As a child, I can remember my mother complaining about not having enough money. There were faint conversations I remembered about being punished by God, that you can’t have it all and you had to work hard. Then a girl in my class was in an ad on the back of a Kellogg pack and I announced ‘one day I’ll get on the back of a pack’, the group of girls glared at me and replied ‘You’ll never make it’. I remember thinking ‘why?’ Was I not good enough, rich enough, good looking enough? Why didn’t all of us have the chance to do something we wanted to do or be. That is when I started my relentless questioning about life with ‘why’.
Spirituality was always about religion to me but as I was to learn, spirituality meant something completely different. I know a lot of people who are religious but not spiritual and vice-versa, so what makes a person spiritual? According to Wikipedia, it says “being spiritual refers to a subjective experience of a sacred dimension and the deepest values and meanings by which people live often in a context separate from organized religious institutions, such as a belief in personal growth, a quest for an ultimate or sacred meaning or an encounter with one’s inner dimension”. Interestingly enough, the word ‘spirit’ means “animating or vital principle in man and animals”. It is derived from the Old French espirit, which comes from the Latin word spiritus (soul, courage, vigor, breath) and is related to spirare (to breathe).
I believe modern spirituality is believing in something greater than the self, whether that is God, Source, the Universe or the greater community of humanity. It is working with the inner self, our emotional and psychological self, to develop our inner qualities for the sake of ourselves and the greater good. Now how on earth does business fit with spirituality?
I have worked with hundreds of business owners and entrepreneurs. I have helped them define their brand, their message and their offering, design their websites, create logos, produce their videos and stills and let me tell you, spirituality has EVERYTHING to do it with it. When I work with a client, I see their vision, hear their pain, identify their obstacles and learn the deep values that started them on this journey. Every person working in any business as a employee or founder, will find that their journey of challenges and learnings is our modern day rites of passage. Each journey is unique, but the commonality of challenges and learnings is universal. The landscape of change, uncertainty, failure, success and innovation is common for all ‘workers’, whether you have your own business or working for someone else.
The role of a business is to provide a service or product that will help another person or business. It is offering a solution to a need in our community, that is how it started. The tribe had needs and each person had a skill that they could offer to better equip the health of the community and its people. The service or item would ensure the survival of the people in a way that supported and understood the values and beliefs of that group. Today people are truly seeking meaning in their work and demanding respect as a human in the culture they inhabit. The life of an entrepreneur depicts this new thinking of ‘spirituality’ in our business because an entrepreneur understands the importance of being responsible, doing the work on themselves to show up every day and make it happen. They also understand and value the network of other entrepreneurs to build that universal vision to expedite growth and support for all.
When I asked this question ‘Do spirituality and business work together?’ I was so sure that the answer would be a no and I shocked myself when I took a deeper look into both.
Yes, both spirituality and business are the same, both require the understanding and consciousness that there is something greater than the self, both look to satisfy greater meaning and purpose in our lives, both provide for the health of ourselves and our family and in fact, a business creates the landscape to fulfil our spiritual path. Many who have used business to hurt or betray others, like any action there will be a reaction and whether in this life or the next, it will happen. Therefore, it is not for us to judge another because the past actions of others and ourselves is also not fully known, so all we can do is be conscious of our impact, find compassion and trust that life’s mystical matrix is at work.
I am passionate about bridging the gap between spirituality and business in people’s minds as I have witnessed so many people experiencing that ‘aha’ moment when they bring both together. All parts of ourselves and our life work as one and when we are blocked, the flow is also blocked. Like a car needing all its parts to function, we must be conscious of what needs attention, what needs rebuilding, refuelling and remodelling, then we can learn to enjoy the journey.
Here are 4 enlightening reasons why your spirituality and business work together:
Spirituality helps you develop empathy and compassion. As a successful marketer, empathy is an essential trait as it helps you put yourself in the mind of your audience, understand their needs and care about helping them.
Spirituality helps you discover your passions. Brands that want to stand out in today’s noisy world need to connect to their values, their purpose and answer the question “why do we exist?” to be able to speak with an authentic voice.
Spirituality fosters creativity. There is a direct connection between meditation and creativity and we need to be able to reset and our brains to keep our ideas fresh and productive.
Spirituality enables resilience. Enduring business challenges builds strength and resilience however, it’s framed from a more empowered standpoint. You’re not a victim to your circumstances, but a willing player of life, understanding and accepting your responsibility knowing it’s part of a much bigger plan.
Being Conscious makes you more mindful and aware of how you act in the world. This is the first step to develop clarity, enthusiasm, better collaboration, trustworthiness and a desire to grow or adjust are the result of a spiritual practice. All of these will have a direct effect on how you steer your brand, whether it’s a personal brand or a corporate brand.