Hello there, and welcome back!
I hope you’re ready to learn more about Dominant Dogma this week, as Episode 6 is all about a dominant belief that life is about growth at all costs, scaling and dominating in our personal and professional avenues.
This is a big cultural shift I see these days, as many of us realize that traditional ideas of productivity and success are no longer serving us. I will be diving into this cultural narrative and how it has shaped our modern world, as well as what that Dominant Dogma might sound like as an inner monologue for you. I’ll also leave you with some pretty big questions that I hope can be a launch point for you to think more critically, reflect, and move from a place of intention and wisdom as you begin to Live Your Freedom Now. Let’s explore!
In this episode, we talk about:
- The Dominant Dogma that growth and advancement reign supreme
- How these cultural structures and narratives shape the way we approach the world
- What this Dominant Dogma may sound or feel like for you
- The idea of thriving vs. growth, especially in creative business
Hello hello creative humans, I am writing from my back porch today! It is the very first day I’ve been able to work outside since October and it feels magical. I’m sitting on the roughly textured wood of our back patio. We have an older home, so some of the wood is looking a little worse for wear, especially after the harsh winter temperatures. The sun is shining bright on my screen, almost keeping me from writing, but I don’t mind. The birds are singing, my dog is lying in the sun, and overall spring is in the air.
As I share this moment with you, I encourage you to do the same. Notice where you are, the textures around you, the colors, sounds, and where the light and shadows meet.
Today, we are going to talk about the Dominant Dogma in business and in life that preaches growth at all costs, scaling exponentially, and ultimately a message of domination.
Within the modern world, and specifically within capitalistic and hierarchical systems, we are taught a message of growth and advancement from a young age.
From the grades we earn to our popularity ranking, there are benchmarks that determine how successful we are starting at as young as 2-3 years old. And that’s a generous starting age assumption.
Beyond our childhood and following our education, we are then expected to model ongoing advancement within our workplaces, companies, and finances. This ever-growing, “up and to the right” mentality is what we are conditioned to expect from society, economy, and from ourselves, until we die, burn out, or for the lucky few, retire.
Personally and within our childhood development, this can be beneficial to encourage healthy ambition, purpose, and a sense of direction. However, as a cultural standard, and as an economic standard, there is no, or very little, access to counter-narratives that help balance out this requirement for consistent advancement. This message of growth and scaling has become a Dominant Dogma in our world.
As a reminder: Dominant Dogma is a term I coined to encompass all the cultural narratives and beliefs which externally, and subsequently internally as adaptive strategies, tell you who you’re supposed to be, how to do it, and what you need to buy to live that out.
I want to talk a little bit about how this shows up in small businesses.
Specifically for my audience of folks including artists, coaches, writers, and makers, this Dominant Dogma often shows up as pressure to grow far too quickly, indefinitely, and/or scale when that was never the dream in the first place.
This can sound like internalized Dominante Dogma saying:
- I’m not making enough for how long I’ve been in business.
- I’m “supposed to” hire help and delegate by now…Should I hire even though I can’t afford it?
- I’ve hired my dream team, but it’s time to expand. We need more people. More products. Just more of everything.
- So-and-so achieved success far more quickly….maybe I need to spend more on ads to try and keep up?
- I still need my freelance work to keep my dream work alive, am I doing this wrong? I feel kind of ashamed.
- Yes, I’ve hit my dream of 30k months, but I have to keep going. 50k, 100k, I’m aiming for the millions.
These are just a few examples of possible ways this growth narrative may show up in your world. And as with most of the Dominant Dogma we evaluate here on the podcast, these narratives are not necessarily good or bad, right or wrong. If you consider the narrative of, “aiming for the millions”, women-owned and minority-owned businesses are shown to benefit communities, families, and the planet, so I can only imagine the incredible impact that more million-dollar companies of this sort would have.
However, it’s when these narratives go unchecked, that problems ensue.
- Scaling too quickly can result in an inability to pay employees well and lead with integrity
- Hustling to keep up with growth demands can result in burnout and health difficulties
- Successfully scaling and creating exponential growth into the millions, can result in playing a part in over consumption and extraction of others and the planet.
The best way I have found to explain the harm this Dominant Dogma causes, and the Freedom on the other side is utilizing Kate Raworth’s (Ray-worth) Doughnut Economics framework.
Kate’s website describes the Doughnut as, “a compass for human prosperity in the 21st century, with the aim of meeting the needs of all people within the means of the living planet.”
Essentially, this doughnut showcases the “doughnut hole” as lack or “shortfall”, the doughnut itself as thriving or the “safe and just space for humanity”, and the outer sphere as extraction and overconsumption, or “overshoot”.
Within this conversion of small business, I take this to mean: the “doughnut hole” is where you are not charging enough, not getting your needs met, and self-extracting. The doughnut itself is a regenerative business where you can thrive, live sustainably, and engage in reciprocal consensual relationships with your clientele. Finally, the outer sphere is overcharging, underdelivering, and extracting from others and the planet.
Within Kate’s 2018 TED talk she summarizes the solution this framework offers, which also summarizes my belief around how you can set yourself free from this Dominant Dogma and run your business regeneratively, “A healthy economy should be designed to thrive, not grow”
And that is the Freedom, the reframe of sorts I want to offer in today’s conversation: A healthy business is designed to thrive, not grow.
So counter-cultural I know!
For early small business owners, how does this land for you? What does this mean to you?
How can you craft your business strategy in such a way that it supports you, your team (if you want one), and the planet? Are your current prices meeting your needs and bringing you into that “doughnut space” of thriving? Is your marketing strategy sustainable and drawing in the leads you need to live in that “doughnut space”? Do you want to scale your business so you can support others to also live in that thriving “doughnut space”? What would that look like and feel like if you carried that out in a regenerative way?
For folks in workplaces not owned by you: how does this land for you? What does this reframe offer for you?
How can you live your life in a way that supports you, your family (if applicable), and the planet? Is your job meeting your needs and bringing you into that “doughnut space” of thriving? Is your job sustainable for you? Do you desire to advance in your role so you can lead others and impact change in your workplace and community? What would that look like and feel like if you carried that out in a regenerative way?
These questions don’t necessarily have a right or wrong answer, and I’m not even saying that my perspective on this is right for you. This is an invitation to explore beyond the Dominant Dogma of advancement, scaling, and indefinite growth so together we can find a more sustainable and regenerative path forward. So that together we Live Our Freedom Now.
As we close today’s episode I am so excited to let you know that on April 1st my 6 Month Creative Business Accelerator, “On My Terms” opens for enrollment. This space is for you if you are ready to hand back the Dominant Dogma that has seized control of your business to reclaim your vision, and run your business on your terms. You started your business to thrive, to experience more fulfillment, and to live free. I’m here to help you do that.
This is the second year I have run this program, and to share a little bit about the impact it holds I have a brief commercial of sorts from one of the program attendees.
All right, I’ll see you next week!
Freedom is yours,
“Within the modern world, and specifically within capitalistic and hierarchical systems, we are taught a message of growth and advancement from a young age.”
“We are expected to model ongoing advancement within our workplaces, companies, and finances. This ever-growing, ‘up and to the right’ mentality is what we are conditioned to expect from society, economy, and from ourselves, until we die, burn out, or for the lucky few, retire.”
“A healthy business is designed to thrive, not grow.”
“This is an invitation to explore beyond the Dominant Dogma of advancement, scaling, and indefinite growth so together we can find a more sustainable and regenerative path forward.”