*Pic credit to Stance Photography
Imagine finding yourself in the dusty desert surrounded by sage and slate gray. Around you only 400 square mile of what is known as the Black Rock Desert. Catapulted in another reality, where the phone doesn’t work and money doesn’t exist. That’s how Steffy du Maine felt, 4 years ago, when she decided to take a friend’s advice and get a ticket to Burning Man.
“I had no idea what I got myself into. I got there and I was like wow, I hate it. And I had a total mental breakdown. It was everything I didn’t want, I wasn’t connected. I couldn’t work, no updates, no nothing” says Steffy, thinking back to the adventure that changed her being a business woman.
Steffy Roos du Maine, indeed, is successfully the head over 4 JBL&G offices, all around the Netherlands, from Groningen to Rotterdam, counting over 60 employees. After finishing her studies in Conflict studies, she found herself in front of a choice. “I was looking at the Zuidas companies, and my mother at that time was running a small legal business. So I decided to buy her shares.” With her mother happy to no longer be in charge , Steffy took over what initially counted only 3 freelancers. The company started growing quickly and steeply, but at the expense of Steffy herself.
“I was young and eager, I really felt the need to work day and night, and every weekend. The more successful I was the more I felt I had to work really hard. Otherwise, I wouldn’t deserve it. That’s the image I built, reading articles and books especially about male entrepreneurs” she explains. Waking up early, working day and night, forgetting her own health and life, Steffy quickly turned out to be exhausted. While the business was going surprisingly good, the same can’t be said about herself. And the burning man came just at the right time.
If the first day was a disaster, with a mental breakdown on top of everything, eventually Burning Man adventure taught Steffy a lot. Above all it changed her working approach and that of her employees. “Actually that was the start of my spiritual journey. I think it saved me in a sense that I saw that taking care of myself and self-development is important, I cannot just work work work. It’s not good for me and neither for the people around me” Steffy explains.
Despite the skepticism of her employees, fearing she might become “too hippy” to be running a business, when looking back instead of having a negative impact “the numbers of employees, and revenues tripled once I stopped working so hard” she says proudly.
“I used to be a workaholic control freak. Now I just do it a lot easier, what changed in me and in the business is that I have more confidence in myself and in the people around me. I used to be thinking that everything would go wrong, constantly doubting and wanting to check everything, not letting my employees grow. So permitting people around me to grow is the only way to grow business.
“Business is a spiritual game”
The experience of Burning Man did not only let her change her approach to work. But she translated some of the practices learnt into her daily life. From workshops to cocoa ceremonies, Steffy since the launch of her book “Mindful & Millionaire” , helps others grow their business or career through spirituality.
“As a person, the best way to grow is to connect to my spiritual tools – there are also other things of course -. But in the end I first need to grow as a person, to let my business grow, because the growth of your business will be a mirror of yourself.”
And to those who criticize her that spirituality has nothing to do with entrepreneurship. Steffy knows how to reply. “Instead of fast food chains or fast fashion, why shouldn’t spiritually involved people make more money? I think that if you have that connection with yourself and the others, you also spend your money better, and take care of the people around you. In the end, money should be flowing like energy.”
How not to be agreed. The benefits of being connected with oneself and the surrounding environment are manifold. Spirituality, indeed, can be articulated in many different ways, practiced as one prefers or feels more comfortable. Putting spirituality into the business world, to the most, appears paradoxical; but why not demystify and normalize something through which more and more people are able to achieve well-being both in personal and professional life, contributing to a more successful and healthier career?
If you are curious, you can read Steffy Du Maine’s book Mindful & Miljonair. Or if you have already done so, reach out to her to join one of her workshops.