“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”
I spent the weekend in a hot room with a bunch of hot women stepping out on their own heroine’s journey in pursuit of that version of success. Is it possible to live with a sense of alignment between your values and your daily work, save the world, and make good money too? Can you like what you do and like HOW you do it?
Many of us are trying to find that. If nothing else, trying to manage the crazy of the entertainment industry with some modicum of inner peace, focusing on the why when the how gets too overwhelming, surrounding ourselves with like-minded friends who remind us to bring levity to the game and breathe more and downward dog more and love more. And maybe some of us are even attempting to apply the same mindset to an entrepreneurial endeavor these days. After all, a bunch of us are realizing, we’re artists but we can be business people too, dammit. Just the nice kind… who care and stuff.
But this is bigger than us. There’s a whole movement underway that’s changing business as we know it on a national and even global scale…‘cuz as it turns out, we’re not alone in wanting balance, and wondering if love and business can possibly go hand in hand, and if we can like ourselves at the end of the day.
Non-artists want that too.
Back in 2009 – oh, remember ’09? When we were still reeling from the recession and hating banks and not yet occupying Wall Street and wondering if we were ever going to work again? I had just moved to Los Angeles seeking refuge from the disgruntled-ification of the strapped New York theater scene and hoping that following the old adage, “go west!” would bring about my date with Tinseltown destiny (it did and it didn’t – as with those early frontiersmen and -women I’ve found some true eurekas and some fools’ gold, aaaaand I’ll leave the metaphor there).
That same year the CEO and founder of Whole Foods, John Mackey, hit the scene with a newfangled term – Conscious Capitalism – that he told Fast Company at the time was “a fairly new idea, but it’s going to have a huge impact. I do believe it will become the dominant paradigm of business in the 21st century.” The idea at its simplest is one you’ve probably been smelling whiffs of all over the place: companies that care about their purpose and not just their profit end up making a bigger profit after all. We Millennials (although we’re not alone in this) like feeling that we’re buying from good companies rather than feeling that our dollars are supporting evil enterprises. Funny that.
And it seems we’re making a difference.
The headline of that Fast Company article on Conscious Capitalism back in 2009 asked cynically, “Isn’t it too late to believe in magic?” But today, the magazine known for covering innovation in business is singing a different tune: an article about the Conscious Capitalism trend from earlier this summer stated that companies that aren’t updating their business practices are simply less likely to thrive – and announced that “this holistic approach to business may be the most significant movement of our time.”
What does this mean for us? For women in Hollywood? Conscious Capitalism gives us permission. If we have passion and emotions and a desire to screw the “work-life balance” and call the whole thing LIFE, then there’s hope. And if we want to make money at the end of the day and not feel gross about it, then there’s hope there too. We’re not unrealistic romantics; we’re what ‘business as usual’ needs to become if humans are going to survive as a species.
Which brings me back to that steamy room. I had gotten a notice in my inbox for something called the TOGETHER! Conference, and signed up on impulse. This turned out to be the latest in a series of gatherings over the last year or so in LA, led by a woman named Tatjana Luethi, a Swiss-born UX/design/branding expert who’s found her calling in helping women figure out what they want to do, and do it in a way they like. As the literature says, “ this conference series caters to women who are passionate about merging their personal and professional background & experience into a meaningful, purpose-driven and financially prosperous career or business as a vehicle for personal fulfillment and to make a difference and contribution to our society and culture.”
And guys, it was stunning. It’s like Tatjana wrenched the Conscious Capitalism movement out of the realm of big business and into the hands of female entrepreneurs hungry to make something that matters....
Samara's all about collaborating to tell stories that are good for the world or good for a laugh or both. She edits books, copy, and scripts in Hollywood and contributes culture and tech/innovation content to various publications, including Wired: Insider and the Huffington Post. She's a frequent moderator at Silicon Beach conferences and was recently on the leadership council for the United Nations’ first ever summit on the role of media in promoting social causes. She's an Ambassador of coworking space WeWork, an Advocate for artworxLA, an Al Gore-trained Climate Reality Leader, and a member of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. As a speech and communication gal, she dialect coaches on TV and film sets (most recently Captain America: The Winter Soldier, X-men: Days of Future Past, The Lone Ranger, pilots) and works one-on-one with professionals in the creative, science, and business arenas to improve their ability to convey their message and connect. Follow her on Twitter and IG @samarabay and check out her website, www.samara-bay.com, for more.