Peacebeam started at the beginning of 2017 as a labour-of-love project. The idea arrived pretty much fully formed in the late Summer of 2016 in the bitter aftermath of Brexit and just before the Trump election. The world seemed to have taken leave of its senses and it woke us up. We are an odd group of peacemakers: a lawyer, a venture capitalist, an investment banker, a graphic designer, an advertising executive and a tech CEO. I’m not sure now how we all came together to make Peacebeam real but it involved a lot of coffees and beers and quite a bit of talking. I think David W Orr’s words sum up our collective zeitgeist well:
“The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these qualities have little to do with success as we have defined it.”
At Peacebeam, we all have our own experiences that brought us to this particular project (you will hear from each of us as the diary progresses). We have our own take on what’s wrong and what’s right with the world, our own joys and sorrows, successes and failures that have brought us to this odd place: creating a labour-of-love project for reasons that are not what drove us to become ‘successful people’. We are all doing it because we love humanity, we love this world and we want to make it a better place. In whatever small way we can, we want to make a contribution of goodness and if that sounds naïve and idealistic to you, that’s probably because it is.
Realists turned Idealists
We have all spent long enough in the world of ‘realism’ to now wear the mantle ‘naïve idealist’ with total pride. In fact, as a former realist myself I would say its vastly over-rated. The existential threats that we all have in common: war, terrorism, resource security, climate change and its symptoms of mass migrations and rising nationalism and the utterly absurd situation of eight people, (yes, that is 8) holding more wealth than the 3.5 billion poorest on this planet have all happened on the watches of a steady stream of realists…..so, you know…..
In bringing Peacebeam together, there has been a lot of soul searching, identity shedding, sleepless nights, fear of looking like an idiot, fear of not having an income, self-censoring and generally rummaging around in the depths of our beings looking for something that resembles courage. That process isn’t over but we have started to emerge. I’m not sure as what yet, but our aim is no longer our personal success. Our aim is to put more love and kindness into the world, not less.
Life is short, if we don’t do this, we know we will look back and regret not having tried. I’m not a massive fan of everything Jeff Bezos represents but I do think his death-bed meditation technique for making major career decisions is a good one. He calls it a ‘regret minimisation framework’ and makes it sound like a cure for insomnia – but actually the clip is only 3 minutes: its time well spent :-).
We are in a time of unprecedented systems shift across all sectors. Social impact, conscious capitalism, conscious leadership, the ‘people, planet, profit’ bottom line are no longer fringe. As I see it, there is no alternative but for us to move from unnatural competition to natural collaboration and that means in everything we do. I am passionate about peace because I have spent a lot of my life working in conflict – not dramatic conflict but the ordinary day-to-day disharmony that exists in most of our lives. A peaceful future for the world depends on the harmonising of the ordinary conflicts we all have within ourselves and within our communities: the irritations, the resentments, the dislikes and the disconnection from each other. I believe that if we can master the ability to wish unconditionally, and from the deepest part of our being, unrestricted good for ourselves, for the people we love and like AND for the annoying person on the train and for the guy in the office who winds us up, then a peaceful world has a chance.
Small Idea: Giant Possibility
We have no idea how this will go. Maybe Peacebeam will be something people want, maybe it won’t? Maybe we pivot into something else? It’s anyone’s guess at the time of writing. We do know however, that there are lots of you out there wanting to build a business or idea that is motivated by good rather than profit so we hope that sharing our insights, experiences and highs and lows will be of some service to you.
Peacebeam is a small idea with giant possibility and we aim to make it come to life so please join us on this journey into unknown territory. There are some big themes we are grappling with: money and value, fund-raise or work first, the dance between big data and deep data, how can algorithms and love work together?
We will post regularly from our different perspectives (there are 6 of us, spread across the globe and spanning two generations – its an interesting mix of ideas!) and we will talk here about the whole experience of taking a labour-of-love project to market. Please follow and share and join the conversation.
In peace and with smiles