Here at the 7 Graces Project, we utilise a number of different paradigms that help to guide us in all that we do. One of the most important of those paradigms is something called the 7 Key Relationships. I first identified these in my book The 7 Graces of Marketing. Since then, they have been a major focus in our courses, as well as in our work with private marketing clients. Here’s a quick list of what they are:
- Our Relationship with Self
- Our Relationship with Source
- Our Relationship with Others
- Our Relationship with Our Business
- Our Relationship with Our Audience
- Our Relationship with Money
- Our Relationship with Marketing
All of these relationships impact the way we conduct our businesses. They affect the way we communicate and interact with others. They affect our business choices and attitudes. They affect how we see ourselves, how others see us and how we impact the world around us. And ultimately, they impact our business success – both financially and intrinsically.
This week, taking a look through our body of content on this site, I realised I had not yet published an article in which my sole focus was Key Relationship 2:
Our relationship with Source.
Perhaps I neglected this because I was thinking that our readers would be more interested in the other relationships, as it is easier to see the direct link between them and how they impact our businesses. But actually, the way we see, view and relate to Source is one of the most influential factors in how we run our businesses, second only to our relationship with Self.
So today, I thought I would spend some time sharing my definition of the word ‘Source’, how each and every one of us has a relationship with it and how that relationship is fundamental in determining whether we’ll end up running ethicalor not-so-ethical businesses.
Arriving at a Universal Definition of ‘Source’
These days, the word ‘Source’ is frequently used by members of the New Age community to refer to a higher power. While that interpretation of the word is perfectly fine within their worldview, it’s too culturally biased to encompass what I mean by the term. I believe that if something is true, it must be true at all times and in all places. Thus, the only way to arrive at a definition of Source that is universal to all is to find something that all human beings – at all times and in all places – have in common, regardless of their worldviews or cultural biases.
Thus, when I use the word ‘Source’, I am referring to the natural world – the Earth and the ecosystem within it. When I say ‘Earth’, I am referring to the soil, minerals, water, air, etc. When I say ‘ecosystem’, I am referring to living entities – from microbes to plants to animals to humans. Together, they comprise the natural world I am calling Source. Apart from inhabiting physical bodies, it is the only thing that all human beings – past, present or future, near or far – have in common.
We are all part of a vast and complex ecosystem. It shapes our bodies. It feeds us. It gives us what we need to survive. It keeps us healthy or makes us ill. Eventually, we die and our bodies return to it. Regardless of whatever other metaphysical belief systems we may have, the natural world truly is Source in the most literal and primordial sense of the word. Source can make or break us. Without it, none of us would be alive.
But it is important to remember that we also have an impact on Source. We shape it. We feed upon it. We take from it what we believe we need. We use Source not just to survive, but to be happy or wealthy or powerful. But Source is not a thing; it is a system. And when we give to or take from a system, we change it – sometimes a little, sometimes a lot.
To sum all this up in the most basic terms:
Source is the natural world.
Source is a system.
The Earth and all living things – including ourselves – are part of that system.
The actions of any part of the system will have an effect on the other parts of the system.
The actions of any part of the system will have an effect on the entire system.
The actions of the entire system with have an effect on all the parts of the system.
Conclusion: We are NEVER separate from Source.
How Our Relationship with Source Forms Our Worldview
The fact that Source impacts us and we impact Source shows that we have an inherent relationship with it. Many of us in modern cities and towns are less aware of this relationship, but it is there regardless. We might think water comes from the tap and apples come from the store, but ultimately everything we have and use in life – even the computer on which I am writing this article – comes from Source. The raw materials, the people who designed and programmed it, the people who assembled it, the delivery truck (and driver) that brought it to me all arose from Source.
Some people, such as those who embrace the ‘Gaia’ worldview, see Source as being an animate entity. But it is not necessary to have an animistic belief about Source to understand our relationship with it. For example, my ancestors from the Giudicarie Valley of Trentino in what is now part of northern Italy used to call themselves contadini. While this word is typically translated as either ‘farmer’ or ‘peasant’, it carried with it a deeper meaning of ‘living off the land’. It didn’t just define what they did for a living or their social status, but how they related to the natural world. Everything they did in life – how they built their homes, what they ate, how they organised their families and communities – was directed by their relationship with Source. They were constantly dancing with Source; they had immense respect for it and never felt separate from it.
But here’s the point: based on archaeological research, the people of that region have lived this way for at least the past 4,000 years. Over the millennia, their politics and religion went through many radical changes, but their day-to-day relationship with Source changed relatively little. Even today, fifteen centuries after Christianity replaced ancient pagan belief systems, the Catholic parish from which my family came still has an annual pilgrimage to pray for protection from drought. Regardless of the entity (energy) to whom they are directing their supplications, it is still Source, and it reflects their awareness of their interdependence.
