Watch Season 1 Episode 9 of Conscious Business Leaders TV with Rob Schwartz as he speaks on “Inspiration and the Purpose of Business.”
Excerpt from Inspiration and the Purpose of Business
Indigo: There is also the non-profit. Can you tell more about Giving-Receiving please?
Rob: Giving-Receiving actually is a… of all these endeavors, is the most recent and also probably the smallest. I went to the Philippines about 2 years ago about some skin conditions actually to find some Vitamin D and sunlight in the middle of the winter and I was just moved by how much can be done there. We’ll probably get into some of these issues later. I just feel like there is so much that we can do. And there’s something about tapping into people’s energy and people’s inspiration to just do what we are called to do. To do what is called to be done actually. There were some friends there and we decided to set up a non-profit and to see what could come of it and… as you can tell from the name, it was inspired by the fact that we are all connected. We’re connected to each other and that when we give just freely of ourselves, that we are actually receiving a lot of energy back and just to see what would come of that. So that’s the recent endeavor and were helping out some indigenous tribes in the Philippines with resources. They’ve been displaced, so there’s a number of projects that we are taking on over there.
Indigo: And you come at this with the spiritual background and the business background, but also you’re a Psychotherapist.
Rob: Yeah, yeah I… one thing I just want to say from the outset is that I don’t consider myself a business person by default and, and you know I started out with a background in meditation and Psychotherapy and, and then just, just like many of us living here in the Bay Area we have to find a way to make a living. So like you said… I have listened to a few of your previous speakers and again it seems like many of them have a background in business and focus on business and, and I wouldn’t say that my focus is on business, but more how to apply what feels true to me in the rest of my life, and of course we have to survive, so yeah.
Indigo: Yeah, which is really the essence of what it means to do business consciously, because you’re doing business. Yeah, all of us, the reason that we’re doing business is to survive. That’s why we make it a business and not a hobby. And yet, if we have the courage to show up with all of who we are, and we have the courage, the support, the insight, the inspiration, then we can do that and help…. because there are people who are watching this right now, whether with us live or they’re watching us on the replay now, and some of them thinking, “Oh my God. I want to do things like that. I want to host spiritual teachers and bring that out to the world. I would love to have a seven-figure small chain. I would like to be able to organize a non-profit to help indigenous people in some part of the world that are being neglected and share their story as well as helping them.
Rob: Well why don’t they?
Indigo: So you help me to help them understand how they could. Where do you find the inspiration, the clarity and the “go” to know that you can, so that you do?
Rob: Well great questions, and you know I want to correct one thing I said. It’s not just about surviving; it’s about… a lot of this has to do with redefining success. I was thinking about this a few minutes before we went on.
Again, this little title of the non-profit Giving-Receiving is pretty telling. When we help others.. when we do things that are really called to be done, we just find success every step along the way. And the question is how to know what’s… it’s not just what we are called to do, but what is called to be done. There has to be some kind of marriage there.
And so first there’s sort of becoming aligned with what’s true for ourselves and in what feels right and authentic, but at the same time that has to be aligned with what’s going on in the larger circumstances of the world. Otherwise we’re just, “Yeah this is my passion,” and that’s all great and everything, but I think the reason why we don’t “meet” with success… and successes isn’t always going to be measured in terms of dollar figures … but in terms of how much support is there. How many people find inspiration in what we’re doing. So a lot of this is redefining what we think of success. It just so happens that the bike rental chain just exploded (in a positive way) and I don’t know how much credit to take for that. Why it might have been ….Why it is as successful is a whole other conversation.
Indigo: Well, actually before you go on, I want to draw out one of the things that you just said. You said that it’s not about just your inspiration, it’s about how many other people are inspired by what you’re doing, and I think you just answered your own pondering (laugh) … you know, why did it blow up the way it did? Because somehow you tapped into an inspiration other people had. Even though, yeah it’s around bike rentals, but there was something in what you brought to it that inspired other people to not just want to be a part of it, but you guys have an amazing reputation, which I think is actually a big part of the secret to your success.
Rob: Ah, yeah. That’s for sure true, is customer service. I mean a lot of it has to do with timing and Yelp and the importance of social media, which I didn’t plan. I didn’t know, so again you could say I was just following my inner guidance which is to work hard and treat customers right and then before I knew it…. (laugh) I didn’t even know about…. We started about 2009 or 2010 and so we met with “success” as a result or a consequence of that. But going back to your original question Indigo. Do you recall? It’s just about a minute ago could you refresh my memory?
Indigo: Where others could find their inspiration and their drive and confidence to do these things.
Rob: Yeah, yeah exactly. I think that’s really the key . It’s being able to listen to ourselves. You know it’s funny, I didn’t realized that your own focus is on spirit led business, a very similar topic. So it’s a topic that you’re very familiar with as well. But it’s really about tuning in to ourselves. Tuning in to ourselves and knowing what truly feels authentic. And so this is sort of a background that comes from a background in Psychotherapy and also in meditation and spiritual practice, and just trusting that. And really trusting that…. I know what it was that was interesting to me…. This question about whether other people also find inspiration. What response do we meet in the world right?
There’s different ways of defining success. One is, are we just personally happy, right? It’s just, “I feel fulfilled, I feel content, I feel warm. Doesn’t matter what all of you think of me. Doesn’t matter that people are buying my product, right?” So that’s one measure of success, and that might be enough. But there’s something about connecting, right? With the larger … we are connected, and so that’s an additional criteria of success which is really important.
And the question is, really I think the beautiful question really is, how do we tap into that?
We don’t always know in advance, but my experience is, and I’m sure Indigo you’re very familiar with this experience as well, because our paths overlap so much … my experience is that… I don’t know what the appropriate words are, I used “inspiration” for this…. But there is something about being moved.
And again, this has to do with this listening, and tuning in to what we really feel. With what’s happening below the level of just our mind what we think should happen, and based on our analysis and etc. etc. and we’ll find that if we learn how to listen, we’re moved by something inside. And there’s something about listening to that, and usually we can trust that. Usually we can trust that. It’s almost like a night and day. When that light goes on you’re just like, “Yes! I want to move with this and I don’t really know whether it’s going to work or not.”
Starting the Open Circle was a lot like that. My dad asked me, “What are you doing this for?” I was like, “Are you kidding me? I love this. I don’t care whether people come or not. I just do it because it feels right.” And so you have to learn to identify that… that feeling of being moved inside. Does it come along every day? Absolutely not! It might come along every few years.
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