"I don't need trust. I have absolute trust that people are going to do what they do." -- Byron Katie
As the late comedienne Gilda Radner's character Roseanne Rosannadanna brilliantly summed it up, "It's always something! If it's not one thing, it's another!" Here we are, not even fully recovered from 2002, The Year of the Corporate Scandal, with the ethical meltdowns of companies like Enron, WorldCom, and Tyco melting our investment portfolios as well. Now we can add the big, bad mortgage lenders to the list of corporate highwaymen who are ruining our lives and our livelihood.
While the majority of us might conduct business in perfectly legitimate ways, when such titans are exposed as lacking scruples, it becomes hard to trust, to make informed investing decisions, and to restore confidence in our own customers who may have come to see "integrity in business" as an oxymoron. The Sarbanne-Oxley Act, signed into law in 2002, intended to provide better protection for investors in public companies, and to restore confidence in corporate America and our financial markets. Greater accountability is now being demanded of corporations, auditors, and boards of directors. It sounds good.
However, the legislation itself is not without issues. Some say that the regulations stifle economic growth, creativity, and entrepreneurship. And, whatever the government intends for us, they can't stop the reality of self-serving CEOs and creative accounting any more than laws against murder can stop all murderers.
What to do? First, we can look to ourselves and the thoughts about the current state of affairs that cause us stress in the moment.
If you are of the opinion that current legislation is bad for business, it's worth inquiring into that thought. Can you absolutely know that it's true that the enforcement of rules and regulations means you won't make enough money? How do you run your business when you think this thought? How do you treat your employees, your clients, yourself? What sort of future do you create in your mind when you hold this belief? How do you feel about getting up in the morning?
The worst thing that can happen to my business is a thought. What's bad for business? Thoughts like "I'm being hobbled by legislation." "Crooked executives are to blame." "Big business has made a mess for small business." This could all be true. However, bad guys and legal restrictions can't stop my growth potential; I do that when I think that the world should turn just for me.
Corporations are unethical, is that true? Where is my proof? Apparently, some companies have leadership who have committed unethical acts, while others do not. Corporations should not be unethical? Not on planet earth, where people are known to sometimes break or bend contracts, pull strings, trade insider information, and cook the books.
How do you react when you think this thought that corporations are unethical? Do you stress unduly about your investments, your bills, your future? Do you bad-mouth other companies in your attempt to build up your own company's reputation? WorldCom hurt investors for years, yes. Mortgage companies sold a bill of goods to people who had no business borrowing so much money, agreed. Their deeds have affected the economy adversely; no one's arguing with that. And how many more years do you want to hurt yourself with the thought that the baddies of 2002-2008 chiseled you and wrecked the economy?
Corporations are unethical. What about me? "I am unethical." Could this be as true or truer? Is there no one who has never been unethical in life and work? It doesn't have to look like financial abuse on a grand scale; it could be something as trivial as, "I charge office supplies that I take home for the kids to the business account." Or it could be wanting a client's business so badly that you ever-so-slightly misrepresent yourself and your expertise in order to get the gig.
Let there be abundant, ethical business on earth...and let it begin with me!
Deepening Inquiry: "Current Legislation is Stifling"
"Current legislation is stifling" is an example of a self-limiting belief. What are some other beliefs that come to mind about the state of business and finance today? Write them down. Hold any "negative" beliefs up against the four questions and turnaround of The Work of Byron Katie, a way to identify and inquire into stressful thoughts. (Visit TheWork.com for complete instructions and materials for doing The Work.)
"Current legislation is stifling." Is it true?
Can you absolutely know that it's true?
How do you react when you believe this thought? (What happens?)
Who would you be without this thought?
Turn the thought around—reverse it to its opposite, or to yourself, or to "my thinking." Example: "Current legislation is not stifling," or "Current legislation is freeing." Could this be as true or truer? What are some ways that this statement could be true? How can you work with current legislation in a way that benefits all concerned?
"My thinking is stifling." Try that one on for size! When I think I am stifled by rules and regulations, I experience stress. When I don't have that thought, I experience peace. There is always room for creativity within any guidelines or restrictions. It's my thoughts about legislation, and not the protective measures themselves, that stifle me.