Updated 12.22.2014 1:51pm – Part 3 added below.
Updated 12.20.2014 11:09pm – Brian was kind enough to send me part two of his diary, which I have added below.
Brian Kelly was one of the many truth seeker’s who inspired Julian and I to start Stillness in the Storm blog in mid July 2013. His story of self discovery echoes our own, and reveals the common thread of transformation each of us have the potential to go through; if we are brave enough to reconcile our past.
Here is Part one of Brian’s Epic Story (part 2 will be added to this post when it is released).
December 9, 2014
Believe it or not, this is a short version of a very long story. It tells in two parts, which ultimately build up to the main inspiration of what I, and many others like me all around the world, are now focusing our energy on. If nothing else, I hope that this story inspires all those to read it to play a more active role in creating tangible and lasting world change. Just remember, the real work always starts and finishes within you. ~BK
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a deep inner sense that something was a bit off in the world. Feeling inadequate and not worthy are common symptoms of adolescence, learning more about ourselves through our experiences, and going toe to toe with our own egos. This is normal (as much as I detest that word). I’m more referring to the feeling of life on Earth being out of balance. Incredible confusion because so much of what I saw just didn’t seem to make sense.
I remember standing in the welfare line with my dad waiting for our ration of food, milk, cheese, or whatever was offered on any given day. Having no understanding of what “financial hardship” was at the time, it was just hanging out with dad. There was always food when I was hungry, water when thirsty, a soft bed to sleep in, bath to bathe and a roof over my head every night of my life.
As I grew a bit older and began to become more aware, I started to see the injustice in how the poor slept in the street, clothes torn and tattered, with an outstretched hand begging for just a few cents to buy a meal. I remember feeling helpless. The urge to want to help, but not knowing how it was possible to help so many was discouraging. Even then, it hurt. I could feel their suffering. I could feel the pain. The hopelessness. The sense of feeling lost in a world that doesn’t care. Looking back on it now, that’s where this story really begins…
Fast forward to the ladder part of my college years. Excited but nervous to get out into the world to shake things up. It all started with reading Robert Kiyosaki’s book, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad.” After years of not knowing what I wanted to “DO” in my life or which “career” I would choose, I suddenly became very passionate about making money and becoming “successful.” Even better was, I was starting to see all the possible ways of doing it. I began to learn concepts like, “wealth is a mindset,” and “assets over liabilities,” becoming fascinated by the idea of financial independence. Fueled by the motivation of not wanting to evolve into my adult life struggling financially, as my parents had, there was no shortage of determination. My goal: make lots of money and retire by the age of 30.
Within six months of graduation I moved to Los Angeles and was recruited by First Security Lending, a high profile mortgage brokerage in Hollywood. After my first six months there, I had passed all the exams to become a licensed Real Estate Broker in the states of California, Washington & Oregon. Traded in my Honda Civic for a $60,000 E-class Mercedes (that was delivered to me at my office) and had my first of many months making over $10,000.
“There is enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”
The world was my oyster. Everything I needed was at my finger tips. My boss turned business partner set me up with my own office in Orange County. At one point, I had four other loan officers and ten telemarketers cranking away to bring in new business. Within weeks of signing papers at the new office, I had my first $20,000 month & financed my first condo for 590k. I had only been in business a little over a year and a half and I already found myself on the fast track to success. Everything was perfect…
I quickly found myself grateful to be alive.
Grateful to have friends and family who cared about me and who would be there if I ever needed a meal, a place to stay, a hug, or reassurance that everything was going to be ok. It was around this time my mom gave me a book to read called “The Power of Intention,” by Dr. Wayne Dyer. This marked the beginning stages of my awakening. What followed was “ah hah” moment after “ah hah” moment. Remembering’s of Universal Truths that lay dormant inside of my own consciousness, waiting to be triggered out by by pre-designed events, carefully orchestrated to assist in the process of becoming more aware to who I AM and “what” I’m doing here. Answers to the burning questions I held within me dating back to my youth started flushing in. What happened next, you ask?
I quickly realized it wasn’t money I was after. It was happiness.
Moral of the Story #1: BE HAPPY
Moral of the Story #2: PROVIDE VALUE
“Strive not to be a success, strive instead to be of value.”
Brian Kelly and SkyTek WIN Big with two Awards in Marketing
Brian Kelly, CEO and president of SkyTek Digital Media in Costa Mesa, a new advertising company specializing in digital signage, announced the company was awarded Best New Product/Service at the San Diego Chapter’s 2010 American Marketing Association’s American Marketer of the Year Award ceremony. The “AMYs” are awarded to those who succeed connecting businesses with their customers and are judged according to effectiveness, quality, style, and execution.
SkyTek was also named a Finalist at the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Small Business Awards for the category of Most Innovative Marketing Plan!
“People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.”
“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”
“There is no such thing as a small act of kindness.”
This was right around the time I had just gotten back from a humanitarian trip/mission with my High School Health teacher, Lynne Moquete (Ms. Moquete). Every year she arranges for a group of her students to go to the Dominican Republic to help build homes for the homeless, put down cement in homes that have dirt floors, or whatever other projects need development to better serve the community, in a little village called, La Descubierta. The idea is to help students gain a sense for what life is like out of the “American bubble.” It goes without saying, this trip changed my life in so many ways.
The group is called Una Vida. They also have an amazing women’s cooperative program that makes authentic Dominican jewelry to enhance and empower the lives of the woman villagers there in the DR. Thank you Lynne for everything you have taught me about living a life of Service.
