As a nonprofit, we are committed to bringing intentional change. In this year, we are holding space for a monthly think-day to get some space and review our work. It allows us to stay steadfast on our mission and serve our community. It’s also a way to pause and find meaning. Company of One is our book inspiration for thinking ahead this month. It talks about a very Indian concept of Mudita that we believe is the key to self-love and growth.
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Paul Jarvis is an internet veteran and thinker whose sustainable business choices are accurately reflected in his book, Company of One. In this season of life as a WOC-led organization, we are constantly thinking about paths we pick and what truly matters. Jarvis somehow works the commentary in from a place of optimism that we deeply connected with. It makes us reflect and wonder, is staying small the next big thing?
Building a purpose-driven brand
In today’s world with financial uncertainties and structural risks exposed by the pandemic, we’re running toward a direction of change. In the post-pandemic reality, some are trying hard to find the old normal, while others are never going back. No one would argue that work has changed, and we have too. Many of us have lost cherished people, and comfortable spaces, but have also been left with a sense of resilience, and optimism to thrive, not just live meaninglessly.
In a pre-pandemic book, Jarvis reaches some of these hard won realizations before we all collectively did. The book pushes us to think about creating a sustainable work zone – in a business (of our own) or as a part of a larger organization. He shares tons of examples and a blueprint to thinking about setting goals that add meaning to our lives. Living life as individuals driven by personal interests and aspirations, and not depending on the validation provided by others. He urges us to create our unique milestones looking inwards and not comparing them with the journey someone else is on. In doing this authentically, setting boundaries, and being intentional about saying yes, or no is critical. In his own words,
“In saying no to anything that doesn’t fit, you leave room to say yes to those rare opportunities that do fit—opportunities that align with the values and ideas of your business.” – Company of One, Paul Jarvis
Building better not more
There’s a lot of research on the diminishing returns of higher salary on our state of happiness. Bhutan as a country measures itself not on GDP growth but on a unique happiness index.
Jarvis mentions the unique concept of Mudita (from Palli/ Sanskrit) where we feel happy for someone else’s happiness. Our personal happiness depends on ourselves, and the quality of life we create. Using someone else’s metrics to define our lives feels pointless. Candidly, this is not easy. We are driven by externalities of titles and how things sound to others. It’s human. But it’s important to question and ruthlessly prioritize what we put energy toward: will this make us and our community happy? Does this drive our mission forward?
“Begin to Think About: Whether you are paying attention to your existing customers or to just your potential customers; Whether you could make your business better (however you define that) instead of just making it bigger; Whether your business really needs scale to succeed; Where the upper bound to that scale might be, the place where profit and enjoyment have diminishing returns.” – Company of One, Paul Jarvis
Building for quality experiences, and not mere viral-growth allows a brand, business, or project to have foundations that are steady enough to withstand external pressures. None of this comes without a lot of hard work. Ideas come frequently and often. Executing on the ideas is where the real magic happens.
“Ideas and dreams are nice, but they’re also cheap and meaningless if you don’t take action and do the work to make them happen.” – Company of One, Paul Jarvis
What do you care enough about – to create intentional change? If diversifying bookshelves and raising a generation of future storytellers is something you believe in, join us!