Episode 232

Building a Mindful + Responsible Business

June 9, 2020

Business owners don’t always know how to react to the world around us, so Emily is diving into the steps that you can take to build a mindful and responsible business, touching on the themes of values, how to uncover your most impactful action, and more.

Learn More about the Topics Discussed in this Episode
"I believe that your work shapes your reality, and the reality of this world. And so it’s the responsibility of each of us to shape our work to be an example of the kind of world we want to live in."
- Emily

Discussed in this Episode

  • Where to begin to make your business more mindful
  • How to educate you and your business
  • Identifying and defining your values
  • When and when not to post on social media


More from Erica Courdae

More from Kathleen

Braid Creative

More from Emily

Almanac Supply Co.


Emily Thompson 0:02
I'm Emily Thompson.

Kathleen Shannon 0:04
And I'm Kathleen Shannon.

Emily Thompson 0:05
And this is being boss. In this episode of being boss, I'm diving into the steps you can take to build a mindful and responsible business. touching on the themes of values, how to uncover your most impactful action, and more. As always, you can find all the tools, books and links we referenced on the show notes at WWW dot being boss, dot club.

Hi, boss, friends, Emily here. And I think that we can all agree that a new era is rolling in. But the old one maybe isn't going to leave without some kicking and screaming. But I do think that some things are sliding and easily at least, I hope around being lost. Even without all the massive changes to the world at large. We've been going through a big transition here for the past year, a transition that I feel is about to wind down and with the new form hopefully, of being boss. And coming fully into being even if it has been a long time coming. I'll bring this into focus on the micro scale. I'm here today alone, and five and a half years of doing the being boss podcast. There has never been a truly solo full episode published on this feed. Though, you'll see in a moment that even that's going to be done a little loosely. As I step further into my role of owning being boss, the business and the platform. You'll find this happening a little more often. If you've been a listener for a while, and you're not really sure what I'm talking about. Kathleen and I have been working together on her exit for almost a year. We share more about this in an episode we released in late 2019 called burnout and buyout. And I'm sure I'll share more as we make a more full outward facing transition in the next couple of months. But don't worry, Kathleen's not gone. And I have big plans for bringing more of my conversations with business besties to you, but occasionally, it's just going to be me here having a conversation with you. I hope that you remain open to the chef's that will continue to be happening here over the next couple of months as we start to bring to fruition this next era of being boss, it's up my sleeves, and soon it'll be out for everyone to see. Now, today's episode was planned to be one of those new conversations with one of my business besties. But in light of current events, I easily realize the necessity of stopping the process to put a hold on our plans to address current events. For anyone who may be listening to this episode 235 years in the future. That's always a fun thing to think about when planning out these episodes. I'm recording this almost three months into the pandemic of 2020. And right at the beginning of what I hope is a massive reform that brings equity into normalization ignited by the death of George Floyd. Instead of posting what may have ended up being a tone deaf conversation about making friends and talking business. And I do understand that that may be what some of you want right now, I thought it more pertinent to lend a bit of support to any bosses out there who may feel a little lost as to what it is that you can do. Now, as a modern human who grew up in the system, I'm not promising to get this right. But I think that's always been the case here, Kathleen, and I have never shown up promising that we're going to teach you the exact exact steps that will give you success. But instead we've shown up week after week, year after year as bosses who are figuring it out right alongside you. I will share my experience as I've navigated building a business based on values and touts the imperativeness of action. Every time we say do the work, I want to share what I've discovered. But it's up to you to figure out how best to apply it to your journey. Or you can also decide to leave it aside and follow your own path. You're the boss. So I'm going to dive into a few questions that I'm seeing coming up often. As usual. I've been having lots of conversations than being boss community and with my own business besties. And I'm sharing them with you here because there's a good chance that most of you are not going around on at least one of these for yourself. So we'll begin with Where do I even begin? And the answer simply is now because it's a collective universal effort that is long overdue. And if you need to be fueled by let's say self preservation, you certainly don't want to wait until it's too late until you've defined offended someone or until you've done something wrong. prejudices are deeply ingrained into each and every one of us and it's past time to dismantle that shit. So take control of yourself and the position of your business. Now. Next up, educate yourself, read books, watch documentaries, Google stuff. But like deep Google, because serve as Google, those first couple of pages that show up in your search results are often highly curated to your demographic through search algorithms. Whatever it is that you want to be more mindful about right now fill your mind, from social justice, to environmental issues to domestic abuse, you are responsible for educating yourself on the matters that either surround you, or that you're interested in joining the fight against. And I'm not going to give you any recommendations, the internet is flooded with them right now. read some books, watch some documentaries, Google stuff.

