04 July 2011

My Journey from Money to Meaning: Personal Realization of the 5 P’s: Profit, People, Planet, Purpose, Peace.

This is my story of how I got to know and realized the 5 P’s on my journey from a money-focussed business manager to a meaning-focussed human being. While being in the middle of each phase, I was not even aware of these dimensions, only now by hindsight do I see that the journey went through these various stages. The stage of the 5 P’s: Profit, People, Planet, Purpose, Peace.

P#1: Profit
Since my childhood I had a good ‘business-sense’. I managed my little pocket money as a kid, later traded computer parts, studied business administration and went for sales, marketing and business development jobs. I maximized profits for companies like Siemens and Palm, and aimed at increasing my own salary. However, after a motorbike accident and some years of search and reflection, I realized that ‘money cannot buy happiness’ and that something important in my life was missing.

P#2: People
After years of soul-searching I opened up towards a ‘social development’ dimension. My heart felt like split in two, on the one side my business-interest (profits), on the other a new (com)passion for social and development issues (people). I started to explore microfinance, fair trade and human development. Volunteering for NGOs in Peru and Mali, and studying International Development bridged my two areas of interest. A new career with NGOs and the United Nations began. I also started the Business4Good blog to share insights on CSR, Social Entrepreneurship and Social Business.

P#3: Planet
While sustainable profits require good relationships with people, similar this is true for people and the planet. I realized that we human beings are part of nature, and that the perceived separation of us from the environment is an illusion. In fact, we are all connected as humans and with all life on this one planet. If we could see the bigger picture, maybe seeing Mother Earth from the sky we would see the forest rather than just trees. If we hurt the planet and environment we hurt ourselves. From this realisation a new appreciation of nature and environmental consciousness arose in me.

P#4: Purpose
‘Profits, People, Planet’ can also be measured as a Triple Bottom Line for businesses. It is measurable and ‘worldly’. I began to discover the more ‘immaterial’ side in me. Always having been intrigued by practical philosophy and wisdom, I explored Buddhism, self-development, meditation, Tantra and various other spiritual paths to discover my life purpose. So far I can say it is to ‘build bridges’ between perceived separated issues, and hence contribute to the expansion of consciousness.

P#5: Peace
Knowing my purpose has tremendously increased my inner peace. I do no longer feel like a lone stranger in this world, overwhelmed by all possibilities and desires. My life feels like having meaning and a direction, beyond having fun and ending in the grave at the end. Knowing that the inner world creates the outer world, I hope that increasing inner peace will lead to more world peace that inner development, will lead to more human development.

The journey continues. We are living in times of extraordinary rapid change and on our path are plenty of obstacles but if we read the signs I am positive we will find the way. To me as an optimist the direction looks towards sustainable prosperity.

All the Best & Enjoy Your Journey