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Conscious Business: Becoming A Conscious Leader

In a recent AlterCall Advocate Program call, we spoke about the concept of consciousness in business – what it means, why it’s important, and how it can bring greater enrichment to your career. There were some excellent points raised (and plenty of tangents followed).

Fred Kofman’s Conscious Business is an incredibly thought-provoking, life-changing book that explores these concepts in depth. Kofman introduces the idea of a conscious business; one that “seeks to promote the intelligent pursuit of happiness in all its stakeholders.”

At AlterCall, we’re all about seeking happiness and fulfillment in our careers and endeavors. As such, this book perfectly echoes the sentiments we stand by, and so we were excited to dig into Conscious Business during our mastermind call. 

On 'Conscious Business' by Fred Kofman

It’s rare to find a resource that expertly weaves together the concepts of self-realization and business. As Kofman points out, “consciousness is the main source of organizational greatness” – but this is a fact that often gets overlooked. 

For this reason, we were delighted to stumble across a resource that provided solid techniques for marrying consciousness to our careers. 

In his book, Kofman covers:

(FredKofman.org, 2020)

About The Author

Leadership coach and advisor, Fred Kofman, has been working to motivate companies for more than 30 years. He’s worked with the likes of HuffPost, LinkedIn, Google, Facebook, and other major companies around the world. 

His mission? To connect companies with their values, passion, and purpose. Through his own self-started global consulting agency, Kofman has delivered leadership programs to more than 15,000 executives around the world.

He’s also written multiple books on his topics of interest, one of which is Conscious Business. Needless to say, he’s got an impressive portfolio!

Diving In

We had plenty to say about this resource, as it spoke to many of us on a deeply personal level. After all, how many people can say that their career aligns with their values, passions, and purpose?

Let’s dive into the main focus of the call – consciousness. 

Consciousness: What is it?

With us on the call, we had Tara Daylami – AlterCall's leading psychotherapist who has worked with sports teams, athletes, and other high-achieving individuals, and she generously spoke with us about the meaning of consciousness.

So, what is consciousness, exactly?

Like many concepts in psychology, there’s no definitive answer here – but consciousness generally refers to being aware, present, and in the zone. 

Or, in more sophisticated terms, it has to do with awareness of the internal and external experience. In other words: what’s happening in your world? Are you aware, and are you in control of your responses?

"To be conscious means to be awake."

There are a few different levels of consciousness – you’ve got survival consciousness, relational consciousness, and self-esteem-related consciousness, just to name a few. Tara described it as a ‘ladder of enlightenment’, because growing more conscious in all corners of your life is like walking out of the darkness.

Why It's Important To Become Conscious

The business world (and the world at large) is increasingly moving into a place of consciousness. And not just reactionary consciousness, but intentional awakening that is fully driven by a desire to improve and flourish. The question is, are you prepared to step into intentional consciousness yourself?

Being conscious of everything you do is incredibly important. Without it, you’re operating from a place of habit, urges, feelings, and triggers – not the things you want to be acting on, especially in your business life. 

Lyneka, another of our lovely facilitators on the call, shared a powerful quote on being conscious: “nobody is more blind than the one who does not want to see.” So consciousness is a choice, it’s an action – but all too often, we forget that waking up is fully within our power. 

When you do make the decision to become conscious, you make the fundamental move from passenger to driver. You’re no longer a victim of your own circumstances; you take the wheel and drive your own life, and you take full responsibility for each and every move you make.

Sound intimidating? It’s not meant to be easy – after all, the hardest things you’ll ever do are the ones that will bring you the most satisfaction and progress in life

What's The Alternative?

Let’s think about what it means to do the opposite – to sit in the passenger’ seat and accept the role of victim. Every time something happens to you that feels unfair or uncomfortable, you lie down and admit defeat. You don’t get back up on that horse. As Lyneka put it: you “wipe your hands clean.”

Reading that out loud, you’d probably see the unconscious attitude as foolish. But think back to points in your life where you’ve raised the white flag (because we’ve all done it). In those moments, it’s likely you saw giving in as the best and easiest option. 

That’s why choosing to live the conscious life is a true challenge – it’s undoubtedly the more difficult route, as you need to pick yourself up, dust off your knees, and start over from square one. But it’s the approach that brings improvement rather than stagnation, and progress rather than lost potential.

