Coaching As Activism


What if your coaching could be a potent, effective and inspiring form of activism?

In asking this question, I am suggesting something to you that might be hard to hear: there’s a good chance that it’s currently not.

Let me make my case: the coaching industry grew out of the personal growth industry and the personal growth industry spawned by such books as Think & Grow Rich by men with deeply questionable ethics like Napoleon Hill.

The personal growth scene has largely been (and just watch The Secret if you don’t believe me) almost entirely led by white men. Seriously. Consider that 28 out of 29 of those featured in The Secret are North American. Consider that 24 our of the 29 are white males. That only 5 of them are female and that only 2 of them are people of colour. This might be a part of their secret.

Think of the most successful authors in the personal growth space. How many (outside of Iyanla Vanzant and Rev. Michael Beckwith) can you name who aren’t white?

Over the past decades, we’ve seen the new age and healing scene grow and be led by primarily by women (who are almost all white). I can testify to this from leading dozens of workshops all over North America and the UK over the past more than a decade.

This uniformity of background, this whiteness, has led to a certain limit in perspective.

There are certain things that people of colour see that white people don’t.

There are certain things people of colour must contend with daily that white people don’t.

There are certain privileges that accrue, and have always accrued, to being white in North America at this time. There are certain disadvantages pulled by the gravitational force of the way it is to darker skin tones.

White people, in North America (and particularly the USA), have benefited the most from the way things are. Are white people screwed by the man too? Yes. But not because they’re white.

But what you see from most of the personal growth scene is largely uncritical of the current system of white supremacy (entangled as it is with capitalism, the prison industrial complex, the military industrial complex etc.) because, for most white people, the system of racism is invisible to us. We never have to contend with it. Most of what I see offered up by my peers is about how to succeed within the current capitalist system but not how to change it.

It’s how to manifest what you want without any encouragement or insistence on considering the impact that this might have on the world (e.g. can everyone have that mansion they put on their vision board? Is this actually sustainable?).

To put it another way, many coaches are waking to the realization that the system isn’t neutral but harmful.

The unspoken but impossible to avoid message of much of the personal growth movement is that the universe is your personal slave.

The other implied message is that you are responsible for everything that’s ever happened to you – period. And so, the Jews manifested the holocaust and indigenous people their own genocide.

There is a deeply entrenched and utterly unexamined worldview of individualism in the personal growth scene. Not only are notions of the village absent, they are seen as weakness. Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps already and stop whining.

However, in the past few years, we’ve begun to see this change.

As White Nationalism has been on the rise and become more obvious to white people, there’s been a waking up of white people in the coaching industry to how bad it is (and has always been for people of colour).

As the gap between rich and poor grows, those who came from middle class to wealthy families in the coaching industry are having to reckon with the class divide as it’s becoming harder to ignore how hard the poor have it.

And this is leading to a very real and very deep realization that simply coaching people for their own inner growth isn’t enough. The world is on fire. Coaching people on how to be more effective might actually make things worse if what they’re being effective at is predicated on the destructive to the world.

Elder and dedicated social change agent Joanna Macey speaks of the Three Pillars of the Great Turning – one of which is about inner work but the other two (creating alternatives and holding back the juggernaut) are equally important. And not only missed but dismissed in most of the coaching scene. All too often, I hear the message that protesting against the war simply creates more war.

Enter Andrea Ranae, the daughter of a coach, who wrote the provocative blog post Why The Personal Growth Industry Is Not Changing the World.

After writing this piece, she got such a response that she created a program from it called Coaching As Activism on how we can make our coaching a genuinely effective force in contending with the very real troubles of our times.

When I heard about this program, I sat up and took notice. This is a perspective that has been desperately needed in this space for a long time.

And so I asked Andrea if I could do a video interview with her. Sadly, I would be on the road and unable to do it live but she graciously consented to being sent questions and doing the strange and lonely work of talking into a camera. Having just finished watching it I am sad I missed the opportunity to connect with her more directly. The kindness emanates and I find myself having to settle, for the moment, with being so glad she’s in the world.

The Five Levels of This Video:

The video is below but I’d like to make the case for watching it on four levels.

Level One: Meet Andrea! You might be interested in checking out her coaching program and this video is a fine way to meet her and learn more about her story. It’s hard to not like this good woman.

Level Two: Be a Better Coach. I think that her approach can help you be a more effective coach. If your mission is to help create a better world, then how will you do that without a deeper wrestling with how things are? How many books have you read about the interlocking and intersecting issues of injustice? Most coaches have read many and most I know are struggling to come to terms with it all. And they’re trying to do that all on their own. But consider how much more you could help change the systems and challenge your clients if you came from this perspective? What if you were not only holding your clients feet to the fires of their personal commitments but also to the larger fires of this cultural moment? What if an edge of your coaching became about asking people to find their right relationship to the travails of their particular time and place? You think you’re seeing resistance in your clients now? Wait until you ask them to consider the ecological and social consequences of a goal. So, yes, you’d see more resistance but you would also see a much deeper and more meaningful transformation. Imagine the skillfulness it might ask of you to contend with patterns that didn’t start in their childhood but thousands of years ago. I suggest that taking on Coaching as Activism will make you a better coach.

Level Three: Learn about Marketing. So much of what I talk about in marketing is present in her work. Andrea shares her bigger why and her point of view. The title of her program is a deeply compelling message. The whole program is a unique niche. There’s a lot to learn here.

Level Four: The Questions. I emailed Andrea a series of questions. Whether or not you sign up for her program (and I hope you’ll consider it) I invite you to take the time to consider how you personally might answer the questions. You might even pause the video as you watch it to come up with your own answers. Doing that would be a fine step towards coaching as activism.

Level Five: Your Resistance. As you watch this video, I invite you to write down all the places you feel resistant to what Andrea is sharing. Be candid with yourself. If you’re feeling brave, put it in the comments below. You can learn more about yourself from this simple exercise than most workshops you’ve ever taken.

Here’s what in the video:

  • the story behind where this program came from
  • how Andrea defines healing, activism, coaching, justice and liberation
  • three tips to use coaching as a form of activism.
  • the central pitfall of trying to use coaching as activism
  • a short poem

For More Info on Coaching as Activism:

Important Note: There is a Self Study which closes Sept 14th and Community Study (everything from Self Study + live weekly calls) which closes Sept 10th. And spaces are limited. She’s getting close to filling her program.

Guest Post: Privilege Based Pricing

A few months ago, I was connected with Peter Rubin who was experimenting with a new pricing model the likes of which I’d thought of before but of which I’d never heard: privilege-based pricing. As soon as I heard the name of it, I asked if he’d be willing to write a blog post. This isn’t a model I’ve implemented yet, and neither has he, but it’s the kind of thing I imagine I will be moving towards in the coming years for, at least, certain portions of my business.

Peter and I share an understanding that this world is full of institutionalized oppression, meaning that certain people (and it’s predictable who) tend to have it easier than others, get better access to resources etc. Myself being a white, CIS gendered, male in North America? I get a lot.

And I did nothing to earn those privileges.

Women, people of colour, indigenous people are marginalized and oppressed constantly. It’s something I’ve put much thought into over the years, even creating a blog you may not know about called Healing from Whiteness. I’ve also collected an impressive gathering of memes and articles on topics from Institutionalized Oppression and then a second one on that topic, Feminism and Gender, #BlackLivesMatter and White Privilege.

So, it’s been on my mind.

