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Do You Approach Your Business As A Spiritual Practice?

It’s a hot Sunday in July. There’s no shortage of fun outdoor activities to enjoy, especially in the concrete jungle of New York City. Some friends are salsa dancing at the beach and others are having backyard BBQ’s.

Me? Despite invitations to both, I choose to stay home and update my resume. Having my own business, there’s no need for a resume but it’s one of those things ingrained in me that one should always have a current resume because you never know.

When I was a kid, in the summer we rented houses on Fire Island. One year, circa age 3, I insisted, daily, on going to the beach in my best party dress, frilly socks, and patent leather party shoes. All my friends and other kids were running around naked and there I was, strutting my stuff in the blazing heat, hanging in the sand, and ready to party!

Clearly, since childhood, I’ve made some odd choices about what to on do hot summer days!

But I digress.

Updating a resume should be a simple enough task but it led me down the rabbit hole, zig-zagging every which way.

First, I started researching people on LinkedIn that do similar work so I could find inspiration in their positioning and verbiage. That led me to someone’s profile that included a line about being an avid traveler to 29 countries and how it informs his expertise. As a world traveler, my competitive side kicked in so I counted the number of countries I’ve been to, and proudly had this stranger beat with a whopping 33.

Inspiration struck… International travel, crossing borders and cultures, and a global perspective are some of my differentiators. You know, those unique selling points, our unusual story and experience that help us stand out from the competition, and showcase how fabulously different we are so we attract our dreamy clients.  

Then I saw this Native American proverb on another profile: 

“Those who tell stories rule the world.”

Sirens went off in my head. On the personal side, I’ve always been a storyteller. People tell me they live vicariously through my stories and adventures.

Professionally, my career started more than twenty years ago as an entertainment publicist. It morphed into producing experiential, immersive events, and finally to where it has now been for some years as a writer, storyteller, strategist, and brand alchemist.

In reflecting on my experience, I realized that even though it wasn’t called brand storytelling back then, it’s what I was doing as a publicist for actors, directors, films, musicians, companies, organizations, events, festivals, and more. As there were just newspapers, magazines, radio, and TV outlets, securing coverage was extremely competitive as space was very limited.

I had to dig deep and be really creative in order to come up with a strong pitch that would stand out from all the other publicists’ pitches. This included a discovery process, finding the right ‘hook,’ aka differentiators (we didn’t call it that either), the back story, and whatever else that might help get to heart, the DNA of what I was selling. Fast-forward many years, and although long done with doing PR, this is still my process with clients.

Mental turmoil ensued. I wondered, am I conveying my storytelling skills clearly and with impact?

Frustrated with the resume project, I went to Whole Foods for a distraction.

While waiting in line to pay, I picked up Conscious Company magazine and read this quote: “Great leaders throughout history have excelled through having a high level of self-mastery. This has never been more important than it is now. In an era when there is so much uncertainty and so much at stake, and the demands of our time have never been greater, one thing we can control, is ourselves. The leaders who master this will have the energy, creativity, and capacity to thrive in this new climate.” (Christa Gyori, Co-Founder & CEO of Leaders on Purpose, Winchester, UK).

Wow. Self-mastery - two simple yet deeply impactful and daunting words.

I’m all in for self-improvement and personal development, but for whatever reason, never thought about it in terms of self-mastery. Self-mastery is the ability to take control of your life and not be blown off course by anything… now that takes serious discipline and commitment. I couldn’t get through updating a resume without going in a spider web of directions! While I justify it as my creative process, no doubt some would call it lack of discipline.

My Kundalini yoga master, Yogi Bhajan says: “There are seven steps to happiness. Man has pondered over it for five thousand years. These steps have to be walked…”

1.    Commitment: In every life, you are meant to commit. Commitment gives you character.

2.    Character: Is when all your characteristics - all flaws and facts are under your control. You’re totally balanced. Character gives you dignity.

3.    Dignity: People start trusting you, liking you, respecting you. Dignity will give you divinity.

4.    Divinity: Is when people have no duality about you. They trust you right away. They have no fear about you. Divinity gives you grace.

5.    Grace: Where there is grace, there is no interference, no gap between two people, no hidden agenda. Grace gives you the power to sacrifice.

6.    Sacrifice: You can stand in any pain for that person. That sacrifice gives you happiness.

7.    Happiness: “You should make yourself so happy, that by looking at you, other people become happy." - Yogi Bhajan

The world of business can be as much, if not more of a spiritual practice as doing yoga and meditating, ‘wax on wax off,’ or just consciously navigating life.

There are so many unpredictable, out-of-ones-control happenings, personalities, temperaments, and situations that we encounter on a daily basis, it’s easy to get blown off course and let the waves of reactivity take over.

If honoring commitment is the foundation to build upon to achieve happiness, where do you stand in terms of honoring all that you commit to?

Do you embrace commitment or are you commitment-phobic?

Do you break promises, miss deadlines, cancel appointments, or let people down?

Do you cut corners to make things easier?

Do you have the same level of commitment in your personal and professional life?

I lean towards being a commitment-phob but have found that it takes much more energy to not uphold a commitment than it does to just get it done. My process may be circuitous and make my head spin sometimes but there’s nothing better than the rush of satisfaction when a commitment has been honored to completion.

If this is the path to Nirvana, I’ll fully committed to mastering commitment.

For my small part on the path to self-mastery and the ultimate state of happiness, I shall complete the task I set out to do days ago, get my resume updated, file it away, and enjoy the satisfaction of crossing this off my to-do list before moving onto the next task at hand.

Do you use your business as a spiritual practice?