Establishing a culture in your business that fosters growth
I am always trying to learn something—every day in fact. One of the best ways that I have found learning to happen is through conversations with people. By listening intently I can glean lessons that I can then implement into my business practices and in my life. One of those lessons came through Juli Vanderhoop, Owner and Operator of the Orange Peel Bakery, someone who taught me to find the sacred space within both my business and my life, a sacred space that is interchangeable.
The sacred space in your business is the soul of your business, but even more, it is the soul of who you are as a business owner. It is that space inside yourself where you feel most at home in your own skin, where you’re the most content with yourself. Juli taught me to make sure I am asking myself this question: what is the sacred space in my business and life? By using your business as an extension of who you are, not just what you do, your ability to execute within the parameters of your sacred space will govern your practices on a daily basis.
On the island of Martha’s Vineyard there is a small micro-bakery, The Orange Peel Bakery, that has done just this. Owner Juli Vanderhoop has found her sacred space within the small bakery that she operates on the honor system. She tells it like this, “I have created an honor system which is, you come in, and I might not be there, and you leave money in the bowl which is unattended, and you take your change out and walk away with whatever baked goods you see after adding it all up.” The result? “…It has worked fantastically,” she said. The reason why? “It is, what I think, and I like to think, is giving people back the chance to be honorable, which you don’t get in this day and age,” she recalled, baring a bit of her soul in the process.
The Orange Peel Bakery has become an extension of who Juli is as a person; she defines her business, it doesn’t define her—a major lesson I learned talking to her. She has used her tiny bakery to bring positivity and community to Aquinnah, an area of Martha’s Vineyard, where she hosts pizza nights and general communal gatherings nine months out of the year. Housed on the lands that belong to the Wampanoag Tribe of Native Americans, her bakery is built over Black Brook—which she says allows her the ability to tap into her heritage and truly creates a sacred place for herself, her help, and her business. She recalls, “There are six springs that run underneath the property, and between the smoke from the oven and the water that comes through the ground, it’s actually a very sacred place for us, and it’s a place where the ancestors are very close to us.”
This sacredness of the spring and the belief in her ancestors’ spiritual help, she believes has a direct effect on her business and the community created around it. “I share with my help that 99% of the people that come to visit us each day are coming through the door and very positive, and that if you can work in a place where 99% of the people are immediately telling you something positive, that you should carry that through and recognize it, and it’ll elevate you as it has my business.” She firmly believes this, and it marks who she is as a businesswoman.
When you create a sacred space and a culture within a company, or anything that you’re doing, and it’s in alignment with your soul, then people do remember you, and they do tell people about you, and that’s becomes the hallmark of your business’ growth. If your soul is satisfied and focused on the culture and community you yearn for, the possibilities are endless when it comes to your balance sheet. And, you’ll have conquered that trickiness that business can bring by getting into the right mindset and finding solace in your sacred space.
In summary, Juli inspired me through our conversation to create a sacred space in my life and business. Her lessons can do the same for you by:
- Teaching you the necessity of creating a sacred space in your business and in your life, because that is the soul of who you are as a business owner.
- Reminding you that YOU define your business, you can’t let it define you.
- Empowering you to remember that YOUR business should be an extension of who you are.
In order to think like a CEO you have to learn from conversations every day. By making sure you have created a sacred space in your business, one that refreshes your soul and leads you to immeasurable growth— both professionally and personally—you’ll begin to see a difference in yourself, your people, and your business.
To hear more of my conversation with Juli Vanderhoop about creating a sacred space within your business and life, click here to hear her interview on my Think Big podcast.