#MUNIonThis: Determining how to start, run, and grow one’s company involves a lot of self-examination and alignment, lots of valuable time most startups don’t make enough time for, because we usually get so caught up in the doing – the day-to-day running of the business.
When starting Muni, the one thing I didn’t want to forget is the sense of mindfulness – of well-being of self, community, and planet – as this is the very thing we work hard to promote through content, design and events like Muni Market Day, monthly Muni Meetups and so on. And this includes mindfully running one’s businesses, whether a “social enterprise” or not.
As we talked about during the Muni Meetup on Mindful Business back in February, there are so many dimensions to consider in running any business mindfully – from raw materials sourcing, production and product life cycle, employee well-being, purpose, fulfillment, sustainability and so on. And I believe that rather than being paralyzed by thought, it’s important to remind ourselves to just get started with even the slightest of positive changes in our lives, and continuously find ways to do things a little bit better, more and more each day.
Aligning personal and business values
Living mindfully is something we’re faced with everyday with the choices we make in our personal, professional, and business life, and we need to remind ourselves constantly about our values and priorities, and what we’re ultimately trying to do as a company and movement for all those who have followed us with our journey and grown with us thus far, and for us as a business also.
It is tricky to find the balance of living out the most mindful life possible, and also forgiving yourself and allowing yourself some breathing room.
One instance in which I try to keep myself in check is maintaining good work-life balance. As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to get caught up in doing the work 24/7, almost as an obsession. But sometimes, it really is important to take a step back, for our personal well-being, and therefore our performance at work.
The times I’ve taken to get more sleep or exercise, cook some food, read some articles or listen to a podcast or audiobook, catch up with friends, or spend time with family have been precious ways to renew my energy and avoid the feeling of burnout. I am human, and there are times that I do get caught up with the work and get cranky, so it has been important to remind myself of the values or principles I’d like to uphold in running the business.
Finding purpose and worth
To help make choosing better a way of life, and build a community that nurtures mindful living; Muni’s Why has also been clear to me. While it has not been a straightforward path for me in life, I’m glad I’ve finally found something that I love to do, am good at, and which I feel, is needed in this world and is worth devoting my time on this planet for.
With all this talk of passion and principle though, a business can only stay a business if there’s money coming in. And since this essentially began as what people may regard as a “passion project”, it was hard to reconcile the idea of charging for things I would have been glad to do for free. In the end though, it is necessary in order to be financially sustainable. And when people do something of real value, I believe it is possible to look deeply into one’s business, tweak things to keep making things better, and draw an increasing number of conscious consumers of products, services and content.
It is a continuous process of learning from each other, so that together, we can create a culture where people care more about their own well-being, and that of society and the planet, a culture where, no matter profession, nationality or gender, we find ways to do good with what we do everyday.
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