“Value has a value only if its value is valued.” Bryan Dyson, former CEO of Coca Cola
“Value has a value only if its value is valued.” Bryan Dyson, former CEO of Coca Cola
God is good – for taking care of your self, your spirit, and your business! Don’t just believe me. Take a look at the research of neuroscientist Andrew Newberg and therapist Mark Robert Waldman. Their research team concluded that an active and positive spiritual life and beliefs change the brain in healthy ways. Here are a few of their discoveries:
• Prayer and spiritual practice reduces stress and anxiety, and just 12 minutes of meditation per day may slow down the aging process.
• Contemplating a loving (rather than punitive) God reduces anxiety, depression, and stress and increases feelings of security, compassion, and love.
• Intense prayer and meditation permanently change numerous structures and functions in the brain – altering your values and the way you perceive reality and in a more healthy and functional way.
Newberg and Waldman share eight way to exercise your brain and offer specific routines derived from a wide variety of spiritual practices from around the world that improve personal awareness and empathy. One of my favorite techniques was ‘Compassionate Communication’ which increases intimacy with family and friends in a very short amount of time. How God Changes Your Brain is an excellent, accessible book with proven, practical strategies.
A business consulting firm recently sent me an email entitled ‘The Soul of Sacrifice’. The word soul, the poetic layout of the article, and the beautiful photo grabbed my attention. I read the whole thing – not something I usually do with long emails. The point of the article was that serving my business required sacrifice. They suggested all the things that had to be given up in order to serve:
‘STOP!’ My heart cried out, ‘NO! ‘
A great business does require sacrifice – at times. But somewhere along the line we have convinced ourselves that building up a business requires breaking down our bodies and souls.
Yes, you might have to put in a few late nights. But when this becomes a pattern, you are allowing your business to eat you alive.
There is a better way! The soul of your business can become a thriving, living, serving entity without stealing its energy and joy from you.
It’s actually easier to birth a business by giving up sleep, family time, art, etc. However, you can create a healthy life and a healthy business. With careful planning, healthy boundaries, and firm discipline you can pour yourself into your business without giving up your entire life.
* Set your working hours at the beginning of each week with an honest assessment of what you truly need to get done.
* Delegate anything that can be done by someone else at least 80% as well as you would do it.
* Schedule time for meals, family, recreation, devotion and yes, sleep!
When you look around and see frazzled business owners racing to get ahead, remember that you are creating something that will endure: a life you love.
Early this week my husband received a series of messages from a man he vaguely knows through his work. I’ll call him Rob. Rob is married to one of Duke’s colleagues, but neither Duke nor I recall ever having a conversation with him in person or online. The first message Rob sent suggested that after attending rock concerts last week we needed to attend a Southern Gospel concert and be spiritually uplifted. Duke and I looked at one another and decided Rob didn’t realize that while we are music lovers, the style he was suggesting wasn’t high on our list. Duke and I attend all kinds of performances and events, especially rock concerts. Last week we enjoyed the Blue Man Group and U2 in Chicago, and then saw the Rolling Stones in Kansas City. Next week we’re headed to Lifest, a Christian rock festival where we’ll hear hard rock bands like Skillet, Red and Thousand Foot Krutch. There might be some Southern Gospel there, but I doubt it.
Duke responded to Rob, politely declining his invitation, and then the messages got a bit more emphatic. Here’s a sampling of Rob’s points:
• If Duke calls himself a Christian he shouldn’t attend rock concerts.
• Rock concerts are evil and a waste of money.
• Jesus wouldn’t attend a rock concert.
• Duke’s wife doesn’t approve (I’m guessing he means me???) of his musical choices.
• The head of Duke’s company wouldn’t approve.
• God doesn’t approve.
• Were we planning on attending church after being involved in something as vile as a rock concert?
• Duke is a hypocrite.
• Duke is going to hell.
In the middle somewhere of all the messages, Duke suggested he’d welcome a conversation but that this was not a topic best done via e-mail or Facebook chat. The messages kept coming. After being told he was going to hell, Duke said he was ending the conversation. A couple more messages came through before Duke “unfriended” Rob on Facebook. Our final message to this “brother in Christ” was that we would be praying for him. We have and will again whenever he comes to mind. I’m also praying for his wife, because I’m pretty sure she could use it, too.
In case you aren’t aware, Duke and I are unapologetically Christians. On my Facebook profile I’ve stated I’m more conservative than some and less than others. Duke is actually more conservative than I am – and probably a better Christian when you look at how he lives and loves and serves. I married him because he is a genuinely good man who practices and rarely preaches. And he lives life large! He is free from the life-sucking legalism I was raised with, and while he has strong opinions about what is right and wrong for himself, he doesn’t judge where people are at spiritually.
The same day we received Rob’s messages, Duke and I attended a church service honoring military personnel to celebrate Independence Day. It was a moving experience as we watched nearly every person in the room stand to honor a family member who has served our country. We pledged our flag, sang our anthems and listened to a former Marine share his story. Our freedom as a nation has been won through the sacrifice of men and women willing to give their lives. Recent events in the news has attempted to polarize and divide people into camps of conservative or liberal, white or black, straight or gay. I am not naïve enough to believe that we, as a nation will ever all agree on certain issues, but the ugliness that has erupted saddens me. The ugliness of Rob’s messages to Duke shocked, then angered, and then saddened me deeply. So why am I sharing all this with you? My point has very little to do with the rightness or wrongness of rock concerts. Whatever spiritual path you are on the tone of Rob’s messages is appalling. The daily news is heartbreaking. So this is a meditation on freedom. It’s about freedom to live and love and serve – freedom to put meaning and action behind our beliefs and values. Freedom to disagree without diatribe.
