Healing from Toxic Business Culture with Mark Silver

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“Envision a world where business doesn't take up more space than it really should.”

– Mark Silver

I had the pleasure of speaking with Mark Silver, a pioneer in integrating genuine spirituality with the nitty-gritty of small business and founder of Heart of Business, Inc. 

A designated Master Teacher within his Sufi lineage, he has worked with heart-centered entrepreneurs to help them realize that every act of business can be an act of love since 1999. 

Now, he’s written Heart Centered Business: Healing from Toxic Business Culture so Your Small Business Can Thrive to share the wisdom he’s gained from his business.

We discuss: 

  • Shifting from serving business to business serving us
  • Effective business functioning while expressing caring and love
  • Creating a wider perspective of business success

Shifting from serving business to business serving us

Shifting from serving business to business serving us

Commerce and trade have been a part of humanity for as long as we have records, but they didn’t always look the way they do today. Business continues to take up more space than ever before in our minds and hearts, sucking up our energy and time to the point we’re serving business even when business is not serving us. 

“It feels so backward and so painful, as most people can attest from their experiences interacting with the world of business,” Mark says. 

We aren’t meant to push beyond the brink to perform in business, and that is not the only way to engage with our work.

“I can see it being one avenue where our gifts can be unleashed in beautiful ways,” Mark continues. “I can see a tremendous amount of creativity brought to how we support ourselves and support each other and lean into a vision for more collective care rather than just everyone out for themselves.”

If we can break out of survival mode and leave room for creativity and experimentation, there is more opportunity for connection. 

“It's not even so much the individual choice about what we do with it, but it's how we structure things,” he says. “When we create structures that reinforce connection, that help us make choices for the good, it can transform business in tremendous ways.”

Effective business functioning while expressing caring and love

Effective business functioning while expressing caring and love

Small businesses tend to struggle with marketing—finding that ideal balance between personable and effective—and that can lead to trouble with retention.

“If you are not treating the world at large—your network of relationships, your clients, your customers—with care, with love, what happens is that people get disaffected,” Mark says. “That undermines having long-term, repeat business. It undermines collaborative relationships.”

There must be a cohesive message across marketing that bleeds into the interactions brand representatives have with customers. Without the follow-through, all the marketing in the world won’t be enough to retain business. The same is true for operations.

“When you can find an aligned way to be in the business, running the business feels the same as working with clients. And that can feel like a fantasy until you're actually doing it,” he continues.

To do that, we must be honest with ourselves about what that looks like and where we’re at on that spectrum today.

We shouldn’t be working against our core natures to run our business successfully—we can lean into our strengths and practice putting our hearts at the center of what we do without sacrificing success.

Creating a wider perspective of business success

Creating a wider perspective of business success

All emotions are messages when we learn how to listen to them, and the business world is not an exception to this truth. 

“I think one of the most important capacities that we can develop as human beings is the ability to be with uncomfortable emotions so that we're not trying to soothe them or turn away from them,” Mark says. “We can, when uncomfortable emotions come up, realize that they're not harmful in and of themselves, and we can lean in and go, ‘okay, what is really here?’”

Many of us have a specific idea of what success looks like—maybe it’s the corner office, the next big promotion, or a vacation house in Cancun—the reality is that success comes in many different forms and levels, all unique and tailored to what means the most to us.

We don’t have to change the whole world to have success. If we each focus on the portion we can reach in our realm and make that sustainable and full of care and love, we can make waves. 

How can you infuse more love and care into your business? What do you feel when operating in your work?
Be sure to check out Mark’s full episode for further insight into heart-centered business and learn more at HeartofBusiness.com!