My last blog post on this subject generated some really interesting comments. One of these, from Samara Greenwood, expressed a view that I think is shared by many, so I wanted to expand on that in this post. Her insightful comments were:

Hi Susan,
Loved this post. Interestingly, I am one of those people that shy away from the word spiritual in general (can’t explain exactly why) yet I totally agree with everything you have said here! I was wondering though, could you describe a bit more about what you mean by ‘spiritual path’? In the sense that it means personal development & growth – & being our most honest selves in the world – I’m completely onboard. I wonder what else you might be alluding to when you say it though – would you be happy to expand on this? Thanks! Sam x

The question of my creative business being a spiritual path is a deeply personal one, and one that it has taken me a really long time to come around to.  I have in fact avoided saying this very thing because of the weirdness that people can have around the word spiritual, or the notion of a spiritual path. But I can think of no other adequate way to describe how my business experience is for me.

For many years – most of which I was running Manque Design (my clothing label) – I was trying to grow according to traditional business wisdom, but my gut was increasingly telling me to move in a different direction. I resisted this for a really long time, because who the hell walks away from successful clothing label, when you’ve slogged your guts out on for years, and finally ‘arrived’?

‘Arrived’ is in inverted commas because it alludes to something that I think often keeps business owners trapped in businesses they don’t like – and that thing is our definition of success. In our world, if you are making money, that is success. If you have created a business that has an upward trajectory of growth – that is considered success. If you have a business that expands in size – that is considered success.  And if that comes at the cost of happiness and peace of mind, then the general message out there is ‘suck it up buttercup’. ‘Success’ in this definition comes at a price – that is what we are told. And it is true.

In my world, however, success is a story I have chosen to tell differently. Success should feel light and buoyant, and have me getting out of bed with joy in the morning. Success is being able to generate a living doing exactly that which I was put on this earth to do. Success is about serving others in the way that feels natural and is truly meaningful.

I really do believe that my clothing label was what I was put on this earth to do for that time, and I know that it has been loved and appreciated. But times change; we grow and we change. And although I still operate Manque at a much small level, it is not an adequate expression of what I am here to do now. I am compelled by a whole different definition of success.

And herein lies the answer to your question, Sam. I don’t know why I’m so driven by this urge to ‘do what it is that I was put on this earth to do’, but I know that that urge exists within me as surely as I can feel the earth beneath my feet. Continuing to define the answer to that question is what absolutely drives me. And at the core of this is teaching others practical ways to use their intuition in the business development process.

Why intuition? Because our intuition is our in-built GPS system. If we learn to listen to it, it ensures that we remain on-course in our goals that genuinely feed the deepest, innermost parts of ourselves and others. And it gives us that sense of deep satisfaction that I think we are all ultimately seeking in our work. As I heard Danielle LaPorte say in an interview recently “I long for a time when intuition is regarded as data”. I absolutely agree with this. But until we get to a point in time where empirical science is not king, then ‘intuition’ will remain in the domain of the spiritual.

Attuning to intuition is something that becomes easier and easier the more that you learn to still yourself. This is best achieved by activities such as meditation, yoga, and other deliberate acts of engaging with our whole being. My view is that when we isolate our business activities solely to the realm of the intellect, dogma and rigid formula, then we leave out a whole swathe of information and intelligence that exists in our emotional being, physical, and our spiritual being.

So, the reason that I call my creative business journey a spiritual path is because it is guided by something that, until our definition changes, is ultimately ‘spiritual’. My intuition takes me to the depths of my being, motivates me to reach for my highest quality goals, and gives me highly accurate guidance and information. The emotions that this brings up (both light and heavy) are immense, and compelling, and I can think of no better way to sum up my experience of them – which is quite frankly transformative on a daily basis – than spiritual.

For me, acknowledging the depth of my business experience as part of my spiritual journey is the only way I can give it the gravitas it deserves, in the effect that it has on my entire life. And I truly believe that the planet needs to evolve the way it does business in this direction, in order for us to come back into balance – not just within ourselves as business owners, but in relation to each other as a business community.

The other reason I am compelled to call it a spiritual path is because the more I sink into that definition of what I do, the more I am genuinely drawn to being of service to others. When I acknowledge that I am part of a connection that flows through this universe, I feel my heart open and a kinship with the people I work with.

That is something that I want to be in full acknowledgement of, because as a business person it makes me proud of what I am doing, and as a human being it makes me connected to others, and feel like I am bringing something of value into the world that hopefully brings a little more happiness. And, last but certainly not least, it feels amazing 🙂

That is what my business as a spiritual path means to me. I hope it goes a little way to answering your question Sam.