“Spiritual” and “religious” aren’t synonyms. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If you don’t consider yourself particularly devout, if you don’t read many spiritual books or attend lectures, if you haven’t set foot in a house of worship in years — no matter. You can still take a spiritual approach to business.
The question is, do you want to? And another: Why should you?
The answer to the first question is, “Yes, probably”; to the second, “How much time do you have?”
Try out these nine arguments for taking a spiritual approach to business. You don’t have to walk away a zealot — or even a convert — to appreciate the power of enlightened reflection.
- Setting Priorities Is Easier
You probably know spiritual people who seem to glide effortlessly through life, secure in the strength of their convictions.
They have problems just like the rest of us, but their paths nevertheless seem more certain, better-worn. That’s the power of enlightenment. It might not make things any more certain, but it does have a way of clarifying what needs to happen now and what can be saved for another day.
- It’s Easier to See What’s Really Important
In the same vein, spiritual business leaders are better at separating small matters not to be sweated from hairy problems that require attention and effort. This applies to vision-level principles as well: It’s easier to pursue long-term goals when you have faith that you’re following the right path.
- Your Employees Feel Better About What They Do
In a large organization, employees come from all backgrounds and walks of life. They don’t have to agree with your brand of spiritualism or buy into your point of view. But, even if they’re not interested in imitating your spiritual journey, they’ll no doubt feel better about coming into work each day when they see that you’re truly guided by your convictions, committed to translating those convictions into systematic policies, and willing to lead by example.
- Real Conversation Is Easier
Talk is cheap. Conversation is rich. Spiritual business leaders know when to dispense with the former and embrace the latter. They get credit for all that follows: more productive meetings, more effective coaching sessions, and a more pleasant working environment, to name a few.
- You’ll Treat Your Employees Better (And They’ll Be Happier)
“Do unto others.” Just about every spiritual tradition follows some version of the Golden Rule, which has proven its worth again and again throughout history. An organization that uses the Golden Rule as its lodestar is a happier, more fulfilling place for everyone who works there.
- It’s Easier to Play the Long Game
Great baseball players know when to step off the plate and wait for the right pitch. Likewise, spiritual business leaders know that waiting for the right opportunity is just as important as seizing it when it comes. Jumping on the first bad opportunity that comes your way is a recipe for disappointment.
- It’s Better for Your Bottom Line
Countless studies show that companies guided by spiritual precepts come out ahead of those that follow wholly secular paths. The world’s great holy texts might teach us that money isn’t everything, but it’s certainly easier to follow an enlightened path when you’re not constantly wracked by existential worry.
- You’ll Appreciate Your Place in the World
Just as every person has their place in the world, so does every organization. Use the spiritual tools at your disposal to embrace, fulfill, and expand your global role. Lean into your potential — and let your deeds and accomplishments serve as a guiding light for those who follow.
- You’ll See Failure As a True Opportunity
Patience, humility, inner strength. All are characteristics shared by spiritual business leaders, and all help us accept the inescapable conclusion that failure is not an end — it’s a beginning, or at least an opportunity. The seeds of your organization’s next great achievement might just lie in the ruins of its latest disappointment.
Do you take a spiritual approach to business, or are you still committed to a secular mindset?