Why do people go to work for themselves and start a businesses?
Is it the money?
Is it the fame?
Is it the risk?
Is it the cause?
Entrepreneurs are in search of all of these.
And entrepreneurship is just that, a search.
I live and work in Silicon Valley, the home of the entrepreneur. I have started businesses and most all of my friends are entrepreneurs of one sort or another.
For better or worse, it’s my world.
I can say with certainty that people who start businesses are doing it for reasons beyond money – though money is certainly one of them.
Something within these people, something in their souls (or whatever you want to call it), compels them to start search for adventure, meaning, significance, purpose and more.
That’s why I like to think of entrepreneurship as a spiritual pursuit.
Entrepreneurs set out to find a metaphysical fulfillment that money alone could never offer. – Click to Tweet
But what if I am not an entrepreneur?
You may ask: But what if I am not an entrepreneur?
Then you have no soul to save.
The principles still apply to your work – though I have most certainly found them heightened when engaged in entrepreneurial pursuits.
Really, work has long been recognized as a spiritual pursuit.
Monks made bread and beer to support themselves and thought of it as an opportunity to “practice the presence of God”.
The story of Adam and Eve describes them working in the garden before they ever listened to that pesky serpent and fell out of favor with God.
Work was an integral part of the idyllic reality that people describe as heaven.
So yes, while my focus here is on entrepreneurship, work in general is a chance for people to work out their salvation so to speak.
Just remember, whether you are an entrepreneur or employee, the experience will be more real and powerful if you are willing to take ownership of it.
Entrepreneurship at its best
How you handle your entrepreneurial journey and who you become is largely up to you.
At it’s best, entrepreneurship offers you Three Major Opportunities on your path to enlightenment.
Self-Discovery. The heart of entrepreneurship is actually not about your business or money. It’s about understanding (and developing) who you are as a person.
Your resolve is tested, your passions are engaged, your strengths are identified, and your treatment of others is on display.
You’re asked to make decisions in an imperfect world with imperfect information that are sometimes unpopular.
You’re forced to navigate murky waters with your internal moral compass and define what is right and wrong when your business and livelihood is on the line.
Service. Truly great entrepreneurs create real value for others. Their businesses and lives serve others. They offer a product or service, but they deliver so much more.
For Zappos (the online retailer), CEO Tony Hsieh likes to say that they are all about delivering happiness – not shoes or clothes.
While this does not have to be your approach if you merely want to make money, entrepreneurship affords you the opportunity to make others great through service.
Being Rich. A business is not a very good business if it can’t turn a profit. An entrepreneur is not a very good entrepreneur if he can’t feed his family.
That’s not an indictment of struggling entrepreneurs – it’s damn hard to start a business that turns a profit (just look at the numbers). Still, a business is not a charity, and great entrepreneurs understand how to get paid for the value that they create.
The good news though, is that ownership has tremendous benefits when a business works. Nothing is more profitable than ownership. Entrepreneurship is your chance to be rich financially.
Even more, entrepreneurship is your chance to be rich spiritually. It’s your chance to be rich from the inside-out.
You have the opportunity to truly understand yourself, make a difference in the lives of others, and enjoy the fruits of your work.
That’s why entrepreneurship, at it’s best, will save your soul.