“Conscious relationship” is not a term that we commonly use in society (yet). It’s certainly even less common in the business world. Unfortunately, if you were to use that term in many business settings or conversations, it would likely be met with terms like “woo woo” or “woke”.
I believe that conscious relationships and partnerships are the backbone of healthy social change, leadership, creativity and more. I also believe that the same structures and elements of our personal conscious relationships apply to business relationships as well.
Simply put, a conscious relationship is any relationship between two people who have an elevated level of consciousness. This could be an intimate partnership, a friendship, a communal or familial relationship—or a business relationship.
I’ve been blessed to have conscious relationships in all of these areas. My partner, Virginia, and I have a conscious partnership. I have conscious relationships with my former partner, our sons and our daughter-in-law. My business/creative partner, Emily Soccorsy, and I have a conscious partnership. I have many friends that I consider myself in conscious relationships with—and many of them are in the business world.
Regardless of the form that they take, all conscious relationships have a similar structure. They all have the alchemic recipe of Autonomy + Vulnerability + Mystery.
In the business world, this translates into respecting someone’s sovereignty as a human being, making room for feelings and emotions, and an understanding that leadership is guiding people into the unknown.
Conscious relationships have the following guiding behaviors:
In the business world, trust is the ultimate currency. It’s more valuable than money, attention or image. Intimacy in business is a willingness to get close; to break down walls and structures. Commitment in business is the same as in our personal lives: a promise to show up and choose the relationship daily. Adventure is remembering that business is supposed to be fun and a source of joy. Finally, co-creation is where trust and collaboration intersect. This is the marriage between the visionary and the implementer that others have written about.
Conscious relationships are evidenced by:
- Fluidity / ease
In business, conscious relationships don’t come with an “energy tax”. You don’t put up with politics or bullshit. These are not high-maintenance relationships. This allows conscious business relationships to naturally flow and expand. Truth is spoken to each other. Openness to new ideas is prompted by a sense of freedom and expression.
They are nurtured through:
- Shared vision of the future
- Challenges / experiences
- Honest conversations
- Self / Inner work
- Rituals & Routines
- Showing up / Support
These are all practices for conscious business relationships too. Just as Stephen Covey taught decades ago, agreements are absolutely essential. It’s for this reason that in our proposals to our prospective clients, we include a set of relationship agreements (connect with me if you’d like to see them). Shared vision is a strong must. This is something Emily and I frequently calibrate against. Facing challenges together, having honest conversations, showing up for each other are all essential in business relationships.
“Routines are concrete repetitive actions that help us develop skills while creating continuity and order. Rituals are routines elevated by creativity, driven by intention, and imbued with meaning.”
— Esther Perel
Both are critical for nurturing conscious business relationships.
And just like in our personal lives, we need to invest in a conscious relationship with ourselves. This means protecting our boundaries, creating solitude, doing inner work, learning and growing. When we get better, everyone around us benefits—especially our conscious relationships.
Of course, we will always have people that are simply business contacts and associates, a few strategic relationships, people we are friendly with and even a few enemies! But it’s the conscious business relationships that bring fulfillment and joy to our work, spark new ideas and catalyze new business growth.
Think about the relationships in your life. Are there any business relationships that qualify as conscious? If not, what can you do today to move them in the direction you desire?
For more information about conscious relationships, authentic leadership and intrinsic branding, please inquire about Justin Foster at https://consciousnessleaders.com/expert/justin-foster/.
About the author
Justin Foster is Co-founder of Root + River, an intrinsic branding practice for defiant leaders, based on the belief that all great brands are spiritual experiences. Aside from brand strategy consulting with his counterpart, Emily Soccorsy, he is a writer and keynote speaker on authentic branding and conscious leadership.