and mission with short definitions that give each focus and meaning.
- To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.
- Creating a culture of warmth and belonging, where everyone is welcome.
- Acting with courage, challenging the status quo, and finding new ways to grow our company and each other.
- Being present, connecting with transparency, dignity, and respect.
- Delivering our best in all we do, holding ourselves accountable for results.
- We are performance-driven through the lens of humanity.
Now it's Your Turn
Defining your guiding beacons will light your path forward and will become the sacred words that will connect the consciousness of all who join you on the journey
Complete this exercise in the Entrepreneurial Playbook - click to download.
Part 6: Creating Holistic Balance
Starting a business usually involves making sacrifices, but entrepreneurs can't compromise their well-being along the journey. Earlier in this guide, we addressed how burnout fuels the mental health crisis, but by creating holistic balance in our lives, we can find more peace, joy, and contentment while pursuing our dreams. Work is an integral part of life, but it's easy to lose sight of other aspects essential for our fulfillment when it becomes the sole focus.
After providing you with some basic knowledge into the seven dimensions of life, including work, family, talent development, physical, social, financial, and spiritual, you will have time to reflect and create actions to bring your own life into balance.
When we choose to start a business, we are passionate about bringing an idea to life, but passion can be both constructive and destructive to our well-being. Harvard Business Review published a compelling study on two types of entrepreneurial passion. The first is a harmonious passion, a state of flow where work brings purpose into life, but the individual does not neglect other activities that promote balance. The second is an obsessive passion, where people cannot live without work constantly and ignore other aspects of their lives, creating imbalances.
An obsessive state may make someone feel in control because their unconscious mind has become fixated on only one aspect of life, work. Meanwhile, the rest of their lives slowly unravel and lose meaning. When someone becomes emotionally dependent on work, they often lose sight of their vision, mission, and values. Instead, they seek power, status, fame, and other material rewards. Obsession is dangerous, don't let your ambition get the best of you.
Developing a harmonic relationship between work and life will take monitoring, analysis, and adjustments. Always remember by redirecting your consciousness away from work to spending time with family, meditation, and playful experiences, you will return with a clear mind and improved decision-making. As Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, said, "The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule but to schedule your priorities."
Not limited to those you share a bloodline with, the concept of family can include anyone you share a deep emotional bond with, including spouses, partners, and friends. According to evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar, most of us have 5-7 people that make up our inner circle or family. These are the relationships in which we communicate regularly and share emotions, trials, and triumphs along life's journey. They are the people with whom we are deeply entangled. Just think about them; your phone rings with their name as the incoming call.
Sometimes we take these relationships for granted. Other times, we focus our energy on trying to win approval from the hundreds or thousands of connections we have on social media. And, we can become so involved with our work that we neglect our inner circle altogether. When we don't take time to nourish or isolate ourselves from the people we call family, it sabotages our well-being and mental health because they act as the support system as we evolve.
Many of us are blind to the areas of life we need to improve, but the inner circle knows us best and can give honest advice for personal development. They can be there to listen while we vent, list our spirits when we're sad, and share laughter. The rewards of close relationships are plentiful. Yes, these loving social ties are essential to survival, but they also keep us in balance and improve brain health through the power of connected consciousness and constructive energy.
One of the most rewarding aspects of life is that we can explore, nurture, and express our talents. Quite often, our interests align with our entrepreneurial endeavors, but creating balance also requires participating in off-the-clock passion projects, hobbies, and activities that are not work-related. When you become engaged in expressing a talent, it raises neurotransmitter levels in the brain, such as endorphins, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which help to relieve stress and bring joy into our lives.
Passions outside of work can also help to enhance our creativity. Reading, painting, cooking, and puzzles stimulate new neuron connections in the brain, allowing us to solve problems with new perspectives. If you seek inspiration, consider participating in outside activities, such as hiking, where you can observe the wonders of nature and connect with Universal Consciousness. The best ideas often come to us without thinking about their solution. Our connection to infinite wisdom does not rely on being at our desks because we often get lost in our thoughts, which can block us from intuitively receiving valuable messages.