It’s obvious to me that while we have certain freedoms in this country, we have a very long way to go to find emotional and spiritual freedom. We don’t have to agree with one another – and when we don’t I believe we have an opportunity to put our faith and values into practice. I believe we must treat one another with dignity and respect, that we must allow God to work change in people’s lives, and that we are here to be light in the darkness.
In one of his final messages Rob told Duke not to approach him ever again, that he was turning his back on Duke because of his sinful behavior. I don’t know about Duke, but I plan to seek Rob out at our next opportunity to give him a hug and kiss on the cheek. I will tell him that I hope and pray he finds freedom to live, to love and to serve.
[Excerpted from Your Belief Quotient: 7 Beliefs that Sabotage or Support Your Success]
Abundance is the belief that there is more than enough. In an abundant universe, you have plenty of time, money, health, energy and wisdom. Abundance is the knowledge that you can give it all away and there will still be enough for yourself. Abundance expands with heartfelt gratitude and humility. At its core, an abundance mentality springs from a healthy sense of personal worth and builds on one’s personal and spiritual values. Dr. Stephen Covey coined the phrase “abundance mindset” in his best-seller The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. According to Covey, an abundance mentality is “a paradigm that there is plenty out there and enough to spare for everybody.”1
Nature gives us wonderful examples of abundance, particularly in the growth cycle of trees and flowers. After a period of dormancy, a fruit tree bursts into blooms and is covered in an abundance of flowers. Wind and rain might buffet the tree and destroy many of the flowers. An average of 75% of the flowers will fall, but those buds remaining will eventually grow into fruit. A fruit tree is not designed to have every flower pollinate and grow into fruit. The tree does not have the resources to sustain every flower. The larger and stronger the tree’s branches and internal supports, the greater the capacity it will have to bear more fruit. Once the tree bears fruit, every piece of fruit contains seeds, and every seed contains an incalculable number of trees and fruit. This is abundance!
This illustration fits the human experience of abundance well. We also go through periods of dormancy. These periods are times of quiet growth and strengthening. During dormancy, a fruit tree rests and its sap slows. It is the perfect time to prune away dead branches and treat any disease. As humans, we need time to pull back and reflect on what needs pruned away. We need time to heal and refresh. The end of dormancy comes after the tree has been exposed to chilling temperatures and the weather begins to warm. People awaken and grow as they warm up to new ideas and opportunities. Tree growth during the spring is dependent upon the quality and quantity of sunlight, water, and soil. Our growth as individuals is equally dependent on how we feed ourselves: body, mind and spirit. Abundance requires preparation. Once those flowers begin to emerge from the branches, only the most resilient survive to become fruit. The initial beauty of the petals fall away as the fruit emerges and ripens. The intoxicating sweetness of fully matured fruit arrives after being warmed by the summer sunlight. Wind, rain, and heat are metaphors for the challenges we must face to grow and be prepared for abundance. Once we begin to bear fruit in our lives, we witness firsthand the ever expanding cycle of abundance.
I go into the detail of the growth cycle of fruit trees for a purpose: Abundance does not magically appear. There are myths circulating that we can engage in wishful thinking and expect abundance to appear. This is simply not true. That is not to say that abundance, when it occurs is not surprising. Manifesting abundance can seem magical, but it is always the result of a cycle of preparation. It is my intention to help you understand how to be ready to receive abundance in your life. Your beliefs about abundance are crucial to your success in life and business.
We hear the words passion, purpose, values & vision tossed around a lot these days. We know we need to have them – but grabbing hold of what they really are can be challenging. At the risk of being waaaaay too basic, I want to do a little defining here. So often these words are used interchangeably. That is a mistake. Getting clear on these four words can change your life. This may be basic – but only like air, food and water are basic to life.
Purpose is the “big why” – the reason you do what you do. What do you believe you were uniquely designed to accomplish? This one blog pos can’t attack this concept in depth, but I hope to convey that a sense of purpose is the driving force of your life. Passion is the fuel for purpose. Passion is the fire that burns and energizes you to pursue your purpose. What sparks your interest, fires up your emotions? Our passions keep us engaged with fulfilling our purpose. But unrestrained passion can burn us up or burn us out. Our values keep passion moving in a productive path toward fulfilling our purpose. Core values are those essential truths that you would live and die for. They are values because their worth is unquestioned. Integrity, empathy, respect, leadership are each values I am passionate about and keep me aligned with my purpose. And finally, vision. Your vision is the culmination and combination of the other three. Your vision captures your heart and mind and takes you into the future where you have realized the fulfillment of passion, purpose and values. Your vision allows you to pursue the impossible, to dream big and achieve amazing results. Take some time – write down your statements of purpose, passion, values and vision.
The 5 Vital Signs Business Profitability Indicator is a short quiz measuring how well your business is functioning – kind of like the vitals taken at a doctor’s office. These Business Vital Signs reveal just how healthy your business is, any early warning signs of potential failure, and offer prescriptions for success.