But Peter has taken this all to another level by considering how this could all be woven into our pricing structures.

This post is provocative. It may feel unsettling. I invite you to read it in full and sit with it for a while.


by Peter Rubin

What is Privilege-Based Pricing?

Privilege-Based Pricing is an innovative pricing structure designed for social justice.

Unlike sliding scale systems which typically have no guidelines or simple income-based guidelines for how much to pay, Privilege-Based Pricing takes clients through a rigorous self-reflection and conversation process which determines a discount on services, ranging from zero to 50%.

The discount is calculated to correct for the imbalances of an unjust culture. It’s an experiment in taking all the rules of our society and turning them around 180 degrees.

This is not a scholarship or a charity for people who are less privileged. It’s also not a way to punish people who are more privileged. It’s a way to make the invisible privileges of our lives visible, bring balance to an unfair world, and spark learning and transformation for all.

What do you mean by privilege?

In one of my favorite books, Waking Up White by Debby Irving, she talks about “headwinds” and “tailwinds” as the forces that make our lives easier or harder each day based on whether we’re in a dominant or minority group.

Factors outside of our control, such as race, gender, access to education, family resources growing up, where we were born, experiences of trauma or lack thereof, etc., profoundly shape our life trajectories.

Where did this idea come from?

As a Business Midwife – someone who helps my clients give birth to their dream businesses – I’ve come to realize that certain clients are poised to make a lot of money from the outset, and for others it will likely be a much longer journey. This doesn’t have to do with their skill or how good a person they are — it had to do with their privilege.

For instance, a white male client with a graduate education, who has already had a successful corporate career, has a lot of money in his bank account, and is connected to wealthy and powerful people, will likely have an easy time getting a return on their investment.

In contrast, a black female client who grew up poor, is supporting 6 family members, has experienced significant trauma in her life, and wants to build a community-focused business will likely have a more challenging time paying for her coaching with me.

My question is, why are these two clients paying me the same amount of money?

In the old “equality vs. equity debate” the idea of privilege-based pricing is to look at a client’s resources and ability to make money based on their life story and privileges they’ve received in order to determine a price that creates equity by stretching everyone equally.

All clients receive the same high-quality service, and I hold all clients to the same Visionary Code – principles for being powerful creators in their lives and businesses. But the place each client is starting from is acknowledged.

How would you respond to people who might say, “Isn’t this reverse discrimination?”

No. It’s about equal opportunity and restoring balance to an unjust culture.

Women make 79 cents for every dollar men make (source). The median wealth of a black family is $6,446 while a white family is $91,405 (source). These are long-term trends and statistical truths, and they won’t resolve themselves without a change in policy.

Why wait for government policies, when we as entrepreneurs have the power to create change by changing how we price our own services?

For legal reasons, the Privilege-Based Pricing Questionnaire doesn’t ask directly about race, gender, sexual orientation, etc., but rather explores how our identities mixed with cultural biases influence our chances of business success, asking questions like, “Do you see other people who look like you leading in your field?” and “Do you have family members who are role models for business success?” and “What’s the most money you’ve made in your life?” These are the invisible headwinds that make it easier for us privileged people to succeed.

Why does this idea matter to you so much?

I’m currently immersed in a 2-year training with Lee Mun Wah to be a diversity facilitator. I’ve been deeply exploring my own whiteness, having conversations with friends about race and privilege, and have been curious about how I will bring these learnings to my business.

This idea of Privilege-Based Pricing came to me one day, and I smiled. I have a trickster side to me, and this feels like the perfect “trick” to play on all of us (myself included) to challenge the assumptions we have about how business should be done.

I’ve been doing some informal research on the concept with the intention of implementing it in my business in January of 2017. It feels like a big risk, and yet a unique and profound way to practice the social justice values I’m preaching.

I’m happy to discount my services to some clients in order to spark a healing conversation about privilege and, hopefully, have a more diverse and socially-aware group of clients as a result.

How exactly does the process work?

There are three steps to the process. They include:

Step 1 – Education

Because this is such an unusual pricing system, it’s important to give context. The model will be explained to potential clients so they understand what they’re getting into, and the intentions behind it.

Step 2 – The Questionnaire

I send an online survey to potential clients that asks about specific questions about:

  • Their personal and family story, and the advantages and disadvantages they’ve had from before their birth to the present.
  • Their existing resources – including financial resources, social capital, and more.
  • Their potential for future income – based on their vision for their business, who they plan to serve and how they plan to price their services.

The exact questions in this questionnaire are still being worked out.

Step 3 – Conversation + Decision

Then we review their questionnaire together and decide together how much of a discount to give them. There will be six tiers of discount, from no discount up to a 50% discount, with case studies that exemplify each tier. This conversation is held as sacred, and we will take time to process any emotions that come up along the way.

Do you think people will take advantage of the system?

I guess people could lie about their responses, but those aren’t the sorts of people I work with. I handpick clients who care about social justice and have a lot of integrity, and I trust them to answer honestly and pick the tier that best represents them.

Where do you expect to receive the most pushback?

Let’s be honest – there’s nothing comfortable about this pricing system!

In the testing I’ve done, just along lines of race, people of color have been pissed (“I don’t need your handouts!”) and white people have been pissed (“How dare you reverse-discriminate!”). People of color have been delighted (“What a cool way to bring privilege to the light!”) and white people have been delighted (“I’d be happy to pay more to support this”).

So I realize that what I’m filtering for isn’t privilege at all. I’m filtering for willingness to be vulnerable.

Determining your Privilege-Based Price is an incredibly vulnerable process and brings up the very things we are taught to be most private about – race, class, level of education, etc. I intend to be very tender with my clients as I talk through the questionnaire with them, expecting difficult emotions (shame, grief, fear, etc.) to come up.

Those courageous and open-minded souls who want to be part of a social justice experiment will be drawn to this new pricing system. Those who aren’t open to it will be turned off by it – and that’s just fine!

I’ve found that clients who are most vulnerable with me get the most value out of working with me. They’re able to release shame and reclaim their power, making them stronger business leaders. So filtering for a willingness to be vulnerable can only be good for my business.

What kinds of places could you imagine people using this?

This pricing system is somewhat complex – each client is required to fill out a questionnaire and have an in-depth conversation with a service provider who has the capacity to hold space for such a conversation. So I don’t imagine us using Privilege-Based Pricing at vending machines! But I do think it is promising for transformational education and services.

How can people learn more about Privilege-Based Pricing and the work you do?

You can visit my website at and sign up for my mailing list. I’ll be keeping my subscribers in the loop about PbP and announcing when I officially launch the new pricing system in January of 2017.

downloadAbout Peter Rubin

Peter Rubin helps visionaries give birth to their businesses. He gives his clients the support they need to get clear on their visions, craft a strategy, and deliver it to the world. Peter has developed this radical approach to business, having given birth to a series of transformational service-based businesses himself, each time pushing his edges and learning from his failures. Before becoming a full-time coach in 2011, he was a consultant at IDEO and Daylight, two of the world’s leading innovation firms. He has taught at the Stanford, OneTaste, General Assembly, and beyond. He lives in the Bay Area with his life partner, Morgan West, a midwife (for real babies!) who continually inspires him with her badass midwifery skills and devotion to her clients at all hours of day and night. Learn more at

What if the people I most want to help are broke?


There are three main criteria of a viable target market.

First, it needs to be clear. As a prospective client, I should know immediately if I’m in that group or not.

Second, we need to be able to find those clients. There should be hubs.

