My ‘thing’ is marketing – great promotion for business, pushed along by well chosen words and occasionally some insightful research, with a gorgeous image or two if possible. My business creates my income, and my services improve the income of my clients too. So part of what I do is about MONEY. And money is currently occupying a lot of my mind – having it, using it, sharing it, keeping it.
If you pick up my tweets you’ll know I’ve been engrossed in ‘Sacred Economics’ by Charles Eisenstein: a gifted scholar and visionary who’s book looks at money, its role in our civilization and forwards a vision of a future economy that handles and conceives of money differently. A society that uses money to create different outcomes , to bring us together to enjoy our abundant world, rather than forcing us apart through endless competition based on a crippling misguided belief in scarcity.
My interest in this and why I think it’s important to my business is that I honestly believe we need to recognise that the world isn’t going to recover from 2008’s financial crisis, at least we’re not going to get back to how things were before. I think we need to recognise that things will never be the same, that limitless growth is over and we are now living in a post-growth economy. If you’re reading this in the States, you probably think I’m a doom monger or that I’ve lost my mind – I know how hard you work and how strongly you believe the economy will be restored to growth. But bear with me. I’m curious as to what post-growth might mean. I sense that in a post-growth world we will begin to look at how we do business and how we add value – not just to the economy, but to our community at all levels – family, local community, professional and work community, intellectual and cultural communities and our global community.
I’ve been looking at how I do business and the value that I offer to those around me by sharing my skills and talents. This been part of recreating my business setting out my ‘stall’ and re-positioning my business since the beginning of March with a strong desire to find a more authentic voice and a way to help businesses doing good in the world reach a larger audience. I don’t profess to judge good and bad, but what I mean in essence is promoting businesses that are adding value to our lives, not diminishing it. This could mean something as simple as sharing a talent with true passion so that others are inspired to live their truth as well, or actively campaigning for an important cause, or creating products and services with a strong ethical and sustainable agenda.
This is a tremendous shift in the way I have been working as a consultant since the credit crisis of 2008. When Lehman Brothers went bust and stock markets crashed, work dried up almost overnight. Large companies, as well as public and charitable organisations suddenly saw qualitative research and product development– my bread and butter- as a luxury item and suddenly lost curiosity in understanding the consumer or user mind. Since then, I’ve done what many of us find ourselves doing when things get tight and pickings are slim: saying yes to the money, but not always to the clients core values.
Following money, without respecting my values hasn’t brought me joy. The last contract I had was simply stress, stress, stress and then at the end the client failed to pay for an entire quarter’s worth of work. It prompted a crisis in my working life – what am I doing I asked myself, working for people whose values are diametrically opposed to my own, on a project I wasn’t 100 per cent convinced about and having my skills and talents ridden roughshod over?
So now, I’m looking to do things differently and am living in a question about how to ‘hold’ money so that it serves me, and not enslave me.
I’ll be writing more about ‘Sacred Economics’ soon, I’m reading it slowly as there’s much to think about. For the moment though, here is part of the introduction, introducing the idea of how money and economics have become sacred in our civilisation:
“Ask the religious person what changes when a person dies, and she will say the soul has left the body. Ask her who makes the rain fall and the wind blow, and she will say it is God… It is hugely ironic and hugely significant that the one thing on the planet most closely resembling the … conception of the divine is money. It is an invisible, immortal force that surrounds and steers all things, omnipotent and limitless, an ‘invisible hand’ that, it is said, makes the world go ‘round… What we call ‘recession’ an earlier culture may have called ‘God abandoning the world.’ Money is disappearing, and with it another property of spirit: the animating force of the human realm… We do not realize that our concept of the divine has attracted to it a god that fits that concept, and given it sovereignty over the earth. By divorcing soul from flesh, spirit from matter, and God from nature, we have installed a ruling power that is soulless, alienating, ungodly, and unnatural.”
Sacred Economics, Charles Eisenstein 2011, pp xiii-xv