“Enrollment means that the person you’re with wants to get on the bus that you’re on, with full knowledge of where you intend to go.”
This week want to express my gratitude for our last month together. Thank you Jennifer, Felipe, Elizabeth, Todd and Phil and members of our Shared Ownership Compadres (SOC)! I would rank our experience this past month right up there with the self-guided Spain Pilgrimage my wife and I had when COVID was ramping up in Spain earlier in 2020.
What has made our involvement with one another in our SOC so powerful for me? When I consider my initial prompt and all I’ve learned from conversations with several of you, here are some key things I’ve experienced:
- I’ve enjoyed my initial visit to The_Undiscovered_Country (remember that Star Trek reference?) of Shared Ownership and I’m looking forward to deeper exploration with many of you in the coming weeks and months.
- I am thankful to all of you who have shared your personal stories, people/books/resources, and your window into your industries.
- I believe we are actually building the “felicita publica” as I’ll explain below.
As an offering in gratitude and invitation to be enrolled, I will be sharing my reflections in two key areas:
I. Sharing what I’m learning about what I have to offer to our SOC and what that means for “outrospection” and
II. Enrolling you in an offer from my networks
I. In light of what I’ve learned and experienced together with you, I want to see us enroll one another! In the spirit of creating our collective public good, I offer any of the following to our ecosystem of SOC:
- Experience serving and growing scores of SMBs in the Denver Metro area and discussions and work for SMB owners in several other states
- Experience helping business owners begin to explore and build an Identity separate from their businesses. (Executive coaching and Enneagram assessments catalyze this process).
- Experience proactively preparing businesses to create the right organization and operational processes to prepare for sale or an ESOP/ transition to a coop.
- Experience building an owner/stakeholder mindset among employees.
- An economist mindset to see “big picture” connections in trends and data.
- My immigrant yet privileged (son of a medical school professor!) heritage. I am descended from immigrant/Japanese-American internment maternal grandparents and Hawaii sugar cane plantation paternal grandparents. Having grown up in ethnic communities and worked among internationals/immigrants, I bring these cross-cultural perspectives to our SOC. I bring to our SOC my involvement in a civil rights (JACL) and relief (Colorado Hosting Asylum Network , MileHighMin) groups
In working with small groups, I have found two simple questions can tell us much about the richness of the connections among the members:
“What would you like to get from this group?” and
“What would you like to offer this group?”
When I posed these questions to a group that met twice a month, all members talked about what they wanted from the group. Only two offered what they wanted to give the group. I was not surprised to see that group disband. So I hope others of you will share what you’d like to give our SOC. And then let’s enroll one another so we can become self-sustaining, 1+1=3 community.
In the “action” vein, I intend to contribute to the SOC in two ways:
1/ Connect with Colorado folks –Sharon Schneider and Nathan Schneider (Colorado Coops Study Circle ). In addition, I will be exploring or deepening other potential connections including
- Blake Jones [ founder of Kachuwa Impact Fund and Clean Energy Credit Union]
- Jeff Johnsen, MileHighMin
- Craig Jonas CoPeace founder
- Rocky Mountain Employee Ownership Center
- Your other recommendations are welcomed!
2/ I also look forward to building the SOC map with Max Harper and others SOC members.
II. We all need the “manna and quail” of self-care to feed us—especially those of us who live on the margins of our current core economic paradigm! I have been gifted tools and share my passion to help us build an open-architecture (see open architecture, finance and open architecture, IT) SOC way to keep us fed: a “spirituality” to which I offer contributions from Economy of Communion and Center for Action and Contemplation principles—which are praxis, a way of life.
The core motivating principles and praxis of the Economy of Communion and the Center for Action and Contemplation can be summed up in
- The Golden Rules: love God and love neighbor as self.
- This love is non-sectarian: ALL people, ALL faiths and ALL non-faiths are welcomed (see the above definitions of open architecture). This recent podcast by Kelly McGonigal on Cultivating Positive Change alludes to “bigger-than-self” emotions of love, compassion and gratitude as a good example of this.
- “Contemplation” and “action” are symbiotic. “…doing what you’re doing with care, presence, and intention is a form of prayer, the very way to transformation and wholeness. There is no trick, no magic formula to becoming one with Reality. There is only living and, as you know, this is much harder than it first seems” — Richard Rohr, Center for Action and Contemplation
- All stakeholder relationships—in particular those with competitors or those perceived as “lesser” and less powerful– are precious and are the raison d’etre of business; profit is the by-product of these relationships.