Third, there need to be enough of those clients who can afford to pay you full price.


That third one.

What if the people you most want to help don’t have much money?

If that’s true, hand over my heart, what you have is a non-profit-profit. I suggest you legally structure yourself as such and generate your salary through fundraising. Stop making yourself and your clients suffer by pressuring yourself and them to pay you with money they don’t have.

But what if there might be more possibilities here?

They’re broke.

There’s a big question as to whether or not that’s true.

Sometimes it’s not that clients don’t have money but that your marketing is terrible and they don’t see the value in what you offer; and you are terrified to talk to them about working with you and you utterly collapse when a conversation about money comes up.

It really could be that. Or it might be that your current business model will never be profitable. It could be that too.

Or it might be that your current business model will never be profitable. It could be that too.

Years ago, I met with the good people running Green Enterprise Toronto, an independent, green business network that would, eventually, become Green Enterprise Ontario. The business is still around, now known as Green Enterprise Movement. As I sat at their Spadina Street office in Toronto, they told me that their business model wasn’t working. They were trying to sustain themselves on dues from their members and it wasn’t nearly enough. They needed more money but their members weren’t able or willing to pay more. It wasn’t until they had a conversation with the Toronto City Council that headway was made. The city saw they were providing a service that properly should have been the domain of the city – supporting local businesses – and so the city was able to put some funding towards it. Without the funding from the city at that point, the Green Enterprise Toronto project would have utterly collapsed.

Edmonton had a similar group for years called Live Local, of which I was a founding board member. Same issue but, in this case, the Edmonton City Council didn’t step up and the organization folded.

My friend Robindra Runsan incredible project called It’s Time to Bloom. They throw a weekend event for local yogis that has yoga classes and workshops, inspiring talks from big name speakers and sweet, classy dance parties.

Every year, it lost money.

“Did you make any money this year?” I asked him, full of hope that this might have been the year it turned around for him.

“We only lost about $5000 this year!”

Cities need more people like Robindra who do what they do for the love and not the money and bring such fine things in.

But he was stuck. He couldn’t raise ticket prices and he couldn’t guarantee that his events would sell out. It was always so close to the wire.

“I’m sorry to hear that man.” I said, commiserating with him.

“But we’ve got it figured out for next year!” he said.

My ears perked up.

“Festival grants!” he smiled. “We realized we’re a great fit for a lot of these grants and, with them, everyone can get paid and we don’t lose money.” He told me that they were also deepening their exploration of corporate sponsorship.

What he had on his hands was a social enterprise. His project was a mix of business and non-profit. It took him five years to see it. Some people never see it.

Now, with a different business model, It’s Time to Bloom might not have needed grants. For example, if they came up with a “Bloom Yoga Teacher Training” or a “Bloom School of Yogi Business” or “Bloom Life Coaching Program for Yogis” then maybe they could have afforded to lose on the big event if it was an effective marketing tool to fill their higher-end programs.

If your people can’t afford to pay you what you need to sustain yourself then you have four options:

  1. Change nothing, try to get water from a stone and burn out in an ashen pit of poverty, bitterness and resentment.
  2. Drop that target market for a more profitable one and simply volunteer your time to help those people who can’t pay.
  3. Focus most of your efforts on a more profitable target market and give the work or service to the people you most love at a discounted rate (e.g. gift economy, pay-what-you-can, sliding scale, or barter).
  4. Shift into a social enterprise or non-profit model and raise money through grants, sponsorship or individual giving.

Which option would you choose?

Farmers Market Marketing Series #1: What This Series is and Why I’m Doing It.

farmer's marketHow this Farmer’s Market Series came to be…

Over the coming days, I’ll be releasing a series of blog posts full of marketing ideas for farmers.

I was recently asked to put together a workshop on marketing for farmers at Farmer’s Markets.

A volley of emails went back and forth that sounded mostly like me saying, “Are you sure you want me? I don’t really work with farmers… Ok. Wait. Are you really sure? I have no idea what I’d even say… You think my stuff would be relevant? Ok. I guess let’s do it then. But wait… can you put me in the afternoon after the other two presenters so I can hear what they say first? That works? Perfect… Are you sure?

But somehow it all came together.

And, in getting ready for these presentations, I decided to reach out to my colleagues and do some research to see if I can get my thinking together and share it here so I can get your feedback as well before the big day comes.

One thing is clear, as Bright Spark Media points out, the number of Farmer’s Markets is on the rise.

Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 4.16.28 PM

And since local food is on a meteoric rise over the past few years, it feels important that we take the maximum advantage of it. The more successful farmers are, the more people will want to get into farming, the more local food we’ll have, the less development we’ll have as farmers no longer want or need to sell off their land and the more genuine food security we will have.

So the importance of this all is clear.

Farmers-Market-Old-Strathcona-1024x607What’s also clear is that farming is impossibly hard work.

Deb Vail shared, “… don’t ask me how to work in the fields 70 plus hours a week, get produce ready for a 150 person CSA delivered to three locations and go to market once a week, do all the bookkeeping, write a newsletter once a week and raise a family with 5 kids without hurting yourself. Organic veggies and flowers are so underpriced… Long live the farmer who’s reward is being in Nature all day long. Peace upon our souls is the true measure of success.”

Jason Guille who runs Sunset Labs in Victoria said, “I’ve spent some time in that conversation.. in my experience, typically speaking, the common state you’re speaking into is one of buried in work, disinterest in marketing and overwhelm in computers/technology.”

As my dear friend Corin Raymond says, “Mercy this hustle.”

Ester Balekjian commiserated that she wished everyone who attended the Farmer’s Markets would learn a bit more of what it’s like to be on the other side of the booth – the etiquette of being a customer. “I don’t think the farmers need to do more work at marketing. It is the customers that are hooked on supermarket fare that need to be targeted and made seen the importance of local food and supporting farming locally. It breaks my heart how farmers at stalls get treated by customers that compare them to the service they get at supermarkets. These people don’t bat an eye spending $200-$300 at the supermarket and yet are seen taking every single free sample and walking around with one pear, an apple and a small bag of baby carrots in their bags….. and spend all their money at the baked goods stalls.”

So, if you’re a farmer, this series is for you.

But I know a secret…

Despite everything that was said above, I know you got into farming because it’s easy money. Nothing but profit. You may not think we know about the billions of dollars your making but a farmer in England leaked your secrets in this video.

Still, one can always make even more billions of dollars… So the following posts in this series are my ideas to help you do that.

Please leave any thoughts, tips, resources or ideas that could help farmers grow their businesses in the comments section below. After a few weeks, I promise to read through them all and weave anything relevant and useful into the blog itself so that they can be of the most use to the most farmers.

The Century of the Self

Century-of-Self1The following text is taken from the incredible site TopDocumentaryFilms where you can find many excellent documentaries you may have missed. I encourage your perusal of this site.


This series is about how those in power have used Freud’s theories to try and control the dangerous crowd in an age of mass democracy. Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, changed the perception of the human mind and its workings profoundly.

His influence on the 20th century is widely regarded as massive. The documentary describes the impact of Freud’s theories on the perception of the human mind, and the ways public relations agencies and politicians have used this during the last 100 years for their engineering of consent. Among the main characters are Freud himself and his nephew Edward Bernays, who was the first to use psychological techniques in advertising. He is often seen as the father of the public relations industry.

