Some months ago a colleague defended her actions with the statement. “I am a business women.” She spoke it as if this gave her the right to extract, dominate, and own exclusivity, without any regard for the consequences, entirely not a reflection of the work we had been engaged in for several months prior to this statement.
I concede in our current world of capitalistic centred business her statement would be considered normal. Mercenary, but normal. Our current experience of business is exactly that. How to further extract, add rent, take from nature or the unaccounted, in order to make a ‘profit’. And screw the consequences.
I found myself asking what exactly is business?
The word itself is derived from Old English bisignis = ‘anxiety’. Almost comical that the root of business is anxiety. In a condition of anxiety is not how I choose to live my life. From anxiety business moved in the later middle ages to mean ‘appointed task.’
I am going to propose the types of business we at 2:23AM aspire to, because I believe that the 2:23Am tribe know that business as we are currently observing in the world – business as usual – is killing us all. Killing the earth, our soul, the future, animals. We can no longer profit from extraction, slavery in overt and covert forms, win/lose. This game only gets exactly what we have. Environmental annihilation, animal extinction, child and sex slavery, indebtedness, an ever widening gap between the have’s and the have nots.
Instead, how about this as a definition of what is business?
Business is the privileged opportunity to engage in relationship with human beings, individually or collectively, to provide value that enriches all domains and dimensions. When done well, everyone and everything profits. The surplus is deployed to enable increased well being for all.
Is this the world of business you would like to engage in? If so, consider learning from me skills, tools and models to enable a healthy future for you, me and everyone…through business for good. We can be the change business has been asking for.