Bigger is not always better.
And there's nowhere to go from here in such a hurry.
I am happy to choose quality, to choose integrity, to choose freedom...
I prefer this over being big or growing fast. But it's not always easy to choose those things. There's a lot of pressure to be big or grow fast.
I get a lot of well-meaning advice about how I could build my retreats to scale (BE BIG!) or how I could expand my biodegradable glitter empire (GROW FAST!) All of this advice comes with good intentions and a desire to see me 'succeed' - but it misses the point. I am already successful in my own eyes, because I am free every day to do what I choose with my time and energy, and I get to vote for the kind of world that I want to see with those choices.
When Small is Better than Big
Recently, I read an Instagram post by Nisha Moodley that resonated strongly with me. In it, she talks about her conscious decision to keep her women's retreats small.
Like Nisha, I choose to run intimate retreats with no more than 12 women at a time. Not because it's the most profitable thing for my bank account; but because it's the most expansive and expressive thing for my heart and soul.
Many people have told me, you should do a podcast or you should create online courses. You should do things that will scale - things that will make you more money, with less time. The thing is, those things don't light me up as much as the face to face, in-person connections. Those things don't spark my fire as much as the magic of creating physical shared spaces for truth, for joy, for diving deep, for self discovery, for love, for transformation.
I may someday do those things, but I will only do them if and when it's in alignment. And it would only be in alignment if it supports rather than compromises the core of my work.
The core of my heart's work is about creating safe spaces for heart-led women to come together, to become transparent and vulnerable, to connect with themselves and each other and the wild beyond, to step into the beauty of their bodies and to access the Divine.
If you've never experienced the kind of sisterhood, support, and soul alignment that comes through in a safe, heart-centered space, held closely with intention for a small group of women, it’s hard to describe the unique kind of magic it is.
And in this case, small is better than big. The depth of the sisterhood bonds that are forged in such a space cannot be compared to the level of connections that are formed in a larger group setting. Staying small is the key to the magic that happens.
When Slow is Better than Fast
When it comes to my biodegradable glitter business, the growth has been organic and erratic... at times stagnant and at times explosive. I never had visions of bigness. Starting out, I was simply creating something that I wished existed, for the sake of me and my glitter-loving friends.
For the first nine months that I was dealing with biodegradable glitter, I didn't even have a website. I was only selling eco-glitter out of my backpack on a beach in Thailand. Mostly what I was doing was education, having the same uncomfortable conversation over and over, "Do you know what conventional glitter is made out of?" Weeks went by where I had no sales at all. And for the first year that I had an online store, I offered only four different colors of glitter for sale.
That has shifted recently. I now have seven colors of glitter available and I will soon have twelve. I am now getting ready to outsource order fulfillment to a third party.
All this is from following the energy when it pulls me. I have never pushed this business to grow. On the contrary, I have been pulled to allow it to grow by forces beyond me. Forces like the viral growth of awareness around all forms of plastic pollution, bans on single-use plastic, and the global rise of festival type gatherings where glitter is omnipresent.
It's tempting to want to ride this wave to greatness. You know, "go big or go home," as they say. But when I think about the core of the biodegradable glitter business, what it means to me, it's not about that. It's about raising awareness, spreading joy, being free, and consciously building a business based on choices that reflect my values. I wrote this in the company manifesto.
So I resist the temptation to become obsessed with growth. The business makes money now. But in integrity, my intention is for it to exist and evolve as a model of how conscious business can be. It is my way of seeing how business can be used as a vehicle for expanding awareness, creating connections and building community... instead of exploiting resources, competing to win, and sacrificing relationships.
When a friend joked to me one day about my growing "glitter empire", I stopped him and said... I don't want to build an empire. I want to be part of a global movement.
I say no, a lot. I say no to handling large bulk orders. I say no to influencers who want to do collaborations. I say no to launching 50 new products. And I say no to customers. If there's a good source of biodegradable glitter located closer to them, I refer would-be customers to my competitors (or as I prefer to call them, my counterparts) in other parts of the world, so they can buy more locally and reduce the climate impact of transoceanic shipping.
Have I left money on the table? Have I missed some opportunities? Yes, plenty. But ultimately, choosing to say no gives me much more.
The thing about saying no to big and fast is that it frees me to work less. It allows me to build relationships with small, locally-owned businesses. It gives me time to research eco-friendly packing and shipping materials. It also brings me the clarity and focus to invest in compostable sugarcane labels, instead of trying to squeeze the highest margin from every sale. It creates intimate retreat experiences that facilitate life-changing transformation. It holds space for authentic connections to manifest and mature into lasting form. And it enables me to serve as a catalyst for change within my own business ecosystem, as I encourage retailers, suppliers and partners to co-evolve with us.
Living, loving and working on purpose sometimes means making tough choices sometimes. Choosing Purpose over profit. Choosing integrity over image. It means remembering that the pursuit of profit is in service to and in support of Purpose, but profit is not equal to Purpose.