The Business of Being
When we see the words business and being in a phrase it usually goes like this: Being in Business. We all have a pretty good idea of what that involves; products, services, marketing, customers, clients, accounting, employees, long hours, stress, customer service, to name a few.
When it comes to the “Being” part though, other than being on time I don’t think we think about it much at all. It’s as if Being is part of a different realm entirely, i.e., being present, being in the moment, being in love (my personal favorite), being natural, being honest, being happy and fulfilled, being human. These are all wonderful things; ideals that we aspire to in our personal lives. We take workshops, go on retreats, and spend way too much on therapy in the quest to achieve these states of being. I find it fascinating that we don’t really put Business and Being together. Yes we put them in the phrase but not in our actions or ways of thinking, or ways of being for that matter? It’s like we’re paying lip service to Being. We put the word into the phrase and then ignore it. Why is that?
That’s the question that came up for me today when I had to make a phone call I didn’t really want to make. I should note here that I do have a business with services and clients etc. I pride myself on good customer service. That includes being straight with my clients, about what they can expect and when they can expect it. In a word, integrity.
Sometimes that means pushing myself when I’m tired or run down. That’s a choice that can appear to be good for business but is the price worth it? After all, being run down leads to being sick which leads to being NOT in business. I tried to fight this by continuing to work. I thought I could “will” myself through it but that was a fantasy. My productivity dropped and I saw myself spending time at work without getting anything done. My energy level continued to drop until my body took over and said, “That’s it, we’re taking a break.” I reluctantly went along with it (as if I really had a choice). By then it was clear I wasn’t coming through for my client. I was out of integrity and it weighed on me. I knew that I had to call or I would fall even further out of integrity.
What would I say? I asked myself. My mind did what it usually does. It started strategizing on all the things I could say that would buy some time without having to reveal what was going on. None of that felt right. I felt stuck until it occurred to me that I was afraid of revealing weakness. I was afraid of being vulnerable. Why? What was I afraid of? I looked and looked and couldn’t find anything. The fear was just there, like a bad habit, hanging around for no reason.
When I finally made the call I just started talking to my client, telling him the truth of the situation. I’ve been pushing myself for a while and I needed to rest and regenerate. I was surprised at how genuinely concerned he was. I could tell that he appreciated I was being straight with him. It wasn’t just about making the call. It was also that I wasn’t withholding or strategizing or talking without really saying anything. At that moment I felt my integrity return. I was surprised by this. I knew that integrity could be lost. I knew that it could be found too. What I didn’t realize is that sometimes it’s simply a matter of being real, being yourself. And that is what the Business of Being is all about.
W. Peter Collins, May 2021
Karen Barbarick-Collins is a Certified Ayurvedic Technician and Wellness Coach, an Accredited Neuro Linguistic Programming Coach and a Registered Yoga Alliance Teacher. She is the founder of Bending Blade Healing Arts.