Recently I attended the Certified Green Building Professional training put on by the non-profit organization Build It Green. Anytime I attend educational events like these I often walk away refreshed and inspired. I came away with some profound thoughts on how this movement ties into our business and my life. I can see the difference between this event and others is applying a philosophy of sustainability throughout our company and my life will happen and will happen now. The word Green is clearly “the label” but looking past the outer shell of this label the underlying message is living a sustainable life. This is the difference. I first was exposed to the concept at the West Coast Green Conference in San Francisco in 2007. Realizing that Green was taking a foot hold I attended this conference to become more aware of the direction our industry was going. I was not prepared for the feeling I got, that this was not just another trade show but the beginnings of a societal movement. People (not businesses) are converging to form what seems a movement leveraging their business or careers to contribute to a better earth and, surprisingly, a more enlightened life. I am now aware of opportunities to leverage my business/career in order to achive both business and personal goals. I may be approaching the deep end here but bare with me as I explain. MY thoughts are influenced by ”a beginners studies” Lao Tzu (via Dyer), Tolle, and Hawken as I connect the dots between my business and my life. I am intrigued with a realization that the business I am in can actually contribute to the quality of life on earth, that this is a vehicle which will contribute to becoming aware and conscious. I can’t be sure but don’t believe everyone has this opportunity in what they do over half of their waking hours (if not more). I truly believe if we all open our eyes and become aware and conscious one may realize an amazing opportunity. Taking it further, our business has the potential to provide a bridge, crossing over to achieving personal enlightenment.
The Train is in the Station. We have been on a ride since our company began with just a few stops along the way. For the most part we have been full steam ahead. Today’s business climate marks a time when we have pulled into the station. Different positions can and have been taken from panic and denial to oblivion. Passengers will have different plans as we pause at the station. Some will stay on board safe and sound, some will immediately vacate the train never to return, and others will explore the latest stop and investigate the rest of the trip. Times like this can often pose a ”Y” in the tracks which can be interpreted as opportunities. Before you decide to get back on the smart person will try to understand where the train is headed. Well, as I see it the Train is still restricted to the tracks. Looking back I’ll admit I was in somewhat of a panic as we approached the latest station. Once halted I realized it was a good choice since alternate routes are presenting themselves. It’s important for you as a passenger to understand where I am coming from and what lies ahead. I don’t expect everyone to get it now and I won’t be surprised if some decide not to return. I have decided to take the path that a few have traveled on as opposed to the historic path. I believe there is opportunity for BOTH personal and professional growth in the new path of which both have been missing. I feel privileged that our business is beginning to embrace a holistic approach to the solutions desired by our clients. I can either deny it, ignore it, or embrace it. I find it especially intriguing that a sustainable philosophy has no boundaries between personal and business. This was introduced at West Coast Green and re-enforced in continual studies. This is what has solidified the plan for me. There is something happening in the world that has taken on it’s own momentum and I find it fascinating. There are no leaders, no government, no boundaries, yet it is very apparent a shift is taking place. All are equal and only choose to particpate to better the world. So If I could draw you a road map I would but the path we are about to take is somewhat uncharted. What I do know is I won’t be getting back on the train. I will join the caravan to discover the new territory and you are welcome.
Waving goodbye. As the train leaves the station I am quickly and pleasantly caught by surprise. It’s not clear where the destination is located and while attempting to prepare a travel plan, the next steps, the direction to go it becomes clear that it is not possible. And it does not matter. The beauty of this plan is there is no destination but every step of the way matters and as one remains conscious in the choices and new found beliefs IT becomes a progressive experience. One may think standing in a group at the station while the train dissapears on the horizon leaving us behind may lead to second guessing the decision but it does not. In fact an overwhleming peaceful energy takes over. Letting go of the ego with no desire to accumulate THINGS and SUCCESSES and knowing that the conscious choices that are being made HELP, feels FREE. A humble relinquishing event has begun and being aware is the first and forever step. It is applying new age thoughts on practicing NOW. Our business is a vehicle for the journey. This, is most profound.
