“Ethical Markets highly recommends this Sept. 10th webinar from our partner the Conscious Business Institute, with David Brooks, author of “The Second Mountain”. The Institute, founded and led by veteran business executive and venture investor, Peter Matthies, who also serves on our global Advisory Board. Enjoy!
~Hazel Henderson, Editor“
David starts by describing the first mountain many of us climb. We get out of school, begin a career, start a family, and identify with this mountain we think we were meant to be on.
We do many of the things we believe society encourages us to do – like become successful, buy a home, raise kids, pursue happiness.
These first mountain hustling years are powerfully shaped by our individualistic and meritocratic culture, and many operate under the assumption: I can work hard and make myself happy.
But then either all of the sudden or over time, life throws many of us off the mountain, and into the valley.
Some of us achieved success and found it unsatisfying. Some of us failed, lost a job, or endured some scandal. Some of us got hit sideways by something that wasn’t part of the original plan, whether it be a cancer scare or the deep sadness of losing a loved one.
Suddenly, our whole identity was in peril.
For many who are broken open in this way, there comes a realization: That first mountain wasn’t my mountain.
And that’s when the second mountain appears.
If the first mountain is about reputation management – building up and defining the self – the second is about shedding the ego and dissolving the self. If the first mountain is about acquisition, the second mountain is about contribution, and having purpose.
Some second mountain individuals quit their jobs, or move, or make a series of other changes to usher in a new world that is there waiting for them. While others don’t change anything at all, but show up with a renewed sense of relationships, fulfillment, and purpose.
So what does this second mountain view have to do with business?
In his essay, David talks about the book “Practical Wisdom” by Barry Schwartz and Kenneth Sharpe. It tells a story of a hospital janitor named Luke. In Luke’s hospital there was a young man who’d gotten into a fight and was now in a permanent coma. The young man’s father sat with him every day in silent vigil, and every day Luke cleaned the room.
But one day the father was out for a smoke when Luke cleaned it. Later that afternoon, the father found Luke and snapped at him for not cleaning the room.
The first-mountain response is to see your job as cleaning rooms. Luke could have snapped back: I did clean the room. You were out smoking. The second-mountain response is to see your job as serving patients and their families. In that case you’d go back in the room and clean it again, so that the father could have the comfort of seeing you do it. And that’s what Luke did.
What can a business learn from Luke’s example? How can an organization move from a first mountain to a second mountain response?
Join us in September for a live & interactive Webinar as speak about the second mountain of business, about creating Purpose-driven cultures, and about how to bring workplace satisfaction and fulfillment to your life.