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Emily Nolan Joseph Headshot

Soul-Fulfilling Entrepreneurship: What They Don't Teach at B-School

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My heart is full. My stomach is full. I am happy. That is my bottom line.

Starting a business can be daunting. It's scary, uncharted waters that seem to be inundated with boring business suits, endless emails, accounting paperwork, and free flowing pots of old reheated coffee while you sit around clicking your pen under the table at pointless meetings that go on for hours. The office smells like dusty old file folders full of meaningless paper and the people pack up at 4:59 pm.

If you ask me to put together a presentation, I feel tasked. You give me a deadline, and I'll wait to put something together close to the last minute, cramming all of the information together like the ingredients in my morning smoothie. I'll speak too fast, my heart rate races, and by the end of the speech, I have no idea whether the audience connected with me or not. Did they even hear me or were they just too consumed with the emails buzzing in on their iPhones? Frankly, I'm just happy it's over.

At my office, you're greeted by my wild rescue dog, Spunky. He might lick you to death, or he might bite you and draw blood (you never really know), and I may be sued, but he fills my soul, therefore he is an employee at My Kind of Life. Come as you are, in blue jeans, a cotton t-shirt and a pair of vegan Toms, that works for me. Just as long as you come ready to inspire, and to be inspired. Most days, I choose to work from a cozy couch and sip on a lightly sugared triple shot of Ristretto or Lungo. And I like that because the warm nutty flavors of the strong bean juice remind me of my travels from all over the world, which then inspires me and fills my soul, so I continue to do it.

The sweet memories that the shot of caffeine brings to my mind gives me a new idea for my blog, so I set up a last minute meeting with my team, and shoot the presentation from my hip. No time to create PowerPoint (because the online world moves so damn fast) and no notecards (just the iPhone notes that I typed into my notepad during my workout). I start spilling the details of the ideas, like an artist with an empty canvas. I paint the picture with the help of my team, and then we all look at it, and decide what it means. And what it's worth. We look at which direction we need to take in order to finish the piece of art, to connect the dots so that we can complete the idea and bring it to life.

I choose to hire a team that operates like a family, because they are my dosas. They closely coach me and cheer me on, giving me advice on the best way to birth my ideas. In no way are they less valuable, because as a whole, we function on a higher level. The mother, pregnant with ideas, knows that birth is too dangerous (and too scary) to be alone.

This is the age of yogic entrepreneurship. Where businesses move from the heart, not the bottom line. Where the final number, as long as it's growing, is a beautiful thing. Because that means everyone gets paid, everyone has a full stomach, a place to live and a place to work where they feel fulfilled, not scared. Where they can work by fine-tuning crazy ideas (lord knows I'm full of them); and instead of encouraging creativity, we speak about refining the best ideas -- because we're free to feel, to try, to experience, this open environment is a breeding hotbed for intelligence and creativity. And that's just how I like it.

I am a creative person that thrives on my selective impulse decisions, and that doesn't mean that I can't be successful as a businesswoman. In fact, by arming myself with this knowledge, I've completely reorganized my career and my company. I have several meaningful, purposeful projects going on at one time, so that I'm always interested. I'm challenged with tasks everyday that seem so independently unique. Photo shoots, book deal offers, speaking engagements, articles to write, products to endorse, team meetings, traveling on a plane (a lot), and giving myself time to be creative and allow the next idea or story to flow like a stuffy corporations reheated pot of coffee.

I am an entrepreneur that seeks soul-fulfillment as my bottom line. My decisions are made with compassion and that is ultimately what decides my level of success. I leave worry at the door and believe in myself and my company because when we move from compassion and authentic truth, we are wildly successful. Beyond what I ever imagined for a functioning company. So far above and beyond the marginal success of how textbook b-school corporations measure themselves, that it's not even a question in my many-track mind -- seeking soul-fulfillment was the best and most rewarding business plan that I've ever created.