A few take aways from my experience. First of all, the majority of the town lives way below the poverty line. But what shocked me the most was how inherently happy everyone appeared. These are people who have struggled their entire lives to make ends meet. But on the flip side, were so incredibly grateful for what they did have. The community was more like a family than anything else. Children wandered the streets with no supervision and if strayed too far away from home would be returned by the neighbors. Never any worry about crime or kidnapping.
Lynne calls them a “front yard society,” as opposed to “the backyard culture” we have grown so accustomed to in “developed nations.” People hang out in the front and everyone knows each other and helps one another.
No running water in the homes. Electricity that only ran for random parts of the day (less than 8 hrs/day) and baths were taken in the local water hole. Despite all of these “supposed hardships” these people were as happy as could be. Talk about putting things into perspective. During those two weeks I lived with a host family in a tiny little shack barely able to speak a word to any of them. I got by with my broken high school Spanish but it wasn’t much. They spoke NOT A WORD of English. It didn’t matter. By the end of the two weeks that was my family. Mom and dad and brothers and sisters. All this without the use of language to communicate. Helped me to understand the gross limitations of language.
This family would give you the last shirt on their back if needed. MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH. My walls came crashing down.
Moral of the Story #6: WE ARE ALL PART OF ONE HUMAN FAMILY
“Only a life lived in the service to others is worth living.”
Major financial struggles resulted in me disregarding my moral #3 (have fun).
Secondly, I don’t do corporate hierarchies well. I had three bosses at that job. Challenging? Completely.
“Choose a job you live and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”
Here is a short video with Jake’s message:
Then, I looked next to my desk and realized I had both extra copies of Jake’s book sitting next to my desk. A flash of inspiration flushed over me. In that moment I realized why I was guided to buy the two extra books. As Dorian walked into the side door of the main office, I had a flash back of our interview; he asked me to look directly into his eyes and guarantee him that I was his man for the long haul. I was hired to help turn around sales in the San Diego office. I did so reluctantly even though in the back of my mind I knew this would not be a long term gig for me. Not having any money or sustenance does crazy things to people, I’ve learned.
Here’s how that conversation went:
DJ (his nickname): Hey BK, how was your trip!?
DJ: What’s wrong, are you ok?
Me: This is a book I’m giving you, authored by my friend Jake Ducey. It’s about his journey of traveling the world in search for life’s purpose. (I offered a few more inspiring details from the story). I’m hoping that when you read it, you will understand why I have to put in my two week notice today. (GULP)
DJ: You’re leaving man?
DJ: …………… (long pause that must have lasted 30 seconds at least, which is a long time if you really think about it) He looked down at his feet.
(This is the moment he blew me away) Looking at me straight in the eyes,..
DJ: BK, I can’t tell you how fucking proud of you I am. I had a funny feeling this wasn’t the gig for you. I could see you were meant to do great things, and if you’re following your heart, how could I be mad at you for that? Then he went on to say this..
“As much as I want to tell you if whatever you end up doing doesn’t work out you can always come back, I’m not going to. Because I don’t want you to have a safety net. If you’re going to do this go out and do it right!”
I often tell people losing everything was the best thing that ever happened to me. It taught me to never “worry” about money. Whenever I’ve truly “needed” it somehow it always shows up. Whether it be a surprise donation to the blog (which is rare), a care package with a few bucks from my mom, or an unexpected opportunity to make a few bucks doing something totally random, it always shows up. I’ve learned to trust that, deeply.
“When you have nothing, you have nothing to lose.”
Now is where I have a really great opportunity to be completely transparent t and lay it all out on the table. With all of my experiences in business, both good and bad, combined with growing up in a society plagued by greed and corruption, I became very turned off by money and even the idea of getting back into traditional business, on any level.
I honestly thought that with the coming inevitable collapse of the banking system, we wouldn’t need it anymore and we could all transition happily into a cash less, resource based economy, where no human Soul would ever have to worry again about having their basic needs met, ever again. While I truly believe this kind of system is coming and I will see it manifest into reality in my lifetime, it’s naive to keep thinking it’s going to happen “tomorrow.”
As it stands now, money (or more accurately currency) is still relevant to survival for the majority of people on the planet. Yes, it’s true there are plenty of people living off the grid, growing their own gardens, building their own homes, tapping into their own untreated water supply (all of these things take some startup funds to actualize). However, the majority of humanity still depend on the purchasing of food, clothes, water, shelter, for our basic survival. To curse it, is to shut out an endless sea of incredible opportunities to use money as a tool for good.
Moral of the Story #9: MONEY IS JUST A TOOL. TREAT IT AS SUCH
“Money is a tool. Used properly it makes something beautiful. Used wrong it makes a mess.”
End of Part 1
My Story — A Journey to Discovering Purpose — Part II
December 18, 2014
This post is not just about a business idea, it’s about “Inspiring a Revolution of Change”…. ~BK
In Part I, I told my personal journey of self discovery, which can be read here. On my mission to find purpose, here’s a quick recap from the last article of the major lessons I learned along the way:
- BE HAPPY
- PROVIDE VALUE
- BE OF SERVICE
- HAVE FUN
- GIVE, GIVE, GIVE & then GIVE some MORE
- WE ARE ALL PART OF ONE HUMAN FAMILY
- NEVER WORK A JOB JUST FOR THE PAYCHECK
- NO MATTER WHAT, FOLLOW YOUR HEART
- MONEY IS JUST A TOOL, TREAT IT AS SUCH
Part II is all about finding passion through inspiration and taking action. In this blog post I continue to share all of the most profound realizations I have had along my journey to finding purpose. These concepts and formulas can be used and adopted by ANYONE aspiring to make their dream a reality. This is my Story…
Moral of the Story #10: ACTION IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS
“when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking & GO.”
