Common sense vs. common practice: 7 keys to sustainability and prosperity

Today, you can plant the seeds of what you will want to sow tomorrow.

The items listed below are obvious. They are Common Sense. Unfortunately, they are not Common Practice. So please, when you read an item that is relevant to you. Don’t do a ton of research. Just apply one thing you know is important way for you in the most simple and imperfect way you can, one tiny step at a time.

1)    Cultivating Self-Reliance

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Self-reliance is your greatest asset. Cultivating this quality will help you sustain long-term success and integrity. In this highly unpredictable world, you need to show up for yourself first. Nobody else will do the job for you. No one can set the standards for you. You need to set the bar and hold it. Don’t settle for less. You are responsible for putting the oxygen mask on yourself first, before you can assist other passengers of this crazy and beautiful ride called Life. Here are practical steps you can take to cultivate self-reliance:

–       Select your big stones, and place them in the jar first. (If you don’t know what I am referring to, watch this video on the Rocks, Pebbles and Stones Story). Define your top 3-4 key activities, and schedule them first. Whether sports, time with your loved ones, holidays, or appointment with your key clients make that your priority now.

–       Show up for what you commit to. If you chose to engage in a routine, do it. If you chose an experience, go for it. This will build your long-term self-confidence. A little secret ingredient: Practice good deeds and activities for yourself while nobody is looking, and tell nobody about it. Learn to keep a secret. This will strengthen your relationship with yourself, and help you with self-love, self-respect and self-confidence. You will learn to trust yourself even more that way. As Voltaire said:

“Il faut cultiver notre jardin. ”

“We must cultivate our own garden.”


–       I would take this advice literally as well as metaphorically. Growing your own garden and food can help you feel more connected to Mother Earth, as well as feeling that you are creating a better future. I feel great pride and gratitude to have started my own Worm composter. Each time I eat a fruit or vegetable, I feel so happy at the idea that the peels will nourish these beautiful beings.

–       Learn to help yourself: take care of some of the “small stuff”. Some of this small stuff will turn out to be the big stuff at the end of the day: When you fix the small things in your house, you will feel a sense of pride and that you are taking care of business. Don’t get me wrong, it is great to ask for the plumber or a handyman to take care of repairs at your home while you are living the High Life flying all over the world and serving million-dollar clients. But from time to time, all the human needs is to get back to simple stuff and take care of the basics.

–       Cook. Seriously. Cook, and enjoy taking the time to peel your veggies. Notice that the beauty in cooking is that you can be here, now, and in control. It doesn’t depend on external factors.

2)    Taking care of your own health

Your health is your wealth. If you are in for the long term, you are responsible for your own health. How much do you exercise? Are you exercising both your physical body, as well as your subtle bodies?

Your physical body is developed in classic sports such as tennis, weightlifting, football, etc… However, to help your energy circulate, you might want to engage in practices such as Yoga, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, among others, which help your Qi/Prana (life energy) flow with ease and circulate your vitality. Here is a simplified map of the integral human body:

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How are you eating?

Are you eating organic and whole foods, including raw vegetables?

Do you sometimes indulge a little bit, which is important to let go?

What is the one thing you know you need to do in relation to your diet?

(we always know what we have to do)

3)    Cultivating your finances

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As an entrepreneur, coach or consultant, you are responsible for your own financial safety and prosperity. I remember as an employee, there was a sense of safety in knowing that my salary would magically appear on my bank account at the end of the month. As a coach and caretaker of my business, I did something even more magical: I created that safety myself. Here is what helped me the most:

I decided my monthly salary and committed to pay myself that amount each month. Now, my job as a business caretaker is to make my business prosper, and make sure that I can always honor my commitment to my CEO (myself) month after month. This requires self-discipline, and the ability to save and budget. These money skills can be easily learned in Tony Robbins’ books: Money Master the Game and Unshakeable, as well as George Kinder’s Seven Stages to Money Maturity.

4)    Investing and giving your money

Furthermore, in cultivating your finances, it is important to donate (in relation to advice #6 below). There is a whole philosophy in giving, which is described in Giving What We Can. This platform allows you to commit to give 10% of your income to a cause that matters to you in an effective way.

As a coach or consultant, you might want to think: What cause am I really committed to?

