What Does ‘Conscious Business’ Really Mean, and Why Does It Matter?

by | Jun 11, 2024 | Blog, Next Level Business

We hear the words ‘conscious business’ and it stirs us. This business is doing good things! 

And yet, I remain skeptical. ‘Marketing terms’ are so often co-opted to paint a picture that bears little relevance to reality. I had a great conversation several years ago which has taken on new meaning in the past week. I’ll reveal that in the second half of the article –  

Let’s explore the meaning of conscious business from two perspectives: 

1. Are we really misled by marketing jargon?

2. What does Conscious Business actually mean?

Misled by Wording, the Glory of Farm Fresh Eggs

My husband and I usually get eggs from a local organic farmer whose chickens run free morning to night. This week we needed eggs and grabbed some from the grocery store. 

There are 20 different egg options in a multitude of categories! Farm fresh, organic, cage free, free range, pasture raised, omega added and more. I was overwhelmed and decided to do some research. What do all those options mean, how does someone choose?

They all sound great, right? Who wouldn’t want a farm fresh egg. It conjures the image of a hen roaming freely on a farm, the egg being brought to the kitchen fresh from being laid. It turns out the reality couldn’t be further from the truth.

According to Toby Amidor who wrote this article for US News and World Report:

  • Caged: (aka Farm Fresh) Hens are confined to cages with a 67-square inch space each. They never see the light of day and consume a corn or soy diet. Over 90 percent of eggs in the U.S. come from hens that are kept in cages for their entire egg-laying lives.
  • Cage-Free: These ladies have more room than caged hens, since each is given less than 1 square foot. Still, they’re not entirely “free,” since they’re confined to barns and consume a corn or soy diet.
  • Free-Range: Allotted less than 2 square feet per hen, these animals have more space than their caged and cage-free peers, but they don’t get outdoors as much as you may think. Some seldom get to see the light of day and many eat a corn- or soy-based feed.
  • Pasture-Raised: These ladies are given at least 108 square feet each and consume some feed and lots of grass, bugs, worms and anything else they can find in the dirt. They tend to be let out of the barns early in the morning and called back in before nightfall. 

Obviously, not every egg is created equal – and once we have this information, we can make informed choices. Sure, marketers don’t want to put ‘caged’ on the egg package – so it becomes our job to be discerning, and that takes knowledge. 

Consciousness is More Than a Catch-Phrase

If you follow me, or listen to the Soulful Leader Podcast, you know that I’m all about awareness. Increasing our awareness sets us free. That’s why I love the idea of conscious business. Consciousness, by its very definition, is the level of one’s awareness. 

Miriam-Webster defines consciousness as: the quality or state of being aware especially of something within oneself; AWARENESS

Several years ago Daniel Goodenough shared with me his observation that conscious business was really business doing business with a conscience – bringing an ethical and moral conscientiousness into business. Ok, but both are good, right?

Miriam-Webster defines Conscience as: the moral goodness or blameworthiness of one’s own conduct, intentions, or character together with a feeling of obligation to do right or be good

This week my conversation with Daniel became much clearer when I read this great article “Leaders: Are You Running a Business with a Conscience, or a Conscious Business” in Fast Company. Jill Taylor of HuPerson Project points out that often a conscientious company will often create an unintended consequence. A great example of that is Kurig’s founder, John Sylvan’s invention of the K-Cup which revolutionized the coffee industry and then led to devastating environmental consequences. Sylvan himself not only regrets having invented them, he’s taken a stand against them and even compared them to cigarettes (saying that they are a single-serve delivery mechanism for an addictive substance.)

Shifting from conscience to consciousness means looking at business from a more holistic approach, seeking an integrated, higher vision solution – so that a Keurig situation doesn’t happen. This level of awareness is a path few businesses choose – it’s not easy – and it’s critical.

Self proclaimed ‘conscious’ companies are moving in a much needed direction. However, the complexity of problems facing our world today requires more than the conscientiousness they bring to the table. 

It’s time to bring true consciousness into the board room.

In case this is the first time we’re meeting, I’m Maren, an executive life coach, speaker, dancer, and serial entrepreneur empowering you to step into your purpose and live your most fulfilled life.

When you’re ready, here are a few ways I can help regardless of where you are on your journey to self discovery:

Book me to speak at your next event and inspire your team of high achievers to step into their purpose, master their mindset, amplify their impact, and find fulfillment.

Join the Dance with Life Program: Uncover your unique gifts and experience a more fulfilling way of success with my Dance with Life program. I’ve helped dozens of high achievers transform their lives. Learn how you can join this transformative journey.

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