Freud’s daughter Anna Freud, a pioneer of child psychology, is mentioned in the second part, as well as Wilhelm Reich, one of the main opponents of Freud’s theories. Along these general themes,The Century of the Self asks deeper questions about the roots and methods of modern consumerism, representative democracy and its implications. It also questions the modern way we see ourselves, the attitude to fashion and superficiality.

Happiness Machines. Part one documents the story of the relationship between Sigmund Freud and his American nephew, Edward Bernays who invented Public Relations in the 1920s, being the first person to take Freud’s ideas to manipulate the masses.

The Engineering of Consent. Part two explores how those in power in post-war America used Freud’s ideas about the unconscious mind to try and control the masses. Politicians and planners came to believe Freud’s underlying premise that deep within all human beings were dangerous and irrational desires.

There is a Policeman Inside All of Our Heads, He Must Be Destroyed. In the 1960s, a radical group of psychotherapists challenged the influence of Freudian ideas, which lead to the creation of a new political movement that sought to create new people, free of the psychological conformity that had been implanted in people’s minds by business and politics.

Eight People Sipping Wine In Kettering. This episode explains how politicians turned to the same techniques used by business in order to read and manipulate the inner desires of the masses. Both New Labor with Tony Blair and the Democrats led by Bill Clinton, used the focus group which had been invented by psychoanalysts in order to regain power.

a blog post in which I discuss why the whole economy is toxic, destructive and suicidal and yet… marketing is needed to fix things?

[]This is a different sort of blog than I usually write  because it’s not just about marketing. It’s about the context that marketing happens inside of.
Namely, the economy.
Of course, most of us have some very justifiable issues with marketing. Some of us wonder if even the whole ‘conscious marketing’ thing is bullshit
But those issues are driven by something so much larger.
We live inside of an economy that David Korten coined as ‘The Suicide Economy’. For obvious reasons. If we let it, it will kill itself (and take a lot down with it as it goes). 
It’s an economy and culture that has led much of humanity to a point of a secret sort of self loathing. The sense that made, as William Gibson put it, ‘man is a bad animal’. Stephen Jenkinson illucidates on this brilliantly in the following video by Ian Mackenzie.
As David Orr so brilliantly put it, “The plain fact is that the planet does not need more “successful” people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every shape and form. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these needs have little to do with success as our culture has defined it.”
And most of us are fighting tooth and nail to create something more sane. Something more in alignment with what Judy Wicks of Phillidelphia’s White Dog Cafe expressed so beautifully when she said, 

“The Local Living Economies Movement is about: Maximizing relationships, not maximizing profits, Broad-based ownership and democracy, not concentrated wealth and power, Sharing, not hoarding, Life serving, not self-serving, Partnership, not domination, Cooperation based, not competition based, Win-win exchange, not win-loose exploitation, Creativity, not conformity, A living return, not the highest return, A living wage, not the minimum wage, A fair price, not the lowest price, “Being more, not having more”, Interconnectedness, not separation, Inclusion, not exclusiveness, Community and collective joy, not isolation and unhapppiness, Cultural diversity, not monoculture, Bio-diversity, not mono-crops, Family farms, not factory farms, Slow food, not fast food, Our bucks, not Starbucks, Our mart, not Wal-Mart, a Love of life, not love of money.”

In a similar way. this quote from The Necessary Revolution (shared with me by my colleague Julia) struck as right on theme for this theme of figuring out the deeper cause our business is about. It invites us to step back and consider the underlying cause of business itself:

“…the new generation of mission-based businesses builds on some very old ideas, ones that predate the Industrial Age. They seek, as an essential part of their purpose, to contribute to the health and well-being of living systems.  They reject the notion that the sole purpose of business is to make a profit and they regard the quality of relationships between members, suppliers, and customers as the true indicator of success.  In so doing, they are returning business to its origins.  The oldest Swedish word for business is narings liv, “nourishment for life.”  In ancient Chinese the concept is expressed by two symbols that translate as “life meaning.”   And the root of the English word company derives from the Latin com panis, “the sharing of bread”- the same root as that for the word companion.”  

Everywhere we look, we see the growth of this new Green Economy. But some of us wonder if it’s enough. Because, as it rises, so doesgreenwashing (in which corporations try to make normal things seem green instead of helping to make green things seem normal). But also because many of suspect that solar power and compact flourescent lightbulbs are not the complete solution we need. That we may need something more. Many of us are waking up to the reality that, even if we all did what Al Gore called for at the end of his powerful documentary ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ it wouldn’t be anywhere near to enough.

Silently, some of us wonder to ourselves, ‘What if the Green Economy is a wonderful means, but a terrible ends?’

We see the Occupy Wallstreet movement and the new economy it’s calling on us to imagine. 


David Korten invites us to go even deeper than critiquing the economy but to question the very stories that have, for so long, underpinned it. And he invites us to consider what the economy might look like if it were inspired by a different set of stories. What if we shifted our stories from those of building empires (which never end well) to building and sustaining villages? What if instead of growing big and selling we could be small and enjoy the beauty in that? What if endless economic growth was not the drum we marched to but that love and justice were the drums we danced to? What if there were models of creating change that didn’t all rely on money?

What if indeed.

So, what does this all have to do with marketing?

So much really. 

The word marketing is full of such heavy connotations. But let’s say it in a different way.

We need to find a way to articulate the problems we face as a culture and the potential solutions with such a powerful eloquence and clarity that it awakens something in people. 

If people don’t know about the alternatives you offer the world, they, functionally, don’t exist. And we need people to know they exist. Desperately. The solutions are out there (e.g. holistic medicine, permaculture, solar power, local economies and currencies, slow food etc.) but what good are they if no one knows? And people finding out about things is another way of saying marketing. 

As Antoine de Saint Exupéry put it, “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”

And that’s marketing.

We need to educate people about what new things are possible that could be restorative to both the planet and ourselves. And that’s marketing.

We need to lift our rhetoric to a level of relevance and clarity than is unmistakable. 

We need to get people’s attention, help them understand if our particular solution is a fit and then make it sweet, gentle and easy to try it (because we know asking them to change everything overnight will never work). 

We need to find ways to not seduce people, but court them into living their fullest lives. Imagine if everyone in the world offering hopeful and positive solutions awoke tomorrow with this kind of irresistible eloquence that inspired the best that humanity has to offer. Imagine how many fewer people might find themselves on their deathbed full of regrets

We don’t just need more conscious marketing. We need a whole new economy. We need to reimagine the culture we live in. But, to get there, we need to be better marketers. 

Most of us get most of our money, directly or indirectly, from the Suicide Economy. We’d love to make all of our money from the more Conscious Economy and spend all of our money there… but most of us haven’t been able to do that. Most of us are, like this culture, in transition. Most of us are trying to make our little conscious venture financially sustainable.

And a mighty piece of whether or not we can pay the bills comes down to marketing. 

If you’re needing more help with finding the eloquence to express what you do I’d like to remind you of somethings.

My website is full of free things. There’s over three hours of free video. Five hundred blog posts. Case studies.

I have a 195 ebook that you should have gotten when you signed up for this email list but, in case you’ve lost it, you can download it here.

If you feel drawn to work with me one on one, you can find more info about that here.

Thanks for being on my list. I hope you get good things from it. 


p.s. I’ll be in touch soon about some breakthroughs I’ve been having around this whole question of finding your niche, plus a contest around niching I think you’ll love.

p.p.s. On March 11th, I was the witness to a man taking his life by jumping off of Edmonton’s High Level Bridge. It was a deeply traumatic event from which I’m still recovering but recovering well with the help of a lot of good friends and support. I wrote a song about it and was able to go to the funeral and sing it to the family. It would mean a lot to me if you could share it with others. Yu can find the song and the story here:


What the Food Revolution Summit Can Teach You About Marketing

Ocean-Robbins-2012There are few pleasures greater than seeing friends succeed. 

