The Problem With Business & Metaphysics
Years ago, we were leading an Inspired Work Program for a large group of spiritual coaches. At the first break, members of my team came over and told me how lovely the the participants were. I responded, “By the time we have lunch, many of them will be homicidal.” This was a particularly advanced group because they continued with their kindness and evenness until later in the day.
Much of the metaphysical community is dirt poor. It was ironic to be working with spiritual coaches who were trying to pay their utility bills. Unfortunately, participants responded to the problem with more prayer and meditation.
Our process helps people identify exactly what they want out of their professional lives. And, it also brings them face-to-face with their obstacles. Like all tribes, there are rigid beliefs and ideology that often gets in the way of results. So, I told everyone a little story. In the early 90’s there was a career book on the market entitled, “Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow.” I don’t buy the title or the claim. Andy Warhol was far more truthful and accurate when he said, “Do what you love, you can always sell it.”
This led to a suggestion that if someone was spending ten hours a week in prayer and meditation, it could be valuable to set five hours aside to take sales training, social networking skills, and presentation abilities. This is when the mood darkened in that room!
I believe the ideal state for all of us is to live with a strong balance of critical thinking, emotions, and spirit. At Inspired Work, “spirit” is based on the beliefs and outlook of each participant. Everyone has their own definition of spirit and some would describe it as intuition, gut, or God.
All of us can get pretty imbalanced. We can hang out continuously with critical thinking or logic. That keeps us from feeling too much or listening to our spirit. In our culture, it is equally harmful when someone embraces metaphysics and rebels against logic, intellect, and perhaps even unpleasent feelings. Like every other category, the metaphysical community offers a small percentage of members who are succeeding in every area of their lives. These are the people we want to study! All of them vigorously practice using every form of awareness at hand, critical thinking, emotional access and spiritual groundedness. They are also strong salespeople, and quite capable of negotiating a deal or finding someone who can.
Once, I was walking out of the big metaphysical church called Agape. I ran into the founding minister Michael Beckwith. He said to me, “I keep hearing about your work and how you are helping people find their life’s work.” I laughed, “Both of us are helping people connect with their spirit. You do it through meditation, we do it through work.” As I walked to my car, I realized the biggest difference in our delivery. The metaphysical world, like many tribes, uses separatist language. At Inspired Work, we rigorously focus on using language that everyone can hear.
I had to grow spiritually because my work caused a great deal of inner pain. When we began, I would judge people as they came into the room. I would think, “Oh, he’ll never get it. His beliefs are so limited.” And yet, that would be the first person to have a breakthrough. Over time, I began to see that all of us have this inner spirit, this drive, that given the opportunity, will select what is right and wonderful and just. Consequently, the people I internally dismissed became my role models. It took time, but I did improve the quality of my judgment. Judgment? All of us are judgment machines. Today, I am paid quite well for my judgment. Restructuring my judgment was hard, hard work. To become kinder and more permissive, to recognize that everyone’s point-of-view is theirs and equally valid; that was the hard work.
There is no greater motivation to grow intellectually, emotionally and spiritually than to step into the work we are born to do. Everyone has that unique place. Until they define and find it, life is not all it can be. When I found my life’s work in 1990, I realized that I would have to grow up in every area of my life. I grew up with a white-male, pissed-off God. For a while, my rebellion against that God was enough. But, when I became a facilitator of people’s lives I needed to clean-out that rebellion and find a more substantive spiritual life. Through years of dilligent effort, I found a deeply private and personally effective way to lead a life that works for me and is never forced on others.
I honor the metaphysical community. But, I will never be one to float across the floor in a saffron robe and hit the gong. I much prefer flying into Milan for a bit of shopping and meditating on the shores of Lake Como – with a really good book.
Many tribes passively sell the idea they have something special by using separatist language. But, if we have something special and really want others to hear it, speak towards their needs and expectations. Speak in their language.
The metaphysical world has a great deal to learn from successful business owners and career rock stars.
Business has much to learn from our spiritual leaders in terms of creating a kinder and more inclusive world.
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