REFLECTIONS OF A SHOPKEEPER
Absolutely love this photo. Living sustainably isn't just about how you nourish your body, it's also about how you nourish your mind.
Engaging proactively. Campaigning for causes that you believe in. Surrounding yourself with people who respect and uplift you. Amplifying the voices of those who need uplifting. Self care and self love. Taking time out to reflect. These are all examples of nurturing and maintaining positive mental health. Sustainability literally means the ability to sustain yourself or the thing that you are trying to protect. And so it necessarily must include the most cherished parts of ourselves: our minds as well as our physical well being.
Moving on from negativity doesn't mean ignoring it or erasing it. It means recalibrating our thinking and approach so that, that 10 seconds doesn't gain momentum and become minutes or hours or days or weeks or months. It means giving it enough space to process it and enable you to move on but no more. How much weight we give to something negative, is often a reflection of how we feel about ourselves and how we are treated by others. And that is where making difficult choices to remove toxic people and situations from your life (whether your personal or business life) is critical. But what this kind of purge also does is allow us to make space for more positive experiences and relationships.
One of the keynote speakers at the
Woman Whoawards ceremony yesterday spoke about 'making space at tables'. About whose table you would like a seat at, and who you will offer a seat at your table to. This massively resonated with me. I often invite myself to a table rather than waiting to be asked. And there is absolutely a place for that (although I appreciate that makes me a bit of a marmite character for some people).
But the idea of being sought out by someone and invited, asked to join, actively included, is something that is a really special gesture. This kind of behaviour both in business and in life really appeals to me. It's the kind of supportive and inclusive approach that I firmly believe should underpin every business, especially those who brand themselves 'ethical'. As I've said in the past being ethical and sustainable isn't just about who we buy from. It's an ethos which runs through every decision we make and every relationship we have. I don't always get that right. I absolutely know that. But I do always try to be a person who invites others to their table.
The Cromwell Kitchen & Roomswas talking earlier this week about the 'Economy of Kindness'. That's an amazing phrase. The idea that by giving openly and freely, and being uninhibited in your kindness, you actually reap rewards yourself isn't something new. But where we know the damage that overly aggressive commercial decision making has on people, their mental health, their well being, their relationships, their finances etc. is seems to me that we need a shift change in normalising this kind of approach and recognising the value of it.
Bring to the Partyis another perfect example. She's an incredible person. She not only brings her infectious enthusiasm for life into her work, but she also understand the economic value of Kindness Connections. Connecting others not for any immediate gain yourself, but because you know that they will be able to give something to each other. Her whole ethos is built around helping people to make those connections. Building up networks of connections based on support and collaboration and respect.
People like Jo and Yvonne (and many others too like our amazing staff members Sarah and Maggie), give so much of themselves so willingly to uplift, nurture, support and improve things for people and businesses within Burntisland. And that is why we are succeeding as a High Street. Bucking the trend of other trading areas both in Fife and around the UK.
The cooperation and collaboration of traders in our wee town is what makes initiatives like the
#fiverfest the success that it always is here. When people see the joy of giving back (and the economic advantage of doing so) it creates a ripple effect. The swell builds and the waves rise.
I firmly believe that collaboration not competition is the future of successful business. I hope to see a tsunami of kindness washing over the commercial world and a new way of working rising up from the ruins.
This spirit of reciprocity and kindness is something we all need right now, so who will you invite to join you at your table?
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