All Posts Tagged With: "prosperity"

21 days without complaint or criticism: is it possible?

Photo by: Julie

Note: when this ran in my recent newsletter, I received more comments from readers than any other article! Today, I was inspired to post it here and invite you to post your experiences — if you take up the 21-day challenge. Can’t wait to hear from you! (Not subscribed yet to the newsletter? Don’t miss an issue! Put your name and email in the spaces under the red box that says, “Gabrielli’s Green Business.”)

I have embarked on something I must admit – I did NOT want to do this. Of course, I am absolutely convinced it’s just what I need right now. But when I really thought about it, I had no idea how I could possibly last the 21 days. I imagined myself having to start over, not just every day, but several TIMES a day. And, well, to be honest with you – so far, I have started over three times.

What is this quest, you may be wondering?

Inspired by¬†Edwene Gaines‘ brilliant book, “Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity,” one of the laws is clear goal-setting. We’ve all studied and practiced this, right? Well, she has a twist. It’s a preparatory practice. Ready for it? Go 21 days without complaining, criticizing, or gossiping. 21 days. If you slip, simply forgive yourself and start over. For another 21 days. As she says, you have to be really careful what you say on Day 20!!

As I contemplated doing this, I literally could not imagine how I could last 21 whole days. What would I say? I played back a recent interaction w/ my son, where I both complained AND criticized him for losing not one but both pairs of scissors from the kitchen drawer. (Mind you – I’m not complaining NOW, just telling a story!! Really. . . Doesn’t count, right?)

Who says worthwhile things are easy? Not only did I resolve to do it, I also told my son about my quest and enrolled him as my “minder.” His job is to tell me if I slip up, so I can start over the 21 days. He seems to appreciate the challenge. (He also reminded me that it’s only me doing this – he doesn’t have to!)

So, what does this have to do with green business?

People in the environmental community, myself included, can sometimes dwell too much on the negative. There is, we perceive, much going wrong with the planet’s health. Climate change (aka “Global Weirding”), destruction of the rainforest, massive oil spills, species extinctions. Whew! Just writing that list was exhausting!

While it can be motivating to keep in mind these and other consequences of a mindless, wasteful way of doing business, a more common response is simply to shut down. It all becomes overwhelming and seems hopeless.

Since we tend to get more of what we focus on, let’s try a new approach: one that emphasizes creativity and innovation. Seeing opportunities, rather than limitations. Shifting perspective from fixing what’s broken to asking, what do we really want here?

So far, a couple of weeks into my 21-day challenge, the benefits are already clear. Since complaining and criticism are off the table, I can meet each experience with appreciation and acceptance as the default. This feels very expansive and liberating, as if a whole part of my brain finally gets to have its say (having been drowned out before).

Imagine how the green / sustainability movement would be if we all decided not to complain or criticize. If we focused only on appreciation and clarity about what we want, rather than what we don’t want.

I think it was Mother Teresa who said, “I won’t go to an anti-war march. But, if you hold a peace march, please invite me.”

I am enjoying this so much that I may just extend it indefinitely. With such a light heart, why would I go back to the old ways of anxiety and worry? Try it! I’d love to hear your stories.

Three Rules to Avoid Greenwashing & Achieve Market Success

graphic by: Ida Cheinman

My friend, Ida Cheinman, founder of Substance 151, is a leader in branding for sustainability. She graciously agreed to write a guest article for us. Enjoy!

“Green” marketing presents unique challenges – we live in a time when the word “sustainability” is topping the buzzword charts and a wave of greenwashing is flooding the mainstream. But we also live in a time when sustainability and social responsibility are the forces driving many buying decisions. While being a “green” business already creates a competitive advantage, simply being “green” is no longer enough. Marketers and business leaders are faced with the challenge of creating differentiation by developing an empowering and memorable brand experience for their audiences in the increasingly crowded sustainable marketplace.

Why is it important to talk about your responsible business practices?

People want to feel a connection to the companies they do business with and they want to feel good about their choices – environmental stewardship is an increasingly persuasive motivator. Based on existing market research, over 40% of buyers have a strong preference, and are willing to pay more, for products and services from companies that use socially and environmentally responsible business practices. This is a significant market share! Communicate wisely about your environmentally responsible business to ensure that it doesn’t go to your competitors.

Here are three rules to create a successful and sustainable market position:

Rule 1 – Authenticity: Aligning Promise with Practice

Your commitment to sustainability has to be authentic and come from within. It has to be a part of your mission, your business strategy, your operational process and your employee engagement programs. As consumers demand that companies address their environmental concerns, they’re also demanding higher levels of accountability and transparency – “walking the talk” matters more than ever before. Avoid being labeled a “greenwasher.” When your company communicates its environmental commitment through a consumer-facing brand story, make sure that its green promise has authentic proof behind it.

Success = complete integration of sustainability strategy and brand strategy, aligning external consumer promises with internal company practices.

Rule 2 – Commitment to Quality

While environmentally conscious consumers represent a significant market share, for a company to achieve maximum success in the marketplace and create an opportunity to stay competitive through the economic downturn and into the future, its offerings have to be not only greener but also perceived as better.

A company is not the sole owner of its brand. It shares this ownership with its customers, partners, vendors and other stakeholders – all engaged in shaping the brand’s perception in the marketplace.

Success = creating opportunities for continued improvement of what your company offers and your ability to successfully communicate the benefits of your products and services.

Rule 3 – Brand Experience: Telling a Compelling Story

Sustainable brands are not about the logo, print collateral or the website driven by the latest technologies; they are about a powerful idea framework and brand experience that transforms, moves and creates a meaningful dialogue.

We all care about our future and the future of our children and want to be moved and empowered to do the right thing. We also care about our individual success and prosperity. How can a brand deliver both? Fortunately, we have come to the point when doing the right thing is economically viable. Now is the time to position your company to stand tall among other leading brands like Interface, Aveda, Autodesk, U.S. Green Building Council, Nike, SunEdison, Seventh Generation and many others. What’s your story?

Success = empowering your audiences, creating a community, leading a movement, affecting change – all while delivering on the triple bottom line economic model: achieving business growth and economic prosperity that is good for people and the planet.

Substance151 is a brand design + strategy firm focused on building sustainable brands for companies with environmentally and socially responsible products, services and corporate values. Their expertise includes every step of the branding process – from strategy through design, across print and digital media, and including all aspects of marketing communications.
To engage them in helping you build a stronger brand and tell your story, please contact them at 410-732-8379 or contact(at)substance151.com.