And even fewer pleasures greater than when it’s two of the dearest people you know succeeding in one of the most beautiful projects.

My dear friend Ocean Robbins and his father John Robbins (author of Diet for a New America, The Food Revolution and many others) are now working together to create, for the second year in a row, The Food Revolution Summit – a tele-summit dedicated to exploring the cutting edge of what’s happening around food issues globally from the lenses of health, politics and philosophy (and from the most trusted advocates and experts of our time).

Ocean and I have worked together, on and off, for the past 18 years with the group he co-founded Youth for Environmental Sanity. He started out speaking to hundreds of thousands of students in high schools across North America, and then lead summer camps, and then gatherings of leading young changemakers and now is focusing almost entirely on growing this new social enterprise with his father. I couldn’t be happier for them.

This is a fine example of how to become a hub.

You can get more info on the summit here

And what follows is my interview with Ocean about The Food Revolution Summit from a marketing lense.

Screen Shot 2013-04-09 at 1.47.07 PMWhat’s the response been so far?

More than 30,000 people from 100+ countries participated in the first Food Revolution Summit, and response was amazing. Our affiliates were thrilled with the results, too. One person mailed to his list of 50,000, and wound up earning more than $10,000. And since the summit, our list has continued to expand. Popular blog posts and an online petition calling for labeling of GMOs have drawn us lots of attention. Our list is now more than 80,000.

What’s the story of how this came about? What was the need you saw in the community that it emerged from?

Our food chain is in crisis. Big agribusiness has made profits more important than your health — more important than the environment — more important than your right to know how your food is produced. Large-scale industrial agribusiness is controlling an expanding share of the world’s food supply. They have huge advertising budgets to market highly processed, genetically engineered, chemical-laden, pesticide-contaminated pseudo-foods. Meanwhile, people keep getting sicker. Disease care is now eating up 20% of US GDP, and more and more people are chronically ill.

But beneath the surface, a revolution is growing.

From rural farms to urban dinner plates, from grocery store shelves to state ballot boxes, people are rising up and taking action. We’re reclaiming our food systems and our menus, and we’re taking responsibility for our health.

Today there’s a huge and growing demand for food that is organic, sustainable, fair trade, non-GMO, humane, and healthy. In cities around the world, we’re seeing more and more farmer’s markets, and more young people getting back into farming. Grocery stores (even big national chains) are displaying local, natural and organic foods with pride. The movements for healthy food are growing fast, and starting to become a political force.

Can you share a few examples of how your project works?

The Food Revolution Summit: Over the course of nine days, we gather together leading insights from some of the world’s brilliant scientists, doctors and nutritionists. We conduct 24 inspiring, galvanizing and deeply informative interviews, and broadcast those interviews worldwide. Folks can listen for free to the interviews, online or through teleconference. They can also purchase an optional Empowerment Package that gave them downloadable recordings, transcripts, and a whole collection of bonus items, for a fee. Sales of the Empowerment Package cover program costs and also inspire affiliates to promote the summit to their lists, since they can earn up to 50% of any resultant downstream sales. We offer a free service widely, we earn enough to make the program profitable and to make it a win for our promotional partners, and we offer real value every step of the way.

Who do you find it’s working best for?

A survey found that our 2012 Food Revolution Summit participants were highly motivated, and the majority were 40 and 50-something women. There was strong international representation, with a majority in the United States and Canada. Many of them already know that our food system is messed up, they’ve already eliminated most junk food, white bread, and trans fats from their diet. They already know that their food choices affect animals and the planet. But they’re frustrated with the world around them. They want to be armed with the facts so they can become effective spokespeople and advocates. They want to know how to influence people, how to help their families and loved ones be less sick, and even how to change government policy to stop tilting the playing field to favor the pesticide and junk food companies over family farms and healthy foods.

How did you promote this in the beginning? What were the top three most successful approaches at the start of it?

We lined up great speakers. That was enabled by the fact that my dad and colleague, John Robbins, is a bestselling author in this field, and literally wrote the book, “The Food Revolution”, in 2001. So we had strong content and some degree of prominence to start things off.

Then we created strong, authentic and effective landing page and sales copy. This is not something that came easily to me. I needed a lot of help, and was lucky enough to find good people who could offer it. It doesn’t matter how many people click on your page, if it doesn’t motivate them to sign up and to take the next steps. Also affiliates won’t want to promote a page unless they think it is well done.

Third, we reached out to affiliates who had shared values and big lists, and invited them into partnership. By offering them the chance to promote a great project, that was smartly presented, and giving them half of any resultant revenues while offering to do all the followup sales path work so they could just promote the free summit, we made it easy for them to say yes.

What are the top three most effective ways you’ve found to market this?


Good copy.

Focusing mostly on content with our list, so we offer lots of stuff for free, and are clearly driven by mission first. This is our integrity, and it’s also building trust.

What have you learned about ‘affiliate marketing’? What’s worked best for you? Any blunders along the way?
What I love about affiliate marketing is that it turns competitors into partners. We share a stake in one another’s success. If one of our partners gets a bigger list, that means they can do a better job promoting our work.  If our event is a hit, then to the extent that they invested in it, our affiliate partners reap the benefits. I also like the models in which folks offer lots of free content, with paid content on the backend for participants who want to take a deeper dive.  As an affiliate for other people’s ventures, I like being able to offer our list free stuff they will find useful, and I also like being able to share in the profit if they go on to purchase something they think may be of value to them.
My biggest mistakes have been agreeing to promote things to our list that I thought sounded cool, but that were not what our list wanted.  Our list didn’t sign up to hear about “everything Ocean thinks is cool.” They are on board to learn about healthy, sustainable, humane and conscious food.  We can broaden that a bit, but for the most part, we get the best response when we stay focussed on our core brand.
I have also met a lot of potential partners who want reciprocal promotions.  They’ll promote our work, if we will promote theirs — and we’ll both be affiliates for each other.  This can work really well when we are offering resources of mutual value. But I have to be careful, because while the potential value of promoting something that “converts well” and getting a strong reciprocal agreement from someone who will promote our work is appealing, I can’t let it lead me to compromise on the integrity of knowing what I should send to our list.
You’ve spoken about the importance of having good sales copy on your website. I’m curious how that feels for you to be writing a compelling sales letter when you’ve primarily been a speaker, activist, executive director and community builder your whole life.

Writing compelling copy that doesn’t come across as icky or read like a “sales letter” is a tricky business and I am still learning about it.

