First let me just check you’re in the right place. If you want my Bali postings please visit http://www.stephenandluiza.wordpress.com
For reasons I can’t explain some postings from that found their way on to this blog!
This is my Enlightened Business Blog.
For about a year I blogged fairly regularly and you can see the fruits of my labour below.
This, together with information on the About Me link above and the video below, will give you an idea of what I’m about.
I’ve stopped blogging – at least for now – but if there’s something you’d like to talk to me about please email me email@example.com.
I’d be delighted to hear from you.
If you want to learn more about my mentoring and coaching work, you can also visit http://www.bodymindunbounded.com
Also, apart from my own book Enlightened Business (see link above), I recommend Soul Money by Lynne Twist, which is a very engaging book looking at money from a fresh perspective.
Welcome to the Enlightened Business website, where you’ll learn a little more about my book, and can buy both a print and electronic copy.
Here’s what a couple of rather nice people have said about it:
“Stephen Kirk is a rare man who always looks through the superficial and sees the truth. His perception and sensitivity forces one to be honest about one’s own motives in every situation. His quiet, contemplative manner emboldens when tough decisions need to be made. His robust and strong moral compass empowersone to take the difficult or path less travelled. I consider myself privileged to have worked with him and to know him.”
ETIENNE DE VILLIERS, Chairman BBC Worldwide
“We are taught to believe that to be successful at business you need to be aggressive, driven and highly competitive. Enlightened Business says something different. Business can be joyful, light. Your competitor is not an enemy. Treat him or her as someone who is collaborating with you in the search for a better product or service. Being truthful and honest with yourself and others will help you to avoid tedious negotiations and heavy lawyers’fees. Make sure that deep down you really want to take that risk or make that investment, then live with your choice without regrets or recriminations. Above all, make your benchmark of success the value you create for others. That’s what I got out of Enlightened Business. I recommend it to you.”
DAVID GRAHAM, Media Entrepreneur, Journalist and Businessman
For a year I have placed various postings here, which you can see below. I’ve stopped updating these now – but you can get a taste of my outlook from them.
If you want to think about Enlightened Business in more depth, I suggest you watch The Social Network or read the book Accidental Billionaires (upon which it is based).
I enjoyed the film enormously because it non-judgementally looks at the way Facebook evolved. Nobody comes out of it a complete hero or a villain and it examines difficult issues in some depth.
Here are some of thoughts I had….
- Nobody has an original idea
Ideas arise in the ether and are picked up simultaneously. Thus social networking arose as a phenomenon, facilitated in general by an evolutionary push towards unity -bringing us all together and recognising our connection to each other. Basically Facebook or something similar HAD to happen because Nature or Evolution wanted it and the technology was available to facilitate it for the first time.
- Be in the Right Place at the Right Time
Consequently many people tuned into this evolutionary desire and translated into a business. It so happened that Mark Zuckerberg had the nervous system to tune in a very focused way. And the good fortune to be born in a place where ideas can happen and significant funding is available for bright graduates with no real business experience.
I doubt whether social networking could have taken off in any other country than the United States.
- Do ideas come from us or the ether?
I was touched at the moment in the film when he ‘gets’ the fact that have ‘relationship status’ in the profile would be a major attraction. I mean it’s obvious now isn’t it? But how come nobody had thought of it. That particular thought suddenly springs (from where?) into Zuckerberg’s mind and he rushes home to implement it.
- ‘Success’ comes from one-pointedness but not at the expense of Balance
But of course in his one-pointedness he perhaps cannot appreciate that others may feel abandoned and hurt along the way.
The film is placed in the backdrop of a double lawsuit between Zuckerberg and his estranged closest friend Edouard Saverin, who provided seed capital from his family Trust.
- Value and Honour your early supporters
In our society, too little emphasis is given to the role fate plays in introducing us to business partners and funders. We sometimes don’t realise that we have an obligation to look after those who have helped us along the way. It could be our parents, a rich friend, a mentor. All those who have trusted us unconditionally.