Once you become educated, or really, even as you are educating yourself, begin to align with your values, we all have core values. And we've talked about them before, many, many times, because values are a huge part of being boss. It's an exercise in our book, it's a part of CEO day kit, it's really a key aspect of what it means to be boss. When you know your values, you know who you are, and they guide the work that you do. I believe that the best way to lay out values, because they really are at the center of all of this is to offer up a flashback from a minisode that Kathleen and I published back in July of 2018.

So once you know your values, what it is that you hold is super important to yourself. Once you're able to identify those, you can move through your work in life with so much more ease, you can make better decisions, all of these things. So all of this to say, this is one of the most important exercises that we do here at being boss. And it really leads into everything else that we're doing. So not to put any pressure on anyone. But this is a core one.

Kathleen Shannon 7:01
Yeah, totally. So in our book, we interview, Tammy falls, who is a dear friend of the show, and a life coach, life and death coach, which is a whole other story. But she's truly fascinating. And one of the things that she says is vision, poles, values, steer strengths, fuel. So what I think that this means is vision poles like if you can see it, it's yours. That's something that our friend Jay prior has said and that I love so much the more specific you can get about what you want, the easier is going to be to manifest those things and to be able to identify them and claim them as yours whenever you see them. If you have that vision, values steer. So this one is incredibly important in how you reach those goals. You know, one of the things that we always talk about is that if it doesn't feel good along the way, what is the point and I think that that's where values really comes in. And so just to reiterate why this is a foundational practice at being boss. And why this is the backbone of so much of our content is because it is what keeps you feeling good and fueled along the way. So for me, whenever it comes to people getting confused about how to find their values, or not knowing if they're doing it right, or if their values feel too aspirational, I think one of the first things that you can do is go all the way back, think about whenever you were five years old, whenever you were 10 years old, whenever you were a teenager, what was really important to you and what still rings true, I think that there are some values that we're just inherently born with. So I know I've spoken about my values, ad nauseum, like I feel like I've said the word authenticity a million times on this podcast. But for me really thinking about how whenever I was younger, it was really valuable to me to stand out and to be different to buy my clothes at the secondhand shop, and not look like anybody else. And then to this day, how does that show up in my business and in my vision for the work that I'm creating is helping people be who they are 100% of the time. So this is a value that has resonated over time. And then there are certainly values that are a little bit more aspirational, that don't quite feel true, but feel true to who I want to become. And so that's another huge one, too. What about, what about you all? What about you, Emily? What values and how do you? How do you weigh the murky waters if you're feeling unclear on what your values are?

Emily Thompson 9:30
Right, same i think i think there's a one or two that will hold fast throughout your entire life. And I know that another place that a lot of people get hung up with this exercise on is especially looking at you know, personal values versus business values. And I want to say for people who find themselves struggling with that piece, it's really important to consider which ones overlap and in some cases where some may be a business value. And maybe not so much a personal or vice versa, I think those are usually pretty few and far between I think if you are building a personal brand or a business based on your own creativity, that the overlap will be larger than not. But I do think I think that there are some cases in which you can have something as a very strong value in your personal life that you may not be bringing too terribly much into your business in terms of a forward facing mission of your business. However, I do think you are still bringing that value into how it how it is that you show up for your business and the people that your business serves.

