For our latest guest on the podcast, Brad Black, co-founder and Chairman of the Board at EO and Everyone, to be in business is to be of service, and what you get in return isn’t as important as what you give.
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How building a socially, environmentally conscious business is philanthropic“The definition of business has been hijacked. It is not for personal greed and power and money. It’s to be in service. It’s about barter.” Click To Tweet
There’s so much connectivity between people who are really trying to do good in the world through their individual actions and through their business. How we define good and how we choose to engage in that, allows us to shift our perspectives from the self and the ego into the collective and the spiritual. Some common traits can be found between people who are both self-loving and community-driven in the way they carry themselves through life and the rituals that they practice. Such is the case with my latest guest in the show, Brad Black, Co-founder and Chairman of the Board of EO and Everyone, an essential collection of natural and organic body care products that puts responsible manufacturing ahead of profits. Brad is a spiritual and mindful person who is changing the world by taking care of his neighbor — one bottle at a time.¡
We are all in the service for the good
Brad is a brash guy: affrontive in the workplace, trying to break up the monotony of things, and always getting the job done. Along with his former wife and current partner, Susan Griffin-Black, they built a 180-employee company from scratch, wearing every single hat and even working in the production line in order to sustain the business. They struggled for a number of years in order to bring in the revenues, and are now leading a thriving company. In his mind though, Brad had always been successful — and it all relies on his definition of success: what might look like an overnight success, for Brad, was not a choice but an inevitable outcome.
How can we feel intention? Brad states that you can actually tell the decision-making that takes place in EO and Everyone by ‘just trying one of the products’. Brad’s bottles of essential oils are made out of 100% recycled plastics and in a zero-waste facility, and it is this same ethos what has propelled the company forward for over 25 years. For him, business is about the service of the community, and emphasizing on the human-to-human connection over the transactional relationships has allowed them to keep going many times when things were looking grim.
Give yourself space to be imperfect
‘You have to work your way through it. Downshift and work your way through it.’
Brad has faced many hardships throughout his life, but he always acknowledged it as part of the journey. Sometimes you have to be humble, and sometimes you have to be strong, but by making a problem acceptable and working through it with stride, you can always find the light at the end of the tunnel. In Brad’s philosophy, we just need to give ourselves space to be imperfect.
Brad is a very spiritual person. He wakes up every morning to the same morning ritual: the sound of a singing bowl and the scent of sage to cleanse and renew his energy; saying a prayer to express gratitude and keep in line with his purpose. He has these little things called reminders — things like crystals — that symbolically and continuously affirm and reinforce his intention. Brad does what is best for him and he keeps in balance through his spiritual practice.
Rebalancing the scales
EO and Everyone is not a nonprofit organization; however, the work that they do is aligned with the definition of philanthropy: the love of humankind. So how is it possible to do gobs and gobs of money in an ethical way? As long as the end game is creating more high-value relationships and conversations, businesses that prioritize the human-to-human interaction across all levels will always eventually thrive.
In order to shift the current paradigm of business, finding the balance between the strength of archetypal male attributes and archetypal female attributes provides us the path to harmony. Because business has really been defined and is maintained in more of a male space, the bottom line remains the main priority for measuring value. For as long as we don’t embrace the feminine attributes in business practices, we won’t be doing it for the greater good and recessions will keep coming back.
Business in the 21st century must go beyond the personal gains and give way to love and equality, and find value in mutual benefit. And equality goes beyond putting women in positions of power: We need to start valuing the people behind the business in order to move forward as a species and create real abundance for us all. To be in business is to be of service, and what you get in return isn’t as important as what you give.
05:36 – How Brad built his company from scratch and turned it into a 180-employee company, the hardships he faced along the way, and what we can learn about his experience.
11:53 – Brad’s definition of success and why we need to be mindful about embracing the feminine attributes in business.
21:01 – The struggles in Brad’s life as a human being, an entrepreneur, a boss, a parent, and as a man.
24:27 – The path going forward as a community in business: There needs to be a respectful conversation and we need to engage in a way that values the human-to-human interaction over profits.
32:24 – Making peace with unrest and seeing problems as opportunities: how Brad handles and accepts the daily infiltration of chaos.
40:10 – Owning the beauty in your own efforts: what EO and Everyone stands for as a company and the message it hopes to share with the world.