If you have an hour to spare, I go into a lot of detail in my interview with Hope Girl on the current project I’m working on now, how it came to be, what the objective is and how it all plays into my personal vision for the future. A few of the videos I share below are also very beautifully dubbed into this interview. For the sake of redundancy I label which ones those are:
As mentioned in the video with Hope, determining our “why” for this business concept was and continues to be our focus to this day. Answering this question has not only encouraged the biggest breakthrough, for this project specifically. It has also helped me to understand personally, what was missing from past business start-ups I was involved in, and quite possibly what made some of them fall short of reaching the level of success we had intended.
Based on my personal experience in business, I would imagine, when posed with the question, of ‘why’ most entrepreneurs are in business, these would likely be the most common responses:
“To make money.”
“To provide for my family.”
“Because I love it.”
“Because I enjoy the freedom of working for myself.”
“Because I make a great income that allows me to do the things in life I enjoy”
“To make people’s lives easier/better by…”
Through everything I learned throughout part I of this story, the above reasons were no longer good enough standing on their own. There had to be a greater purpose than just money, security, stability or even attaining total happiness. The realization here is that securing happiness for just myself is no longer good enough. Although, it is the very crucial first step to sharing happiness with others.
Being an entrepreneur is about improving people’s lives by offering a product that solves a problem, simplifies a process, or by offering a service that gives people more quality time to enjoy family, etc. And of course, loving what you do, having freedom and providing for family are all part of what make up the thrill of becoming an entrepreneur.
- Almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50/day
- At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10/day
- 22,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they “die quietly in some of the poorest villages on Earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world”
- Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names
- Less than 1% of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school by the year 2000 and yet it didn’t happen
- Every year there are 350 – 500 million cases of malaria (a curable disease), with 1 million fatalities
- Water problems affect half of humanity: some 1.1 billion people in developing countries have inadequate access to water & 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation
- 1.8 billion people who have access to a water source within 1 kilometer, but not in their house or yard, consume around 20 liters of water/day. In the UK, the avg person uses more than 50 liters/day flushing toilets. The highest avg water use in the world is in the US, at 600 liters/day
- 1.6 billion people — a quarter of humanity — live without electricity
- For every $1 in aid a developing country receives, over $25 is spent on debt repayment
- In 1820 the distance between the richest and poorest countries was 3 to 1,in 1992 it was 72 to 1
The stats above barely scratch the surface of the issues facing humanity today. More found here at this link.
Are your eyes opened yet? What do you see in this picture?
$11 billion on ice cream in Europe!? Can you imagine how much opportunity around the world could be created with $11 billion, let alone $780 billion on military spending. I had to wipe my eyes and do a double take when I saw that one.
Every year we see multiple global summits that give the illusion that key issues are being addressed and steps have been put in place to solve them. This illusion of change has taken the power out of our hands, and into those who don’t seem to care or do anything about it.
Nobody is going to change the world for us, and if we continue living our lives and being so into our own lives while ignoring what is happening to planet Earth, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the outcome won’t be sunshine and roses.
Moral of the Story #11: WHEN GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO SOLVE A PROBLEM, PEOPLE ARE SO INCREDIBLY CREATIVE
I have seen it for myself so many times in my life. As a businessman and as a person in general. Look around you, there’s creative people and projects just about everywhere you look. Just imagine what happens when our creative juices are focused on a collective intent for a peaceful, sustainable, poverty free world…
Moral of the Story #12: KNOW YOUR “WHY”
“What’s your why? When you know why you do what you do even the toughest days become easier.”
The why doesn’t start and finish just with business. It can apply to literally everything we do in life. “What’s my why?” is just about the best filter we can use to determine the value of whether or not to DO one thing or the other, no matter what IT is. And like the quote above says, when our why is big enough, we will always find our how.
Many of the videos and info that follow are all a result of researching “daring to be different in business.” I had no interest in going back into business the old way it was done. My search for purpose was quite literally a combination of going within to see what resonates, as well as digging on the internet 🙂
Moral of the Story #13: SOMETIMES INSPIRATION NEEDS TO BE SEARCHED FOR
“Don’t waste time waiting for inspiration. Begin and inspiration will find you.”
Here are a few videos, also dubbed into the interview with Hope, that provided much needed guidance and inspiration on my own personal Journey to Why. Hard not to tear up watching this one in particular.
“There’s nothing more powerful than a great idea, whose time has come”
I’ll keep this brief because I know you are a very busy guy. I too am an entrepreneur and interestingly enough, used to own and operate a business in Costa Mesa. Now in the process of launching a new business, I found Sevenly in doing research on “daring to be different in business.” I felt strongly the entire way we do business was in need of a major over haul. When I found Sevenly and watched your “how it works” video I was blown away. Tears of inspiration flowed down my face…not afraid to admit it 🙂
What you have created is nothing short of amazing. I know part of your mission was to inspire other businesses to be less profit and more people focused. Consider me a success story. 9 Gifts of Gaia will launch soon, donating $9 from every purchase toward helping to alleviate poverty, followed by what will be a series of other causes and paradigm shifting projects. So, I just wanted to say THANK YOU. You are a bright shining beacon of light this world needs right now. Keep up the good work my friend. Blessings & Namaste.