Ronald Reagan once said, “sincerity is everything in politics.  If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.” I’m not interested in faking anything, and have at times felt so grossed out by the way that everything, from sex, to love, to God, to even social justice, can be used to market stuff.  
But I’ve also been learning that effective copy writing is a means to an end. Like any tool, it can be used for good or bad.  But I want to use it for good.  It doesn’t have to feel slimy to be effective.  But I also have to be willing to employ some of the tools that have been proven to work, if I want to be effective.  If I’m not effective — if our landing page (aka “opt-in page”) doesn’t generate opt-ins, and if our “thanks for signing up” page (aka “sales page”) doesn’t convert into sales, then our affiliates won’t be happy, our operation won’t have the money it needs to continue, and our potential customers will lose out on some valuable resources that we think can change their lives.
So it is an art, I think, to learn how to use the medium of emails and websites to generate clicks, to create action — and to do so in a way that feels filled with integrity and that is aligned with our values.
And can you give some examples of how your copy changed and evolved from the start and what you think people can learn from that?
My email mantra now is: “informal, urgent, connected.”  I make my messages shorter.  In fact, I imagine that my audience is at a 7th grade reading level. I use short sentences and short paragraphs.  I make sure to have only one call to action per message (occasionally one more in a P.S.), and I pay a LOT of attention to the subject and the first sentence.  If those aren’t good, I’ve lost 50% of my audience already.
I avoid use of words like “free”, “diet”, weight loss”, or, God help us, “viagra” (not that I would be writing about viagra anyway — but those words will all get you killed in spam filters).  I write in the first person, using the word “you” freely. I need to make sure that I address the problem / need / urgency, the benefits that they can derive from connecting or engaging, and stay warm and personable.  I want to value connection over information.  And I also want to make sure thre is something of value in every message, even if the reader never clicks on a link or opens anything.
Can you give five examples of the kinds of emails you’ve sent to your list? I think you’ve done a great job of sending out high quality content that I know I am personally excited to receive. They’re always things I can take action on or share on social media. And I’d be curious to hear your thought process on how you choose content because, in the world of health, there must be so many options.

Five of the most popular emails I have sent our list have been:

1) How is John Robbins holding up? — This was shirtless pictures of my 65-year-old dad, who has been a health author for decades and who is RIPPED.  A picture is worth a thousand words, they say.  Or in our case, 10,000 clicks.
2) Our last chance to stop the Monsanto Protection act — This was a call to action, to try to stop President Obama to veto a bill that gave legal immunity to the biotech industry.  The effort failed, but our list responded big-time.  People want to take action on the issues that matter to them.
3) Look who’s in bed with the junk food industry — This was an email teaser linking to a blog post I had written, exposing links between the Association of Nutrition and Dietetics and the junk food industry.
4) What your doctor never told you…  — This was promoting a free video of Dr. Joel Fuhrman, and we were an affiliate for a promotion in which folks could opt in to receive the video for no charge, and then would later be invited to dive deeper into nutritional programs in keeping with his philosophy.
5) Huge Revelations Totally Embarrass The Diet Industry — We wanted to announce a film launch, which was available for free on an opt-in basis.  We were also serving as an affiliate for the promotions that would follow.  Instead of some lame title likeL “Announcing an awesome film”, we went with “Huge Revelations Totally Embarrass The Diet Industry”, which was also a part of the film’s message – and watch opens and clicks go off the charts.
Out of necessity to make this summit go, I’ve seen you dive into the marketing world so hard. Are there any other marketing or business tips you can share as a hippie who has gotten into marketing in the past few years?
Don’t be afraid to succeed.  You can use the tools of the world to change the world. But remember also that the smell of greed can be seductive.  Stay connected to your mission, and never lose site of that.  Hopefully you are working for a lot more than money.  Keep your eyes and your heart on the prize — the change you want to see in the world.  Integrity is everything in business, and when people can feel your integrity, they will trust you more.  I also advise to steer clear of over spending. Only scale up as you can afford it.  Overshooting can lead to vulnerability to external forces that can pull you off your center.
In the world of online tools, widgets and geekery – what are the coolest things you’ve come across that you’d recommend to other entrepreneurs going about building their business?
1shoppingcart is great for online affiliate marketing and list management if you are starting out small.  
If you get bigger and need more customized sophistication, I suggest Office Auto Pilot.  
I like which helps with booking interviews and appointments, and which is great value for the price for teleconferences and online seminars.  
And I do love my google calendar.
You’ve also written a number of pieces for Huffington Post over the past year or so. How did this happen? What’s been the impact of it? Is this something anyone can do?
The success of my pieces on HuffingtonPost has had a lot do with with our list launching them, strong topics of interest, and a combination of strong research and pithy content.  I think blogging is a great tool if you love to write and have a gift for 500-1,000 word pieces that really move people.  But I do not recommend it for nearly everyone.  Huffington Post will use a strong viral reaction to a piece, and your own promotional efforts, to draw views (and advertising dollars) to their site.  
They also provide some promotion of course – though for most posts, not as much as you might think. So sometimes you may be better off posting on your own site, if you have a platform for launching it, and then you get the traffic of all the readership the ensues.  Blogging can be a great way to build brand recognition for your message, and to make an impact on issues that matter to you.  
It is not a great way to generate opt-ins or any other direct call to action, though it can help with those things a bit.

What are the three biggest lessons you’ve learned along the way?

Writing good sales copy is a skill set. There’s a lot that’s been learned about it. We aren’t born with it, and for most of us, it doesn’t come intuitively, either.

Combining awesome free content with a strong opt-in hook is a great way to build a list. A big list of engaged, inspired, and interested people is a powerful force for social change and for business success.

Affiliates represent an awesome way to turn the competition into partners.

At its heart, what is this project/business really about for you? (beyond money, status and such).

Large-scale industrialized food production is wreaking havoc on our forests, topsoil, air, water, and climate. Farm animals are being treated with tremendous cruelty, and farm workers are often exploited. Genetically engineered “Frankenfoods” are being released, inadequately tested, into the food supply on a vast scale. Meanwhile, people are eating more and more artificial food — and getting fatter and sicker. In fact, more people are chronically ill today than at any time in the history of the world.

Our goal is to offer a diverse, gourmet, tasty and nutrient-rich powerhouse of resources that’s designed to help people move from being medical time bombs to health superstars, and from frustrated spectators to empowered agents of change.

I’m also motived by the fact that I love food. I love eating it, I love preparing it, and I love sharing it with other people. Throughout the world, “breaking bread” together, or sharing a meal together, is an act of connection. Food bonds us to the world, to culture, and to one another.

When we bring more consciousness to our relationship with food, we improve our health, and we contribute to a more healthy, humane, sustainable and beautiful world.

What’s the next level for your project? What are you most excited about that’s coming up?

The 2013 Food Revolution Summit runs April 27-May 5, and it’s going to be our best one yet!

We’ve compiled a book of interviews from the Food Revolution Summit, and edited them to make for a strong and cohesive flow. Voices of the Food Revolution will be published in June, 2013.

We’re also developing online courses, and offering free weekly emails to our growing list, with action alerts, practical tools, inspiration and information to contribute to the food revolution.

If people want to find out more about your project, support it or get involved – what should they do?

Join us at, or sign up for our free 2013 Food Revolution Summit at

Anything else you’d like to add?

We wish you radiant health, abundant joy, and a life filled with meaning. And we wish you good, delicious, nourishing food. If you’d like to become an affiliate and earn a modest amount of money while helping spread the word, you can sign up here:

Bon Appetit, food revolutionaries!

Wealth Inequality in America

If you’ve followed me at all, you’ll know a big issue for me are notions of ‘conscious wealth‘ and ‘abundance’ and the ways these notions have been hijacked by capitalism to justify mindless consumption. This powerful video is a great example of marketing for social change and may just blow your mind on issues of wealth inequality in America. Please watch and share.

The Banksy Manifesto

Banksy is a world famous grafitti artist who has this to say about advertising . . .


A letter from Banksy.

People are taking the piss out of you everyday. They butt into your life, take a cheap shot at you and then disappear. They leer at you from tall buildings and make you feel small.