Of course, we sometimes ‘outgrow’ our early emotional and financial backers, but that does not lesson our obligation to them.
- Money is Overvalued
In our society, money is overvalued and too often we see our initial supporters jettisoned in exchange for greater wealth. But this sort of short-sightedness deprives us of true friends. Sure, we may be invited to the best parties, but such invitations are dependent on us maintaining our wealth and ‘power’.
- Close friends provide a warm life
But this is not true friendship.
I still am embarrassed when I remember the period of my early success. it went to my head and I became arrogant and for a short while judged m friends on how ‘well’ they had done financially.
Since then I have come to my senses and where possible I have apologised and healed the emotional wounds of those I had slighted.
I have learnt that warmth and value in life comes from nurturing those around us.
- Business and friendship are not mutually exclusive
When I watched the The Social Network, I felt sorry for Zuckerberg and the other leading characters. They may have invented the world’s favourite website, but it’s a shame and unnecessary that they fell out along the way.
Luiza was going to fly to Poland a couple of weeks back to attend her niece’s birthday party. it was unlike her, but she booked the wrong date on the BA website and missed her flight. As soon as she discovered her mistake, she rang BA, explained the situation and offered to buy a single ticket so she could due the return part of her flight but..
No such luck..
BA’s terms and conditions, which of course she had to Accept before they would accept her booking, stipulate that if you miss one leg of a non-refundable ticket the whole booking is cancelled.
The cost of a last-minute booking was so prohibitive that she decided to delay her trip by two weeks and her niece would have a second celebration.
Meanwhile BA was free to re-sell ‘her’ ticket an high price. Thus effectively selling the same seat twice.
This form of trading is becoming commonplace. I read, for example, of a couple of were fined hundreds of pounds for getting off a train early because their cheap ticket stipulated they had to travel to their booked destination.
But it’s deeply unEnlightened!
It causes resentment, it lacks compassion, it hardens employees and it is simply unreasonable.
However, the recession does seem to have led to an increase in compassion at my local Post Office in Baker Street, London.
I remember this place being a zoo. After endless queueing, you would be subjected to brusque treatment. Not any more it seems. My server was concerned that the envelope I was using was too large and would cause me extra postage expense. It was too late for me to return home and change it, so I spent the extra 50p – but what an improvement on the old days. I left with a warm glow.
Meanwhile, Luiza wrote to Readers Rants in the Travel section of the Sunday Times who are contacting BA on her behalf. Let’s hope they talk some sense into them!
It’s been a very strange week.
The UK Government announced how it was going to save 81bn GBP in order to claw back the money it spent bailing out the banks; Wayne Rooney has secured a payment of 250k GBP for staying at Manchester United, Luiza made a mistake on a flight booking to Poland, missed the flight and BA refused to reimburse her (fair enough) but also wouldn’t allow her to use the return part of her ticket (nuts); we went to an Eckhart Tolle and woke to find water pouring through our bedroom ceiling from a(nother) leak from our upstairs toilet!
Nobody doubts that cuts have to be made due to the mess we all got into. The strange thing is that the banks are being taxed a paltry 2.5bn GBP a year – and many suspect they will wriggle out of that. Meanwhile those with long-term disabilities and illnesses will have to pay for prescriptions, rather than having them free under the NHS.
It all seems a bit cliched – so I won’t harp on about it – but how is right that the Government bails out a bank, which then spends a substantial part its profits on bonuses rather then paying the money back, and instead the under-privileged are taxed more?
Ok so the Government bought a majority stake in several banks – so why doesn’t it sell its stakes in order to cover its deficit. What am I missing?
The case of Wayne Rooney hits at the whole principle of executive pay.
Is he that valuable? Clearly Man United think he is but one wonders whether this was an emotional or business decision on their part.
I’ll also ignore the other old chestnut about whether it’s ‘right’ to pay a footballer more than, say, a nurse. Well, to me a nurse is infinitely more valuable – but we still all stuck in a world which believes that fulfilment and money are somehow related.
