March and April Reflections

Spring Equinox ushers in a season of striking contrast. Here in Boulder, CO, it was 75 degrees one day-and snowed the next. But having endured the dark and cold of December, January, February, and most of March, we can surely make it through another snowstorm (or two), knowing that many gentle, warmer months lie ahead. So much is still growing quietly beneath the surface, but signs of spring are unmistakable: the longer days, songbirds, a crocus in the snow. We hear the Call-distinct and hearty: Wake up! The promise of Renewal awakens within you a more conscious sense of your year's true purpose. At Equinox, day and night are roughly 12 hours long. But now the light force quickens and swells. As the light overtakes the dark, I long to fill every vase with flowers, cheer up a wool sweater with a pastel scarf, and happily polish off another task or two at my desk until sunset. In terms of soul evolution, this is the season to stretch and grow while anchoring yourself, your vision, and your most cherished values deep into the Earth. The year's vision will begin to blossom in May and into June. Meanwhile, in March and April, expand your horizons. Experiment. Launch a few initiatives. See what happens. Some might take off; others may wither. It's okay. At this point, just step forward. You can sow a few seeds now-and others later this spring. Some of these will grow through the summer to be harvested as autumn approaches. The mood of March-Contrast, Renewal, Planting Seeds for the Future-carries through April. Accept the rain. Savor every warm day. Anticipate the merry month of May. Mother Earth takes her own sweet time waking up and so should we. April Showers bring May Flowers!

Conscious Capitalism at the University of Colorado Boulder!

This February, CU Boulder's Leeds School of Business hosted its 5rd annual gathering on Conscious Capitalism. What a pleasure to keynote this forum of students, faculty, and enthusiastic community members. My old friend Jim Autry, author of The Book of Hard Choices, offered an electrifying discourse on the power of values in business and the terrible cost of failing to honor simple human decency. Three women leaders, Dawn Bitz, Dana Watts, and Beth Jensen, vividly described the joys and challenges of Boulder's favorite "industry"-the Great Outdoors. I spoke on Conscious Capitalism, illustrating how it's practiced with a video on The Container Store then invited people to road test my new self-assessment tool: "Are You A Conscious Capitalist?" More on that soon! Thanks to everyone at the Center for Education on Social Responsibility (CESR) at the Leeds School, especially Nan Stout. Thanks also to Leyla and Mark Steele and to Alain Bolea.

Celebrate Spring with Conscious Flowers

If March wind & April showers inspire vases of flowers-why not make them conscious blossoms-as in local, organic, or Fair Trade? Whole Foods Market sells local flowers and imports stems grown in developing countries that meet the retailer's in-house Fair Trade standards. Flower production, says Fair Trade USA, is "one of the most dangerous types of agricultural work" because mostly women workers are exposed to harmful chemicals. Since 2007, however, conscious shoppers have bought more than 50 million Fair Trade flowers, says the US certifier. BloomNation, an FTD-type alternative, promotes top local florists and their specialty bouquets. You know what you're getting and get more for your money. Easter and Mother's Day are coming! Think Conscious Flowers. Check out the full story.

How Transparency Grows People and Profit

If you're reading this, you're no stranger to Conscious Capitalism or the values that drive it. Transparency is a top value at Whole Foods Market, where a team member can look up any coworker's salary and bonuses. Co-CEO John Mackey, who launched the policy in 1986, says, "If you're trying to create a high-trust organization where ... people are all-for-one and one-for-all, you can't have secrets." Excellent point. Furthermore, as a landmark Watson Wyatt study demonstrated, high-trust organizations outperform their low-trust counterparts by 286 percent! When people ask Mackey, why is so-and-so is paid X, while I am only paid Y, he candidly replies, "If you accomplish what this person has accomplished, I'll pay you that, too." Here's the story, based on The Decoded Company: Know Your Talent Better Than You Know Your Customers. The Watson Wyatt study is from The Speed of Trust (Free Press, 2006) Stephen M. R. Covey, p. 21. Spring is my favorite season, as I am sure you can tell. I hope this wonderful season brings you spiritual renewal and earthly delights! Love, Patricia

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