Small businesses often suffer from identity crises. My business surely did early on, as we couldn’t quite decide WHO we were aiming to serve. Was it higher education? College students? Their parents? Corporations? Not for profits? Others?
After much soul searching and reflection, we determined that Melibee Global offered “Trailblazing tools, speakers, and professional development for the global education and travel communities.” It took over a year to get to that statement, but we got there. How did we do it?
We asked ourselves WHO we were and WHY we offered what we did. Through a series of deep reflective exercises, we had a much better sense of self and vision. This self-awareness was integral to explaining what we believed and therefore, what we needed to focus on to authentically express ourselves in this world.
US culture is very attached to the idea of productivity. As a result, we often fail to take time to reflect on why we’re charging ahead with a business model, besides the obvious, which is financial gain. This can often lead to high burn out and decreased motivation because the end goal of money fails to recognize the human need for a greater contribution to our world and our own joy in participating in a larger world citizenry.
This is one of the many reasons that I created the Swarm on Culture, Identity, and Perspective. I wanted to create a retreat like conference that honored the people behind the “work” – one that explored the professional and the personal that we bring into our daily jobs. The Swarm is ideal for small business owners because it allows for you to “check in” with yourself: Who are you? What do you value? Where did those values come from? How can they be brought into your business to not only yield financial gain, but to bring more intentional values into your work that yield more joy and motivation?
Our speakers for this conference are people who live their values in their work – and they all make a great living doing so. For example, speaker Vimala Rajendran’s small business (restaurant) in Chapel Hill, North Carolina pays a living wage, offers a fund to anyone on a limited budget so they can eat too, and allows her and her family to thrive financially while ensuring that farmers locally benefit from the growth of her restaurant. She will share her story of food, family, and culture – and how food and social justice are integral to her business success. Our other speakers, Glenn Geffcken, Maria Rueda, and Patti Digh have similar stories.
All of these stories begin with people who have a strong sense of self-awareness and identity. They know where they come from culturally to know where they can go, as business people and global citizens.
We do hope you’ll join us at the Swarm on Culture, Identity, and Perspective on November 12th and 13th. Feel free to use (and share) coupon code: MyMarketCafe15 for a deep discount off the regular registration fee.
Missy Gluckmann is the founder of Melibee Global. The company aims to elevate the discussion about education abroad, culture, diversity and the lifelong path to global citizenship by offering: Trailblazing tools, speakers and professional and personal development for those who cross cultures, particularly the global education and (domestic and international) travel communities.