If the opening week of 2021 is any indication of what's to come we are in for another stirring time. One way to ride these waves is to find some anchors that are meaningful to you. For me, what works best is to come up with a few simple themes to work into my life for the upcoming year. These themes can reach all sorts of areas of life including: work (hello, hi, this is technically a “business email”), relationships, community, spirituality, and health.
One theme that has become abundantly clear is that businesses are groups of PEOPLE. It's time to stop letting the veil of "corporation" or "business" hide the folks pulling the strings. 2020 exhibited a major reckoning for many business leaders. We saw call-outs and cancellations* of executives across a range of companies seemingly seeped in progress while in reality they continued to uphold the pillars of white supremacy either blatantly or behind-closed-doors. These former leaders were the gatekeepers for many other employees / contractors / collaborators / clients / customers and their actions set the standard for everyone in this sphere of influence.
When I want to think critically about the businesses I support I ask myself the following:
Who works there?
Who does the business ultimately serve?
Who are the decision makers?
Whose voice is missing from their decision making process?
Is there an alternative to this business (if yes, cycle through the questions again for that business)?
What would I have to give up to stop supporting this business?
What am I not willing to give up?
How are they serving the collective?
What can I do to hold the leadership compassionately accountable?
There is no cut and dry answer that will drive my decisions about where to spend money. Every business falls somewhere in the middle of the spectrum and it’s a personal and many times wavering decision on who makes the cut.
Taking some small steps this month examining the businesses you interact with will make it easier when another big reckoning comes around (which it will). You'll be able to stand with conviction next to the people you have chosen to support with your hard-earned money / time / energy.
Humanizing business is going to be a major theme (for me, and I hope for you, too) this year (and forevermore). As we are creatures of community, it usually feels pretty good to champion our fellow creatures. So, I would encourage you to spend more time on the light side of this task than the dark and uncover some people that electrify you. We’re gonna need every comrade we can muster.
Some additional themes for my 2021 include: expanding my community (more to come on that), embracing seasonality and taking tiny steps. Do you have anything coming up for you to anchor you through the pending storms?
Happy New Year (and new moon),
*If you have grappled with with cancel culture as I have, I would recommend reading We Will Not Cancel Us by adrienne marie brown as a primer to transformative justice; and to keep your mind open to the idea that justice can exist without punishment as we have established it thus far in the dominant culture here in the U.S.A.
I also want to say thank you to every person who has chosen to support us over the past few years. We truly would not be able to continue this path without you. Our small but mighty business grew by 3 employees in 2020 and we were able to start a new venture, Studio Sundays. That’s all thanks to customers like you.
I cannot wait until we can meet IRL sometime in the not too distant future. In the meantime, please email me with any questions or concerns! My email is firstname.lastname@example.org