Taking the leap. This statement alone sends the wrong message and is not accurate. There is no LEAP. This is the beauty of the movement. Pressure does not exist to; conform to anothers set of rules, ”keep up with the Jones’, or follow a leader. For those genuinely aboard every step counts for there is no destination, no end of the path. So many of us look for recognition from outside forces, other people, the pat on the back. When you ponder this does it seem to matter, it might for your ego, does this help? I think not. Be aware and conscious and then look within for recognition. Recognizing this alone places you in a world that seems to open up. I am astounded by the dynamics of what I am experiencing. The more I think and write the more I realize that the green movement becomes smaller and opportunities for personal enlightenment become larger. This is why I have been struck. Either I am learning a new way to approach the world that many already posses or I am discovering something that few have found. I believe it is the later. A spiritual side that only resides within, not tied to a structured or organized religion, or one individuals teaching, but being aware and practicing. My original intention of this writing was to talk about the impact of Green Building to our business and myself. As I review my writings I am aware that I cross over often to the personal side but then quickly realize this is THE DIFFERENCE and this is why it is significant in my eyes. As I gravitate toward studying old and new age philosophy I am realizing that this is likely a primary reason why I am more aware of this time in our world and my life. Becoming educated and then aware of the ego and it’s implications is transforming how I live. Decisions are governed by a pure force. Overcoming the ego is difficult but I am aware as I practice. I am a student accountable to within. This experience is new for me. Taking the leap refers more to discovering this as opposed to some large transforming event that one hopes to have. This is the ego, searching for validation from others, instant gratification. Pay attention because there is something before us. A new way to travel this life.
Not what by how. Not when but NOW. What defines us? Being a carpenter, a designer, a manager, or a business owner is merely a label that our minds and ego identify with. They mean nothing more. Who you are is how you go about accomplishing the task, interacting with other individuals, and being aware. There have been numerous lessons learned over recent years related to this movement. It is a slow process as energy begins to accumulate. It feels like a shift in an iceberg or the beginnings of a cattle stampede but in slow motion. Somewhat odd, residing within the center is a spiritual dimension or component. This element places the topic in an entirely different and unknown territory for most but is the force that is drawing people to the movement. Recognizing this, being aware of the momentum and balancing what “just seems right” seems miraculous. “Not what but how” is what I call a “value phrase” that has made an impact in my thoughts. In anything we do from skipping a rock along a lakes surface to a complex analysis at your job, the principle of “how” will guide you. “What” is static, an identifier, a structure with four walls. ”How” is fluid, subjective, strategic, creative, smart, allowing the individual to achieve ”What”. Whomever recognizes this will contribute. Who does not will bring suffering to themselves and those around. Think through your daily decisions and let this value guide your choices and your actions. Take responsibility for ”How” and let it be “What” not thinking of the outcome because if one is conscious of ”How”, ”What” it becomes will not be the significance.
Quality. One of the most over used and misunderstood words. Quality is about Responsibility. As the movement progresses a framework is being built re-defining the label of quality. Values will be established within the framework related to every segment of business and personal life throughout the world. New terms will be added while developing a product or performing a service. Coming out of the egoic mind will bring to light what these responsibilities are as you ponder your job, career, profession, or personal life. Observing yourself and being aware as specific occurrences unfold can place you in a position to identify opportunities to grow. Our minds are polluted with attachment to things, ownership, accumulation, and waste. We have a responsibility as stewards of our world and the people within it. Determining your values will guide you in the decision making process. Remember, our careers are nothing compared to what life has to offer. Consider your job only a vehicle to navigate through life and now consider how you can give and not just take. If we are to genuinely believe we provide quality to our clients we must first be committed ourselves. Commitment combined with established values and action comes responsibiity and therefore Quality. Look inside, how much responsibility have you taken? What have you done to improve your contribution to whatever you do? What do you base your decisions off of? How have you developed?. As individuals you have the responsibility. Who are you waiting for? Are you just taking? What are you giving?
Values- We are fortunate. We can contribute to the movement by providing a Quality (Responsible) service to our clients. It’s not just about being green, this is simply a label that will disolve transforming into something much larger. Start thinking about our business specifically and what values make a difference. Remember our values will guide us as every decision is made and these values are our Quality statement.
Reality-Recognizing this movement has shed light on our company. Over the past several years we have convinced ourselves that the service our company provides is superior to anyone around us, that we basically are the best, a group of select elite remodeling companies. My sense over the past years is that we have lost our edge and attending industry events such as “Build it Green” Green Building Professional training brings this forward. Sitting in a room with progressive companies and individuals is both inspiring and concerning. We are behind, we are no longer the progressive company we were. This is evident in the complacency of many of our long time employees and myself. Choosing a circular path that leads us right back to where we began seems to be more common than not. Our business and related careers are life choices and paths. We as individuals are fortunate to have an opportunity as such yet few leverage it to grow. Most await direction and in affect take on a sedentary career path. An offering has been made and an opportunity has presented itself and those that accept it, take personal responsibility, and ACT will enjoy personal success. Those who begin understanding this shift in thinking and realize that our company has decided to use this shift as an opportunity to revitalize will likely survive. Those who do not come along will not.