Considering the events of the past few weeks and contemplating the future, immediate and distant, has prompted me to share my thoughts with you on how Charles Marlow is evolving as a conscious business and a concept.
In 2016, I chose to do a juice fast that ended up lasting for 30 days. This was the catalyst for a lifestyle change that has had profound implications for not just me but for Charles Marlow. It’s also shaping the way we’ll be doing business when the covid-19 crisis is over.
I can see how it would sound strange that a simple juice fast would have such an impact but that’s how it happened.
A simple commitment that I made for health reasons led me to question so much. I became aware of where animal products really came from and stopped eating meat. This affected me emotionally and I realised how much I’d numbed my emotions to achieve what I thought success was meant to be and to protect myself.
Over a period of a year, something inside me was unlocked and I thought that, if I can shift my perspective on these things, anything is possible.
I also became aware of just how much my choices affect people around me and the planet. The natural next step was to introduce my new understanding into my business life because, for me, they’re not separate. If I want to be personally happy, I need to be in a happy workplace and vice-versa.
Together with my brother Patrick, who co-founded Charles Marlow, I began to see how ours could become a conscious business.
Defining conscious business
I’d say that conscious business is simply conscious living, of the kind I’d discovered after my juice fast, applied to commerce, to buying and selling.
When we began to really think about the impact the decisions we were making can have on a wider scale, it began to transform how we thought about business.
We downgraded the question ‘How can we make more money this year?’ and asked ourselves ‘What would the impact of this particular decision we’re making be in 10 years’ time and even further into the future, when our children are adults? How can we do our best to give them a life they can love?’
Patrick and I applied this shift in perspective and continue to do so, even though there is plenty pulling us in the opposite direction.
I can understand that you might be wondering how a business that makes its money from luxury real estate can be conscious. My answer would be that, on the face of it, not many businesses outside the non-profit or ethical sphere are conscious yet. That’s because we in the mainstream, if you want to call it that.
It’s about making the shift in perspective that we’ve made. Any business, in any industry, can do this.
For consumers, buying conscious means thinking hard about what we spend our money on. We need always to ask ourselves how the products we buy, the services we use and the way we consume them will contribute to the future we want for our children and the planet.
How is Charles Marlow becoming conscious?
We’ve started by treating each other the way we want to be treated. As a team, we meet twice a week online. The key thing is that our team feels truly listened to and valued.
The advantage of this for our clients is that the Charles Marlow team genuinely feels part of the business and loves what they do. They too want to treat our clients according to the same principles of transparency and fairness.
Considering that none of us have been taught to be conscious, we’re doing well when it comes to shifting our collective perspective. I’m certainly not going to put pressure on anyone for driving a car, eating meat, using plastic bags or whatever. We’re all having to navigate a world where these things have been in place and relatively unquestioned for years.
Obviously, it also helps that we’re working in one of the most beautiful parts of the world.
Learning from the current crisis
Personally, I’m learning that I prefer a slower pace. I’m more caring, considered and creative when my inbox isn’t constantly demanding my attention.
On a practical level, we at Charles Marlow are learning that we’re excellent at working together remotely. We use technology to manage the mundane tasks, leaving us free to do what we’re best at: being creative, unpredictable and courageous.
Looking at the bigger picture, I’m reflecting even more on how we can help people to live in the place we love for its mix of natural beauty and modernity, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit, centuries-old tradition and blue sky thinking.
I’m also remembering to be grateful that the Balearics hasn’t been badly affected and should return to normal relatively quickly when the crisis has passed.
This period of lockdown has allowed us at Charles Marlow to focus on projects that we didn’t have time for before the crisis when life was hurtling past us. In our case, we’re concentrating seriously on green initiatives.
We know that, when the crisis is past, humanity will still have to tackle climate change.
The images we’ve seen online of clear skies over Los Angeles, of animals roaming cities and, closer to home, dolphins frolicking in the bay of Palma have reminded us what we’ve come very close to losing forever.
With this in mind, we’re looking even harder at how we can educate ourselves and our clients so that we have a more positive impact on our environment. We’ll be revealing the practical measures that will enable this to happen later this year.
Outside our business, we’ll be forging closer links to those organisations in the Balearics actively working to improve the quality of our island environment. It’s heartening to know that there are so many of these.
So we’ll be doing what we can to support people like Daniel Christian Wahl, a world expert on regenerative culture who lives on Mallorca and believes the island can be a model for regenerating the environment and changing the way people live and do business.
I’m excited by the important work being done by Daniel and people like him and want Charles Marlow to be part of this.
Looking to what happens next, my feeling is that the current situation – which took most of us completely by surprise – has given us the perfect opportunity to be creative and consider a future where real change is possible.
The simple decision to go on a juice fast changed my life and our business. Today, our species is in the middle of a game changing crisis that has the power to bring about enormous change for the better. Having learned what I have, I’m optimistic.
Thank you for reading this and stay safe and well. See you on the other side.