Kathleen Shannon 10:38
I also think that really finding your values and getting clear on them is something that is a practice that will evolve and solidify over time. So there are some values that have been with me forever, like authenticity, for example. But then there is something that I like to try on for size. And this is where our monthly intention practice of setting intentions, and then expressing what those intentions are, you know, journaling about it talking about it to each other is a place where I can try on values and really try on single word intentions and see how those resonate. And sometimes I adopt them for life. And sometimes I adopt them for a year or just for a season or for a month. And so I think that it's something that you can really practice. And it should be an ongoing practice, it's not like, you're going to sit down and do the exercise on page 48. and be done with it. It's something that you might be exploring for your entire life,

Emily Thompson 11:36
for sure. And there have even been instances where a value comes to the forefront for me. So you know, I've done this exercise a dozen times or more over the past, you know, two or three years or so, every time we do an iteration of the clubhouse, or I'm doing my own CEO day, every year, I do this exercise. And so it's always really funny to me whenever a new one pops up. So one that recently popped up for me that I see as being very true for me long term and even like going back to whenever I was a kid. But as I've gone through this exercise over the years, it's never popped out to me until recently, and that one being respect. So respect being one of those values that I've really only been able to recently notice as a value for myself. So just another illustration of how this is an ongoing understanding of who you are, and what it is that you value. I also want to note really quickly about how many values that you should pick out because I think this is probably one of those places where a lot of people get hung up. And what we want you to do with this list of values, is go through it a couple of times, we always recommend people go through and just like put a little dot next to everyone that stands out to you. And then once you do that, go back through that list over and over again, until you get down to about three to five values. If you have more than that it can be really hard for you to succinctly communicate to yourself and others what it is that you hold important. But the more narrow you can get, the more easily you'll be able to tap into those. That doesn't mean they won't change, it doesn't mean that you don't value other things. But it does help you succinctly identify what it is that you value most. And, Kathleen, if you'd like to talk a second about all the people who find values that are similar, like let's say joy and happy.

Kathleen Shannon 13:37
Right, so I think that if you are struggling with finding a value, that doesn't quite resonate, it's really looking at some of those other words that represent what that value also means. So even busting out the thesaurus and figuring out what words really resonate and saying them out loud. So if you have a bunch of values that seem the same, like joy, and happiness, I would really dig in and ask yourself, okay, what is the difference between these two? What do they have in common? Which word say it out loud, say joy out loud, say happiness out loud, which one resonates more? Are there other words for joy and happiness, that ring more true to you. So it really is a game of semantics a little bit, but that language matters. And that language will start to shape who you become and who you are, the more that you say it in your mind and out loud. And the more you find those values crossing your path in real life. Like that's one of my favorite things about this practice of values and intentions is really seeing where these things show up. So even for you Emily respects coming to the top of the list recently. It's like okay, where is that being reflected? And how does that show up for you? This is such a personal practice and it's going to be different for everybody. So that's another thing Is that, you know, Emily, you and I might have the exact same value. And it's going to mean that something a little bit more different for each of us there's going to be those nuances and really exploring those nuances is I think what makes this practice so special and impactful.

Emily Thompson 15:23
So values, figure out what yours are, define them and practice them and everything that you do. If you need some resources and want them from being boss, you can snag a copy of the being boss book, anywhere books are sold, or CEO daycare, links to both of those are in the show notes. Once you're good and solid in your values, you're practicing them. And by practicing them, I mean in your everyday life, and how it is that you speak to people and how it is that you speak to yourself and even in the systems of your business. Once you have those values going layer on setting intentions, setting and practicing intentions is a way for you to try on those values as you heard in that episode. That may not usually resonate with you. For those of you who would not say that diversity or inclusion or equity or even activism are concepts that you would usually identify as core values for yourself or your business. This is where you can adopt them as intentions as we navigate the current climate. or anytime that you just want to be more mindful of these things. Because even though they may not be your core values, the practice of them as intentions will send a ripples through your life and work. And I've personally found focusing on my intentions, Paramount as a guide through the past couple of weeks. For weeks, I found myself feeling more and more rooted in my intention practice even more so than my personal values. I mean, there comes a time, occasionally in your life or your personal values, it's not that they're less important. It's just there are more important things than your own personal values. And, or there is no, I don't want to say this, it's not that they're more important, it's just that maybe they're on the back burner. Like it's still a very important part of the mill. But they're like they're under control. They're simmering back there on the back burner. And you need to put your intentions on the front burners, and really give those that those the juice that they need to help you through. You've heard Kathleen and I talk about setting intentions with the new moon. But that's not currently working for me right now. Instead, I'm finding that every morning, I'm feeling called to set an intention for the day. Sometimes it's that I want everyone to just feel supported. I felt this a lot while I was pivoting the being boss conference to being online. Or I want everyone to feel included, which is the intention that I was setting as I was actually hosting the beam boss conference. Or I want everyone to feel accepted, which is an intention that I've said as I've connected with members of our community and shared content through this difficult time. And it's not just about others. Sometimes I want to feel rested, as I take care of myself through an intensely stressful season, as both a business owner but also a mom and a human on the planet Earth. And intention, not just platitudes. Feeling into your intentions will help you align to the right path of action. They keep me aligned to what I want to cultivate more for myself and for others. So you've aligned with your values, you're practicing your intentions, then he do what bosses do. You show up and you do the work. Education informs the values and intentions. Values intentions show you the path, but it's up to you to do the work and you'll part of being boss is taking action period, it is actually making it happen. not waiting on it to just happen or hoping someone else will do it so that you don't have to, it's actually doing it. And then finally, it's following through with some sort of accountability, whether it's an accountability partner that you are discussing your efforts with, or you're holding yourself accountable with measurable goals and milestone checkins. Keep yourself in check to ensure that your work is actually creating the impact that you want. Now, with that sort of outline, I think it's clear that there's no single blueprint blueprint for anyone. Everyone has a different path. But basing that path on your values and intentions is what will leave you at the finish line feeling great about the work that you've done.