Earning more can help you to bring more positive impact in the world. For instance, as my income increased, I was able to invest in higher quality products, which are more sustainable. For example, I am proud to purchase PouleHouse eggs, where they take good care of the chickens and retire them instead of slaughtering them after 18 months of existence. I ate these eggs daily (pre-confinement) (and love their movie !). These eggs cost 2,5 times more than regular organic eggs. It brings me joy and gratitude every time I purchase them, cook them, and eat them. Yes, maybe one day I will turn back vegan, but for now, I am happy to purchase these eggs.

With more wealth and abundance, you can afford the products you truly want, which serve your values. For me, I love my morning cocktail of organic Multivitamins, Spirulina, and Stamets 7 mushrooms (yes, mushrooms can save the world). These make me feel alive, awake, healthy and connected with Nature. I feel grateful for each of them and think that these products are blessings in my life. I feel more fulfilled than when I thought that I “could not afford them”.

5)    Choosing your impact on the Environment

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A few years ago, I had a large contract with a retail company in the Middle East. I was flying for a few days every couple weeks to train managers in sharpening their leadership skills. I worked in about ten countries, sometimes flying for as short as two days (record for a training in Saudi Arabia). This is common practice for coaches and consultants. This can feel tiring for the body and the mind (even when you fly business class), but mainly for the environment. Boy did I pollute this beautiful planet during these days. I loved the travel, loved the luxury hotels, loved the job, but I did not feel good about how much carbon emissions I was responsible for. For instance, one roundtrip to Dubai is the equivalent of 1.45 tons of CO2. In 2017, the average emissions for a human on this planet was 4.8 Tons of CO2 (source). So I decided to offset. Enter the magic of carbon offsetting.

There are three simple steps to offsetting your carbon emissions:

a)    Becoming aware of your carbon footprint.

How much are you responsible for?

Use a carbon calculator to find out.

You can choose the scope you wish to take responsibility for. In my case, I decided to offset the plane rides, even though I also took ground transportation (better done than perfect, play at a level that feels good to you).

b)    Reducing your emissions to what feels right to you.

What travel would you love to cancel? No, you don’t need to cancel that amazing flight if you really want to go to Australia for your next event. If you make that your conscious choice, that’s fine. Simply become aware of which clients and events you are truly committed to. Maybe some travel can be aggregated, maybe some can be transformed in a digital experience (I know, I prefer live contact too). A challenge can be to increase the participant’s experience, while creating an amazing digital experience. Once you reduce, you realize the magic of “Less is more.”

c)    Offset the remaining CO² emissions you chose to keep emitting.

There are several options you can research. Personally, I chose to donate to the beautiful Sadhana Forest project. They have a tremendously positive impact in their hometown of Auroville, in India. The initiative of planting trees in a sustainable way has had such a positive impact that they have expanded and helped plant indigenous trees in Kenya and Haiti. And, they have an amazing bang for the buck. Each Euro you invest enables them to plant one tree in either of these three locations of your choosing. This is allowed by a peaceful army of volunteers who are dedicated to this project.

6)    Create contents

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Yes, you might have noticed the shift. There are two mindsets:

Taking and Giving.

The first years of our lives, we are great takers. As babies, we are so reliant on our parents that we ask for a lot of love, attention, food for sustenance, and sleep. As we grow to children, we become more neutral: We both take, but we see we can give. This is when we learn to share and give. During our studies, we continue to be in this neutral phase, as we have a lot to give, but we are still stuck in the Taking phase somehow. As a coach or consultant, if we want to be truly prosperous, we need to give a lot. Serve, give, share. Create a body of work which can serve those who need it. It’s great to read and to be a constant learner. But you already know so much, it will make you prosperous to share and teach. What you put in this Universe will come back at you manifold. Give, give, give (and later, ask).

7)    Learn to keep

One of my mentors used to say:

“Give everything, keep nothing.”

In my experience, following this advice leads to financial disaster, resentment, and powerlessness. These are the opposite of sustainability.

Keeping is a skill – a challenging one for me to learn. In a mindset of giving, it is easy to lose track of sustainability, and give it all (which is close to giving it all up). Whatever you do, practice keeping. At a basic level, learning to keep a piece of meat for the next day, or to set aside a little bit of the harvest is what allowed our civilizations to thrive and grow. Psychologically, when you keep some of what you have, you are sending a message to your subconscious mind that “there is enough”, and that “I know how to create a sustainable future”. This works with your energy (when you work on subtle energies, you can keep some for the next day), with your money (which is also a form of energy), with your food, etc. This is a counter-intuitive truth, especially in a culture where generosity and self-sacrifice are perceived as virtues.

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