| |

Business as Art – The Rising Movement


Hyperbole repels me. Still, call it a movement. A wave. A surge. A revolution. An evolution.

A tide of creative people and business people are driving one another to do business as unusual. To do business as art.

We’re not bonded by trade or profession. We’re bonded by hunger. We hunger for something different. We want integrity.

Glimpse these signs and add your own in the comments below.

bestselfmag21. Kristen Noel & Best Self Magazine

Business as usual can make us cynical about doing business at all. Think Enron and nefarious mortgage loans. Think of cut-throat competition the way that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is attributed as saying: ‘…Amazon should approach these small publishers the way a cheetah would pursue a sickly gazelle.’ Think ‘management by stress’ and ‘bottom line efficiency’ in which human beings are over-worked and under-valued. Think marketing as manipulation.

In the early-21st century, there remain countless signs of business as usual, but a growing band of us across the globe are determined to do business as unusual for the greater good.

It’s a world where we each – especially us misfits with quirks, hidden talents, and mosaic backgrounds – can come home by doing business as art.”

That’s the way my article “Tracking Wonder” – on my and our journey home as business artists – begins in Kristen Noel’s exceptional new magazine Best Self

Kristen – an author and self-empowerment philanthropist – is part of the business artist tide. 

In issue #2, Kristen has pooled and featured the life journeys of astounding business artists – from Twitter co-founder Biz Stone to legendary jazz/world/experimental musician John DeJohnette to author (Walking Home, Hay House 2014), teacher, and consultant Sonia Choquette

Kristen embodies the business artist sensibility:

  • the pursuit of excellence in style, craft, design, & audience experience
  • a generous focus on other people
  • a genuine grounding in integrity
  • a way of business that includes making things & experiences, making meaning, & making a difference while also making a right livelihood

Best Self Magazine is available now via iTunes for only a $4.99 monthly subscription. A worthwhile investment in your business artist quest. #BestSelfMag


2. Eric Klein and Wisdom Heart Community

Eric Klein has been a pioneer on the path to change business as usual. Through his Dharma Consulting and best-selling books, Eric led the charge to bring wisdom into board rooms starting in the ‘90s. 

His Wisdom Heart School draws from his 20+ years as a world-renowned spiritual teacher and is helping recovering corporate consultants and executives lead a profoundly wise life beyond spiritual platitudes or conventional attitudes. 

Eric interviewed me on “What’s Calling You: The Power of Wonder.” In this conversation, we explore

  • The neurological structure of wonder ­‐ and how it opens us up as business artist
  • How to cultivate fertile confusion on the business artist path
  • The serious power of play for business artists
  • Connecting to bravery (so you can stop hiding)

A good friend and colleague, Eric embodies the business artist sensibility by

  • shaping an artful life of meaning, purpose, impact, and right livelihood
  • elevating his patch of the planet
  • drawing from his signature core heritage and life to make a right livelihood

Eric’s free meditation guides & newsletter are worthy allies on your business artist quest.

3. Jonathan Fields, The Good Life Project, and Camp GLP

jon-jessJonathan Fields is a lawyer-turned-yoga studio owner for the “uninitiated”-turned-serial entrepreneur (not to mention a loving papa of an adorable, talented girl).

Jonathan’s latest ventures – Revolution U and Camp GLP – both draw upon the fact that we human beings yearn to belong. Seth Godin launched this conversation with Tribes, and Jonathan continues it with this online program and live event respectively (+ his new book due out in 2015 will unfold his findings).

JF draws business artists from all fields from around the globe, and his work frequently frames my inklings in ways that help me recognize the magnitude if not magnificence of this business artist wave.

Jonathan embodies the business artist sensibility by

  • heeding the power of design and experience architecture
  • fiercely pursuing excellence in all endeavors
  • elevating his patch of the planet
  • facilitating synergistic inter-connections within his audiences
  • generously focusing on others’ stories
  • shaping an artful life of making things & experiences, making a difference, and making a right livelihood

You can read more about my resistance to group-think and how Camp GLP cracked open my longing to belong – “How are you enabling belonging?”

