Spirituality In Business
written by Tanja Gardner
Bringing everyday spirituality into your business as a heart-based entrepreneur
Raise your hand if you thought that entrepreneurship would make it easier to bring spirituality into your work
I don’t know about you, but back when I had a day job, I sometimes felt as though it got in the way of my spirituality. Being surrounded by co-workers who didn’t really “get” me, spiritually speaking, seemed to limit how much I could bring my spirituality into my work.
That’s before you even looked at the nature of the work I was doing. My role involved copywriting for an international natural health supplement manufacturer. It started off feeling like “right livelihood”. After all, I was getting to use my natural gifts as a writer, for a company that was dedicated to natural health and wellness. Sounds like a dream, right?
I did love my job… but parts of it were also seriously at odds with who I was. When you’re part of a marketing department in a large manufacturer, your job isn’t to help to match the perfect product with the person who most needs it. Instead, you’re expected to do your best to help sell as many products as possible. That can sometimes involve trying to convince readers that they need a product when they don’t.
So it’s no surprise that I felt as though working for myself would make it easier to incorporate my spirituality into my work.
some of the blocks to bringing spirituality into my work
were far more internal than external
The ethical issues I experienced in my day job were real. Being able to leave them (mostly) behind me now that I’m working for myself is something I’m immensely grateful for.
But those issues weren’t the whole of what kept me from bringing spirituality into my work. Back in my day job, I used to visualize how my days would go once I had my own business. I based my fantasy on a once-upon-a-time period of my life when I’d felt far more spiritual.
In it, I imagined starting my mornings with a workout, then following it with a half-hour of meditation every day. After that, I’d eat the world’s healthiest breakfast; and only then would my work day start (possibly after ritually invoking my primary goddesses).
I figured that, finally, I’d be 100% in charge of my day. That meant – in theory – that there was nothing to stop me organising it exactly as I wanted it. I forgot, however, that one thing remained the same between my life as an employee, and my life as a business owner. And that one thing was me.
So despite my fantasies about perfect, spirituality-drenched mornings, reality just didn’t pan out that way. Instead of starting my day with exercise, meditation and a brief prayer, I all-too-often rolled over in bed when the alarm went off, grabbed my phone, and immediately checked my email. Something inevitably came up that needed actioning right that second. So of course, I got up, switched the computer straight on, and bang… my work day had started.
It was the same with many of the other blocks to incorporating spirituality into my work that I used to blame on my 9-5 job. And for a while, because I couldn’t bring my perfect vision of spirituality into my day, I felt as though I couldn’t bring any spirituality in. The result was that my business was just as divorced from my spiritual life as my day job had been.
My journey to bringing spirituality back into my business
life started with redefining the term
I’ve always had a somewhat loser, more individual definition of being spiritual than most folks I knew. I’m used to thinking of spirituality as completely personal: something that can be different for everyone. A practice that provides a spiritual balm for one person can be nothing more than a confining cage to another.
What I needed to realise was that that applied to me too. I’d somehow started equating “spirituality” with “meditation” and/or “prayer”. I’d started believing that one thing was necessary (and sufficient) for the other. There have, after all, been times in my that that’s been true.
Plus, I really needed to remember that who I am now isn’t who I was then. I’ve grown, changed and evolved as a person (and thank gods for that!) My life runs differently these days. My life experiences and changes in outlook mean that, in all the ways that matter, I’m a totally different person now.
So why would I assume that something that nourished spiritually me back then would still be perfect today?
Here’s my current definition:
spirituality equals authentic
connection and expression – at least for me
Once I’d had that wee epiphany, I did quite a bit of soul searching around it. I realised that most of my models for spirituality up to that point had really been based around structures. They involved meditation, or prayer, or drumming, or chanting, or oracle reading, or ceremony, or ritual, or something. And at different points in my life, each of those structures has worked for me with different levels of effectiveness.
But they weren’t the core of what spirituality was for me. Instead, they were simply containers for it. When I dug down deeper, I realised that spirituality came down to two things for me:
- Authentic connection: firstly, being spiritual was about connecting with myself – my “inner wise knowing self” as some folks call it. But it was also about connecting with the world outside of myself: with Source/The Universe/God – whatever you choose to call it. Not only that, it was about connecting with the divine aspects of the physical world around me. And of course, it was about connecting with community too.
- Authentic expression: once I’d made a connection, I needed to express it somehow. That expression might be vocal, through prayer. It could be action-based, through ritual or meditation. It might happen through writing in my journal. Or it might simply be a mindful breath in, and a whispered impromptu “Thank you, Universe, more please!” as I breathed out.
I needed both aspects to be present in order to truly feel spiritual. Without the connection, I’d have nothing to authentically express. Without the expression, any connection – regardless of how authentic it might have been – would be nothing more than a fleeting, isolated moment.
When I see spirituality in those terms,
it becomes so much easier to bring it
into my everyday business
Once I realised this, I discovered that my entire business could be a vehicle for connecting authentically, and then expressing that connection.
In using my gift for writing, I’m finding and expressing my connection with my wise inner self. In using that gift to support others who are making a difference in the world, I’m finding and expressing my connection with community. And in helping heart-based, spirit-led change-makers to make more of their unique differences, I’m finding and expressing my connection with the Universe
Sufi business coach Mark Silver at Heart of Business.com is famous for his assertion that “Every act of business can be an act of love”. I love this concept, and try to think of spirituality in the same way. If, with every act in my business, I’m either authentically connecting or authentically expressing that connection, then for me, every act of business is a spiritual act.
It’s not that I don’t meditate, journal, pray, or use any other structure. Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don’t. But they’re not what bring spirituality into my work: instead, the connection and expression inherent in my work itself is what brings spirituality into it.
How do YOU bring spirituality into your business?
How about you? How do you bring spirituality into your everyday business or work life?
Do you use specific containers or structures for it: prayer, meditation, etc? Or – like me – is it enough for you to simply connect and then express your connection? Maybe you have a completely different definition of spirituality altogether than me?
Take a moment now to think about what’s true for you, and see what answers come up.
Tanja Gardner is a professional copywriter, word weaver and story sculptor at Crystal Clarity Copywriting Ltd. She helps heart-based, spirit-led difference-makers like you write with concise, creative clarity that your readers intuitively “get”. That means they understand EXACTLY what you offer – so you can make more of a difference in their lives.