In our last blog post, we talked about discernment versus breakdown. In a discernment model, instead of seeing a problem as a reflection of our faults, we look at why the problem exists and how the situation can be changed. We start from a place of knowing our strengths and ask how we can adjust the business to better suit them.

When we get to a place where discernment is the default way of relating to our businesses, we come to a place of radical empowerment.

What is Radical Empowerment?

In the Kite + Dart community, we’ve seen the phenomenon of radical empowerment transform businesses time and time again.

I’ve seen a lot of entrepreneurs offering services they assume people want. Many times, they don’t necessarily want to offer that service, and it involves them doing something they don’t really want to do, but they offer it because they think that’s what will pay the bills.

Based on the conditioning we’ve been given our entire lives, it makes sense. Most people have never seen a different model for a successful business (until they step into our community, that is). But consider this: what if you could focus on the things you love doing, your strengths, your passions, and the impact you want to see in the world? What if those were the driving forces behind your business?

When I see clients shift into this mindset and get radically empowered, their business goes from a place of drudgery to a place of joy, passion, and freedom. I’ve experienced it myself.

A few years ago, I was working on a business and doing all the things I thought I was “supposed” to do. I wasn’t looking critically at what I wanted to do or what I was great at. One aspect of this was marketing.

I kept hearing that I needed to use social media to market my business, even though it’s just not my thing. I’d make plans for posting content and kept neglecting them, then make myself feel bad for not having carried through the plan I created. It was a cycle that wasn’t serving me or my business.

After doing work with Kite + Dart, I’ve learned to lean into what I’m great at: building relationships. Instead of focusing on social media, I’ve shifted my focus to hosting events. In that environment, I feel connected to people and energized. That’s what has helped my business grow.

Being radically empowered gives me the freedom to be authentically who I am. It feels like having a choice to be intentional about how I approach my business. I get to do the things I’m great at while aligning my business with my values.

I acknowledge all the hard work it took for me to get to where I am, and I also know I couldn’t have gotten here without a strong community. Though I’m generally a self-aware person, I know that we don’t always have the most complete view of ourselves. That’s why it’s essential to have people around us who are committed to the same things we are: in this case, doing business in a transformed way. My community has helped me see my blind spots and has reminded me that there’s a different way of doing things. They’ve reminded me to stay unapologetic about who I am. And they’ve taught me how to lean on other people for support.

Doing Business in Collaboration 

One of the most beautiful aspects of radical empowerment is the collaboration that blossoms as a result. As Americans, we’ve inherited this idea that we have to toil and work endlessly—all on our own—in order to be successful.

In our community, we’ve seen that this isn’t the only way to have a business. It doesn’t mean there will never be hard work, but there’s more fulfillment and freedom present. When we focus on what we’re great at, we start to see that others around us have complementary skills. Possibilities open up for ways to work together as we each do the things we’re great at.

Between radically empowered business owners, there’s a lot more cooperation, a lot more collaboration, a lot more interdependence. It encourages a creative, innovative environment. When we each focus on what we’re great at, our partnerships become far less transactional and more relational. Imagine an entire economy built on relationships rather than transactions.

Our economy as it stands is about maintaining the status quo and keeping oppressive structures in place. This results in inequity and inequality, wage gaps, the top 1% having more wealth than the bottom 80%. Our current economy is built on competition.

If we were to shift to a model of radical empowerment in business, where each business owner made business decisions in alignment with their unique skills, passions and expertise, we would create new possibilities for contribution and collaboration, We’d be free to feel more supportive of one another rather than seeing each other as threats. More people would feel valued for their contributions.

Here’s the good news: this is already starting to happen, both in the Kite + Dart community and elsewhere. We’re seeing people lean into their strengths and think about new possibilities that didn’t exist before. It makes me feel hopeful about the future of our economy and our world.

Each month, Kite + Dart hosts several free workshops on running a business from a place of equity and ethics. See what’s coming up here.

Written in partnership with Ali Weeks of Moxie Writing Co.