The sad thing is that when high-earners forsake their wealth you hardly ever hear about it (except if its Bill Gates) but the media are full of reports about excessive pay – thus feeding the delusion that infinite wealth equates to infinite happiness.
Lastly on the water front, we had to decide whether to call our friendly Polish builder or the equally fantastic Pimlico Plumbers.
I sounded out Pimlico Plumbers. They are truly marvellous. Reliable with 130 plumbers on their books – so you can always get one – but horrifically expensive. As it was a Saturday, their rates are even more exorbitant.
Luckily for us Andrej was free and will pop round this afternoon to help us out.
It’s not so simple in our minds though. Andrej is a lovely chap but really overworked. And as he is friendly with us, he is relatively inexpensive.
Whereas Pimlico is vast and therefore need volume to keep all those guys (and a few lasses) busy.
Trying to make Enlightened decisions in the end means using your intuition… not easy when water is cascading onto the floor!
I’ve been doing a bit of soul searching recently. For the past year I have been putting focus on spreading the message of Enlightened Business, but with mixed results.
On the very positive, I got a very nice email from Sam Sutton at Liquid Logistics in Beaulieu – a beautiful feudal village in the South of England. Feudal because the majority of the village is own by the Montagu family, who mark every one of their properties with a three diamond red crest. You can’t really live or work in Beaulieu without permission from the Estate.
The benefit however is that Beaulieu is an oasis of beauty, cleanliness and calm unlike anywhere else I have experienced in the United Kingdom.
Sam and his business partner Richard met at University, where they were majoring in Outdoor Activities. They wanted to set up an Enlightened Business and began to look around for a suitable base.
Sam was from the New Forest and knew Beaulieu well including the fact that there was the UK’s only private Estuary.
They approached the Estate and got permission for a trial to offer guided kayaking tours as part of a training scheme sponsored by the Princes Trust, to try and rehabilitate and encourage long-term unemployed youth.
The trial was a great success and now their company, Liquid Logistics, offers a variety of outdoor training and events and they are considering expanding their offerings to include training so as to develop a year-round business.
I was very honoured to be invited to come down and discuss their business and to see the passion which they channelled into it.
And Luiza (particularly) and I were thrilled to then spend an hour kayaking in the beautiful Estuary, under Sam’s expert tuition. The sun even beamed down on us on a magnificent and warm Autumn day.
We returned to London, having had a perfect day.
But overall invitations like Sam’s are rare and I was wondering how I could do more.
I make a good living from my two non-executive Directorships and I resolved that for time being I would offer mentoring and coaching for free but ask that donations are made in return to local charities.
So if you would like to discuss your business or life, then do get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I look forward to hearing from you!
In our topsy-turvy business world that well-known phrase 0f the late Leona Helmsley – ‘We don’t pay taxes..Only the little people pay taxes’ rings truer than ever.
In order to resolve our current financial chaos, Governments raise higher taxes. This encourages the smart business folk to leave in droves or to find ever more extraordinary ways to conduct their business affairs in one country, whilst actually residing in a tax haven.
The focus is then placed on closing tax-loopholes. But the wily will always find a way.
The result is that the best brains leave, depriving their country of expertise and tax.
The deficits were caused of course by imprudent lending.
Substantial debt taken on either a corporate or individual level is no different than going to a casino.
Nobody I know is able to predict market conditions 100% of the time. Consequently unforeseen circumstances can send control of a company into the hands of bankers rather than business people.
Yet we now have the double madness of encouraging a return to increased lending and raising taxation.
Moderation is the key. Lending is of course required to finance company operations and expansion. But gambling on ever bigger deals is a recipe for disaster. And of course in risk-averse times money is lent to larger companies and not to smaller enterprises where it is most needed.
I am waiting for more initiatives to help entrepreneurs get started. For smaller businesses to be encouraged and for taxation to be lowered to encourage enterprising individuals to stay at home, rather than reside abroad.
It may be a long wait…..