Wow thank you man, that means a lot. 🙂
Keep fighting the good fight,
Moral of the Story #14: IF SOMEONE ELSE HAS AN IDEA THAT YOU CONNECT WITH & ITS WORKING: MIRROR IT
Actual advice shared with me by one of my mentors.
There is absolutely no shame in copying someone’s idea and adding a few twists to make it your own. These are the basic components and building blocks of innovation. Most commonly, new innovations are a product of taking an existing idea and improving upon it to make it better, more efficient, etc.
Sevenly is an incredible business concept. Leveraging business to support a cause is not a new phenomenon. All they have done, is taken a for-profit business model and placed the cause, as opposed to the product up front and center. That was their twist, and ultimately the main ingredient that resulted in such incredible success.
“You are confined only by the walls you build yourself.”
When diving deeper, one of the only major issues I could find with the Sevenly business model was their charity focused approach. Instantly I had major recall of all the horror stories I’ve discovered about so many of the major charities.
Some of these stats are mentioned in the video with Hope, so no need to repeat again here. Although, if interested in exploring the deep levels of deception here is a great article.
Below is an excerpt from another article I found which helps to illustrate the fundamental issue between targeting symptoms as opposed to focusing on the actual cause:
(this is a really great article) http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/charity/against_1.shtml
Charities often target symptoms, not causes
The accusation is that charity helps the recipient with their problem, but it doesn’t do much to deal with the causes of that problem.
Particular aspects of this are dealt with in the next two topics.
It certainly is true that some charities do stopgap or ‘band-aid’ work, either exclusively or some of the time.
But in fact, a lot of charity work is devoted to dealing with the fundamental causes of problems: for example trying to reduce global poverty, or doing research into diseases like cancer.
These two examples highlight very different problems.
Combating cancer is a relatively simple scientific problem, while global poverty requires more than a scientific operation, or finding a better way to manage world resources.
Combating poverty involves slow processes of political, cultural and social change, with many stakeholders, significant opposition and serious issues of self-determination and coercion to be navigated.
And long-term campaigns pose another ethical problem: should we spend to make a better world in 10 years’ time if that means that people who we could have fed starve to death tomorrow?
The famous story of the boy and the starfish shows why using charity to fix individual problems can be very valuable.
“It is not how much you do, but how much love you put into the doing that matters.”
If so many non-profits and charitable organizations lack transparency, and only target symptoms, not causes, then how can we circumvent the charity and get directly to the individual?
Challenging to grasp, especially knowing what I know now, after years of research into how debt, money and credit really work. So, I needed to dive into it a bit to fully understand the mechanics.
The figures and videos shared below helped me to see the light…very quickly.
These statistics are mind blowing. Why more people don’t know about this? A basic lack of awareness. Well, it’s time for that to change…
Synchronistically, I found this Ted Talk with Dr. Muhammad Yunus who won the Nobel Prize in 2006 for creating microcredit. Microcredit loans to date have pulled close to 100 million people out of poverty by focusing on the cause, not the symptom. These next two videos tell the story of how it all began. Worth watching if you have the time. Or bookmark and come back later.
After watching this video, I purchased Dr. Yunus’ book, Banker to the Poor, on Kindle and read through it in just a few days.
Jessica Jackley, co-founded Kiva after watching Dr. Yunus’ video above. More proof one person with an inspired idea can change the world.
“The proper aim of giving is to put the recipient in a place where he/she no longer needs our gift.”
These videos led me to some very profound realizations. For the first time in my life, I started to really understand that quote, “you’re either part of the problem, OR part of the solution.” The fire was lit. My commitment to becoming a part of the solution has never been filled with such extreme levels of passion and determination. Every fiber of my being is telling me, it’s time to take a stand.
Moral of the Story #15: GENEROSITY IS ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL FORCES IN ALL OF CREATION
Here are a few quotes from Dr. Yunus’ book that opened my eyes to not only the reality of poverty, but also the gross misunderstanding around it, as well as our absolute ability to render it a part of our past:
“Once poverty is gone, we’ll need to build museums to display its horrors to future generations. They’ll wonder why poverty continued so long in human society – how a few people could live in luxury while billions dwelt in misery, deprivation and despair.”
“When we want to help the poor, we usually offer them charity. Most often we use charity to avoid recognizing the problem and finding the solution for it. Charity becomes a way to shrug off our responsibility. But charity is no solution to poverty. Charity only perpetuates poverty by taking the initiative away from the poor. Charity allows us to go ahead with our own lives without worrying about the lives of the poor. Charity appeases our consciences.”
“If you go out into the real world, you cannot miss seeing that the poor are poor not because they are untrained or illiterate but because they cannot retain the returns of their labor. They have no control over capital, and it is the ability to control capital that gives people the power to rise out of poverty.”
“People.. were poor not because they were stupid or lazy. They worked all day long, doing complex physical tasks. They were poor because the financial institution in the country did not help them widen their economic base.”
“Poverty is the absence of all human rights. The frustrations, hostility and anger generated by abject poverty cannot sustain peace in any society. For building stable peace we must find ways to provide opportunities for people to live decent lives.”
