The 4th “P” - Why Presence Matters in a Conscious Business
The greatest vision for business is contributing to a flourishing world. This is where traditional business has fallen woefully short, existing for the separate and narrow purpose of generating profit. Fortunately, the conscious business movement is affecting the shift to a higher purpose.
I am certain that each person who is attracted to doing conscious business has gone through a waking up experience. This generally takes the form of some major event or insight that shakes a person to the core and makes them realize that the old paradigm of business is primarily self-serving, harmful, and holds little personal meaning. This waking up experience almost always marks a point of no return. With it comes the realization that doing business in the old paradigm is no longer an option and it strengthens one's resolve to find the evolved way.
Waking up to the truth is only part of the process. Business done consciously is stewarded by people who have done their own inner cleaning up of attitudes, assumptions, and patterns of behavior that had been fear-based and self-serving. Now, by showing up as conscious business professionals – truly leaders, even pioneers – we stewards understand and practice the truth that we all flourish together through selflessness. The beautiful paradox is that such selflessness is not sacrifice but enriches everyone including the giver.
In the context of traditional business, we can refer to the dictionary definition of a leader as the "directing head" of a company, business unit, etc. Among the synonyms for leader, Thesaurus.com brings up the words: chief, commander, director, head, manager, officer, ruler, president, boss.
What we don't see in this definition and its related words are any indication of leader as inspiring or as being in service. This is not to say that a leader -- whether a chief, a director, an officer, or a boss -- cannot inspire nor be of service. However, as long as our current definition of the word doesn't explicitly include these qualities, institutions will tend to install leaders who operate by force first and by inspiration or service last, if at all.
The good news is that in conscious business, leaders are installed and/or emerge because they inspire and serve. These are qualities of Presence. Think about your own experience in business. To which leaders have you been devoted? I don't mean the ones who compelled you to be merely loyal by manipulation or intimidation. Rather, I mean the leaders who inspired you to do your best, not just for yourself but for him or her -- and for the company.
In the triple bottom line of business, we operate for the benefit of the 3 Ps of people, planet and profit. However, there is a fourth “P,” that of Presence, which is essential to an expanded consciousness of business. Presence supports the higher purpose of those triple bottom line virtues of people, planet, and profit.
Presence is the unseen, though no less powerful, substance that underlies all human intention and activity. Being fully conscious of Presence in our business aligns humanity's highest purpose with our ideas, our intentions, our intelligence, and ultimately our actions.
Presence First, then, consists of all the practical -- that is, DOING -- skills necessary to operate an organization, plus the emotional, energetic, and spiritual -- that is, BEING -- attributes to inspire people to show up in service to that which is greater than themselves.
Leaders who inspire and serve are the ones who practice Presence First. They show up in the fullness of their humanity to lift everybody up versus suppress their humanity to keep everyone but themselves down. Therefore, when you seek a conscious business to work for or do business with, look for the business leaders who practice Presence First. You will know them by their humility, their benevolence, and by how they are truly loved.
For those drawn to BE a conscious business, there is a deep understanding that Presence must be core to the system of business. We, as conscious professionals, practice Presence First by showing up to contribute to expanding the consciousness of ourselves, our endeavors, of business at large, and ultimately of humanity.
If you identify as a conscious business, join Shift/Co for one of our free upcoming events to learn how to take the next step in growing your business and the impact you can make on the world.
*This post was adapted from an article by Stephen Dynako that was published in the Winter 2019 edition of The Convergence magazine.