Now, I'm hearing this often from bosses as well. But I'm not an activist or I don't do politics, and I get it. Me neither but as someone Who has claimed your power which you have done, if you've detached yourself from your corporate job, or started your own business or even on a path of making that decision for yourself, you are responsible for helping break the system, or otherwise building a responsible stream of revenue for yourself, that is not supported by a system that takes advantage of others, which makes a lot of the most important action of this movement, the things that you're doing inside of and within your own business, a place where you're already spending much of your time anyway, I do believe that we all have to take that responsibility in this moment. You don't have to change your brand to be an activist or share everything through a political lens. But I believe we should all be conscious of what supports our businesses, and who our businesses and dollars support. It's not about pivoting. It's about becoming fully aligned with your values and intentions and taking appropriate action. And I'll get to that action piece in just a second. But for a moment, I want to get specific in a place that's grated my nerves for a very long time, from the multi million dollar bosses, to those of you who are just side hustling as a solopreneur, I believe a place that so many of us can break a common, but harming system is in dismantling a long history of exclusion marketing. In this next clip, I'm going to share you'll hear Erica core de a diversity Equity and Inclusion coach and longtime entrepreneur that I invited to be one of the boss experts at the being boss conference. he or she's leading a breakout session from the conference titled building an inclusive business, which is where I believe every single one of us has an opportunity for growth, either and addressing it in our own businesses or being aware of it and businesses that we support.

Unknown Speaker 21:57
So essentially, the reason that I'm here is I want to talk to you about what it looks like to create an inclusive business. And I want to start with the fact that inclusive inclusivity is about an action. Inclusion is just something that's kind of stagnant, this is not something that I want you to work out, leave on a worksheet put in a document somewhere extension, yeah, did it check the block, I'm done. This is about something that actually is about action, you are figuring out what this looks like in your brand. you're figuring what this looks like with the services that you provide the conversations, you're having the people that you support, and seeing what this actually looks like inclusivity is not just about black or white male or female inclusivity is about those that want to be included, being able to feel as though they are. So you want to think about as you want to think about race, you want to think about religion, you want to think about societal indicators, in any way, shape, or form as far as how somebody shows up, and they have no say in it. I'm a black woman, this is how I was born. But I have no say in whether or not the world processes me that way. Think about hair texture, you want to think about income levels, you want to think about how evolved, maybe someone is with their emotional journey, their spiritual journey. This is all about what this means for your business. So there is no one size fits all type of thing. This isn't going to be the same for everyone. What works for Kelly is not going to be the same thing that works Latasha, it's not going to be the same thing that works for Laura, that works for me. So this is about figuring out what does the act of inclusivity actually look like within your business. Essentially, it's built on fundamental practices. Again, those that want to be included, can be included. And you want this to be a theory of something that you understand within your actual back end things. So your mission, your vision, things that this is how you operate. But you also want it to be something that the people that are interacting with you, the customers that you're serving the people that you're actually building a community with that they understand that this is what this looks like, and how they interact with you and how you're interacting with them. Know business is built on everyone being included. And I want to say that again. And I want to make sure that you understand this, everybody is not going to be included, because it's not for everybody. If you have somebody that does things specifically for you to be able to work through trauma, everybody's not at a place that they can work through their trauma, let alone acknowledge that they have it. So therefore, it does not mean that your business is not inclusive, but it means that those that are not there. Don't feel called to be included. And that's fine. That's fine. If Tasha is talking about writers, but she's not talking about somebody that does screenplays, well, that's not her market. So they may not be included. But that's about people that want to be included as a romance writer, in her audience being able to be included. So it's important to be able to acknowledge what that actually means based on what you do and what you're offering and not about inclusion by x collusion or just oh, I have to speak to everybody speaking to everybody means you're speaking to nobody. So no different than any other marketing efforts, this is the same thing. And there's nothing wrong with being able to acknowledge who those people are. Now, if you are pointedly saying, My people do not include women of color, that's exclusion, that's different, that is a whole different thing. And I'm going to give you something to think about. They came up for me a couple months back, and it really stood out. And it was extremely purposeful. So at one point, um, my business partner, Andy, and I were looking at going to the wing, to actually just do some co working, and long story short in looking at this specific space, and how they did things which had heard the name very often, I ended up seeing that, oh, you actually exclude men. And the more that I read about it, that did not work for me. And I said, I don't want to be in this space. For the simple fact that I think it is one thing to say that you're in creating in

Unknown Speaker 26:01
creating a space that is inclusive and safe. For women, it is another to say that if you have a penis, you can't be here, because there are men that stand for the things that matter to some women and some women don't. I have met women that are not inclusive of other women, and men that are more inclusive. So that is a poignant example of what it looks like to have inclusion by exclusion. That's bullshit, do not do that. Because if you are going to say that you're not welcome here, because of x, y, z, what is the difference of that being someone else that says, I can't be there, because I'm a black woman. You don't want to exclude people, because of societal indicators, you want to exclude people because they're not a good fit, they'll exclude themselves, you want to exclude people, because the values aren't the same, the desire of what you're there for is not the same. And again, they will usually exclude themselves. But you don't want to practice inclusion by exclusion, because that can be extremely dangerous.

Emily Thompson 27:13
Erica has perception and ability to speak on these topics is one of the things that drew me to her initially months ago. And Eric, his work has been hugely highlighted as we've all been navigating through the past few weeks. So if you're curious about her work, you can follow her at Erica core de.com. There's a link in the show notes. And if you want to hear the rest of that session from the being boss conference, we now have all the sessions from the conference available in the being boss clubhouse, also linked in the show notes. Okay, let's get to this action piece, because so many people, so many bosses are asking, What can I actually do? And I know everyone hates this answer, but I think it's the right one. The action looks different for each and every one of us. Maybe you use your platform to share different perspectives or to share resources, maybe use your skills to do something different, or for someone different. Maybe you change your vendors or otherwise change your business's systems. Maybe you have a hard conversation with that person who needs to hear what you have to say. Maybe you dedicate your resources, your time, your money, your energy to a person or calls that need support. Maybe you do everything the exact same as you're currently doing it if you've been doing the work already of being mindful and responsible. But you're using this opportunity to put your money where your mouth is supporting other organizations, causes and businesses with your wealth, you won't know what action will be most impactful to you until you align with your values and intentions. I often find that once I settle into those the action shapes itself and becomes crystal clear. Now I do want to touch on a common action and one that I feel is causing a lot of distress. But should I put something on social media? Now anyone who's been around for a while will know that my opinion of social media has always been less than favorable. So know that my answer to this question is through that lens. And I won't go further into that. But what I will say is that posting on social media is the least you could do. And bosses are not here to do the least. I wholeheartedly do not believe that posting platitudes on Instagram is the best action that most of you can take. So if you're wasting time fretting about that, if it's freezing you up from doing anything, let it go and find a place to put your energy where you can actually make impact. Do not let the pressures of social media keep you from doing real work. And sometimes I hear this question which I do want to address in case anyone is feeling it What about the other causes that I support? Am I supposed to leave them behind? And my answer is, and I feel good about this is maybe, at least for this moment, because I do believe that this is a moment that needs us all to jump in and finish the job that should have been finished decades ago. Whether your passion is in the environment, or animals or human rights in another part of the world. Occasionally, there's massive moments in history where humans focus in and in those moments, we all have the responsibility to work together to solve the big problem at hand. I have also long believed as a nature lover with an education in both physical and cultural geography, that we cannot fix our policies and help the planet until we can get along at home within our own species. The two are tied together, and this moment calls for focus. I also feel that we may be looking at a long haul of political and cultural activism, as we've seen so much revealed over the past several years with the current administration, the me to movement and more, we will continue getting called the call support. So it's likely time to consider building cultural and environmental support into your business model, which is something we've talked about several times on this podcast, so that you're not caught unaware and spread, then when it's time to come together. I also request that you consider building ongoing support for the organizations and causes that align with your values into your business model. And then allowing yourself for special efforts when and where needed. An example of this is what we do at Almanac supply company. Our lookout candle is our Chattanooga themed candle. And a portion of all proceeds from the sale of that candle have and will always go to a local land preservation organization, that support is constant. But last week, we did a crystal party virtual shopping thing on zoom, that was a ton of fun. Where the proceeds went to Black Lives Matter. With a little bit of planning, your business can have a constant impact and focused impact, too.

