5 Secrets For The Mindful Entrepreneur
I have been the owner and manager of my own spiritual counseling and personal development business for over 15 years. Over the course of these years, I have learned that a diligent mindfulness practice dramatically alters the way one does business in the modern world, paving the way to our success. Here are the five secrets I have learned:
Our Practice Comes First
This should go without saying, but I have found that as the stresses of starting and running a business mount, the first thing that many mindfulness practitioners abandon is diligent attention to their spiritual practice. This is the ONE THING that should not be abandoned no matter how stressful being a business owner might become. It is out of our practice that direction, guidance, insights and clarity arise. Our practice helps us to maintain equanimity during the ups and downs of running a business, and provides the critical stress relief we need when the ups and downs threaten to become too much.
Being Before Doing:
In a culture where we have been conditioned to drive and strive in order to succeed and where we are told our value is dependent on how hard we work, the idea of being before doing sounds insane. And yet, if we are not tending to our needs for relaxation, play, creative outlets, time with friends and family, etc., then we are depleted before we even head into our business day. One of my teachers goes so far as to suggest that 80% of our time should be dedicated to being and only 20% to doing, but only that doing which first arises out of our being. I have applied this formula and have been astonished with the results.
Competition Ceases to Exist
One of the things we learn through our mindfulness practice is that competition is an illusion of the ego. Competition arises out of the idea of scarcity – that there is not enough to go around. Transcending the ego through mindfulness allows us to arrive at the truth of abundance, which tells us that we each have our own unique gifts and that those who are in need of our unique gifts are just waiting to find us. A diligent mindfulness practice also helps us to stand firmly in our gifts and to realize that what we are doing is truly unique and that there is no one just like us. With mindfulness, competition amounts to zero.
Success Through Collaboration and Cooperation
The fourth secret arises out of the third. When we understand that there is enough to go around, we open the door to collaboration and cooperation with others – even if their business looks quite similar to our own. We learn that one of the keys to success is casting a wider net and that there are people within the local and global community who are happy to serve as net bearers as we are happy to do the same for them. Referrals and recommendations arise out of said collaboration and we gain knowledge and insight through others’ experiences. As they say in the traditional business world, “Win-Win!”
Boundaries Boundaries Boundaries
The most helpful piece of wisdom I have ever received came through my Spiritual Director, Sr. Judy Miller, CSJ. This wisdom has served me both personally as well as professionally. This is her advice: “The most loving thing you can do for those you love is to do what is most loving for yourself.”
While this may sound contradictory to the philosophy of mindfulness, it is not. This wisdom falls under the Buddhist teaching on right action. If we are not tending to our own needs first, we cannot be a source of support or service to another – this includes our family, our children, our co-workers and our customers and clients. Adhering to this wisdom implies that we have taken the time to identify what our needs are and have made a commitment to getting them met. It also means identifying when we are giving too much of ourselves away or choosing to work when what we really need is to rest. With healthy boundaries, we are able to say yes when we mean yes and no when we need to say no – critical qualities within any successful entrepreneur.
This brings me back to the beginning and the single most important commitment as a mindful entrepreneur – our daily practice. Our daily practice is the foundation of our success and it is out of our daily practice that the secrets to our success will arise. What are your secrets as a mindful entrepreneur?
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