To Small Business Owners: Crisis or Rare Opportunity?

This isn’t the kind of soul baring post I usually write, but I wanted to share these thoughts with you.

I heard a mesmerizing speaker a few days ago, Andrew Harvey. He is a Brit, an acclaimed author and a passionate “sacred activist”. To put it mildly his message was a highly charged and resounding wake up call.

He mentioned a recent meeting with the Dalai Lama whose words are carefully chosen and carry great significance. The Dalai Lama evidently characterized our present situation of global financial and environmental crises as “not a crisis, but an emergency”. He asked listeners to “strengthen their hearts” for the hard times ahead. Harvey suggests that that means we need to wake up from our denial about the mess we’ve made of things and that now, right now, is the moment of choice for each of us.

He said that we resist changing our seeking of senseless pleasures to face the truth and do something about it. Now is the time to act from the heart, our place of passion, and have the courage to change things for the better, even if it requires some sacrifice to do so.

Can any of us say honestly that this isn’t true for us? This touched me deeply because it means the world to me to be of service to others and to do so with an open heart, but I can do better. I care about the environment and those who are suffering in the world but don’t do nearly as much as I would like to do.

What does this mean to us as entrepreneurs?  We are in business for these basic reasons:

  • To be profitable
  • To do what we love
  • To create the lifestyle we want

These are all important reasons, but it’s time we pushed ourselves out of the comfort zone and went a few steps further. First of all, we have an obligation to be of service in the world. As business owners we have extraordinary opportunities to do this.

  • We can become as profitable as possible. Why? Because the more successful we are, the more we can use our money to help others, to create change, to do good in the world and make a real difference. We can spend our money with responsible businesses and invest with responsible companies. We can support those charities which are dear to our hearts.If you’re settling for just paying the bills, how can you do that? Think of Oprah and Bill Gates as examples of this idea. Yet so many people fear deep down that financial success goes against spirituality and they create roadblocks for themselves, or they’re very successful and always looking for the next toy to buy.
  • We can serve our clients, employees and vendors with love, attention and respect.
  • We can do business with integrity.
  • We can be of service in our communities by offering our expertise to help those less fortunate
  • We can be conscious of how we use resources in our business to become more eco-friendly. I’ve recently cut down on my use of paper goods and also try to print less, for example. Little things matter.
  • We can use our abilities as innovators and leaders to encourage others to do the same.

We can get out of our comfort zone and commit to personal change in our business and life. We can focus more on what is beneficial to ourselves, our business, our family, our community and the earth than on what is most pleasurable. We can use this crisis as a wake up call to create a better world. We can do it one little bit at a time, one change at a time, one conscious choice at a time. This is a rare opportunity.

Please share your comments,


  • Sonja
    Posted at 20:39h, 08 December Reply

    Hello Janis,

    Thank you for the enlightening post. I have been observing the economic “emergency” with a very curious eye.

    I catch myself riding the wave of our collective anxiety and it the line between the macro (world view) and my micro view becomes blurred. I’m at a stage in my life where my insecurity is toying with me – an I find it fascinating to see this blown up on the big screen.


    Feels more like an “emergence” of new opportunities to me. Our small web-development business is booming. Lots of small biz entrepreneurs are coming out to play.

    ALSO –
    I heard Andrew Harvey speak several years ago at the Global Inspiration Conference (in my hometown of Nelson, BC) and his passionate words have stayed with me.

    I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts.


    (btw – this comment box has a minor bug, the right hand side is not defined…the text disappears for a 13/14 characters before breaking to the next line)

  • Adela Rubio
    Posted at 15:45h, 31 May Reply

    I agree, Janis. It’s time to give more, in so many ways.

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