Me: “You know Emily, the real reason why I do the work I do is because I am worried about our planet and the future of the human race given climate change. I mean if we don’t do something then I worry what the planet will be like for my nephews when they get to my age…I want to help people who are doing work that makes a positive impact on people and the world.”
Emily: “Shelley why aren’t you talking about this – this is what you need to be saying!”
Me: “But what if people don’t want to hear this? I’ve been thinking I should carry on with what I am doing until my mortgage comes through in a few months’ time and then I can talk about this stuff.”
Emily: “Shelley have you thought about the possibility that you could be even more abundant – financially and otherwise by sharing your truth?”
Me: “Mmm, yes I see that….I feel a bit vulnerable though since last year. The pressures of having over $10,000 in staff costs and overheads each month meant I was on a perpetual cycle of launches to bring revenue in. The stress I felt then caused me to lose my connection to me and my deeper purpose…”
After this conversation with my dear friend and amazing Coach Emily, I recorded a Facebook Live. (You can watch it here if you haven’t seen it yet)
The response to my Facebook Live was incredible and as Emily predicted it led to quite a few prospective clients booking calls with me. It also prompted an old friend messaging me for help with discovering her purpose and other unexpected messages of support.
This confirmed something I already knew but had forgotten, which is the Power of Purpose to forge a connection between us and others, leading to new and unexpected opportunities. It also reignited my passion for my work and made my heart feel deeply happy.
With the benefit of hindsight, it is obvious to me that the pressure I felt from the escalating costs of running my business had caused me to become disconnected from my purpose. I remember taking no joy from the increases in revenue that my business made last year as it journeyed towards becoming a 7-figure business.
Looking around me I see so many Corporations focus so much on profit and making money, and in so doing badly lose their way. Resulting in a negative impact on staff, customers and the world at large.
Negative consequences of a lack (or loss) of purpose on Corporations
Volkswagen is a clear example of a corporation that has lost its way with tragic consequences. Started in 1930’s post World War 1. Volkswagen was funded by Hitler with the aim of building cars that would be affordable to the middle market in Germany. The first V.W. cars and operations took much inspiration from Henry Ford and the Ford car. Henry Ford had helped make automobiles affordable to the US middle market.
Volkswagen quickly developed a reputation for developing quality, reliable and affordable cars. Soon Volkswagen grew beyond the German market and exported its cars to the US market. Then in 1960s in an unusual turn VW Campervans became the totem pole for the hippie movement becoming synonymous with peace and love.
So how can it be that with this diverse history Volkswagen has found itself embroiled in a scandal that rejects the solid reputation and rich history of nearly a decade?
The Volkswagen Scandal
In 2017, it became publicly known that Volkswagen diesel cars being sold in Europe and United States had caused 1 million tons of extra pollution. Their cars were emitting dangerous Nitrogen Oxide gases 10 to 40 times higher than regulations permitted in those vehicles in United States.
Let’s not kid around about the dangers of some of the Nitrogen Oxide gases that Volkswagen diesel cars were emitting. For instance, these gases lead to damage to the environment, contribute to climate change, and have been linked to children developing asthma and other health problems.
In Germany alone, it is estimated that 10,000 people die prematurely each year from long term exposure to Nitrogen Oxide gases (and it is not just Volkswagen whose cars are to blame for the emissions in Germany!).
You might be thinking that perhaps this was a mistake by Volkswagen, something unforeseen, a problem or fault with their cars that caused their cars to emit above regulation standards. You would be wrong.
Volkswagen deliberately fitted their diesel cars with a device that would reduce the emissions of Nitrogen Oxides under the testing conditions used by regulating bodies in their labs. Once the cars were on the road they emitted far higher amounts of these poisonous gases. When the regulating bodies started testing their cars, Volkswagen led them on a wild goose chase for years, deliberately pretending that they did not know why their cars would be giving such wildly different results in the lab as compared with on the road.
As a result of this the extent of the pollution from these cars has been worse than it would have been if they had just owned up in the first place to their cars having an emission lowering device.
Over 480,000 cars have been recalled to date in the US alone. We should not forget that Volkswagen lied to their consumers in their advertising. Marketing their cars as “Clean Diesel” safe from dangerous emissions. So tragically the consumers who bought these cars were completely unaware that they were spreading destruction to the environment and to the safety of their family and people in their communities.
Pollution is a worldwide problem, that is affecting major cities around the globe with catastrophic implications for public health. For instance, in London reached its legal limit for the whole of 2018 before the end of January 2018. Pollution in UK is linked to around 40,000 premature deaths each year.
Pollution is a global problem that needs a global solution to tackle immediately. However, with Donald Trump removing the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, a global government strategy for addressing pollution is unlikely to happen.
You might be wondering whether the scandal with Volkswagen had a negative impact on their market share and profitability? Tragically it did not affect Volkswagen at all. In fact, they increased their market share and are now the biggest worldwide manufacturer of cars!
What we can learn from Volkswagen is that when companies focus only on profit it is at the expense of humanity. A lack of a positive purpose, and simple core values, can result in a catastrophe with far reaching human and environment costs.
How Purpose Can Be A Force For Good In Business
Businesses that place purpose at the heart of their business last longer and can be a force for good, having a wide reaching positive impact on society and our planet.
