Our 7 Graces community is comprised of some of the most remarkable people, all devoted to creating a new paradigm of business and marketing that is ethical and globally focused. They believe that the purpose of business is to serve humanity and planet by keeping our environmental, social and economic resources in a state of flow and balance. Embracing this outlook is the essence of social entrepreneurship, regardless of whether or not their business is technically a ‘social enterprise’ (which is a specific type of legal entity).
Earlier this month, one of our community members – a woman named Alisoun Mackenzie – ran an online event called the ‘Give To Profit Fundraising Business Summit’ on which I had the pleasure of being one of 16 entrepreneurial speakers (you can hear the replay of these interviews for free at http://www.mcssl.com/app/?af=1581718).
Alisoun’s background in the humanitarian and charitable sector is impressive and inspiring, and it has obviously filtered into the consciousness with which she created ‘Give 2 Profit’. I thought Alisoun’s vision for what businesses should and could provide society was particularly compelling, so I thought it would be of interest to our readers if I turned the tables and shared a short virtual interview, where I asked Alisoun some core questions about her business and how it fits in the new paradigm. I hope you find it thought-provoking and that it inspires you to see new possibilities for what your own business, social enterprise or other non-profit can do for the world.
And, as you’re reading, think about how Alisoun’s vision EXEMPLIFIES the Grace of Abundance in the 7 Graces model.
LYNN: What was your original inspiration for creating an event Give 2 Profit? What was the impact you had hoped to create through it?
ALISOUN: I’ve been doing humanitarian work with young genocide survivors in Rwanda for the last 4 years with a charity called Create Global Healing. I’ve been teaching trauma healing, heart-centered leadership skills and entrepreneurial skills.
My experience of being involved in this project has been both humbling and inspiring. If these young people – who have witnessed their families being murdered, and have lived in orphanages or even right the streets – can heal their inner wounds to go on to create happy rewarding lives, then there is so much more potential for us all. Most of the young people we’ve been working with are now enjoying lives that they couldn’t have imagined only a few years ago. Many are at university or even running their own businesses. Watching this has taught me so much about our capacity as human beings to heal and to create miracles when we connect to our hearts and to one another at a heart level.
When I came back from my last trip there in September 2013, I had a compelling desire to raise more funds for the project – initially $25,000. I had no idea at that point how I would do it as most of the fundraising I’d done before had been much smaller e.g. auctions, making and selling jewellery, running small one-off events etc. But with the ideas and generous support of many in my network, the idea of the ‘Give To Profit Fundraising Business Summit’ was born.
The concept of ‘Give To Profit;’ came from my desire to help heart-centered business owners (particularly those who feel awkward about marketing or sales) to attract more clients with heart, integrity and social impact. Give To Profit is about creating a healthy balance of giving to ourselves and giving to others, so that more people can gain. Sales and marketing become so much more appealing when you focus on doing what you love and being kind and generous in everything you do.
Quite a few people were also asking me to share how they could support a charity through their business, because they’d seen me do this in a way that has also helped me grow my business. And so it made sense to merge providing training to my community with raising funds for charity. This is the basis for ‘Give To Profit Fundraising Business Summit’.
In terms of impact, my main goal is to raise funds for all the charities we are supporting through the summit. However, I’d also love to build a community of like-minded business owners who value authenticity, love, compassion and social impact. And I’m also open to the wonder and possibilities of expanding my network and attracting speaking opportunities around the world, so that this ripple of kindness has greater reach.
LYNN: You use words like ‘love’, ‘compassion’ and ‘authenticity’ in your marketing. As you see it, what’s the connection between these qualities and business success/growth?
ALISOUN: For me, coming from a place of love, kindness and compassion is central to happiness and success in all aspects of life. Love is the essence of life. Love is who you are in your purest form. To operate a business without love or ignoring the true expression of our authentic self is fighting against nature. When we do this, we make it harder for ourselves to succeed.
As I explain in my forthcoming book Heartatude: The 9 Principles Of Heart-Centered Success, it’s so much easier to attract authentic and meaningful success when we align our head, our heart and our actions to our soul purpose.
