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Episode 50: 10 Things We've Learned in 10 Years

Jennifer Mulholland & Jeff Shuck
November 28, 2023

It's hard for us to believe, yet amazing for us to celebrate: Today, Plenty is ten years old! Yahoo!

All month long, we're going to be sharing our gratitude, our lessons learned, and our dreams for what comes next. We're thrilled to start that with today's episode of the Plenty for Everyone podcast – which also happens to mark another great milestone, episode 50.  

Plenty was founded on Thanksgiving of 2013, an auspicious day for a company built on the idea of helping people see the abundance all around them and within them. Since then, we've had the privilege of working with incredible individuals and businesses, helping them grow consciously and holistically. During that time, our work has morphed, changed, contracted, and expanded, often in surprising and always in fulfilling ways.

The journey hasn't always been easy, but we wouldn't change what we've created, who we've worked with, and what we've learned. Now, as we celebrate our tenth birthday on Giving Tuesday 2023 – another auspicious day and another wonderful synchronicity – we invite you to come along with us as we meander, talk, and reminisce about the ten lessons that have shaped us and how we serve.

10 Lessons We've Learned in 10 Years of Plenty

Lesson 1: The Power of Presence
One of the most powerful and consistent lessons we've learned is the immutable power of presence – the practice of bringing our full attention and essence to the present moment.  When you're present, you bring your full self to the here and now. Your increased attention leads you to notice more. As you notice a greater range of inputs, you see, sense, and feel more expansively. And as your capacity to perceive grows, you see patterns you didn’t notice before. You become a master of connecting the dots, which in turn makes you more effective and efficient. Practicing presence is one of the greatest powers we've learned as conscious leaders. 

Lesson 2: Follow Flow
Notice the current of life. Where is there ease? Where is there resistance? Where is there momentum in your day? Noticing these cues has helped us shed the outdated cultural conditioning that tells us our worth is intertwined with the effort we put out. That’s just not true. We've learned to push the easy button, and when we do, it saves us time, energy, and stress. When we follow flow, we ride the natural momentum of the river of life. We are escorted to destinations we would have never arrived at on our own. 

Lesson 3: Create More Space
People need space. We need space – sacred space, trusting space, open space, beautiful space, thinking space, and doing nothing space. As Dee Hock once said, "The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get old ones out." We've learned to make room for creativity by letting go of outdated beliefs and thoughts, going outside in nature, scheduling self-time, scheduling Wellbeing Fridays, and shutting down our office for vacations and time off. The more space we've made, the more we've grown. 

Lesson 4: Don't Pull the Rope
In ten years of consulting and coaching for-profit companies, non-profit organizations, and thousands of individual executive leaders, we've learned the futility of what we call "pulling the rope." Trying to convince, sell, or prove to people who don't see value in what you offer is exhausting and depleting. It just doesn't work. We've learned to focus. We've learned not to try to be everything to everyone. We've learned to let some sales deals go. We've learned pass on some requests. We've learned that the more we have to convince someone to choose us, the less likely it is to be a good fit. 

Lesson 5: Deeply Listen
Learning how to deeply listen has been a skill we've honed and taught over the years. Deep listening involves more than your ears. The practice of deep listening means hearing not only what is shared with you from the outside world, but also what is shared with you from the whispers of your own intuition and heart. Deep listening is about tuning in beyond the words, understanding where someone is coming from, and mirroring back what you hear to ensure the other person feels heard and seen in the way they want to. It is immensely powerful.

Lesson 6: Be Who You Are
Over the last decade, we've committed ourselves to the profound importance of embracing our true selves – embracing our spirituality, perspectives, and values; granting ourselves the freedom to be flawed and vulnerable; and embodying what it truly means to be human. These elements are the foundation for cultivating the meaningful connections and relationships that we deeply crave. At Plenty, we proudly wear our hearts on our sleeves. We have grown in our commitment to bringing our full selves to wherever we show up. It's not always easy to continue to practice what we preach: You don't live a personal life or a professional life. You live one life. 

Lesson 7: What We Share for Others is Also for Ourselves
We are acutely aware that what we share with others is equally meant for ourselves. It's one of the simplest performance hacks in life – listen to the advice you give others, and take that wisdom for yourself. When you do, you’ll become the leader and coach you’ve been looking for.

Lesson 8: Invest in Alignment
Alignment is a powerful tool in both personal and business growth. It's not about seeking agreement but finding harmony in the common ground. Alignment is the rocket booster for performance in nearly every setting. Profitable business strategy is about creating alignment between what the market wants and what the company can uniquely offer; high-performing cultures are formed by aligning individual needs with collective goals; effective fundraising results from aligning donors with what they care about. Effective co-leadership is cultivated by alignment, alignment, alignment, and we spend hours every day ensuring we are aligned. 

Lesson 9: Impact Comes from Vulnerability
Being raw, real, and vulnerable isn't comfortable, but it's where the juice is. Going deep, sharing what you really think, surfacing the elephants in the room, and pointing out discrepancies that don't make sense leads to honest conversations and profound impact. While it's not for everyone, the more we've embraced our own vulnerability and passion for going deep, the more we've grown. 

Lesson 10: There Is Plenty for Everyone
Last but not least, we've learned to embody the vision of our company: Plenty. We genuinely believe in a world of plenty for everyone – the idea that there is enough to go around, we have enough, and most importantly, we are enough, right now. When we act in an abundant way, we bring a more generous and grateful spirit to everyone we serve and everything we do. 

As we celebrate ten years of conscious business, we're so grateful for these ten lessons and many more we've learned along the way.  They have become the cornerstones of our journey, our upcoming book, Leading with Light, and the basis for how we consult, coach, and guide conscious leaders and businesses. We couldn't be more grateful for the clients we've had the privilege to grow with and learn from.  Thank you for being a part of our journey and for helping us make a difference in the world! 

The best is here and the best is yet to come. 

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