- Each person in these relationships has intrinsic worth (as reflected in the theological concept of imago Dei )
- Faith is praxis: it must be lived out moment by moment (see James 2:14-17; Focolare/EoC founder Chiara Lubich refers to their work as building the “exterior castle” corresponding to Teresa of Avila’s “Interior Castle”).
- The intended allocation of profit signals the core values of the EoC:
- One part is to be reinvest in the businesses for growth and new job creation
- One part is given to those in need in the community
- One part is used to communicate and extend the work of unity in the world
I have heard us share the various walls of resistance we face. We face regulatory, political, power and structural obstacles that press us to exercise creativity cultivate an SOC vision. Structural and policy obstacles result in crowded housing, loss of housing, and difficulty accessing medical care. We all now face the circumstantial stress from COVID pandemic –losses of jobs, constant emotional stress of the daily uncertainties, imposed remote work, taking on teaching our children, caring for elders and neighbors, facing despair of ever having our voices heard, confronting fear of access to voting and much more. To face these challenges we need a deep and inexhaustible well!
We need to attend to building the vitality of our individual and communal fabric by continuing to practice grounding and self-care, soul-care, other-care practices. Like Kentucky poet and farmer Wendall Barry, each of us has our one patch of ground to care for. The good news is that we actually do all have all the water and fertilizer we need to grow beautiful crops. We just need to support one another in best practices. The gift of nodes like the EoC and CAC are to remind us what water( unity) and fertilizer (love) we can access, share and, through mutual enrollment, bequeath to one another. How might we share that awareness of the water and fertilizer? I suggest that the decades and wisdom of thousands of EoC members offer us a model of the “secret sauce” of a relationship-centric way of life as the integrating hub and defining metric for lasting “business” success (the EoC “Guidelines”).
What the EoC offers us is a communion, a greenhouse, for forming new entrepreneurs:
To form new entrepreneurs and renew present ones who willingly share their profit to sustain the goals of the EoC: reduction of exclusion and its subsequent poverty, diffusion of the culture of giving and of communion, development of businesses and creation of new jobs; business people who can conceive and live their activity as a vocation and service for the common good, aiming at the excluded in every part of the world and every social context
As one example, perhaps some of our DC area Focolare/EoC members could be a potential resource for the Greater Washington Employee Ownership Center (see Jennifer Bryant’s Week 4 post) , which already includes Wacif, DAWI, Apis & Heritage, the Employee Ownership Expansion Network and other partners.
What might the SOC fabric among us look like? I believe this description of how a relational good, a “felicita publica” / public happiness might be formed. Applied positive psychologist and Lisbon professor Helena Marujo (The Economy of Francesco “Happiness, Education and Relational Goods”) has actually found a way to define, quantify and measure felicita publica. I’d like to take excerpts from her Economy of Francesco presentation to share what our coop of coops might do to increase deep conversation to produce this “relational good” among ourselves and then reproduce it with our local coops. Relational goods
- Are goods that cannot be shared alone
- They cannot be produced, consumed or acquired by a single individual, and
- Are the affective and expressive or communicative, non-instrumental side of interpersonal relationships
- Depend on the reciprocal interaction with others.
- Are happiness as the simultaneous realization of me and the Other, the Other that is neither my enemy nor my complement (i.e., defined by me)
- Require a space where “the transformation of collective consciousness might take place, and where conversations with social ramifications might happen”
“Relational welfare means that welfare is a resource that people co-create together, where personal and collective relationships and environments are placed at the centre of development” [Ness and Heimburg, 2020, p. 36]
These are the broad strokes of how our SOC might create “felicita publica” to sustain us into the future that we envision and collaboratively create together.
Our involvement with one another has given me a whiff of the Spanish culture I experienced earlier this year. That culture, and what I see potentially emerging among us, reflects growing trust and willingness to share and to ask for help. If the rich soil of Spain grew the Mondragon model, what might our SOC grow? Like the The_Undiscovered_Country of peace between the Star Fleet Federation and the Klingons, I hope we Shared Ownership Compadres will continue deeper exploration in the coming weeks and months and collectively build the Undiscovered Country of “felicita publica.” I gladly offer tools from the EoC and CAC to build our “bigger-than-self” public good emotions of love, compassion and gratitude. Please take me up on my offer to be enrolled. And may we all offer the best we have to one another and enroll one another!