To me, what this says is that our social structures and belief systems do not determine our relationship with Source; rather, it’s the other way around. Regardless of whether we are religious, spiritual, animist, atheist, agnostic, pragmatic, scientific, hedonistic, shamanic or any combination thereof, our relationship with the natural world form the foundation of our social structures and beliefs.
Each of us carries with us a plethora of beliefs – personal beliefs, family beliefs, cultural beliefs and various scientific, metaphysical, philosophical or spiritual beliefs. Similarly, each of us lives within a huge web of social structures – family traditions, organised religions, educational systems, political systems and so forth.
The amalgamation of all these things becomes our worldview. Most of us are more or less unconscious of our worldview, as it is all we have ever known. It seems to be woven into the very fabric of who we are. But if we truly wish to understand ourselves, we need to understand its origins and learn to discern where our unconscious worldview ends and our conscience Self begins. The first steps to that discernment are to recognise that our relationship with Source lies at the root of our worldview and to explore more about what that relationship looks like.
The Connection between Worldview and Business Ethics
As our relationship with Source is at the root of our worldview, it informs everything we do – including the way we do business:
If we feel disconnected or aloof from the ‘system’ of Source, we are less likely to be mindful of it in our business dealings; we may give little or no attention to our supply chains, for example.
If we see Source as inanimate, or believe humankind to be more intelligent than the natural world, we might exploit (or even destroy) natural resources, species or the balance between them.
Our relationship with Source influences even seemingly mundane activities like writing a blog post. If we feel disconnected from the whole, we will write as if we are separate from it. This can drive a mental and emotional wedge between us and our readers. In other words, disconnection from Source creates a disconnection between Self and others.
If, on the other hand, we feel a powerful connection to Source, we will naturally feel resonant and even loving towards the whole. When we are resonant and loving, we will not seek to exploit or dominate people or planet in the name of profit. Rather, we will look for solutions where profit comes naturally from creating greater value for the entire system.
That, in essence, is what defines a new paradigm entrepreneur/social entrepreneur. Their powerful, intimate and conscious relationship with Source is the lifeblood of who they are, what they do and how they do it.
How your relationship with Source impacts the way you do business might not be immediately apparent until you become aware of how it unconsciously informs your worldview. But you must also be aware that this key relationship informs many of the assumptions you might be making about other people with whom you come in contact when you run your business. If you wish your business and marketing to be effective, authentic AND ethical, your worldview must feel congruent and resonant not only within yourself but with all your business associates – clients, customers, suppliers, partners, social-media connections, web visitors and mailing-list subscribers.
The journey towards this ideal begins with our own consciousness. This consciousness can only begin when we are brave enough to ask ourselves the right questions about our relationship with Source and subsequently make changes when we see things that are steering us away from the congruence and resonance we seek. Here are a few sample enquiry questions you can write about in your reflective journal to explore your relationship with Source:
- Intellectually, how do you view Source? Do you see it as a living, animate entity? An inanimate, scientific system? Something else?
- Emotionally, how do you feel about Source? Do you feel close and intimate? Distant and removed? Loving? Indifferent? Happy? Sad?
- On a day-to-day basis, how ‘alive’ is your relationship with Source? Does it consciously enter into your work and activities? Is it vaguely present in the background? Is it scarcely ever in your thoughts and actions?
- What are your various beliefs about family, society, religion, politics, people, planet, money, business, etc.? Take your time with this one; try to go as deep into it as you can.
- Look back at how you described your relationship with Source. How is it reflected in your belief systems? In other words, how does it form the foundation for other things you believe? Don’t be discouraged if you cannot come up with the answers to this right away. Simply plant the question in your mind and allow the answers to reveal themselves organically over time (even if it’s years from now).
- How do your belief systems show up in your business? How does your relationship with Source show up? Where is there congruence and resonance between them? What strengths can you draw from it? Where is there incongruence and dissonance? What ‘wants’ to change?
I hope this article has been useful in deepening your understanding of the importance of your relationship with Source and how it plays a part in your actions as a new paradigm entrepreneur and/or social entrepreneur. I invite you to share your reflections and thoughts (especially on the enquiry questions) in the comments below.
The 7 Key Relationships is one of the four cornerstones of ethical marketing that we teach on our 7 Graces course Foundations of Ethical Marketing. This course is for any business owner – established or start-up – who is interested in bringing greater social focus to their business and in creating a long-term legacy through their work. If this sounds interesting to you, we invite you to attend a free information call about the course on September 24th. Just CLICK HERE to book your place on the call. If you cannot attend live, you will be able to download the MP3 audio replay.
12 September 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)