Updated: Aug 31
In the hustle and bustle of modern life, women entrepreneurs often find themselves juggling multiple roles - running their own businesses, raising families, caring for elderly parents, and striving to maintain their personal relationships. One of the key relationships they sometimes neglect (or it comes in last, crossing the line after everyone’s gone home) is the relationship with themselves. The relationship with their bodies, with their purpose, with their dreams. It’s a complex web of responsibilities that can be challenging, but by embracing the six paramitas from Buddhist teachings, women entrepreneurs can find a path to harmonise their ambitions, family life, and personal well-being while staying true to a higher purpose. I love learning from different cultures. You may be familiar, or perhaps you haven’t heard of paramitas before. Let’s explore how the six paramitas apply to modern living, with a focus on women entrepreneurs, and provide examples of how these principles can be integrated into daily life.
1. Dana - The Paramita of Generosity
Generosity is not just about giving money; it's also about giving time, compassion, and support to others. I encourage women to include themselves in their generosity. Sometimes we have to be really generous with ourselves and immerse ourselves in self-compassion rather than self-criticism. In modern entrepreneurship, successful women often mentor and empower others. Consider the example of a female entrepreneur who allocates a portion of her business profits to support women's shelters or sponsors workshops to empower young girls in her community. By being generous, she not only enhances her business's reputation but also contributes to a higher purpose of social change. Mentoring is a great way to be generous and to save others time and struggle so they can accelerate their progress. I’m not saying cut the experience out of the journey, because I think we can all agree, there is so much to learn from the tough times. I am saying, if she is struggling unnecessarily, be generous with your input and free her to go and shine in this world so that one day she can mentor too.
2. Sila - The Paramita of Ethics
In today's competitive business world, it can be tempting to cut corners or compromise on ethical principles. However, the paramita of ethics reminds us that success built on a solid moral foundation is not only more sustainable but also deeply fulfilling. When you embody ethical behaviour, you don’t cheat on diets, you don’t skimp on quality and you don’t bully your VA because she lives across the world and you’ve actually never met her in-person. A woman entrepreneur might choose to uphold ethical sourcing practices in her business, ensuring fair wages for her employees and environmentally responsible production. Such choices not only benefit the world but also bring a sense of purpose and pride. When others resonate with your ethics, you attract them into your sphere. Rather than trying to stay upright in a slanted world, you become a magnet for others who relate through their own ethics and you can do upright business together. It feels right, almost effortless and it’s good knowing it is right even when it isn’t easy.
3. Kshanti - The Paramita of Patience
Running a business, managing a family, and caring for elderly parents can be overwhelming. Patience is the key to maintaining one's composure and equilibrium. Be patient with yourself when you can’t remember where you left your keys, or the name of that new Head of Marketing. Forcing and not being patient, only exacerbates the problem. Being mindful helps us naturally remain patient and when we fall out of patience, the familiarity of tolerance and composure can help us reset faster. A woman entrepreneur may face setbacks or challenges that seem insurmountable, but by practising patience, she can navigate these obstacles with grace and resilience. This paramita reminds us that success is a journey, not a destination.
4. Virya - The Paramita of Effort
Effort is the magic behind achievement. Masculine energy is to make effort a driving force. Feminine energy is more about attracting the achievement. Women entrepreneurs often work tirelessly to make their businesses thrive. This paramita encourages us to invest our energy and resources wisely, focusing on endeavours that align with our higher purpose. For example, a female entrepreneur could channel her efforts into creating sustainable and eco-friendly products, contributing positively to the environment and society.
Sometimes, the best use of effort is to slow it down. You can even do the opposite and get more from being effortless. I used to play indoor action cricket which was loads of fun. Fielders dotted inside the nets, a bowler, and two people batting and running to score runs. Each Player must bowl two Six Ball Overs and each pair of players must bat four overs. Each Dismissal incurs minus 3 runs - bats(wo)men remain at the wicket for a full 4 overs. If your eyes just glazed over because you don’t get the game, stay with me. My point here is: if you make a frenzy of an effort and try to score with big hits for the back of the net, you can often be caught and dismissed, meaning negative three points from the tally. Here’s what’s remarkable, if you just score a single run for each ball you face, it’s hard to beat. Small, regularly repeated effort adds up. Striving too hard, for too long has the opposite effect of your intention—ultimately you’ll get caught out and fail. Keep showing up with small, daily, habits and you’ll exceed your expectations. Think tortoise, not hare.
5. Dhyana - The Paramita of Meditation and Concentration
My ADHD’ers, if you’re still reading, that in itself is noteworthy! It’s not just our kids who have ADHD, many women entrepreneurs are distracted and unable to concentrate. It causes more stress because we dabble for a bit here, fiddle there, tweak this, forget where we put that, and abandon a project prior to completion. Then we berate ourselves for not reaching our targets, or not even launching, wondering if we should just go back and get a job. Given that we are the business, it’s hard to concentrate and be calm in the day-to-day operations when there is so much chaos in the business and in our lives.
In the midst of a hectic life, finding moments for reflection and meditation can be transformative. A woman entrepreneur might incorporate mindfulness practices into her daily routine to centre herself and reduce stress. Meditating even for a minute, every hour, has huge benefits. You panic for most of the hour anyway, not really advancing because the worry causes an even bigger crisis. Why not stop and just breathe and be for 60 seconds and then resolve to look at the situation with a new perspective? These practices not only enhance your ability to make clear decisions but also allow you to connect with your inner purpose, fostering a sense of balance and well-being. Slowing down and giving yourself time will actually speed up your capacity when you’re less stressed. Take a third of your lunch hour to rest in meditation. Most entrepreneurs work all day and don’t even give themselves a lunch hour. Maybe a break will be more effective, and wouldn’t it be lovely to relax and then feel renewed, refreshed, and revived so that you can approach the afternoon with intention, inspiration and clarity through inner peace?
6. Prajna - The Paramita of Wisdom
Wisdom is about making informed, thoughtful choices. A woman entrepreneur managing a business, family, and caregiving responsibilities must make countless decisions daily. By cultivating wisdom, she can prioritise her commitments, delegate effectively, and make choices that align with her values and long-term goals. Wisdom ensures that every action contributes to a greater purpose. If you battle to make decisions, worrying which one is right, you’re only 50 % away from the next right choice. Cultivate the habit of making swift decisions then course correct if those were the wrong ones. The endless delay of “What if?” will block you and your business from making progress. Wisdom comes from knowledge based on the growth we make through decisions— the more you make, the more you will learn and the wiser you will become.
Modern women entrepreneurs face unique challenges, but by embracing the six paramitas—generosity, ethics, patience, effort, meditation, and wisdom—they can navigate these challenges with grace and purpose. By incorporating these principles into their daily lives, women entrepreneurs can not only achieve success in their businesses but also find fulfilment in their roles as caregivers, partners, and individuals. Balancing these responsibilities while striving for a higher purpose is a journey worth embarking upon, leading to a life that is not only successful but also deeply meaningful. And please can we add some fun back into the mix? Who said it had to be all work and no play? I like to make play of my work but then I am a Laughter Yoga Master ha ha.
My parting thought for you is—take some of the hustle and bustle out of your life, add some unconditional joy back in, and notice how you attract the right people, situations and business opportunities to light you up so you can make a positive difference in this world. If you’d like some more coaching with me, I teach presentation skills as well as Laughter Yoga and I do workplace well-being sessions so reach out for a discovery call www.tovekane.com