In business, this includes developing the mindset and skills that will enable us to monetize what we love doing as well as bringing love, kindness and compassion into the way we approach all aspects of our business, our clients, our contacts, our product range.
LYNN: What’s your perspective on the entrepreneur as ‘servant’? What does ‘serving’ actually mean?
ALISOUN: To me, each and everyone one of us was born into the world with the same rights to be happy, to be loved and to succeed. But we also have a responsibility for the way we choose to interact with others around us. For example, I believe one of the roles of a manager in an organisation is to be of service to their people; in the same away, one of the roles of a business owner or entrepreneur is to consider how to be of greatest service to everyone we encounter in business, while at the same time having healthy boundaries and structures in place to manage our own personal and financial sustainability.
Whether or not we consciously think about it, we are all having an impact on those around us as well as the planet we inhabit. Being of service is also about making conscious choices about how we impact everything we touch, and to treat others and the planet in a way we’d love to be treated ourselves – with love, kindness and respect.
LYNN: Tell us about the importance of GIVING. Why is this essential to ‘success’?
ALISOUN: As human beings we are all genetically wired to be kind, an expression of this is ‘giving’ of ourselves – to others and to ourselves. Research I’ve read indicates that kindness is the most highly sought after quality of those looking for a soul mate; but kindness may actually make us more attractive in other ways too.
Doing something – unconditionally – for someone else is not only a ‘nice’ thing to do, it also helps to strike up conversation, build relationships and may even influence the other person’s propensity to say ‘yes’ if you then go on to invite them to collaborate or work with you. Consider for a moment: have you ever bought something from someone after they have been kind to you?
I remember a few years ago my golf pro lent me a club, to save me from having to buy one until I’d worked out whether or not I actually liked playing the game. I then went on to buy a set of clubs from him – partly because he is genuinely a lovely guy who was offering me a great deal. But it was also because he had been kind enough to lend me the club to practice with. So, buying from him felt like the ‘right’ thing to do for me.
Being kind in business can either help or hinder your success depending on HOW you ‘give’. Imagine a ‘Giving Spectrum’. At one end is ‘unsustainable giving’. At the other end is ‘selfish (self-centered) giving’. And in the middle is what I call ‘strategic giving’:
Here’s how I see them:
- UNSUSTAINABLE GIVING is where we give away too much and put other people before ourselves too much. When we let other people take advantage of us. We undercharge for our services. We avoid ‘sales’ conversations or focus on creating products/services for people who can’t afford to pay for them – even if we need to earn more money!
- SELF-CENTERED GIVING is where it’s all about you. You’re more interested in what you can personally get out of any given situation (e.g. only promoting yourself networking events or ‘selling’ at people even if they don’t need what you’ve got to offer). Building mutually beneficial relationships or being generous with your attention, time or knowledge for the benefit of others, for no financial gain, is not that important to you.
- STRATEGIC GIVING* is where we have a healthy balance of loving and respecting ourselves as well as others. It is where we take the time to connect to our heart and put ourselves in the best place to succeed. We focus on making a difference to ourselves and others. We have a balance of giving and receiving. We like to give unconditionally but also to receive. We offer solutions at reasonable prices and may even have a range of products/services at different price points so we can help people irrespective of their budget.
So, as I said earlier, ‘giving’ can either greatly help or hinder your success, depending on how you’re doing it!
* Sidebar thought from Lynn: I would also call this ‘sustainable giving’ as it is a cyclic process of giving AND receiving. Like Nature, it is self-generating, just like breathing in and breathing out. It is similar to the ‘Principle of Giving’ and ‘Principle of Receiving’ I talk about in my 2009 book The Garden of the Soul.
LYNN: How can we ensure our giving is authentic, rather than a ‘barter’ with the Universe?
ALISOUN: To me it’s about truly connecting to our heart. The first of the ‘9 Principles Of Heart-Centered Success’ that I share in my book Heartatude is ‘Engage Your Heart’ – to come from a place of love, kindness, compassion, integrity, gratitude, peace and respect towards ourselves and others.
In the context of giving, this involves embracing unconditional giving in the moment. Sometimes it is good to plan strategically how to have the greatest impact through what you’re doing; but it’s also important to enjoy the act of giving and to be completely unattached to the outcome.
And the great thing is that your body will give you feedback as to whether you’re attached to the outcome of your actions or not – in the form of the emotions you feel:
- When you’re attached to the outcome you’ll feel negative emotions, such as stress, anxiety, disappointment, frustration when things are not going as you’d like, or positive emotions such as excitement or being on a high.
- By contrast, when you’re unattached to the outcome, you’re more likely to feel love and peace in your heart, to feel calmer and to trust in the possibilities and miracles that manifest even if these are very different to the intentions or goals you’ve set for yourself.
So compassionate and authentic giving is when it’s a true expression of our purest self and when it’s driven by a desire to help others, rather than being driven by fear, greed or what we think we ‘should’ be doing.
LYNN: What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve gained as you’ve conducted the interviews for Give 2 Profit?
ALISOUN: That there others have also had experience of their business growing as a consequence of being kind, authentic and supporting charitable causes – what a relief it is that we don’t have to compromise our values to succeed in business!
One of the key learnings I’m taking away from this is that when we have the courage to share our vision and values, even when they are different to the norm, we stand out from the crowd and become more attractive to those who resonate with our message.
LYNN: What final message or thought would you like to share with our readers today?
ALISOUN: We are living in one of the most exciting times in history with the convergence of science, spirituality, technology, climate change and a growing world population.
Each and every one of us has the opportunity to make things better or worse – for ourselves, those around us and the planet.
So I encourage you to take the time to connect to your heart and consider what your unique blend of qualities, skills and passions is, that you’d like to share with the world, and then to develop the skills, mindset and emotional capacity for success.
When you take courageous steps to explore what’s on the other side of your comfort-zone and act from you heart, you will often be surprised by the unexpected opportunities that will present themselves.
End of Interview
I hope you found Alisoun’s words to be as inspiring as I did. I strongly encourage you to check out the audio replays from her wonderful ‘Give To Profit Fundraising Business Summit’ at http://www.mcssl.com/app/?af=1581718). It’s completely free to listen to all 16 interviews, and when you sign up, you’ll also get access to over 20 free bonus gifts (including some freebies from me.
And if you’d like to KEEP the audios, you can for a nominal cost. What’s nice about this is that all proceeds from the purchase of the MP3 downloads is going to raise funds for the charity ‘Create Global Healing’ Alisoun was talking about, as well as over 10 other charitable causes.
In fact, if you by the MP3s using this link http://www.mcssl.com/app/?af=1581718, the 7 Graces Project CIC will receive a donation from you to aid our 7 Graces scholarship fund, which will provide access to our ethical marketing training courses to those who cannot afford to pay.
So, really, it’s all just one big GIVING fest.
I would like to close by saying how grateful I am to Alisoun Mackenzie for allowing me to be part of this beautiful event, and for sharing her insights and VISION with us today.
12 April 2014
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Find out more about how changing the paradigm can help make the world a better place:
The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sell, by Lynn Serafinn, where you can learn how the 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Graces impact the world through media and marketing. Brit Writers Awards Finalist eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian & Ecological Social Issues
Tweep-e-licious: 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically by Lynn Serafinn, which can help you learn how to create meaningful collaborations through Twitter and other social media. eLit Book Awards Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.
Get instant access to a free 90-minute Twitter marketing class at http://tweepelicious.com
The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging: An Effective, Creative & Ethical Way of Marketing for Visionaries & New Paradigm Business Leaders. To receive an update when that book is available, just click here. As a thank-you gift for showing your interest, you’ll get instant access to an exclusive, free 5-page PDF revealing the exact same blogging template we use with our clients and we teach to participants on the ethical marketing training courses at the 7 Graces Project.
LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales. Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors.
Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project CIC, a not-for-profit social enterprise created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.
(not just for Londoners, as we meet also on Skype)