So, what activity is best suited for you? One of the best ways to answer this question is by connecting with your inner child and re-connecting with playful activities from the past that can bring fun, wonder, and exploration into your current life. Another route can be to take up a hobby you have been interested in and learn something new. Whatever you choose an outlet, consider connecting with like-minded individuals or groups that share the interest to avoid feelings of isolation.
Without taking care of our physical health, it can become impossible to realize our potential. Exercise, what we put into our body, and sleep cycles all play a role in maintaining our energy system. We also have to be aware of how we feel and address any unpleasant systems we might be experiencing before an existing illness or injury becomes even more of a problem. Becoming a successful entrepreneur requires creating a routine that promotes health and well-being.
Let's start with the morning. vigorous thirty-minute workout can improve performance for the rest of the day. One study found that people are 41 percent more motivated on workout days, have a 21 percent increase in concentration, and are 22 percent more likely to complete tasks on time. Exercise should not be something we try to fit into our schedule but a consistent routine that helps us reach new levels of entrepreneurial performance.
Next up is proper nutrition. We should strive to create personalized meal plans because our bodies respond differently to what we consume. Food sensitivities, intolerances, and lifestyle choices can all play a role in selecting a proper diet. Find the natural foods that provide you the optimal amount of energy, and continue optimizing what you eat over time. If you want to improve your physical health significantly, consider removing all refined sugar and processed food from your diet.
Routine exercise and proper nutrition help set the stage for a restful sleep. Adults require between 7-9 hours of sleep per night, and it's during this time, that our body and brain heal and recharge. Sleep deprivation can cause loss of concentration, and poor decision-making and initiates the stress response through reproducing the hormone cortisol. Create healthy rituals that prepare you for a good night's sleep, like no screen time thirty minutes before bed, a five-minute meditation, or expressing gratitude to clear your mind.
Aside from connecting with our inner circle, it's also vital that we have a social life outside of work. Entrepreneurs are at a high risk of feeling isolated, most working long hours alone with limited human interaction, often leading to depression. Being social might be associated with going to bars and meeting new people. Still, we can also connect with others in other meaningful ways that help to promote our well-being through purposeful interactions.
One way to increase sociability is to create rituals where you see people throughout the day. A neighborhood coffee shop, lunch spot, or market can all be places where you can become a familiar face. Learn to take a genuine interest in everyone you encounter by being friendly, asking questions, and giving sincere compliments to people wherever appropriate. When we are kind to other people, we are kind to ourselves, and these small moments bring light into our lives.
In the talent development dimension of life, we covered connecting with people with like-minded interests, so stay open to joining groups or taking classes with others. Another way to get out and meet people is by volunteering. Select a cause important to you and sign up to help. And lastly, you may find that mentoring others with the knowledge you have amassed over the years can be a fruitful way to connect with younger age groups.
A new Mind over Money survey by Capital One and The Decision Lab reported that 77 percent of Americans feel anxious about their financial situation. The research pointed to a wide range of pain points, including the cost of living, managing debt levels, having enough savings for retirement, and the rising cost of education for children. However, by focusing on achieving long-term financial goals, we can learn to minimize the effects of financial worry.
One of the most practical actions for entrepreneurs is creating a budget for personal and business expenses. Unless you start with a large financial cushion, you will have to run lean for a while, cutting unnecessary costs. Spend on essential living and operational expenses, but keep some funds for social events to avoid isolation. If possible, establish an emergency fund that can sustain a few months for unforeseen circumstances like COVID-19.
One of the most significant contributing factors to financial stress is debt, and you should seek to minimize it at all costs. When some entrepreneurs start to make money, they live beyond their means and never achieve financial freedom. As Warren Buffet says, "Don't save what is left after spending; spend what is left after saving." Making prudent financial decisions can be difficult. Take time to connect with an advisor who can help you because there is no one-size-fits-all approach to planning for the future.