Consciousness VS Unconsciousness

The next thing we covered during the call was seven qualities of an unconscious team member and the seven qualities of a conscious team member. Consciousness isn’t a clear-cut concept to grasp, and it can be even more challenging to embody – so these traits are an excellent guide to living as a conscious person, both in business and in life.

Seven Qualities of an Unconscious Team Member

1. Unconditional blame. Unconscious people take everything that happens to them as being the result of ‘the powers that be’ – in other words, they blame every external factor and take no responsibility. This can only lead to stagnation and a vicious cycle of repeated failure.

2. Essential selfishness. All of the focus is on you when you’re living unconsciously; there is no such thing as looking to others in empathy or gratification. Just as every poor decision can be blamed on something or someone else, every fruitful decision gets traced back to you. 

3. Ontological arrogance. If you’ve ever met someone with tunnel vision who only has eyes for their own personal beliefs and experiences, chances are, that person was living unconsciously. Ontological arrogance means that your way is the only way – end of story.

4. Manipulative communication. This involves making the intentional decision to withhold certain details so that the cards play in your favor. For example, a colleague might neglect to give you all of the important details from the meeting you missed so that they can outperform you in the eyes of your boss.

5. Narcissistic negotiation. An unconscious team member will stop at nothing to put themselves above others, even if it means beating up their opponent or highlighting the flaws of their ‘competitors’. You’ll see this all the time when political opponents rat each other out to the press. 

6. Negligent coordination. We’ve all been there; a team member will make promises about the work they can complete and the responsibilities they can take on, but at the end of the day, they won’t follow through. This repeats until all faith in their word is lost.

7. Emotional incompetence. Putting on a facade is deceitful toward your team members, and it’s utterly useless to you in the long run. Emotional incompetence means that you never quite say what you’re really thinking – a habit that can be seriously damaging to both your team and yourself as time goes on. 

Seven Qualities of a Conscious Team Member

1. Unconditional responsibility. If you’re living consciously, you know that every action you take can affect your life in a positive, neutral, or negative way. When something happens as a result of a decision you made, you do not look outside of yourself to place blame; you take responsibility, learn from the incident, and move forward.

2. Essential integrity. This means operating in full honesty and transparency at all times, which is a crucial part of any successful team. You build trust between yourself and others through consistent integrity. 

3. Ontological humility. It’s not about who’s right, it’s about what’s right. Conscious people are fully aware that the beliefs they hold aren’t necessarily the objective truth; they know that other people may have equally strong and valid beliefs, and they’re open to discovering what’s right, even if it goes against their beliefs. 

4. Authentic communication. As a team member, you need to be able to communicate with total authenticity. You’re not going into any exchange with the intention of asserting your own opinion or putting yourself on a pedestal above others; instead, it’s with the pure intention of understanding someone else’s perspective. 

5. Constructive negotiation. This is making an active effort to reach agreements where everyone benefits – not just yourself. 

6. Impeccable coordination. You follow through on the promises you make. And not just promises, but also the expectations you set and the pretenses you put into action. In everything, you are consistent, honest, and reliable.

7. Emotional mastery. This is the final quality, and it’s arguably one of the most important: it means embracing your true and authentic feelings, not shutting any of them out or pretending to feel a certain way for outward appearances. You approach your emotions with curiosity and a willingness to understand them. 

How Can You Become The Conscious Team Member?

It’s clear that the conscious team member is the person you want to embody, both in your personal life and your business endeavors. But how can you embody those seven traits? Moreover, how can you foster a conscious mindset across your entire team?

Remember that employees don’t quit jobs, they quit leaders – so the example you set for your team is what can make or break your culture of consciousness. Show your team that you are embodying each of the seven traits above. 

Eighty percent of our learning is done through observation. Demonstrate that you care about moving toward consciousness, and with time, you’ll see the dominoes start to fall. 

Wrap-Up Thoughts

There was enough content covered in this call to fill out hundreds of articles just like this one – but of course, there’s no time for all of it here. If you want to become part of a community that actively moves toward conscious living, why not join our Mastermind calls in real-time? 

Remember to check out the resource that sparked our conversation, Fred Kofman’s Conscious Business. Kofman goes through the traits of a conscious team member in far more detail, as well as a bunch of other high-value topics you won’t want to miss. 

That’s it for this week! Tune in again for more advice on business, clarity, and coming alive. 

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