All it takes is just one Visionary Leader, to bring about positive change…
Fashion student Veronica Scott grew up in Detroit and was distressed by seeing the huge rises in people living on the streets. She decided to do something about this and designed a coat that can be transformed into a sleeping bag. It can be made for just $7!
More recently Dutch designer, Bas Timmer, has created the Sheltersuit, which takes tents abandoned at festivals such as Glastonbury and turns them into waterproof and windproof coats that can be transformed into sleeping bags. His foundation has distributed 2500 of these suits to homeless people across Netherlands. The suits are made by volunteers who are refugees, jobless and homeless people. In exchange they are given education, job coaching, food, warmth and help with finding accommodation.
The Indian Billionaire, Tej Kohli, invests into a diverse range of sectors from finance to digital media and renewable energy. His purpose is to make an impact for the betterment of society. His society changing plans involve making cost effective solar water pumps that will transform agricultural irrigation in Indian. His vision is that by loaning these pumps to Indian Farmers at an affordable price he can make money for this business and make it possible for these farmers to adequately irrigate their crops. Ultimately making it possible to meet the challenge of feeding India’s fast growing population.
I’ve been a keen advocate of ethical fashion for the past twenty years because of my time in the Fashion Industry where I witnessed the apparel industry’s use of child labour in third world countries. As a University lecturer in Fashion Marketing I made a point of teaching my students about this darker side of the industry. As the next generation of leaders in the fashion industry I wanted my students to be informed and know about the possibility of doing things differently. I introduced them to brands such as People Tree and American Apparel who manufacture affordable clothing ethically.
American Apparel was founded by Dov Charney in 1989 with the purpose of removing human exploitation from the garment manufacturing process. Dov challenged the labour standards of the time employing diverse nationalities in his manufacturing center in North America. He often paid double the standard wage to his employees. At its height American Apparel had 110 stores worldwide and was turning over more than $600 million.
Whilst it can be argued that Dov Charney’s leadership was not without its difficulties (which eventually led to American Apparel’s bankruptcy in 2015/16 and then subsequent sale), nonetheless what he accomplished with this company stands as a testament to the power of purpose to make business a force for good and change within an industry sector.
Why Harness The Power of Purpose In Your Coaching Business?
It is very easy to see how the power of purpose can be harnessed by Coaches and become central to your business. The majority of my clients are motivated to start their coaching businesses by a desire to help people. They feel passionate about transforming their clients’ lives and in the process creating a life that gives them the fulfilment and abundance they desire.
Fundamentally the desire to help others comes from a desire to create a life filled with love, because isn’t that the truth of what brings us happiness after all?
Building a purpose-driven coaching business can benefit you because it will help you connect with your audience more deeply. Your audience can “SEE YOU”. This has practical relevance given recent changes in online marketing on Facebook, where developing a deep connection with your audience, one where you engage with each other, will assist the organic reach of your social media posts.
On a human level it will bring the right clients to you. Those clients who respond to your message and need your help. Your audience will feel a loyalty to you and desire to work with you and only you.
Your purpose will carry you through any stresses and challenges you face in your day to day journey as an entrepreneur because you will know that you have a deeper reason for continuing to push forwards to reach your goals.
You are part of something greater..
Most importantly when we have a purpose, we become connected to each other and the planet. You might not recognize this but by transforming the lives of your clients and your own life, you are part of something greater.
It doesn’t matter how your Coaching transforms your clients lives, whether it is through teaching your clients how to be better leaders and managers, or whether you help your clients become empowered around technology, so they are able to run their businesses more smoothly, or whether you empower women to shift self-esteem issues and become confident. Whatever you do, you are not doing your work in isolation, you are part of something greater.
Everything is connected, and every decision and action has consequences either positively or negatively on the collective. Your business needs to reflect this understanding for it to be sustainable and benefit all.
Your purpose can be the lightening rod that keeps you in touch with your core values as a person and as a company. It can help keep you on track as you grow your highly profitable business and face the challenges that this can bring. I know this to be true from my own experience.
There are important reasons why as a society we need to move away from a “only me” egocentric attitude to a “we” focus. With the recent earthquakes and strange weather patterns, it is obvious that we are already in times of unprecedented climatic changes. We already know that there are mass extinctions of animals taking place in the natural world. Exactly what will happen to the planet and our environment as we know it is yet to be seen. What this planet will look like for our children and their children we cannot know.
What we do know is that the Internet and technology means that individuals have the tools they need to reach out to our audience worldwide and make a huge positive impact. There has never been a better time to use our expertise for the betterment of everyone.
You have a part to play in this.
You are part of the change that is needed for humanity to thrive!
Ready to take your Coaching Business forwards and make the positive impact on your audience that you are here to make?
Then I’d love to support you with this. Simply book a 1:1 call with me and we will discuss exactly what you need to do to connect with your tribe online and build your profitable coaching business that makes a global impact. >>Click Here To Book Your 1:1 Call<<
I’m looking forwards to speaking with you!
Huge thanks to the following contributors and sources for this blog:
Emily Johnsson, Wish Tree, Transformational Workshop Coach, www.wishtree.info
Dirty Money, Netflix Documentary, Episode 1 – Volkswagen Scandal
Guardian Newspaper for many excellent articles
John O’Brien & Andrew Cave, (2017) The Power of Purpose: Inspire Teams, Engage Customers, Transform Business Book