How we choose to grow and evolve spiritually is a personal choice. Some of us find comfort in one of the major religions, and others find alternative ways to connect with Universal Consciousness. Achieving balance in the spiritual dimension of life ultimately comes from practicing actions that raise your level of consciousness, which requires pondering the nature of reality, removing blocks to our self-awareness, and living a virtuous life.
A Pew Research Center survey of more than 4,700 U.S. adults found that 72 percent of Americans believe in a higher power, and connecting to it will help guide the entrepreneurial journey. Universal Consciousness is your partner in creation. Recite your manifesto every morning and night. Take time to pray, meditate and visualize your desired outcome. Embrace the present moment by expressing gratitude and always focus on helping others on the path to realizing your potential.
Universal Consciousness is omnipresent in our lives, but we can become blind to its existence when we get lost in negative thoughts that surface from our unconscious minds. In life, the observer creates reality. Tune out destructive thought frequencies generated from the news and social media and redirect your consciousness to all the wonders found in nature and human experiences. This journey belongs to you, but you are not alone on this journey.
Self-Reflect on the Dimensions of Life
Work and Financial
Do you have a dangerous obsession with work? Why? What areas of life get thrown out of balance when you overwork? How does that affect your mental health? Want simple actions you can create during the day to focus on other priorities? Is your current financial situation a cause of stress? Do you have a budget for personal and business expenses? Who can help to advise you on wealth management?
Family, Social, and Talent Development
Who are the core five to seven people that make up your inner circle? Do you appreciate or neglect them? What are some ways you can connect with them more regularly? Do you take time to get out of the office to be around other people? Are you present, open, and kind in the company of others? Why? What off-the-clock passions do you have? Are you actively engaged in them? Why?
Physical and Spiritual
Do you consider yourself a spiritual person? How come? What actions do you take to connect with Universal Consciousness? Do you have any spiritual growth goals? What are they? Do you stay active and eat natural foods to get proper nutrition. What activities or rituals help create balance in your life? Do you get appropriate amounts of sleep and take time to recharge after working for long hours?
Personal Exercise – Maintain Balance
Maintaining balance can feel complex, with so many ever-changing variables due to the unpredictability of human life. A member of our inner circle may need help in a crisis. We can become plagued with illness, injury, and medical bills that adversely affect our finances. A move may cause us to establish new routines and social connections. Pursuing our entrepreneurial dream can cause us to lose sight of what matters most in life.
Still, you can stay centered by identifying where you are out of balance and developing one action for each area that needs improvement. Please don't try to improve everything about your life at once. It's just not manageable. Good habits naturally produce other good habits. For instance, if your body is out of balance and you start exercising, you begin to eat better, feel better about yourself, and have more confidence during social occasions.
That said, it's also important to note that your mind and brain will resist change, even for the better. The brain relies on habits, and repetitive actions create neuron chains. New behaviors require new routines, and it can take 30-90 days to replace unhealthy habits with new ones because new neuron chains have to develop. Be persistent. Don't feel guilty or give up after a setback. Believe change is possible, and repetition is critical to success, so make a plan and stick to it.
Rate where you are in each dimension of life, and if you're out off-balance, create one action that can help keep you centered. Focus on manageable improvements in just 2-3 areas.
Now it's Your Turn
Without balance in life, we live unconsciously through a disrupted energy system. In balance, we become aligned with the vibrational frequency of Universal Consciousness.
Complete this exercise in the Entrepreneurial Playbook - click to download.
Part 7: Measuring Success
No two entrepreneurs are precisely alike, and the same goes for the business they form. Everyone’s diverse life stories and the filtered lenses we wear help shape how we see the world. Considering other perspectives can be an excellent source of inspiration to create something new, help others, and leave a positive, lasting impression on the world. The beautiful struggle of being an entrepreneur and the metamorphosis you go through only makes you stronger, more capable, and wiser.
For these reasons, success will mean something different to all of us. Your guiding beacons, products, services, and solutions will lead you down a different path from other people, and the rewards you receive will be as diverse as your offerings. This section will cover some of the most fundamental components to address when defining measures of success for you and your business.
