About the spiritual development of a corporate identity

Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China

I just finished writing a proposal for my new, not yet formally signed, client. Writing these proposals make my head spin. I see so much potential, possibilities and angles that my system starts to buzz. Ideally I would like to go for a run but because I must write the proposal I walk to the refrigerator a lot. Or I do the dishes. Or the laundry.

When we look at life with the eye of a mystic we see a mystery, a beautiful and awe-inspiring mystery. Every manifestation of life is therefore a mystery and a miracle too. When you are part of that mystery you want to observe it, study it, appreciate it and honor it. You don’t want so much to change it or manipulate it, certainly not for selfish reasons. You might want to help bring out the beauty that is already there.

We seem to be the only one who are blessed with awareness: not only do we exist, we also are aware of our existence. The other side of that coin is that we are aware but nut fully aware. A lot goes unseen. Thing is that what stays under our radar has a huge effect on our experience of life. Nice example I our fear of not having enough that translate into a perpetual need for more. We all know how much stress, anxiety and injustice that mechanism causes.

I see it as my job and my duty to contribute as best as I can to more awareness of self and others. Especially I want to try to bring it to unconventional places and in original ways. Now is the latter debatable. Because it is only an unconventional place because somebody thinks and or says it is an unconventional place. In the end it is always about people, that is not unconventional, that is universal. And trying to be original or inventive is also from all times. The reason that there are so many paths to Rome is because so many people have tried to get there before me. Anyways, I enjoy the challenge of trying to get a team of co-workers of a company to join me on a journey of self-discovery.

During the times I was still calling myself a marketing communication strategist I also wrote proposals. Basically I was looking for cultural justification why an idea should work. For example: after 9/11 I would assume the need for safety would increase. This would translate in all kinds of campaigns, strategies and products, movies and games. A good ‘concept’ would be something that would fulfill this new found need, a ‘strategy’ would be a way to communicate or sell this need. Both concept and strategy should serve brands.

When I was finishing the proposal of today I typed some final words. I wrote that a company-wide dedication towards collective personal growth is also interesting from a PR perspective. And the funny thing was: I realized it was true. I never looked at it that way. I just don’t give brands much thought anymore, they doesn’t fascinate me anymore. Until now I only had the growth of the individual human beings in mind. Creating a supportive environment is good for individuals and all the people they touch in live. When all the employees of a company participate in a process of structural self-discovery it serves the company too of course. Cooperation, communication, health and well-being will improve. But I never realized it would benefit the company as an entity too. I just overlooked it. But just like a person who knows himself and is open about that becomes more interesting is a company who devotes itself to inner growth just a more interesting company. It raises curiosity and appreciation, it becomes a topic to publish about for media, it creates an edge in finding new employees, it adds a dimension of uniqueness and personability. It will develop selfless and timeless qualities like generosity, compassion and wisdom.

Last week my client/ founder of ATG/ friend Tom took me to an interview with a French guy (nice guy, entrepreneur, writer, meditator) who wants to write a book about mindfulness and corporate leadership. After the interview I was talking a bit with this writer and we came to the conclusion how exceptional it still is to find examples of an integrated vision. It seems that the practice of making your company or team grow spiritually as a whole hardly exists. As a guy who cares about the wellbeing of others this is sad news but also a motivation to give it my best. But as a former strategist who used to be concerned about the image of a brand I realize that the spiritual development of any identity, including a corporate identity is a very interesting and undiscovered terrain. It seems inevitable to me that it will be explored soon because it is our human nature to explore, it is beneficial and rewarding to differentiate and it will meet the widely felt need to become more sustainable. It is just a matter of time before the courageous, visionary and adventurous will start pioneering.

In my twenties I was fascinated about trying to predict (the) future (developments). Now at 41 I will make a new prediction: I feel that the moment that there will be place for the mystic perspective in the corporate world will come.


  1. leonie stekelenburg says

    Ze zijn er wel hoor, die voorbeelden 😉 Ik ‘spaarde’ die voorbeelden voor mijn werk in Uprocess/Presencing trainingen, om bedrijven mee naar toe te nemen ter inspiratie. Vaak kwamen we dan eigenlijk uit bij een bezielde leider of initiatiefnemer die vanuit een geintegreerde visie (mind en heart) daar handen en voeten aan gingen geven, werkend IN de wereld, met alle aardse wrijvingen en struggles van dien. Soms waren het afdelingen van bedrijven, vaak kleine ondernemningen, zoals Mana hier in Hong Kong, of IMI waar ik werk. Of in NL de initiatiefneemster van Eva Lanxmeer ecodorp die 20 jaar zich inzette tot een plek die voelbaar belichaamd wat zij en haar team voor ogen hadden. Of de weekeind school in Amsterdam, en het weekeind college. Ingrid zeegers’ afdeling bij Philips in duurzaamheid (die nu niet meer bestaat). The Hub Amsterdam opgezet door Tatiana Glad. Dat waren allemaal bedrijven die cyclisch zorgden dat ze ‘erbij bleven’. Regelmatig opnieuw samen herontdekken wie ze waren en wilden zijn, uit elkaar en een ieder zn werk doen om t een stap verder bouwen. Weer bij elkaar om het werk te consolideren, te integreren met elkaar en af te stemmen op het geheel. Enzovoort. Ik kan van binnenuit (the Hub, IMI) zeggen wat een kado het is om zo samen te kunnen en mogen werken. Dan is werk een roeping, een groeipad en een bloeipad…

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