“I believe that we can create a poverty-free world because poverty is not created by poor people. It has been created and sustained by the economic and social systems that we have designed for ourselves; the institutions and concepts that make up that system; the policies that we pursue.”
Here’s the clincher…
Why such a strong focus on poverty? Because I believe when one person suffers, we all suffer and poverty results in more suffering than all the various other noble causes combined. I feel very strongly that until we can conquer this issue on a social scale we will be limited in our collective ability to evolve as a species.
So, it begs the question, if we carry within us the power to end world poverty, then HOW are we going to do it? This picture illustrates my prediction:
In my many countless hours of research over the last couple of months, I’ve uncovered so many incredible opportunities. One of the biggest realizations (something I already knew but hadn’t yet created a contextual understanding for), is that for every single challenge facing humanity today, a solution (if not many) already exist to turn it around.
One of the most profound discoveries was this whole concept of social business, or generosity based business. I had no idea how big this movement really was. At the end of reading “Banker to the Poor by Muhammad Yunus, there were a few quotes in particular he shared about the promising future of social business, which represented the ultimate landslide of inspiration I was very consciously seeking.
There are quite a few passages here, but as far as I’m concerned, this information represents the major breakthrough needed to flip the script on causeless consumerism. These ideas are more than capable of shifting the entire framework of our collective connection to the web of global consumerism:
“A completely new world can be created by making space for the social entrepreneurs and the social investors in the business world. This is a very important agenda for all of us. Eliminating poverty will become so much easier if social entrepreneurs can take up the challenge of ending poverty and if social investors can use their investment money to support the work of social entrepreneurs.”
“To me, a world without poverty means a world in which every person can take care of his or her basic life needs. In such a world, nobody would die of hunger or suffer from malnutrition. This is a goal world leaders have been calling for decades, but they have never set out any way of achieving it.” (That’s because they need it to keep humanity under control)
“Today, when we think of business we think of enterprises that are dedicated to making money – to profit maximization. To me, that’s too narrow a definition of people as economic participants. Human beings are much more complex than just being instruments for making money. So I began to imagine another dimension – a dimension where human beings want to be of help to other people, to create a new kind of world through economic activity. This requires a new kind of business – one that I call a social business.”
“A social business is a non-loss, non-dividend enterprise, created with the intention to do good to people, to bring positive changes to the world, without any short-term expectation of making money out of it. That is the subject of my new book, Creating a World Without Poverty. It describes how social business can change the world and end poverty on this planet.”
“To free-market fundamentalists, social business might seem blasphemous. The idea of a business with objectives other than profits has no place in their existing theology of capitalism. Yet surely no harm will be done to the free market if not all businesses are profit maximizing businesses (PMB’s). Surely capitalism is amenable to improvements. And sure the stakes are too high to go on the way we have been going. By insisting that all businesses, by definition, must necessarily be PMB’s and by treating this as some kind of axiomatic truth, we have created a world that ignores the multi-dimensional nature of human beings. As a result, businesses remain incapable of addressing many of our most pressing social problems.”
“We need businesses that are not purely seeking profit, but dedicated to solving social and environmental problems.”
“In its organizational structure, this new business is basically the same as the existing PMB. But it differs in its objectives. Like other businesses, it employs workers, creates goods or services, and provides these to customers for a price consistent with its objectives. But its underlying objective – and the criterion by which it should be evaluated – is to create social benefits for those whose lives it touches. The company itself may earn a profit, but the investors who support it do not take any profits out of the company, except recouping an amount equivalent to their original investment, over a period of time. A social business is a company that is cause driven rather than profit-driven, with the potential to act as a change agent for the world.”
“A social business is not a charity. It is a business in every sense. It has to recover its full costs while achieving its social objective. When you are running a business, you think differently and work differently than when you are running a charity. And this makes all the difference in defining social business and its impact on society. “
“There are many organizations in the world today that concentrate on creating social benefit. Most do not recover their total costs. Nonprofit organizations and nongovernmental organizations rely on charitable donations, foundation grants, or government support to implement their programs. Most of their leaders are dedicated people doing commendable work, but since they do not recover their costs from their operations, they are forced to devote part of their time and energy, sometimes a significant part, to raising money.”
“How can the products or services sold by a social business provide a social benefit? There are countless ways. For example, imagine: A social business that manufactures and sells high-quality, nutritious food products at very low prices to a targeted market of poor and underfed children. These products can be cheaper because they do not compete in the luxury market and therefore don’t require costly packaging or advertising, besides not being under compulsion to maximize profit.”
“The achievement of full cost recovery as a social business is a moment worth celebrating. Once a social objective driven project overcomes the gravitational force of financial dependence, it is ready for space flight. Such a project is self-sustaining and enjoys the potential for almost unlimited growth and expansion. And as the social business grows, so do the benefits it provides to society.”
“Thus, a social business is designed and operated as a business enterprise, with products, services, customers, markets, expenses, and revenues — but with the profit maximization principle replaced by the social benefit principle. Rather than seeking to amass the highest possible level of financial profit to be enjoyed by the investors, the social business seeks to achieve a social objective.”
Do you see where this is headed yet?…
Let these stats I found to illustrate just how big the generosity movement has become sink in a bit before moving on…
“47% of consumers have bought a brand at least monthly that supports a cause.”
As far as I’m concerned, what these statistics equate to is: bona fide & unparalleled opportunity for a total over haul in the way we do business.
I predict that in the very near future all businesses will be “to businesses”. What’s a “to business” you ask? It goes something like this…
What do you do for a living?