While there are long-term goals you intend to achieve, take time to celebrate all of the small wins because every milestone is one step closer to vision fulfillment. The day you become incorporated, your first website, business cards, and all of the other seemingly small activities play a significant role in the manifestation of your business. These micro-successes do wonders for your mental health and motivation by activating the brain's reward center.
Universal Consciousness also works in mysterious ways, so every action you take has the potential to open new doors, relationships, and opportunities for your business. You may have a plan on how you want your business to evolve, but rarely does this happen as we envision. Find purpose in meaning even in the mundane because building a cathedral requires laying many bricks. Remember that small actions can propel you forward in new directions, so embrace the journey.
Setting manageable goals, creating daily to-do lists, and keeping a journey of your achievements can all help bring to light the successes you might otherwise dismiss. The unconscious mind will relentlessly create a fear-based reality that focuses on the past and future. Overcome these destructive thought frequencies by directing your consciousness to the present moment and celebrating all wins because they are all measures of success.
One measure of success that's difficult to ignore is the moment when a business becomes profitable. Keep in mind that most companies don't turn a profit until the second or third year of being in business, sometimes even longer, based on the industry they serve. Even when a balance sheet transitions from red to black, there is still a long road ahead. Since sustainable business models take years to build, prepare for a marathon. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, said, "All overnight success takes about ten years," a common belief shared by many business leaders.
It may become frustrating when high expectations of turning your vision into a profitable business are met with the stark reality that monetary success will require more effort than working for someone else. You will have to overcome destructive thoughts from your mind that tell you to quit, new obstacles that arise without warning, and the flexibility to shift direction when it makes sense. However, please don't lose sight of your dream, goals, and financial aspirations. They are within reach.
While profitability is essential to running a business and one indicator of success, there is more to life than chasing the almighty dollar. If you only focus on making money, other aspects of your business and personal life will suffer. According to Business News Daily, just 8 percent of entrepreneurs start their businesses with making money as the primary motivation, and 63 percent say money is less important than the quality of life, which comes from creating holistic balance.
Customer Relations and Retaining Customer Loyalty
Developing a customer base closely tied to profitability will take time, patience, and continuous learning. You have most likely identified the primary and secondary audiences you wish to include in your business plan. Still, as your client base grows, updating all demographic, psychographic, and other relevant information is an excellent idea to develop a more focused outreach. Be in the business of helping people. The more people you help, the more money you will make.
Once you have customers, the priority should be quality service and high satisfaction levels. It's no secret that retaining customers costs less than acquiring them. Take time to map out all touchpoints along the customer journey and create personalized messaging flows, incentives, and perks that keep a customer coming back. Building these relationships can help generate positive reviews and word of mouth for your business.
Loyal customers create a community that supports your business. You may invite them to special events to share best practices, share upcoming product launches for feedback, or highlight them in a case study. Always show deep appreciation for their involvement, demonstrate that you are looking to help them in new ways, and above all, always be kind. The bonds you create with customers create the inner circle of your business, so take time to nourish those relationships.
Social and Environmental Impact
One measure of success that's become vital in the new era of entrepreneurship is how organizations are helping to make this world a better place. For instance, in 2006, TOMS Shoes implemented a one-for-one business model; for every pair the company sells, it gives a pair of shoes to a child in need. Over the years, their model has expanded from shoe donations to eyeglass and water donations, helping millions of people globally. And these actions all ladder up to the TOMS mission of using business to improve people's lives, including taking care of the place we call home.
Using business to do good will become a requirement for companies to succeed and is a compelling way to reach investors. According to one report, up to 87 percent of millennials and 94 percent of Gen Z expect companies to address pressing social and environmental issues. Data shows this shift is already taking place. According to a study conducted by Harvard Business School, an estimated 90 percent of companies on the S&P 500 index published a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report in 2019, compared to just 20 percent in 2011.
We can all work to make this world a better place, and every business can find a way to give back in a way that's relevant to its guiding beacons. CSR may be an extension of your business or how you choose to do business. Remember that you have to walk the walk. Just talking about causes that matter but not living up to the hype you create can adversely affect your company's perception, as consumers will call out anything that does not feel authentic. Become an agent of change. Transforming the workplace begins by transforming why and how we do business.
