I'm one of those people who believes God talks to us. Maybe not in a James Earl Jones voice from the clouds – though I wouldn't put it past him to do that if He wanted to – but He finds ways to tell us what He's thinking.
A long time ago, frustrated and trying to make a decision about something, I told God in exasperation, “Can you please try to remember I am slow and half-deaf? I need something concrete. You do lots of things in threes, how about you tell me things three times so I know it's you?”
To my surprise, God agreed! Every time something strikes me and gets my attention, I ask God if He's talking to me. I wait to see if the same point or idea comes up twice more in a short period of time, and if it does, I talk to Him about it. I am often surprised when I realize God is trying to get my attention (silly human!), but I love that He cares enough to talk to me and try to help me find better ways to live.
This happened most recently last week on my writer's retreat. I kept running into people and web sites (much more than three times that week!) who were doing business in such a way that they incorporated the spiritual side of life into their business. For years, I've been led to believe by Christian friends and associates that it's okay for other people to do that, but Christians will get dismissed, disrespected, and torn apart.
I'm in a business mentorship program with Jennifer Lee at The Right-Brain Business Plan, and she also encourages her cohorts to “show up as authentically YOU.” She believes this is part of how you grow a business. I wonder now if the people who have told me this is how you can destroy a business actually have growing, blooming businesses.
I don't believe that hiding parts of me is the best way to do business anymore. The people who like me seem to be perfectly fine with decades of my occasional God-talk. I don't personally know of that many people who don't like me, but the ones I know about dislike a whole lot more things about me than my spiritual take on life.
So this is what I decided last week: I'm going to be even more myself than I've ever been before. I'm going to be authentic. I'm going to stop separating my spiritual life from my business life. I'm going to work on better integrating all the parts of me. I'll probably lose some customers and gain some customers, and that's okay.
Because when I'm my real, whole self, being led by the deepest, most important part of me, I'll be able to help encourage other people to do the same. What if we all lived our lives that way? What if we had the courage to be authentic, to work on getting closer and closer to the people we were created to be?
I think Louis Armstrong has the words for that: what a wonderful world it would be.
It's not a pipe dream. It's not idealistic, wishful thinking. If we let our spirits and souls live and breathe and grow, our personal worlds will be better places. And as all of our personal worlds collide online, in the grocery store, in church, and on the street, the good in us is going to overcome the bad in the world.
Don't believe me? Try it. I'm going to. 🙂
So what do you think? Am I crazy? Have I made a career-destroying decision? Or do you think I'm on the right track?