They make flippant comments from buses that imply you’re not sexy enough and that all the fun is happening somewhere else. They are on TV making your girlfriend feel inadequate. They have access to the most sophisticated technology the world has ever seen and they bully you with it.

They are The Advertisers and they are laughing at you. You, however, are forbidden to touch them. Trademarks, intellectual property rights and copyright law mean advertisers can say what they like wherever they like with total impunity.

Fuck That.

Any advert in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours. It’s yours to take, re-arrange and re-use. You can do whatever you like with it. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head.

You owe the companies nothing. Less than nothing, you especially don’t owe them any courtesy. They owe you. They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you.

They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs.





guest post – Planting the Seeds of Good Karma to Enrich Your Business and Life

 by Angela Croft

Planting the Seeds of Good Karma to Enrich Your Business and Life

When I was first starting my coaching business, I heard one of my mentors at the time say that there’s no better personal development plan on the planet than starting your own business, and I couldn’t agree more. Building a business is not for the faint of heart. It has the potential to inspire at the highest levels and also raise from the depths our most potent hidden shadows of fear and doubt. 

As I’m sure is true for many of you, one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced on this journey has been to integrate my desire to serve and make a difference with the necessity of making a profit. Before launching as a coach, I’d spent just over a decade working as a counselor and therapist in various arenas of mental health. In these arenas, money and service don’t mix easily and as an employee I rarely had to give it a second thought. When I became a business owner, it almost felt wrong to charge money for helping people and it’s been quite a quest to find a path in business that happily marries service and money. I often wondered if it was really possible to create the kind of success I desired in business without sacrificing integrity, values, meaning, and fulfillment.

I also found that the constant preoccupation with generating self-employed income began to lead me in a direction of self-focus that started to become tedious and insular. At a certain point the relentless focus on MY business, MY money, MY projects started to feel really tired. 

A little over a year ago, after coming to an end of a lucrative contract with one of Canada’s top five banks, and with no new prospects in sight, I had the opportunity to learn an approach to business that finally satisfied my longing for a path that embraced both the deep ethic of service and the healthy need for profit. While shopping for a meditation cushion, I discovered an advertisement for a talk being given by Geshe Michael Roach, author of the books “The Diamond Cutter: The Buddha on Managing Your Business and Your Life” and “Karmic Management”. My husband had read “The Diamond Cutter” a number of years before and I remembered that he found great inspiration in it. So, I put it in my calendar and excitedly anticipated the event. It turned out to be a major turning point in both my business and life.

In the talk, Geshe Michael Roach shared his experience of creating a hugely successful business from scratch using ancient Buddhist principles that are rooted in the understanding that we are all One and that we create success by shifting our focus out of the “me, me, me” and into thinking about helping other people become successful first. He refers to this approach as “Karmic Management”. 

I was so inspired by the talk that I bought and devoured the books and then introduced my friend and coaching colleague Tom Rausch to the work. He was so lit up by it and the results he was experiencing, that he suggested we launch a Mastermind. And so we did. 

After almost two years of walking this path and taking other people through the process of learning and implementing it, I can say that it’s one of the most powerful paths of personal and business development we’ve each experienced. It’s enabled us to clear out some major blockages and evolve into the next level of expressing our purpose, attracting incredible new opportunities, and creating a level of peace, ease, clarity, and confidence that we didn’t know was possible. We’ve also had the joy and privilege of seeing others do the same. 

I find it’s rare to get that much out of one approach, and so I’m both honored and excited to have this opportunity to share with you some background on it and give you a quick tour of the major components to get you started.

A Good Karma Success Story

In the talk I attended, Geshe Michael Roach shared his story of being a young Princeton grad many years ago in search of greater spiritual meaning and understanding. This quest led him to study in a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery for twenty-five years and become the first white person in six hundred years to achieve the title of ‘Geshe’, which designates him as a Master of Buddhist studies. The final assignment given to him by his teachers was to start a business since they felt that this would be one of the best ways to demonstrate the powerful and practical value of the ancient wisdom.

By his own description, Gehse Michael Roach had absolutely no interest in starting a business and he put it off for over a year before deciding to move forward. When he finally accepted the challenge, he was guided to start a business in the diamond industry, which is no small accomplishment in itself. In this highly guarded business sector it’s typically only those whose families have been in the business for generations who have any clout or opportunity to start a company. Yet, in spite of the barriers he encountered, he persevered, studied gemology, and eventually found a business partner that was willing to take him on in the venture of starting a new diamond company.

He diligently applied the karmic principles and practices and it soon became the fastest growing manufacturing company in the history of New York City, often doubling their profits every year, which is virtually unheard of in the diamond industry. At the same time that he started the diamond company, he also established a charity that assists Tibetan refugees and preserves their ancient Buddhist texts. He attributes the success of the diamond business in large part to the fact that he channeled the fruits of his labor into this charity. A few years ago they sold the diamond business to Warren Buffett for $250 million dollars (not too shabby!) and Geshe Michael Roach continues to share the karmic principles and practices with people around the world by offering training and talks at a very minimal cost.

What Exactly is Karma and How Does This All Work?

“Karma” is a word that gets tossed around a lot these days so let’s start by clarifying what it actually means. 

Firstly, it’s not some distant and mysterious force that punishes you! It’s simply the accumulated effect of everything you say, think, and do… and the overall quality of your life experience in this moment is a direct reflection of your habits of thought, action, and speech (or karma). 

I’m guessing that, like me, most of you are fairly mindful of how you conduct yourself, but in spite of this, I was still amazed by how profoundly I had underestimated the consequences of what I say, think, and do. I was also surprised to learn how even the smallest, seemingly insignificant ripples of thought, action, and speech can manifest in quite powerfully unexpected and unpleasant ways. 

Drawing on over two thousand years of observation and insight, the Karmic Management system outlines in detail the correlation between specific negative karmic habits and how they manifest as specific types of problems in your business and life. The correlations are not often what you’d imagine them to be and it’s worth studying this material for these insights alone!

The good news is that with the awareness of how to strategically and effectively take charge of your thoughts, actions, and speech, you can awaken even more of your potential as a powerful change agent and cultivate an even richer and more fulfilling life that you can be thoroughly happy and proud to call our own.

Planting and Weeding Your Karmic Garden

The overall process of putting karmic principles and practices to work is like planting a garden. With every thought you focus on, word you speak, and action you take, you’re planting the seeds that become your reality. So, this is ultimately a path of radical personal responsibility in which you assume the role of chief gardener by consistently weeding out negative seed-planting habits and consciously cultivating positive ones instead.

If you want to create more positive outcomes in your business and life, think of yourself as a karmic seed detective, forensically investigating the results you’re experiencing for clues as to which habits of thought, word, and deed are negatively influencing your reality. From there, determine which seeds you need to plant instead and get on a plan (pronto!) to start consistently planting seeds for the kind of reality you want to experience. This is a really essential part of the process and you can find loads of great guidelines for doing this in “The Diamond Cutter” and “Karmic Management”. It’s also an area we spend a great deal of time focusing on in the Karmic Mastermind.

With this basic understanding of karma and planting your karmic garden in mind, let’s move on to some additional core principles and practices to help get you started on the path of gardening for your success.

Cultivating Your Karmic Garden

All of Karmic Management rests on the First Law of Karma which says, “Whatever you want from life you must do for someone else first.”  

In this tradition, this is a law that governs all of life and if you choose to live by this principle you will experience true, lasting, and fulfilling success.