I sell shirts online “to” alleviate poverty
I create health and wellness products “to” support environmental & sustainability projects
I offer inspirational art “to” support new projects and innovations to heal the world
I make custom jewelry “to” build a new paradigm school in Indonesia
Because I want to change the world and inspire others to do the same…
Ultimately, THIS ^^ is my why.
All of the above are not just creative examples I pulled together to illustrate a point. It’s the “to business” plan, mission and intention of 9 Gifts of Gaia. Poverty isn’t the only cause we’ll be focusing on, it’s the first of many. As of this now moment our cause focus consists of four major categories. I call it our PEIS model (pronounced peace):
Poverty — “If one person suffers, we all suffer.”
Education — “Education is not a privilege, it’s a basic human right.”
Innovation — “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”
Sustainability — “We do not inherent the Earth from our ancestors we borrow it from our children.”
And with the blink of an eye and a little hard work, the vision manifests into reality…
But that will have to wait until Part III…most likely later today 🙂 I’ll also be talking about how to find and build a team of passionate change makers and what it takes to get started.
Want to be a part of the Revolution for Change? Email me at [email protected]
Also, for a sneak peak into 9 Gifts of Gaia, please visit our FB page www.facebook.com/9giftsofgaia and make sure to leave us a “like!” We’ll be doing a raffle and giving away lots of cool stuff very soon 🙂
My Story: A Journey to Discovering Purpose — Part III The Final Chapter — Where the Story Begins…
“When we turn a blind eye to the suffering of others, we grow numb to something important in ourselves and succumb eventually to a spiritual paralysis.”
“We need to awaken to a common consciousness of all being inhabitants of Earth. This consciousness is not to be found in some distant place. It will not be found on a computer screen. It lies in our hearts, in our ability to share the pain of our fellow human beings. It is the spirit that says: “As long as you are suffering, whoever you are and whatever your suffering may be, I suffer also.”
Part I was all about my personal journey, where I fell, how I picked myself back up and what I learned along the way. In Part II I laid out all my research and findings as well as my personal plan to be part of the Revolution of Change. In Part III I will reveal the project in more detail, focusing on the aspects of finding a team of like minds and building a tribal community of world changers.
This whole project started with a very simple idea. Secure, package, sell 100% pure organic Moroccan Argan Oil to raise funds for sustainable community projects. Here is the chart I showed in my video with Hope, showing the explosive global demand for the oil. Plus, this stuff is amazing for the body on so many levels, it was a very exciting prospect to leverage a high demand product like Argan Oil, as a means to support our first intended project.
Moral of the Story #14: IDEAS ARE ALWAYS IN A CONSTANT STATE OF EVOLUTION. EMBRACE THE PROCESS OF CHANGE.
First creation: Essence of Sahara
Objective: Discover & deliver nature’s best kept health and wellness secrets from Morocco for the healing of mind, body & soul.
Challenge: Major disconnect from our personal experience. Inauthentic. It felt like we were a couple guys launching a cosmetics company.Also, the same reason why we had to evolve only from supporting sustainable communities. No personal experience makes connecting to a project very difficult.
First evolution: Essence of Gaia
Same as above: Same as above, but a broader scope of offerings from around the world.
Evolution of concept: Moringa grows wild on Bolo land. The addition of this mega super food added an exciting new prospect for the developing project.
Challenge: The same disconnect. No real experience based connection to the message. Still a major component missing to bring the whole thing together.
After discovering Sevenly, the social business model and the generosity movement, it was time for a complete overhaul of the concept.
Current Project: 9 Gifts of Gaia
Mission: Raise funding & awareness to support some of the world’s most worthy causes. Focusing on four key categories, as mentioned in Part II: poverty, education, innovation and sustainability.
Vision: Inspire a global tribe of world changers. People from all around the planet ready to unite under a common vision for a new world.
After my last post someone asked me what kinds of other projects we plan to support after Kiva. Here’s a sneak peak into one of them we’re looking at now. This one would fall into the poverty, innovation and sustainability categories:
Instead of supporting the company direct, we would purchase the units and donate them to villages who lack access to clean, safe, drinkable water.
What we DO, taken from our FB Fan Page:
For every item purchased we Pay It Forward $9 to a worthy cause. We offer custom cause apparel, print art, organic health & wellness products, hand made jewelry & more. Conscious commerce to Inspire, Empower and change lives.
All about numerology. The number 9 is a number of universal love, spiritual awakening, consciousness and empathy, service to humanity, philanthropy, charity, selflessness, generosity, compassion, strength, responsibility, and all that is good within and among us.
1. We Select A Cause
One of the major challenges facing humanity today is a lack of funding & awareness for some of the world’s greatest & most worthy causes. With your support, every month we’ll launch a new cause campaign. Custom limited edition T-shirts and prints will be designed to share the mission of that month’s cause.
2. Cause Is Shared Through Social Media
As each item is sold, awareness for the cause is raised, & 9 Gifts of Gaia Pays It Forward $9 to support the cause effort.
3. We Change the World
Buckminster Fuller said, “It is now highly feasible to take care of everybody on Earth at a higher standard of living than any have ever known. It no longer has to be you or me. Selfishness is unnecessary. War is obsolete. It is a matter of converting the high technology from weaponry to livingry.” The world’s next great journey, begins with YOU!
This initiative wouldn’t work if I didn’t fully believe the majority of humanity has a deep desire to help make the world a better place. This model gives anyone with a computer or phone with an internet connection an opportunity to help spread the message which will impact the lives of real people from all over the planet. We know this model works simply by researching companies like Sevenly and Tom’s Shoes, another huge generosity based business success story.
Even if people can’t afford to buy a product or a shirt, helping spread the message by word of mouth and on social media is equally, if not more valuable, than making a purchase.
A transparent breakdown of the revenue model:
Short sleeve shirts will sell for: $26 (avg price)
Our cost depends on quantity of order: $8 (avg price for high quality shirt + printing)
Pay It Forward amount: $9
Profit before expenses: $9
(Price for Argan Oil is still in development)
Our launch goal is to sell 1,000 shirts/products in our first month. That’s $9,000 that goes directly toward funding Kiva micro loans. In $25 loan increments, we affect the lives of 360 people.
Our success will be judged not simply by profit, but by how many lives we touch. When we reach the above goal, this by itself is a huge accomplishment. I will happily film myself dancing in the street and put on YouTube for all to see. I promise 😉
That leaves $9,000 to cover all of our monthly business expenses and basic survival needs. Other costs will include marketing, sales, promotions, customer service, affiliate support, website management, social media management, operations, PR, shipping (oil), and a few other misc items.
That’s not the end of the giving cycle. Remember, 98% of Kiva loans are paid back, usually within 12 months, considering most are very small amounts. As funds are returned, the process repeats, funding new entrepreneurial projects and pulling more and more people out of poverty, over and over and over again. The result: a self looping system of giving, that touches many lives.
As powerful as the fund raising aspect of this model can and will be, I believe the greatest effect will come in the raising of awareness for so many great initiatives that need the exposure. When the campaign gets spread throughout social media and on various blogs, even if the greater majority of people don’t purchase a product, they still learn about the cause.
Prediction: 2015 will be the year which marks a major rise in the Generosity Based Business Model. Companies will form purely from a desire to make the world a better place. Existing businesses will change their models to incorporate a giving aspect that supports a cause. The concept of business, like money, will be redefined as a tool for CHANGE.
This creation represents our collective mission to be an example for other businesses that this model is the way of the future. How powerful of an idea it is to envision a world where it becomes common place for consumers to ask at each point of purchase, “what cause does this shirt, baseball glove, lamp, car, book, home remodeling project, fill in the ________ support?” In a world where 87% of consumers polled said they would switch from one brand to another if the brand supports a cause, the sustainability and livelihood of business will depend on the shift of focus from Profit to People.
“One small act can create ripples of change.”
Here is proof. This exchange is a great illustration of what it means to follow the energetic trial.
I found Dr. Sandy on Etsy while looking for a birthday present for my mom. Part of our vision for this project is to find other talented, artists, artisans and entrepreneurs to have them join the giving movement by offering their products through our web platform. This is the conversation that transpired.
“Hi Sandra! Just wanted to extend a big THANK YOU for your wonderful necklace and even more incredible service! My mom got the pendant, and opened it with me on Skype video and LOVED it 🙂 …and the hand written note is such a nice touch. You have proven yourself to be much more than a beautiful jewelry dealer. I would love the opportunity to work with you and represent your products on 9 Gifts of Gaia. As of this now moment, we’re still a few weeks out from launching but making great strides daily. Let me share with you our mission statement to see if it resonates and then YOU can tell me if you are interested in learning more. Sound good?
About 9 Gifts of Gaia:
9 Gifts of Gaia was founded in 2014 by a small group of change makers who shared the mission of leading a generation toward kindness and generosity, by the power of giving. Based on a core belief that all human beings have “unlimited potential, unlimited capacity and unlimited creativity”, they began a journey to do their part in helping inspire social change in the one place it matters most, within the hearts of the people. Supporting the “pay it forward” movement worldwide, 9 Gifts of Gaia launches by partnering with Kiva, inviting customers to purchase products that gives $9 to help ease the strains of poverty by supporting under privileged entrepreneurs with great ideas in developing countries. 9 Gifts of Gaia is committed to this model of empowering people to empower themselves. Because the only way to make a lasting difference is by “being the change we want to see in the world.”
WE ARE THE VALUE
All of our products will be holistic, healthy, natural and eco-friendly. So your jewelry would fit right in. Of course we would have to discuss the details,, but let me know if this resonates with you so far. Thanks again for all you do!! <3″
Here is her response which absolutely blew me away:
Dr Sandra Nov 17, 2014
Wow, Brian, you have no idea how PERFECTLY 9 Gifts of Gaia resonate with me and my life’s work. I have been in humanitarian work for many years and about 15 years ago was the head of communications for one of the world’s largest health organizations. I traveled to Zambia to document the plight of the street children there and have visited people in both Africa and Mexico who are known as “pickers” — people who live in the enormous garbage dumps in developing countries and make their living by picking through the garbage that others throw away. I wrote, designed and produced the bi-monthly international newsletter that reached out to people all over the world. My message was continually to reach out, lift up, help others to help themselves through compassionate outreach.
I was also the head of Humane Education at Best Friends Animal Society for a number of years, writing and implementing national programs on kindness and compassion for animals, with the intent that if we teach our children kindness and compassion to animals, it will translate and resonate to kindness and compassion for human beings.
In the work I did for developing countries, we focused on teaching communities about nutrition and helping them to start gardens, teaching them the basics of sanitation and health care, training midwives in basic nursing, teaching them how to dig clean latrines and provide assistance in creating channels for clean water. We trained women to have a trade so that they could come off the streets to feed their children and make a healthy living. Helping the world’s children has been a driving force of my life since I was very, very young, and continues to be my life’s mission and work.
