I love the Summer Solstice. It’s the longest day of the year, and it also happens to be right around the time when I started my business three years ago. I think part of the reason why I enjoy the Solstice so much is because it’s an easy way to remember to expand.
When I couldn’t find work when I moved to Portland, I thought my world was small and grey and sad. Little did I know, I was being pushed to step into something that was a better fit for me - roomier, sunnier, and with all the treasures that the summer season brings.
Becoming a business owner has been an adventure, and lately I’ve been wondering about this whole capitalism thing. Someone recently helped me see that capitalism, or at least the version that’s manifest in the United States, is built off of the warped belief that everything is scarce except for the things that are actually scarce, like natural resources.
Most of our businesses are built off of this upside-down belief as well: we gobble up electricity in our offices, gasoline on our commutes, and loads of paper that we shuffle around - mostly without thinking twice. But job opportunities? There aren’t enough. Paying clients? We have to fight over those.
We live in a world that constantly tells us that there’s not enough for all of us. Not enough housing, even though houses outnumber the homeless in this country six to one. Not enough money, even though many people in this country are making much more than one family could ever need. The truth is, we have a distribution problem, not a supply problem.
So many of us have bought into the belief that there’s not enough anything, and that leaves us feeling empty and desperate to get ours before someone else does. “You gotta look out for #1,” right? This belief breaks down our connection to one another and it turns our careers into vehicles for selfishness instead of vehicles for the common good.
I’m just as guilty of this as anyone. When money gets tight, it’s difficult to get me to donate anything or be generous. I feel a twinge in my belly when I think about how another coach might have more clients than me. In the past, I fully subscribed to the belief that the earth’s resources were made for our consumption and that the point of my career was to make money and look important.
So this year, in honor of the Summer Solstice, I want to try and stretch my imagination so that it’s big enough to believe that when we’re good stewards of what we’re given, there will always be enough.
I want to believe that there is enough money to go around, enough goodness in our hearts, enough light, water, and food in this world to support all of us.
We can each make this belief real through our worklives. You always have something to offer that can support this worldview, even if you feel like you’ve got nothing left to give.
So how could this belief be made manifest through your career today?
If you believed that there were enough hours in the day to do everything you wanted to, where would you put your energy?
If you believed there were enough opportunities for growth in your company, would that shift the way you relate to your co-workers?
If you believed that there was enough money in this world to support you and your family, would you stay in a job you hate?
For the past two Summer Solstices (Solstici?), I’ve had a little celebration of being in business, and I want to continue that tradition this year. Last year I offered “pay what you can” career coaching sessions for anyone who was in a tough spot in their career and needed some help. I want to do that again this year, but with a twist.
All the proceeds from this exercise will be donated to helping young people get housing and employment. New Avenues for Youth is an awesome organization in Portland that supports a particularly vulnerable population: youth who are no longer supported by the foster care system and who lack any real structure around them to contribute to their success in adulthood.
If you could use some support in your career right now - whether it’s a job that’s not fitting, a job search that’s not feeling awesome, or anything that feels heavy - I’d love to offer you my time and care. You can sign up for a session anytime between now and midnight on June 21st, and you’re welcome to pay whatever amount is feasible for you at this time.
When you sign up, you’ll also be supporting young people who are facing an uncertain future and need our resources right now.
Happy big, hopeful, expansive Summer Solstice to each of you.