Walking the talk.
This is what we always say when we hear people preach and realize they actually practice what they preach. But, must people preach for us to listen?
I do not personally like to preach. I would rather go about my usual ways and see who is affected by what we do. Not what we plan to do.
When like-minded groups ask to come to our store, we confirm if they are really like what we do and how we can collaborate. When applicants ask to license our brands, we do a check on their lifestyles if they really wish to pursue a social enterprise such as ours. Because being authentic is important. This business is not about making loads of money or about being a trendsetter. It is about making small steps to change the world we live in. To make it a better place than when we found it.
Recently I had guests from a popular TV show about sustainable living. We had a chit-chat session about sustainability. Their young team was a bit timid at first—maybe because the talk or sharing may be boring. Soon after the two-hour session they seemed more inspired to do their job. Their bosses wanted them all to be on the same page—to be authentic.
At our foundation, ECHOsi Foundation, we are thinking of doing another workshop on Sustainable Production and Consumption as we did two years ago with the Center for Sustainable Consumption and Production) of Germany. At that first workshop, we imagined how we would live in the year 2050. Scary! Careers will be different, lifestyles will be very different . . . and that is starting today.
Even if we tell people “you are what you eat,” people hardly listen. They imagine themselves invincible and just not mindful of what they consume. They are authentic, too. Authentically believing they are invincible.
So, let’s think about authenticity. If we are not real, the losers are not our friends but ourselves. When people say, “get real,” it is a genuine message to be true to yourself.
Why deny the fact that the world is changing right before our eyes? Why deny the fact that through what we consume, we can actually shorten life, or we can add years to life.
My therapist masseuse told me about her ailing father who is now 80 years old. He drank and smoked and was so depressed since he became widowed. She took him to her little farm in Cavite where she planted some pechay and eggplants. The old man soon helped her till the soil, he took in fresh air everyday and ate healthier food, which they grew in the farm. Six months later, he has greatly improved. He stopped the alcohol intake, the smoking and now feels younger and stronger. What food and clean air can do to a human being!
Next, we have small children who refuse to eat vegetables and healthier fare. Their bodies are so small, it would be so easy to detox them. Just switch to organic food, less or no processed food and less sugar. Voila! Soon the kids become less hyperactive and are able to focus in school or even at games.
But parents and teachers need to be authentic. We cannot preach what we do not practise ourselves. And consumers must also be authentic. Do we really believe in this “sustainable living” trend? Or do we think it is a fad that will soon pass—like bubble milk tea, or cookie butter or bacon burgers?
I dare say, it is not a fad. It is a global trend and when I heard a “finance guy” say “Organic—that’s where everything is headed!” Ooh I wanted to do jumping jacks infront of this bespectacled young man who claimed Finance to be his expertise.
So, be authentic. Be real. Think of how you want life to be. Not just because your parents are currently going through health issues. Not just because a loved one is not in the pink of health. But because you really, truly care about living a healthier and sustainable life.
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Chit Juan is a founder and owner of ECHOStore sustainable lifestyle, ECHOmarket sustainable farms and ECHOcafe in Serendra , Podium and Centris QC malls. She also is President of the Women’s Business Council of the Philippines and President of the Philippine Coffee Board Inc., two non-profits close to her heart. She often speaks to corporates, youth and NGOs on social entrepreneurship, women empowerment, and coffee. You can follow her on twitter.com/chitjuan or find her on facebook:Pacita “Chit” Juan. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org