Employee Engagement and Work Morale
In a previous section, we addressed the importance of a unifying vision, mission, and values to help bring purpose and meaning into employees' lives. A measure of success for your business should be how engaged the workforce is with the internal initiatives you developed that activate these guiding beacons. The first step should be to set your engagement goals because it will be impossible to measure success without identifying them. For instance, if you are implementing conscious leadership training, you may want to find out what percent of employees feel appreciated by their boss and then see what those results are like six months later.
Active listening through quarterly surveys, informal focus groups, and one-on-one meetings can provide valuable input in evolving your culture initiatives. Recent research has shown that only 21 percent of companies conduct engagement surveys three or more times a year. Having your finger on the pulse of the organization's well-being is crucial, and equally important is sharing the information you learn quickly. Always be transparent with your teams on learnings. If you focus only on positive feedback and bury issues brought up by employees, that can cause a decrease in engagement. The workforce is the engine that drives profitability, and retention will keep that engine running on all cylinders. A survey of over 50,000 employees found that engaged employees are 87 percent less likely to leave a company, so the proof is in the numbers. Ongoing training and development initiatives are often undervalued in the retention puzzle. Gen Z and Millennials constantly leave their jobs because there are no opportunities to learn and grow. So, engage the workforce, and reap the rewards.
Personal Growth and Development
An abundance of personal growth comes from embarking on the entrepreneurial journey. We all have different lessons to learn, and starting a business can bring to light aspects of life that we need to address to realize our potential. Mustering up the courage to begin something that you believe in, removing blocks to your self-awareness, and being in a state of constant learning are all achievements that deserve recognition.
Many of us are unconsciously incompetent when we become an entrepreneur. In other words, we don't know what we don't know. Then we become consciously incompetent, realizing this will be more challenging than expected. As soon as a mission-critical task is complete, a new one immediately appears in an ongoing pattern that can feel never-ending. At this stage, most people give up. However, you will become consciously competent over time as repetitive actions make new tasks easier to perform. Ultimately, you will become unconsciously competent as neuron chains in the brain strengthen, and so does your expertise.
Failure does not exist along the pathway to learning as long as we find the opportunity for growth within every setback we face. Remember these wise words from Arianna Huffington: "We need to accept that we won't always make the right decisions, that we'll screw up royally sometimes—understanding that failure is not the opposite of success, it's part of success." You are taking the road less traveled, so expect to lose your footing along the way, but pick yourself up and march on because this journey belongs to you.
Legacy and Remembrance
You may know how the Nobel Peace Prize was thought to have come about. To refresh your memory, Alfred Nobel, an inventor with hundreds of patents, including dynamite, had a brother Ludwig who died in 1888. By mistake, a French newspaper printed an obituary for Alfred, declaring him to be a merchant of death, and said, "Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday."
A very much alive Alfred Nobel was appalled by reading this and became concerned about how others would remember him. So, before his actual death, he wrote that he intended his fortune of millions to create a series of prizes for those seeking to help humanity. Since its inception in 1901, Nobel Prizes in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and peace have been awarded, leaving a positive impression on Alfred's legacy.
Upon death, we are not typically remembered by others for the businesses we create or the amount of wealth we have amassed, but rather what type of person we were, the adversities we overcame, and how we helped make planet earth a better place. Those are the ultimate measures of success. Be the object of your observation, raise your level of consciousness, and leave your everlasting mark on this world.
Self-Reflect on Measuring Your Success
Everyday Wins, Profitability, and Customer Base
Do you take time to celebrate small victories? How so? What overlooked achievements have you made that deserve recognition? How have they helped in establishing your company? What profitability goals do you have for your business? What year-after-year growth will you need to reach them? How many customers will you need to sustain your business? What actions will help to build loyalty over time?
Social Impact and Employee Engagement
How will your idea or company help make this work a better place? What would a publication write about your business model? How will your social cause help to attract investors? In what ways would you get employees involved in this mission? How else will you keep the workforce motivated and engaged? What type of training and development will help to promote well-being and performance?
