I was reminded in two separate meetings this week that the actual work of making our visions and values real & concrete in the world (ie, running an anti-capitalist business under capitalism) is always imperfect.
In the first, I was speaking about my discomfort with where I feel like I’m falling short in my own work and leadership of Wanderwell — with the ways in which I wish I could support the team, and the resources that we don’t have to do so, as a very small business.
And the reality is, of course, my own tiny business is not going to abolish billionaires, dismantle white supremacy, or provide universal basic income and free healthcare for all.
The above image is a Venn Diagram of the personal, the systemic, and how both show up in our businesses.
When it comes to aligning our business with our values for social change and justice, our work is all three parts:
- If we only talk about personal healing and mindset shifts, we’re ignoring the larger systems.
- If we only talk about the larger systems, we miss an opportunity for self-growth and healing.
- If we don’t also become financially literate, we won’t be able to effectively change the system we’re in.
An example: back in Spring 2020, one of colleague’s immediate reaction to the pandemic was “oh god, fire the whole team!”, mine was more like “fire myself and give all my money to the team!”
Reader, know that neither of us wrecked our businesses with these impulses. But our reactions were deeply rooted in the stories we’ve held long before these past months of crisis.
In my family, money has been used to attempt to repair harm and, frequently, to stand in for other forms of care. Is it any wonder that I want to shovel money at my employees when shit hits the fan?
As I’ve worked to align values for equity, for solidarity, for justice with Wanderwell’s business operations, when I’ve been blind to this family legacy, I give too much. This legacy then shows up in the company P&L eventually in the form of uneasy cash flow.
This is just one example, because of course our contexts and narratives are entirely unique (and I certainly have other personal shit around money!). The imperfection comes from working in the context of an economic system that is designed for inequality.
We swim up stream when we design our businesses with equity in mind.
The work of the third part, our businesses, always happens in the context of our personal stories and the economic system, which is why it is imperative that we investigate both if we want to create a business that swims up stream.
There is no perfect model of an equitable, anti-racist, anti-capitalist business in our economy, however we can align our values with actions, policies, systems, and models within the our business ecosystem to move us, collectively, in the direction of a new economy.
This is how we create changes in our tiny ecosystems to model change within our larger ecosystem.
We work with visionary business owners at the intersection of the systemic, the personal, and the financial; or, another way to build a Venn Diagram: in the overlap between doing well in your business and doing good in the world. If you’re interested in exploring working with Kate on your business, learn more here, we’d love to chat.