The word "conscious" has become a bit of a buzzword lately. It's common to find the word on everything from clothing to cosmetics, but what does it mean to be conscious?
Consciousness roughly equates to "awareness," and in the context of a company or a product it normally refers to a business' awareness of the impact that it has on the environment, its employees, and so on. What the word conscious means when applied to a person is a bit different. When we say that someone is conscious, it means that person is capable of being fully present and aware - not only of their external circumstances, but also of their internal emotions, biases, and motivations.
Therefore, a Conscious Entrepreneur is not simply a business owner who takes into account the impact that their business has on the world, while that is certainly important in today's economy. Rather, a Conscious Entrepreneur is a businessperson who actively cultivates self-awareness as part of a practice of continual personal growth.
Someone who is in touch with themselves and understands their own strengths and weaknesses can better recognize whatever is hindering their progress. When it comes to achieving outstanding results, it's often the willingness to look inward - for understanding, guidance, motivation, courage and strength - that makes the difference between facing failure or finding true success.
The New Professional Superpower
It's no mystery that entrepreneurs and businesspeople are constantly searching for a competitive edge in business, whether it's a new technology, a new market, or a new partnership. More and more, these boundary-pushing trailblazers are looking for ways to not only improve their businesses, but to improve themselves as well. Seeing self-improvement and skill-building as a way to "growth hack" their businesses and careers, a new generation of ambitious go-getters has contributed to the explosive popularity of authors like Tim Ferriss and Brendon Burchard, as well as renewed interest in peak-performance coaches such as Tony Robbins and Jack Canfield.
This emphasis on personal development has now taken an exciting new turn, with more and more of the world's top entrepreneurs focusing their attention on a potent combination of modern psychology and the ancient wisdom of Eastern philosophy. Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Russell Simmons, and Arianna Huffington are only a few examples of massively successful entrepreneurs who openly credit a significant amount of their success to mindfulness, meditation, and personal growth.
The Motivation to Succeed
In my new book, The Conscious Entrepreneur: A Guide to Maximizing Your Potential for Success, Freedom, and Happiness, I explore six fundamental principles that are critical for success in today's fast-paced and ever-changing business world.
Central to these principles is the concept of "self-actualization," popularized by American psychologist Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow theorized that once our basic physiological and emotional needs have been met, our primary motivation is to self-actualize - simply put, to reach our highest potential. In essence, this means that the desire for self-improvement and personal growth is not simply a luxury afforded to a small group of ambitious and self-motivated people, but is a critical part of our identity as human beings. The drive to achieve our highest potential, to "be your best self" as Oprah Winfrey puts it, isn't just a pleasant-sounding idea, but is instead the fiery core burning in each of our hearts.
For anyone who is interested in maximizing the success of their businesses or careers, this makes sense - but understanding Maslow's hierarchy and reaching the top are two very different things. Reaching the point of self-actualization is often dependent on each person's willingness to face challenges and their individual level of consciousness.
Putting it into Practice
Bringing conscious awareness into your personal and professional life can produce amazing results, leading to greater success as well as more balance and a wider perspective. Rather than engaging in a purely philosophical exploration of these concepts, The Conscious Entrepreneur includes interactive exercises and real-world business examples to help you understand and apply these principles to your business and your life right away. You'll find concrete, action-oriented advice for making difficult choices, managing relationships, and finding a greater sense of peace and well-being.
©2016, Laura C. Cannon. All rights reserved. Reprints welcomed so long as article is reprinted intact with all links made live.