Camp GLP – a worthwhile investment in your business artist quest.

4. CEOs Doing Business as Unusual

Lest you think this is a simplistic anti-corporate movement, let me offer three other examples.

I mentioned Twitter co-founder Biz Stone above. CEO of Jelly Industries, here’s what Biz said in Andrew Cave’s Forbes article recently:

This is my first time of being a CEO but I think of myself as artist/CEO. The shared trait of a good CEO and a good artist is empathy. When I paint, I paint for joy but I also think about how someone might feel when they look at the painting….There’s an art to being a CEO….”

Big Ass Fans CEO Carey Smith has taken a major zag from his 20th-century predecessors. Smith has a multi-generation vision for his company – not just a short-term “Get-rich-and-high-tail-it-to-Costa-Rica” plan. His company has grown considerably since 1999, and along with it the quality of life of the people who work for and with Big Ass Fans. Here’s a glimpse into his perspective:

“There’s more to life than making the quarter. There’s more to life than taking your start-up company and going and getting two million dollars from a VC or PE….Building a company gives you an opportunity to build meaning not just for yourself but for a large number of people. … It alters the way you think of things, and the last thing you think about is profit.” – The Unconventionals

Menlo Innovations CEO Richard Sheridan set out to create a different kind of software company – one whose mission is to bring joy to the world (and its workers) through software. His book Joy Inc. details how he and his team have succeeded 100-fold.

Apple CEO Tim Cook held a shareholder meeting with the conservative finance group the National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR). Cook presented Apple’s environmental initiatives and efforts to help the blind. An NCPPR representative adamantly questioned the potential return-on-investment. Cook’s emotional response:

“When we work on making our devices accessible by the blind, I don’t consider the bloody ROI…. “[Apple] a lot of things for reasons besides profit motive. We want to leave the world better than we found it….If you want me to do things only for ROI reasons, you should get out of this stock.”

That’s not business as usual.

5. Hundreds of Business Artists + 12 Visionaries to Imagine Your Best 12 Months

I’ve invited 12 luminary visionaries to help us imagine our best 2015 in unconventional ways. The business artist adventure is called Quest2015.

Every Visionary – from pioneer teacher Jen Louden to CEO Michael Bungay Stanier to entrepreneur & ruckus-maker Seth Godin to women’s empowerment leader Tara Mohr to CEO and philosopher Charlie Gilkey to social psychologist Todd Kashdan to creative arms dealer Todd Henry to Doodle Revolution leader Sunni Brown to fascinate expert & NYT best-seller Sally Hogshead – are business artists with integrity.

But here’s the extraordinary thing:

The Quest2015 Community is becoming a hotbed for whatever is rising this coming year. 

Hundreds of executives and former executives, consultants and former consultants, writers and aspiring writers, authors and artists, shaman and healers, teachers and curators, business owners and start-up entrepreneurs.

They’re not simply setting goals to read X # number of books or go on a diet or change an unsavory habit. They’re going deep. They’re writing and photographing and connecting and collaborating and sharing each other’s work across the Internet. They’re building a whole different way to make – to make a difference this year. Together.

Quest2015 – it’s not too late to join, by the way.

6. Getting Out of the Way for All of Us

My DNA apps are being a strategist, pattern-maker, and confusion fertilizer. That last point is essential in my business artistry because it holds in check the strategist. It means I have a healthy dose of tolerating creative and professional uncertainty & ambiguity. It means I thrive on not knowing exactly where this movement is going and what role our company Tracking Wonder has to play in it.

I do know that the path of tracking wonder plays an essential role for all of us this coming year. 

I know that whatever is rising is not about me, and it’s not about you. It’s about us. 

#DIT (Do It Together) beats DIY. (Tweet this. Thanks!)

Thanks for running with me us,


Share This Article:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *