Wear Your Soul on Your Sleeve

what excites youIt’s good business¬†¬†

In this jaded world of ours, we are keenly aware of being politically and socially correct. Yet the demands of modern life are frenzied and harried and we count making time to think a luxury.

The end result is murky thinking and weak philosophies. This cocktail is a powerful sedative – a creator of mediocrity..and we muddle along.

Our “instant gratification” culture poo-poohs taking time out to think an digest life and we miss out on the benefits of the antioxidant powers of insights and wisdom.

“Expedient” is misunderstood as “Expert” (just look at the self-publishing explosion!) and “Tantalizing” is confused with “Tantric” (Fifty Shades of Grey). Worst of all, I think, is the deluge of people peddling “Misadventure” as “Adventure” to the ingenuous and gullible (think reality TV like Big Brother).

Would this happen, I wonder, if we really took the time to examine and understand what really excites us. I suspect that, if people did they would find that, while getting your adrenaline pumping by any means does enliven your state of being, getting it pumping for the right reason is immensely more satisfying.

Getting in touch with your unique makeup and what makes you tick, jump, fly and soar is a guarantee for a better life. Do you know why?

It’s because if you are tuned into the causes of what makes you feel great, you will – YOU WILL – seek them out. Thrills are free everywhere. When they are not anchored in purpose, though, their effects are fleeting and even addicting, because they leave you yearning for that missing piece.

What’s the solution?

Let’s look at some of the great leaders who tapped into their souls, done the work of identifying what feeds them at their core, and confidently shown it and shared it with the world:

Steve Jobs

A potential branding client of mine told me he wanted a simple logo like the Apple logo that is familiar and simple. That simple logo, the stripped-down-to-essentials look and feel that draw you right in to the experience are vital expressions of Steve Jobs’ personal decades long experience with Zen Buddhism.

The logo and product designs – the brand as a whole – reveal that philosophy and tell us he was confident and focused in communicating it to his designers and engineers.

Simple! and ever-so Zen-beautifully explained by Steve himself in the words: “Apple products are as defined by what they’re missing as much as by what they contain.”

John Cadbury

The chocolatier and founder of Cadbury’s was strongly influenced by his Quaker (also known as Religious Society of Friends) roots that included a dislike for alcohol and the poverty and crime associated with it. Cocoa and chocolate was his alternative (thank you, Sir). More than that, the Cadbury’s philosophies and beliefs led them to be important social reformers in the Victorian era.

Bucking the system of harsh working conditions, John Cadbury was a forerunner in the area of employee welfare and labor relations. Did you know we have the Cadburys to thank for a half-day workday on Saturday?

Activist, Anita Roddick said: “I am still looking for the modern equivalent of those Quakers who ran successful businesses, made money because they offered honest products and treated their people decently… This business creed, sadly, seems long forgotten”

Mohandas Gandhi

The famous “Father of Non-Violent Protest” showed the world the power of peaceful civil disobedience, forever changing the options of every oppressed person in the world. Undeniably influenced by the Hindu religion to which he was born.

Its complexity and acceptance of many approaches and traditions shaped his perspective and philosophy of mutual co-existence, of the idea that one way is a way, not The way.

In Gandhi’s own words: “It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.”

When you carry your philosophy about life high and proud, you make waves. When you imbue that sense in all you do – your business, brand and life in general, people the ripple effect. It touches people and affects lives.

It does take courage in today’s world, but probably no more than it has ever taken. It also frames your vision and drives your mission. When done with pride and ownership, it is recognized and it becomes part of your brand.

What does your soul say?

Do you say it out loud? Wear it on your sleeve?

Click here if you are ready to explore

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