Easter and Entrepreneurship: 4 Things My Faith Has Taught Me About Business
C.S Lewis wrote:
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen,
not because I see it but because by it, I see everything else.”
(From Is Theology Poetry, best found in The Weight of Glory essay collection)
My faith, like Mr. Lewis’s, illuminates every aspect of my life, including my career. So, in honor of Easter I’ve decided to share 4 things my faith has taught me about business.
1) Prioritize Ethics
“We may need to let go of the world so we can hang on to eternity.”
Gary B. Sabin.
“Till I die, I will not remove my integrity from me.”
People do crazy things for money. But eventually, even as a motivator, money fails. It fails to buy lasting happiness and true joy, but it also fails to generate the genius ideas and extraordinary effort that come from passionate, motivated businessmen and women. Most of those are motivated by a higher purpose, a greater cause, a bigger vision, a greater why. For me, faith comes first.
Now… talking about faith in the corporate business world isn’t popular. In fact, it’s borderline taboo. But the way I see it, I can’t afford to separate the two. My beliefs are my motivation. They inspire me to excel. They broaden my vision. They compel me to serve and share. They are my why, and my why is the lifeblood of my business. (Read: My Story and Watch: My Story Video)
2) Everyone Has Potential and There are Always Possibilities
“I am the daughter of a king who is not moved by the world for My God is with me. I do not fear, for I am His.”
As part of the doctrine of my faith, we teach this concept using the terms Divine Nature, and inherent Individual Worth. Applied in the business world, these truths evoke the genius that resides in every individual (for more on this concept, read Ralph Waldo Emerson’s gorgeous trancendentalist essay “Self Reliance.”) Each of us has a unique set of gifts, strengths, and talents; and business, especially direct sales, works best when we leverage those gifts that are uniquely ours, rather than trying to imitate someone else.
Authenticity is power. So stop trying to be someone else’s best (Spoiler: it doesn’t work) and and own your inherent gifts and divinity. A wise man named Theodore Roosevelt once said “Comparison is the thief of joy.” The only time you should think about someone else’s success is to congratulate and/or to emulate. I don’t believe in a scarcity mentality. There are resources enough for everyone to succeed if we just realize our potential and capitalize on the possibilities. Step into your strengths to find your happiness.
3) Forgive Yourself and Try Again
“One of God’s greatest gifts to us is the joy of trying again. For no failure ever need be final.”
Thomas S. Monson
“God is on your side. He loves you, and when you stumble, He wants you to rise up, try again, and become stronger.”
Dieter F. Utchdorf
One of the most basic tenets of Christianity and a crucial part of both the Easter season, and my personal beliefs is the concept of forgiveness. People make mistakes all the time. Businesses make mistakes (million dollar ones, even). But those mistakes are integral to figuring out what works. It is a paradox of life that things often have to be broken down to be strengthened. Consider how a muscle is developed. The fibers of the muscle have to be torn apart and THEN repaired and rebuilt. They are made bigger and stronger upon repair.
Approach life and business with a fail-forward mindset. Give yourself permission to be imperfect and to require improvement. This eliminates the crippling effects of analysis paralysis and gives you the freedom to succeed after failing.
As the quote that’s been floating around Facebook says, “It’s impossible to steer a parked car.” I have found it absolutely vital in my life and business to ask for grace and to give grace as well. As I’m figuratively, in my life, navigating behind the wheel of a several thousand pound automotive machine, I make mistakes. And those mistakes can cause hurt and damage. I need grace and forgiveness. Please know I recognize this. But also know that I offer grace in return. I am willing to forgive, as long as we are all “failing forward” together.
4) Ownership and Accountability Are Key
“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And that which I can do, by the grace of God, I will do.”
Edward Everett Hale
I cannot control everything in my life. Believe me, I’ve tried. Fifty years of “clinical trials” (unsuccessful studies – haha), have taught me that it simply isn’t possible. Life happens, people make autonomous decisions (shocker!). I’m not always even in control of how I feel about a situation. But I am in control of how I respond. To me that’s empowering. No one can decide my actions but me. That’s a platform I stand loud and strong on. Just ask my children how it was growing up with a mother who had a “No Victim’s Rule!”
I got into direct sales to provide for my family, but that’s not why I’ve stayed. I’ve stayed because I saw the opportunity to connect with people; I saw a higher purpose. My business and my beliefs have never been, nor will they ever be, separate. In a world where it’s far too easy to detach morals and money, business and ethics, integrity and leadership, I choose Faith.
And through this faith, I am witness to the successes and miracles in the lives of the people I have come to know and love.