Personal Growth and Remembrance
What personal growth will you benefit from by pursuing your entrepreneurial endeavors? What are some possible challenges you will have to overcome? Are you ready to face fear with courage? Why, or why not? How will other people speak about you after you have left earth? What impact will your efforts have had on humanity and the environment? What will be your most significant accomplishment?
Personal Exercise – Paint a Picture of Success
Now it's time to unleash the power of visualization, a technique commonly used by top performers across many industries because it helps manifest goals. Visualization works because it helps paint a picture of success in your mind, connecting with Universal Consciousness, your mystical partner in creation. Your mantra states your intention, and through the visualization process, you fill in the details of what success will look like in the future.
Visualization takes preparation. Begin by defining big-picture goals, and then write down some notes of what life will look like when you achieve those goals. Once you are ready to visualize, find a quiet space with no distractions, close your eyes, engage in a couple of minutes of meditation, and then begin. At times you may imagine all of the accomplishments you will achieve along the path to success and what it looks like when you've made it.
The technique requires using your imagination in ways you might not have before, as you will be experiencing the future in vivid detail. If you are visualizing a speech to hundreds of employees, paint a picture of what you will be wearing, the stage on which you are standing, the microphone you will be using, and the water bottle next to you. Use all of your senses in the process as if you are there. Learning to visualize takes practice, like all new skills, but it will become natural over time. To take the exercise one step further, you can create a vision board as a daily reminder of what you seek to achieve.
Everyday Wins Example
Enter your big picture goal(s):
- Stay present and motivated
Paint a picture of success:
- I see myself working in a flow because I am in balance, addressing one task at a time and taking time to pat myself on the back when I complete activities on my daily to-do list.
Profitability Everyday Example
Enter your big picture goal(s):
- A company office and generous paycheck
Paint a picture of success:
- I see myself driving to my office, a beautiful high-rise building, where I have my own corner office, and today is payroll day, and I’m looking at the amount deposited in my bank account.
Social Impact Example
Enter your big picture goal(s):
- Help planet Earth's health through sustainable products.
Paint a picture of success:
- I see data pointing to all the ways my company has helped the environment, the charities that we support, and articles that have been written about the impact we have made.
Now it's Your Turn
The observer creates their reality. Use your consciousness to paint a picture of the future, believe in yourself, and appreciate every moment as your story unfolds!
Complete this exercise in the Entrepreneurial Playbook - click to download.
The gift of partnering in creation is a remarkable one. As entrepreneurs, we are responsible for innovating with purpose and developing solutions that benefit humanity, other life forms, and the environment we call home. Doing so requires high levels of consciousness, which takes courage and commitment to create positive change.
This guide is meant to be both a practical and timeless resource that you can use to take meaningful steps along your entrepreneurial journey. No matter where you are in your business plan, feel free to come back to focus, recenter, and realign your overall purpose in life and as an entrepreneur. The tools within this Guide and the Playbook provide you with what is needed to be an exceptional entrepreneur: perpetual maintenance and honest reflection. Utilizing these resources is up to you!
About the Author
James Petrossi is an advocate for humanity, president of PTNL, and founder of Leave the Feed. He is also the author of Know Your True Self: The Formula to Raise Human Consciousness, an inspiring keynote speaker, and hosts the Know Your True Self podcast.
He is passionate about helping organizations, entrepreneurs, and students realize their potential through consciousness-raising initiatives that increase well-being and performance.
Legal Notices and Credits
Created exclusively for Modern Professional by James Petrossi, president of PTNL and author of Know Your True Self: The Formula to Raise Human Consciousness.
Copyright 2022 by James Petrossi. All rights reserved. Do not duplicate.
Published exclusively by MP Media Brands LLC.
Writing James Petrossi
Editing Galli Meyer
Author photo James Petrossi
Illustration selection MP Media Brands LLC and Galli Meyer
Illustrations jozefmicic on Adobe Stock
Icons MP Media Brands LLC
Design MP Media Brands LLC
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.