As the Wall Street Coach, I have devoted my career to helping people become more conscious about the kind of capitalism we practice, seeking not to promote a greed and profit-centered capitalism but one that allows everyone to benefit from the CEO to the lowest level employees, the customers, and the community.
However, before I could coach people on how to practice conscious capitalism, I had to study just what consciousness is and what practices allow us to be more awake and aware of the world around us. I had to explore the magic truths of how we are all intertwined and dependent on one another, an understanding that leads to the need not only to coexist but to use the power of our connections to benefit everyone. After years of studying everything from world religions to nonviolent communication, and touring Israel with a priest and rabbi, practicing zazen with Buddhist monks in Japan, and having more spiritual and consciousness adventures than I can list here, I realized five fundamental threads were repeatedly showing up. I decided to term these The Five Practices.
I attribute my own awakening to practicing The Five Practices. I strive to practice them in my life on a daily basis, and I repeatedly encourage my clients to practice them so they can reshape our world, including promoting conscious capitalism.
The Five Practices are:
2. Self/Other Empathy
3. Emotional Non-Resistance/Present Moment Awareness
4. The Internal and External Journey
These Five Practices heal, empower, and elevate one’s consciousness, not to mention improve one’s quality of life and, yes, increase one’s wealth. In my book Transforming Wall Street, I interviewed numerous Wall Street executives and also Teachers of Consciousness to get their understanding of these practices and how they use them in their daily lives. You can learn much more about the practices in my book, but here is a quick summary of each one.
Self-Responsibility: Self-responsibility means saying to oneself, “I am responsible for how I respond to what shows up in my life.” It means not blaming yourself or others but being responsible for how you react. By awakening to self-responsibility, we can quit being victims and become empowered to take charge of our lives and embrace their possibilities.
Self/Other Empathy: Self-empathy means expressing internal empathy for the problems we face rather than beating ourselves up. We learn to meet our own needs and then we learn to put ourselves in others’ shoes and feel empathy for their situations. Empathy doesn’t mean we try to fix other people, just that we listen to them and be with them in whatever situation they are going through. Most of the time, people just want to be listened to. We learn to listen to ourselves and to others when we have empathy.
Emotional Non-Resistance/Present Moment Awareness: Having emotional non-resistance means being able to “be with” our emotions, whether pleasant or painful. When we repress emotions, they burrow deep into our psyches and can ultimately cause us illness. When we experience emotional non-resistance, we allow ourselves to feel our emotions, and then we can release them. We are also aware that these emotions and the situations causing them will pass. We stay in the present and we release our emotions so we can move on to the future.
The Internal and External Journey: This practice builds on the work of mythologist Joseph Campbell. We are all familiar with the idea that life is a journey. Campbell says the hero’s journey is marked by three acts: The Call to Adventure, The Road of Trials and Temptations, and The Return. By seeing life as a journey, we can focus on the present moment where we are in the journey. We can see how far we’ve come, we can see where we are going, and we can get a better perspective of our goals and what we are striving for. We can also celebrate when we successfully reach the end of a journey. Most importantly, we can remember that we are each the hero of our own story.
Self-Awareness/Mindfulness: True self-awareness means we are curious about who we are. We explore our inner selves. An excellent way to do so is through meditation. Another is through coaching. Coaching, unlike therapy, is about moving forward. Coaching helps you get to know yourself and what you really want. When we achieve self-awareness, we can begin living the life we truly want, one we don’t want to escape from but can enjoy with eyes wide open.
Now that you are aware of the Five Practices, I encourage you to apply them to your life, in small and in large ways. By becoming more awake through these practices, we can change our personal lives, change Wall Street and our capitalist culture for the better, and ultimately, change our world. By using these practices, you, as Gandhi recommended, can become the change you want to see in the world.