Sarah and I have been looking at the growth of the business together, acknowledging where we’ve come from and seeing what will support the next stage of development. When Sarah asked me, as her co-founder what success looks like, I replied: “People would see that there’s a different way of valuing life.”
The words touched my heart. They felt alive with a feeling of our purpose, and in tune with the inner journey I’ve undertaken personally as we’ve looked at our contribution, impact and the theme of value itself. Quite an inner workout, as I’ll share further on!
Our body of work is based on the principle of serving life. We consciously pay attention to all aspects of human wholeness and wellbeing, in order to create the healthy conditions and foundations required for sustainability, equitable wealth-creation and creative innovation. Many of the skills of awareness and capacities that we help to develop in Generative leaders are not traditionally valued in organisational life, or they are only now being considered as integral to doing business.
We challenge norms by sharing a blueprint for wholeness and balance. We include such leadership capacities as nurture, holding loving space, radical inclusion, deep pauses, attuning to natural cycles and working with invisible patterns. These abilities have a more traditional place in psychological and spiritual work. But operating without them has led to organisational cultures of imbalance and harm, and to an absence of gentleness, which blocks our full expression, intelligence and creativity.
There is huge value in re-including the richness of the inner life of the individual and organisation. That is, working with the power of images and symbol, as well as patterns of intricate beauty that are ordinarily invisible – i.e. the hidden dynamics of behaviour and impacts from past events affecting what’s happening now. We can be guided not by a mind-led perception of reality, but by the innate intelligence of the person or system with their own DNA, which encodes and reveals their particular uniqueness and purpose.
In our work, we seek to engage with and unite traditional opposites – like the material and the spiritual, the outer and the inner, the being and the doing. Rather than letting them be the usual sources of conflict, we see what each has to bring to the table. By allowing elements their integrity and their difference, they can become highly creative pairings within a healthy psyche and a conscious culture.
Returning to the inner workout that I mentioned earlier… I can trace the origins of this commitment to a different way of valuing life to childhood. Like so many people, I experienced moments of exclusion due to my gender, and for having been born into a minority religion, a non-Christian. Through comments and behaviours, I saw and felt where I was and wasn’t fully valued in a given context. I learnt how the world was set up structurally to serve particular forms of privilege and rights. Part of me acquiesced, as she bought into the dominant values, trying her best to please, pacify, flatter or out-perform others according to their rules. A different part of me rebelled and broke lots of cultural and societal rules. If I’m honest, that part stayed angry and defiant in a self-justifying way and by drawing energy from being ‘against’ the system.
The internal confrontation between inherited values and my own inner compass first surfaced in a meaningful way and as a choice, whilst I was working at Microsoft. I knew that I was following a path based on expectations and conditioning, in a role that didn’t ignite my passion, in a company whose culture & values at that time didn’t allow me to thrive. So I left the relative security of an employed role and symbolically I stepped off the career path too. In many ways, I left in anger, negatively judging the culture of Microsoft with a big ‘No!’ to get myself out. It took much more learning, life trials and growth to discover a big ‘Yes!’ and the quiet courage to set about creating something different.
What struck me in the answer to Sarah’s question today was the element of time. How the transformation of values takes place over a much deeper, longer span of time than we often account for.
Leaving Microsoft, I may have taken an external step in resonance with my truth, but internally I hadn’t let go. At an egoic level, I remained bonded to society’s view of success and money. Despite doing fulfilling creative consciousness work and declining another high-earning marketing role, I still berated myself for being hopelessly naïve and idealistic. And sometimes I felt clever for not falling into the ‘wealth trap’! That is, without realising that I was still unconsciously biased and rejecting a thing, rather than creating from a peaceful place in harmony with my heart’s values.
So here we are, 20 years later. I’m looking again at my own inner attitudes to wealth and value. It’s happening now because Sarah and I are seeking investment and external support to grow the business. In order to support that outer growth, I’m catching up to where Sarah is and busily engaged in my own internal house-keeping! Clearing out old cupboards that contain unresolved value conflicts and out-of-date values that no longer serve.
Just as we help others to connect to a sense of their own innate value as an intrinsic feeling of worth in their being, I’m doing it too. In order to create the inclusive, equitable future based on the values blueprint we’ve discovered can serve life, I deeply acknowledge that I have more work to do within myself. It is proving to be very helpful to see the internal values shift that has taken place in the last two decades, and also to know there’s more road ahead still to travel.