The thread that runs through my jewelry is founded in that, and I have continually prayed for the voice of my creative efforts to be that very message. I am also an interfaith minister, honoring all paths and individuals, crossing the invisible barriers of separation as we are all one spirit under God. I have a reverence for life, and that includes all people, all nationalities and creeds, and all living beings to the tiniest among us. My bumper sticker on my car is Gandhi’s quote, “Be the change you want to see in the world,” and I have a pendant that says that as well. This is the message.
I am also a fine artist, and I am attaching here a piece that I drew of a mother and child that I met in Zambia. The mother had lost her husband and 5 of her 7 children. She was care worn and yet had incredible strength of spirit. But her child was bright with hope and promise, with dreams of having a fine education and becoming a doctor. Mind you, they had nothing but the rags on their back – no home, no food, no shelter, no water, no possessions. But the hope of the world was in that child’s eyes. I started a book when I came back from Zambia called “The Angels of Africa” and I don’t know whether or not it will ever be finished, but I have morphed that narrative into other work over the past few years. It might take on a different form, but the message is the same. Anyway, that is what the drawing is. It is called “Madonna of the Fields.”
I would be more than honored to have my jewelry in 9 Gifts of Gaia – and in fact, after the holidays I am starting a new line of sterling silver sculptured jewelry pieces that will carry the message through pieces that will last for literally hundreds of years. So more to come!
Thank you so so so much for recognizing the message I have been trying to convey through my work. This is EXACTLY what I have been trying to do. My husband and I have another shop we are developing called “Living Spirit Wisdoms” where we will carry exclusively the universal messages of compassion, kindness, caring, empathy and grace through the wisdoms of sages and philosophers from around the world and through time, to keep those voices going, and reaching out to others to encourage them to reach out in turn.
So thank you, Brian! I am 1000% on board with your mission and would be honored to have my work in 9 Gifts of Gaia. It is a wonderful concept and one which is resonate with my own life’s work.
And please gift your mom my very best. It was a joy to make her pendant and I hope she enjoys it for a long time to come.
P.S. My personal email address is _____ Rather than writing in an Etsy convo, you can write to me there. Our phone number is ________ and we live in Sedona, AZ.
P.P.S. My doctorate is in Humane Spiritual Studies.
An African proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.”
More confirmation: since posting the last two parts of this story, I’ve already received emails from people asking where they can buy shirts. We also have a few retailers lined up who are very interested in carrying our Argan Oil. All connections through people we know 😉
Thus far, we’ve managed to accomplish quite a bit on our own with a small amount of support from a close friend to use for purchasing the web domain and theme, a few jobs on Fiverr, as well as a trip down to SW Morocco to find the Argan oil. Having Jorge Cortez as a business partner, who’s a top notch graphic designer helps tremendously, as well. His work is incredible and we make a great team. Need some amazing art created for your project? Get in touch with Jorge direct here: http://jorge-cortez.blogspot.no/
Here is a common factor that has stopped many people I’ve known over the years from launching a project, business or idea…
A lack of funds is a great excuse. I’ve used it myself many times to stop the momentum of pursuing something I’m passionate about. What I know now is that Passion & Purpose go hand in hand. The former leads directly to the ladder.
“If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right into your purpose.” Or, as Bashar says, “follow your highest excitement.”
This passion is what has led me to where I AM now. Creating a project I’m excited about. Finding others who share my excitement. Building a tribe of movers and shakers who want to change the world.
Big corporations are dying because they have no genuine authenticity. What people are searching for en masse, is to be a part of something greater than themselves. To be a part of a larger global community of like minds and like hearts. People want connection. They want inspiration. They want to feel empowered and help others feel the same. I know because I’m one of these people. We are on the verge of great change on this planet. Change that has been prophecized for thousands of years.
One of the many shifts we are about to see is a shift to what Amish Shah calls “The New Tribal Economy.” Amish has a story very similar to my own. This video has provided much amazing inspiration.I highly recommend bookmarking and giving it a watch. He also lives in Encinitas where I’m from…cool synchronicity 😉
“Great stuff Amish! I was forwarded your documentary by a friend and was absolutely blown away. The way that you are grounding key business fundamentals with higher consciousness is absolutely legendary! No surprise seeing you in Encinitas my former home town. Just what little pieces I’ve seen of your work have inspired a complete directional change with the project I’m working on now, so from the bottom of my heart thank you for the inspiration! Will be talking about you soon live on the radio as well Namaste brother!”
The program Amish is about to launch is called Tribe500. It’s all about finding and building a tribe, using the internet and a series of effective marketing tools as a means of doing so. Right now, I’m trying to raise the first installment of $300 (total $900 over 3 months) for the course which starts on January 5th. If this story has inspired and you see the vision, I’m happily accepting heart donations, which can be sent to my paypal at [email protected] 10% of the donation amount will go toward funding our first round of Kiva loans 🙂
We are infinite beings with infinite potential. Lets Unite and use our collective power to make 2015 the year of great change, abundance and prosperity for ALL!
Please go and checkout our Facebook Fan Page and give us a like to receive updates. Will be getting on Tsu soon as well 🙂 www.facebook.com/9giftsofgaia
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I leave you with some more awesome Jorge Cortez designs 🙂