When you hear the word, “spiritual,” what comes to mind? The concept of spirituality has taken on a wide variety of meanings, ranging from new age and esoteric to traditional religion to Eastern philosophy. The common theme running through all these examples is that of the human soul, something beyond the material and physical world we live in, and certainly something above the realm of money and finance, right?
Can Business and Spirituality Work Together?
Money and finance do not need to run counter to spirituality. At least they don’t in my life. I have always tried to take a higher approach to business, focusing not just on the big sales, commissions or the huge roster of clients. I want to balance the practical with doing good. When you die, no one will remember all your awards and certifications. Their eulogies will attest to the kind of person you were, the deeds you performed and how your life impacted others.
In this article, I will examine how my own spiritual growth has informed the growth of my professional life.
The Goal of Spiritual Living
Everyone has their own objectives when pursuing spiritual practices. Some want to achieve a certain state of mind, experiencing enlightenment or euphoria. Others want to harness specific “powers” or “energies.” These may be well and good, but I see these pursuits as means to an end, not an end in and of themselves. What good is it to become more evolved if the world doesn't become a better place as a result? (For related reading, see: Financial Planning: It's About More Than Money.)
If you do a quick search online for “secrets to success,” you’ll end up with a massive list of tips with everything from having vision to taking risks. Spirituality has also been closely linked to success in life and world-class performance. In his book, 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class, success guru Steve Siebold points out that champions have tremendous faith:
“Faith in God, a higher power, or an infinite intelligence is…a trait of many champions. There are atheists who are tremendous performers, yet as a rule, there seems to be a connection between professional performers and the spiritual side of life. Many pros draw a tremendous energy and power from a deep faith in a greater force. In recent years, many who were turned off by fear-based organized religions in their childhood have turned to new-thought churches and centers…Whatever the source of their spiritual faith, world-class performers do tend to hold strong spiritual convictions.”
How exactly does one tap into that higher power or infinite intelligence? How does that spiritual connection play out practically in everyday business practice?
Live With Gratitude
Siebold’s answer is simple: It's all about having an attitude of gratitude. Here is what he says:
“Champions know the ultimate creative force is located somewhere beyond our everyday consciousness, and they must tap the source to generate their best ideas. The secular sometimes refer to this source as the unconscious mind. The spiritual often call it God. Whatever label their belief warrants, few deny the power of the source, whatever its point of origin. Champions know the fastest way to connect to the source is through gratitude. Thoughts and feelings of gratitude seem to elevate the performer’s consciousness to a higher plane than is accessible through any other means. Professional writers call it being connected. Athletes call it being in the zone. Psychologists refer to it as a state of flow. No matter what name you assign it, the experience is the same…Gratitude is their mindset of choice when they need to awaken the giant and tap their genius."
In my religion, Judaism, we start our day by saying thank you to God for restoring our soul and entrusting us with it for another day. If said earnestly, this expression can be extremely enlightening. It makes you realize a number of important truths:
- We need our soul/spiritual resources to do our day’s work;
- These resources are given to us by the Creator;
- They are “on loan” and should not be taken for granted.
In light of this insight, I think any one of us would be led to feel appreciative and say thank you, either to God Himself or at least in general. Most certainly, we would say thank you to anybody and everybody who helps us accomplish what we do throughout our day. Just as we can’t take what God gives us for granted, we can’t take what anybody else gives us for granted either. (For related reading, see: 10 Habits of Successful People.)
The Power of Thankfulness
Robert Emmons, considered to be the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, found that living a life of gratitude improves mental, physical and relational health to the point of having higher energy levels, less stress and depression, and heightened spirituality. Finding ways to integrate gratitude throughout your business day can make a world of difference in your life and the lives of others.
I like to thank my employees for putting in a hard day’s work. I take the time to thank my prospects for giving me the opportunity to give them a life insurance quote. I say thank you to my vendors for excellent work in prequalification and underwriting. I like to thank my clients for giving me their business and for going out of their way to spread the word about my services.
And once you start saying thank you, your eyes are opened to everything around you that deserves your gratitude. It starts a chain reaction, and my day often involves one positive and productive interaction after another. Sure, there are ups and downs, but these expressions of gratitude keep me on track and connected. It’s a good way of “getting into the flow” in a business sense.
Thankfulness and Business
As you can imagine, there are also business benefits to saying thank you. Not only do I get a stronger work ethic out of my employees, but I also receive great service from my vendors and more opportunities to quote life insurance. Saying a simple thank you has led to more sales and referrals from my clients. It all boils down to this: if you take things for granted, they diminish pretty quickly, but if you're grateful for them, then they multiply.
(For more from this author, see: 3 Life Insurance Tips for Business Owners.)