Ultimately, this law is connected to the underlying truth that we are all deeply interconnected and that the idea of a “me” that is separate from “you” is ultimately an illusion that creates disharmony and suffering. From this understanding it also follows (since we’re not as separate as we think) that the success of others is also our own success and this frees us up from a sense of being in an isolated, competitive, or comparative business mindset.

To illustrate how this works, let’s pick the example of wanting to grow your business so you can amplify the positive impact you feel inspired to make in the world. In this model, you’ve got to first focus on helping other people do the same. The main idea here is that you get what you give, and you must start with giving and not see it as something you’ll get around to doing once you’ve “arrived”. If you don’t have a lot of money, you can give of your time, energy, and talents. The point is to get started on giving what you want to receive and helping others who also want to expand their business and impact. 

As a heart-centered, socially conscious business owner, this first law of karma resonates deeply. I also find that it has challenged me greatly to take my commitment to service, generosity, and trust to a much higher level. 

Since it takes a radical shift in outlook and a new level of inner discipline to consistently approach success from this mindset, I’ll wrap up by giving you five additional key components that are integral to making this shift and following this path effectively.

1) Take Very Good Care of Yourself and Stay Healthy in Body, Mind, and Spirit.

The aim here is to maintain the energy you need to consistently plant positive karmic seeds and minimize negative karmic habits, so you can serve others at a higher level. This is a powerful, sometimes even magical process, but it requires energy, commitment, and focus.

Most of us are typically about one negative circumstance or one bad day away from getting triggered back into the habit of unconsciously reacting, planting negative seeds, and letting the first law of karma fly out the window (I speak from experience here!). Effectively managing your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual fitness gives you the energy and focus to stay alert and persevere in planting the seeds that will generate the kind of soul-satisfying success you desire in business and life.

2) Choose Your Karmic Partners 

This involves setting up what’s called a karmic project and selecting karmic partners. Your karmic project is grounded in a main objective you have in your business and life, let’s say for example, to grow your business so you can amplify the positive impact you’re here to make. 

Your karmic partners are the customers, suppliers, colleagues, and charitable endeavors that share a similar goal as you. These are the people who you’re going to focus on making successful first. 

Every day you start your day thinking about how you could support your karmic partners to be successful in one small way or another to grow their business and expand their impact. This may mean doing something for just one or two karmic partners, or all of them depending on what inspiration you receive and what kinds of opportunities you have to serve them. This is not only a fantastic way to begin the day but it’s also a really effective way to focus your habits of thought, action, and speech, and plant the seeds for the reality you want to experience.

3) Set Up Daily Practices to Maximize Success

Once you have your Karmic project set up, you also do the work to consistently clean up your karmic ‘bugaboos’– meaning the negative, sticky patterns of thought, action, and speech that are creating unwanted results in your work and life.

Once you determine your top bugaboos, you track them daily. You set up a plan to bring them to mind every morning and you think about ways you can break unfruitful habits, respond differently, and plant more effective seeds.

In addition to this practice, you’re also starting the day thinking about how you can help your karmic partners. The combination of these two practices- tracking your bugaboos and contemplating how you can serve your karmic partners- keeps you focused on minimizing negative habits and maximizing positive seed-planting opportunities.

At the end of the day, review how you did. This end-of-day review keeps you focused and accountable to your seed-planting efforts. As you review your day, celebrate your successes and bring to mind the joy of serving others.  It’s very key to focus on what you did well since this strengthens the mind and heart with a sense of accomplishment and positive momentum. Also compassionately note ongoing challenges. By bringing compassion to any areas you need to strengthen, you avoid planting the negative seeds of getting down on yourself. Thankfully, beating up on yourself is no better karmically than doing it to someone else!

4) See Your Problems As Your Friends

This is a critical piece but it’s also one of the toughest to actually do since it runs so contrary to much of our social training, not to mention our lightening fast defensive reactions.

It’s often very challenging to not resist, feel defeated, or fight back when challenges and conflicts arise. In the karmic view, your problems are a gift because they give you direct feedback on what kinds of negative karmic seeds you’ve been planting, and they also give you the opportunity to stop, examine your habits, and take charge of choosing new ones. As an example, if you keep encountering angry or irritable  people in your life, the solution is to take an inventory of all the big and small ways in which you get stuck in angry/irritable thought, action, or speech, and start cleaning up these habits.

When you fight and resist a problematic person or issue, you generate more negative karmic seeds that then manifest later into further (and usually larger) challenges and problems. So, the idea here is to increase your capacity to use every circumstance, no matter how negative, to clean up your karma and plant the seeds for a better reality.

5) Re-Invest the Karma

This is the process of funneling the positive karmic results you receive back into your project. When your business generates profits or other benefits, you distribute them amongst your karmic business partners as a way of cultivating a cycle of generosity and sustainability.

This could mean sending a special thank you note or gift to your customers or suppliers, treating your colleagues to a nice meal, and/or making a donation to a charity that you’ve selected as one of your partners.

Going back to the analogy of planting your karmic garden, it’s a common practice in the farming business to set aside ten percent of the seeds generated by each crop yield to ensure sustainability. It’s the same principle here when you allocate a percentage of your yield to distribute amongst your karmic partners. If money is tight, simply share whatever you can of your funds, time, energy and talents as an offering of thanks. The most important point is to celebrate any success, no matter how small, and include your karmic partners in that celebration, because after all, your success is their success!

Taking it Further

The Books

If you’d like to learn more about how to plant the kind of karmic seeds that will create the results you desire, we recommend that you pick up the books, “The Diamond Cutter” and “Karmic Management”. You can find Amazon links to purchase these on our “Resources” page If you are Canadian you may prefer to access

“Karmic Management” is a great way to get started since it’s a short and easy read that pulls together the core principles from “The Diamond Cutter”.   Some of you may want to take the deeper dive from the get-go, in which case, “The Diamond Cutter” would be the best bet. We personally refer to both depending on whether we want a quick reminder or more in-depth understanding.

The Karmic Mastermind

Karmic mastery is ultimately a technique and with all techniques you only get good results when you use it effectively and consistently.

We’ve witnessed powerful transformation and results from the support and accountability our group members receive in the Karmic Mastermind, and if this is calling you, we’d love to take the journey with you. 

You can learn more about the karmic Mastermind and sign up to receive a powerful guided meditation at…

I’ll also be hosting a No-Fee 90-minute training call on Tuesday February 12th at 3pm Eastern/12pm Pacific.

“Harnessing the Power of Good Karma to Take Your Business and Life to the Next Level”

The goal of this call is to share principles and practices that you can implement right away. 


On this call you’ll learn… 

  • How it helped me (Angela) to break through hidden barriers that I would never have imagined were holding me back and how it can help you too.
  • The mechanics of how we create our own roadblocks to success and what to do to clear them.
  • How to set up your own karmic project and get started right away.
  • Why creating community and accountability on the journey of mastering the art of good karma is so essential and what you can do to support yourself. 


Screen Shot 2013-02-08 at 3.29.22 PMIf you attend the call live, you’ll have the opportunity to win an individual coaching session to help you move forward on the path of Karmic Mastery.

The call will be recorded, so be sure to register even if you can’t attend live so that you can access the recording.

To register go to:

This is powerful, transformative work and if it’s calling you we encourage you to listen to that inner voice.

Wishing you abundant karmic gardening and much soul-satisfying success,

Angela Croft,

MSW, CTA Certified Coach