Are entrepreneurs money-minded and greedy individuals or are they on a path that empowers them to develop spiritual qualities and serve this world on a big scale?
My Life Coach asked me what my definition of spirituality is the other day. I thought about it for a minute before answering ‘Spirituality is a path to attain one’s highest potential.’
We were discussing the intersection of entrepreneurship and spirituality after I had shared my desire to coach my clients who are entrepreneurs to be more spiritual and self-aware individuals.
The popular belief is that entrepreneurs are greedy, money-minded, and selfish people and the cause of much that’s wrong with our world today.
I, on the other hand, believe that entrepreneurship is a force for the good and a spiritual journey. Three reasons for my belief:
To survive and grow their business, an entrepreneur must constantly step out of their comfort zone and embrace the unknown: an essential quality on the spiritual path.
It takes tremendous love and faith in one's mission and ideas to pursue them to the end. we require the same qualities to find success on the spiritual journey too.
A higher purpose inspires the individual in a way that money cannot.
Let me elaborate.
1. Running a business is a process that entails stepping out of our comfort zone on a daily basis to tackle an umpteen number of challenges. E.g. When a company is young and there isn’t a team to depend on, one has to step into the role of everyone from a cleaner to a salesman to an accountant.
It entails leaving behind our likes and dislikes and definitely what we are comfortable with in order to survive.
On the spiritual path too, if one wishes to stick the safe path and do only what one likes, spiritual growth will be little to none. To take an example, if we struggle with managing our anger, the process of overcoming it isn’t mechanical.
It involves really digging in to understand ourselves and our triggers better, accept our flaws and work on them. Managing a difficult emotion requires us to get uncomfortable and do it enough number of times that it becomes comfortable.
Similarly, to lead a company from its infancy to a maturity, one has to constantly step out of the boxes one naturally likes staying in and capitalise on the opportunity to grow not just as an entrepreneur but also as a human being.
2. People take to entrepreneurship because they are passionate about their ideas and a problem they believe they can solve. But that is just the beginning.
The journey to solving a problem or creating something of value entails facing more failures, disappointments and dead ends than we are likely to encounter in any other. To keep going in such a case, one needs to truly love what they do and believe in their mission.
Love and faith are essential elements on the spiritual path. If there is no faith, it becomes difficult to keep going especially when we do not have a teacher or mentor to guide us or progress that we can measure easily.
Love for the self makes us more patient and kind, qualities that make our journey easier because it’s brimming with obstacles we have little experience dealing with.
Being an entrepreneur isn’t about making a product/service and earning millions from it, it is a journey in creating something with love, blood and tears, and to believe in it when no one does.
And when the results aren’t what we hope for, to have enough detachment to know that we own only our effort, not the outcome.
Love, faith and detachment are integral to the spiritual path, and an entrepreneur has no choice but to imbibe them if they wish to succeed.
3. Let’s talk about money now, the one thing worshipped and hated in equal measure much like religion.
Religion is an entity that gives people a path to get closer to God. Although it is well-intentioned, we have enough evidence of religious figures abusing their power to instil fear and hatred in people and motivate their followers to inflict pain and violence on others to prove their God or religion as the superior one.
Is religion at fault for it? Or is it simply a person who’s gone astray and lead others down that path?
Money is but a tool. It can be used to solve problems, make people’s lives easier and create tremendous value for society. The power it bestows on an individual can corrupt them but that is the case with many other things.
Entrepreneurs are capable of creating a lot of wealth for society and putting it to good use.
Those that go on to achieve a lot of success are in a position that challenges them to rise above the illusion of wealth and power and find a greater purpose to serve. Because beyond a point, wealth is unable to inspire people to get out of bed.
A higher purpose gives their work meaning and them the privilege to positively impact the world on a scale few have the opportunity to.
Money, power and influence are forces we need to transcend in order to grow spiritually, and an entrepreneur too must conquer them if they hope to realise their grand vision.
To sum it up:
🍀 An entrepreneur must rise above their selfish desires and preferences in order to survive, protect their people and a company built with love and faith.
🍀 An entrepreneur may reach a certain level of success on the basis of their hard work alone but must find a bigger purpose and devote their life to it if they hope to leave behind a legacy and a company that continues to create value for people.
🍀 An entrepreneur must give up their attachment to the outcome of their efforts, put aside their emotions and commit to the process to realise their vision.
🍀 An entrepreneur must use the right means to create wealth and put it to the right use to sleep peacefully at night.
The path to God or enlightenment is available to everyone including entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship can be as spiritual a path as any other. In fact, the universe rewards the one pursuing it with unique advantages. It is up to us to make the most of them.
For me, it is a path to realise my potential and contribute to the lives of millions of people in the process, not out of arrogance but out of humility. To give is to receive, and that is a privilege, I, as an entrepreneur, take seriously.