Now, I am not a diversity coach, I'm not the most woke person on the planet. I'm just a creative entrepreneur who has practiced business mindfully for years because I've literally share it with 10s of 1000s of people on a podcast, I think about it a lot, because I want to share with you the best information that you can use to build responsible and mindful businesses of your own. Everything I've shared here is from listening from learning and from doing the work, or that has not yet done, but doing the work nonetheless. So I want to share with you a few things that I found hugely impactful for myself on this journey. First and foremost, as I can be as true to being boss as possible, but also that's why I'm here doing this. It's an having mindful open conversations. I've said this so much lately, but it's because it's so true. Talking business helps you do better business, you have to talk things out, you have to share what you've learned, you have to work through your feelings and your biases and your triggers. I think that every boss needs a business bestie to work things out with. You don't want to be working through your biases and triggers in public or in the wrong company. Kathleen and I have been discussing diversity and inclusion in this business for almost five years, we've had some hard chats, we've said things wrong. And then we've worked it out. And we found true alignment where we all felt comfortable. We've created the safe space for each other and even within our team. And we've all worked through things together. And I think it can be very helpful to have a business bestie who is like you so that you can work through your same issues together. And it's also important to diversify your friend group to bring in different professions, different cultures, different viewpoints to expand the perception of how it is that you view the world so that you can gain a broader perception of the world through it. Something else that I deem very important has been committing to action early. Though I know we're far from perfect. I'm proud of the work that we've done at being balls to cultivate a space where so many kinds of bosses feel welcome. I've long discussed how it's not race or creed or gender that pulls us together. But a common goal to take control of our work and live lives on our own terms. And that starting early cannot be replaced which is why I'm recommending that if you haven't started yet start now. And I haven't just said it. We've done work to make this all happen. And most of this is not even worth that we've shared we've recently shared a little more openly the things that we Don here at being boss. But it's not about doing the things and sharing the things we've been doing the things for years, it's about doing it for the sake of doing it, not doing it for the sake of sharing it. And why? Because inclusivity aligns with our values, and is worth the work sharing as part of our values too, but significantly less so. And we will always recognize that the work is not done, we're continuing to do the work, because we all have a long way to go. And as I keep learning again, and again, to run a company called being boss, and to have built a platform, where people literally listen to what I say, I accept that it's my responsibility to live and work by example, and to share what I learned with you along the way. And what I continue to intend is to be an example of what it is to be an ally to all humans who desire to be boss, and to encourage you to build a business that breaks the mold of the corporations that you've left behind, to create in a way that's fulfilling and fueling and to know that we are all in this together. And just think about the amazing impact that we're all going to be able to make when we have mindfully built responsible businesses. Thanks for listening. And hey, if you want more resources, we're talking worksheets, free trainings in person meetups and vacations and more. Go to our website at www dot bien boss dot club.

Kathleen Shannon 36:42
Do the work the boss