sex, money, and miscellany: talking about what matters

giving as a business practice

In Uncategorized on May 21, 2010 at 7:15 pm

I’ve been mulling over businesses and structures and marketing and money lately. A lot. It happens. It happens double (or triple) when I decide to stop dallying and pay some attention to my business, or to the comings and goings of money in institutions, or to our cultural pushme-pullyou with finance.

And as part of my considering and mulling, I have been reading Mark’s writings over at Heart of Business more closely than usual. Why? Well, because he links spirituality and money. Because he has a theory of doing business that makes me feel warm and excited rather than sick to my stomach. Because he comes highly recommended. And because I like his style.

Recently he published this e-book called Backwards (accompanied by Forwards) about the Law of Attraction and what a 13th century Sufi Muslim mystic had to say about it. More precisely, he talks about where we seem to have jumped the track, and how we can get back to our center. Mark found the translation and gives us a hand in understanding it. It’s well worth the read if anything about your attitude seems to have anything to do with what happens in your life. (If you think shit just happens and there’s never any relationship between you and it, don’t bother).

After the deconstructing-where-we-went-wrong part, he has the reassemble-the-good-stuff-from-what’s-left part, where he has some excellent strategies for doing business in a way that contributes to one’s wholeness and the wholeness of the world. And he talks at the very end about kinds of projects. There are, he says, three kinds of projects: action projects, learning projects, and getting support projects.

Reading through the descriptions, I nodded and nodded. Yes, that makes sense, and yes, and yes. Okay, good stuff. Helpful stuff. But when I got to the end of the list, my gut spoke up.

AHEM! Excuse me! Excuse me. Something’s missing.
(me) really? What’s missing?
(gut) The balance.
Wasn’t that a construct from a computer game that rocked but never really finished its story line?
No. It’s missing balance. There’s getting support, but there’s not giving any.
Hmmm… (at this point I interrupted myself to check Twitter. And email. And Blackberry Messenger. and SMS. I gave two people feedback and noted that the program I’m beta testing can’t be used on a mobile device…yet.)
Hey you!
What about the balance?
Okay, so giving to go with getting?
Yeah. YEAH.
So like…beta testing and connecting with people and sharing ideas and resources and ReTweeting requests for help and helping calls for ideas go viral and blogging about good stuff that’s happening so people know about it?
Yes. Exactly.
yeah, that seems like it fits. It fits with business, too, if business has a heart. Seems like it’s a fourth kind of project. The giving project.
Not to be confused with the giving tree.
No. More like participation in the interdependent web of all existence. We give and get. It’s how we live in this world. For a while, it seemed like businesses were silos, exempt from all but the most cursory community participation, but with the internet and the economy and human nature, that’s changed, and continuing to change. Now we have to participate, but even if we didn’t have to, it is becoming obvious that we need to. We need each other. That’s all.

So I Tweeted Mark. He Tweeted back (Thanks, Mark!) and suggested I write this post.

We are in the fortunate position of having more access to each other than ever. Any two people sympathetic to the same cause have ample opportunity to cross paths. And when we do, especially in the world of business, we can hate each others’ guts and worry about competition, or we can put our heads together and collaborate for the world and the businesses we dream of. If I’m writing a resource, I can tap what geeks call the “hivemind” — the collective wisdom of everyone who reads my Facebook or Twitter feed or follows my blog. Do I have this detail right? Who wants to read/beta test/offer feedback so I can make it even better? Who is doing something connected? Related? How can we collaborate? My project takes its place in the world. And then I can return the favor. Answer questions. Give advice. Share my expertise. Laugh at a joke. Be connected.

We need the fourth project; it’s how we become part of the flow instead of just drinking from it. Water in the desert? That’s all of us.

  1. I love this. Shazam! The Fourth Project. Important to make space for it in your project management space… good one!

    Thank you, and thank your gut, for speaking up.

  2. Thanks, Mark! I’m really glad you’re out there doing the work you’re doing. Speaking of collaboration, I have this idea…I want to see what you do in your Heart of Money class, but I think I might have another way to connect your work to people who need it.

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