As the child of immigrants, Neel Sus, CEO of Susco Solutions, spent summers in India, where he witnessed first-hand the disparities that often increase as economies develop, with some benefiting from wealth creation and others falling further behind.
Many people accept that growing wealth and extreme poverty go hand in hand with each other. For Neel, he came to understand that all the amenities he had as a child growing up in the United States, compared to what his summers were like with his family in India, were, in large part, due to what capitalism can provide.
These early memories shaped how Neel sees business and, coupled with a discovery of his Higher Purpose, are what led him to become a part of the Conscious Capitalism Community.
The power of purpose
“I had a midlife crisis in 2016 when I turned 39,” Neel shares. “I had been stuck at $1 million in revenue, working 70 hours a week just to survive, was overweight, and my home life was miserable.”
But, eventually, he reached a turning point. Neel continues, “I went on a vision quest to fix my psychology where I learned about the power of a life purpose, clear vision, meeting my needs with positive coping mechanisms, and replacing my limiting beliefs with positive ones. That, combined with adopting a Transcendental Meditation practice, allowed me to optimize my mental and spiritual health.”
This conscious shift has had a profound effect. “Now, Susco Solutions is at a revenue of $10 million per year, has a 4.9/5 employer rating on Glassdoor, and donates over $100,000 per year to charities that help disadvantaged individuals achieve the American Dream,” Neel says. Even the issues he had at home were resolved.
Purpose is now at the core of everything he does. From how he leads his company to how he parents, Neel seeks to ensure people have the tools they need to reach their full potential, living successful and fulfilling lives.
Crisis of meaning
From Neel’s perspective, many people had a crisis of meaning during the COVID-19 pandemic: “I see two paths ahead of us. On one path, we achieve Gene Roddenberry’s vision of abundance on earth and a dedication to the exploration of outer space and our own inner space”, as depicted in Star Trek. “On the other path,” Neel continues, “We’re a civilization in decline…living without a sense of meaning.”
You might be asking why Neel sees these two distinct paths, to which he answers, for many, “our material wealth has skyrocketed, yet we’re less happy. Significantly fewer people believe their life has purpose or that they can achieve the American Dream.”
Neel attributes this lack of meaning and purpose to fading belief in a higher power, desire to raise a family, and faith in hard work, as well as the constant influences from news, marketing, and social media. These observations correlate with increased rates of anxiety, depression, and obesity, exacerbating the issues at hand. “These issues block young adults from reaching their full potential — limiting success and fulfillment,” Neel shares.
“You can’t get meaning from work if it’s just a transaction. There has to be a higher calling on the business ask that is in alignment with, hopefully, whatever calling your employees have. We have to be working together towards that purpose… Otherwise, life is just devoid of real joy. With this crisis of meaning, Conscious Capitalism is the answer,” Neel says.
Advice for Conscious Business Leaders
As a Conscious Leader, Neel’s response to this crisis is to integrate personal development into his company’s culture. Through trainings and, as Neel puts it, “lots of employee surveys” — always paired with action — he is enabling his team to develop at work and in their personal lives holistically.
“I believe in the power of personal transformation, and I believe the logical place for that to occur is a business,” Neel states. “As businesses, we have a choice. We can treat the symptoms — setting lower goals, providing more mental health days, giving less direct feedback, and so on — or employers can step up more proactively.” Neel continues, outlining ways business leaders can support their employees and avert this crisis of meaning:
- We can provide compassion, encouragement, and accountability that promotes sustainable personal and career development.
- We can provide training that teaches critical interpersonal skills that can be applied at home and work.
- We can provide coaching on how to create a meaningful vision for their lives and goals to get there.
- We can provide tools they can use to work on their limiting beliefs to unshackle them from the past.
- We can provide education and peer learning to promote physical well-being, such as exercise and a healthy relationship with food.
Neel shares one last challenge to fellow leaders: Be a supporting character in your employee’s hero journey, empowering them to reach their full potential.
Susco Solutions’ turnaround success proves that investing in and supporting your employees, even beyond the doors of your office, works. “If you give people the tools and frameworks to develop at work, they will also develop at home,” Neel says, creating an exponential impact that expands past their workplace and family to entire communities and, eventually, the world. “Let’s boldly go toward the Star Trek future, not the Mad Max one,” Neel concludes.