Setbacks are the seeds of success. If you don’t learn to deal effectively with setbacks, you won’t ever realize true success.
My how time flies! It seems like just yesterday we were welcoming in the new year. Two-thirds of the year is just about gone. And If you are anything like me, you have been reflecting on the past eight months or so to assess how your year is progressing. You have probably been replaying experiences in your head that you would give labels to, such as joyful, painful, challenging, memorable, forgettable, funny, and even “oh, I forgot about that one.”
As people go through the process of assessing their year, most of them will fall into one of two categories. They will assess their year as either a series of successes or a series of failures. For those who think they are struggling or failing, they will try harder, work longer, and spend more time doing what they think they need to do to accomplish their goals.
Unfortunately, one of the most important things they will fail to do is change their perspective on what they consider failure. They don’t realize that failure is not the lack of success or making a mistake. Failure is either not trying or not learning from your mistakes (i.e. continuing to do the same thing without making any changes).
I almost titled this posting, “Failing Successfully,” but I prefer the term “setback” versus failure, because failure isn’t final – it’s formative. How is it formative? A setback is simply a failure that becomes a success when it is transformed into an opportunity to learn and grow. Learning from your setbacks, missteps, and mistakes positions you for success.
EVERYTHING that happens in your life is either an opportunity to learn something new, grow your character, or develop your skills. It was Martin Luther King, Jr. who said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” It’s easy to claim success and be positive when everything is going well in your business, but how do you handle things when your plans go awry? What is your response like during those times? Do you go into learning mode or complaining mode?
The outcome of your situation is largely dependent upon your perspective. If you think your situation is a problem then you typically will approach it pessimistically. However, if your perspective is that your situation is an opportunity, you will approach it optimistically. Entrepreneurs need to be almost obsessively optimistic, because of the exceptional challenges that they face to succeed.
Understand that if your problems were any less challenging, it would require someone less talented and less equipped than you to handle them. You see, the skill of a sailor is not developed in calm seas. Your ultimate success requires you going through challenges and adversity to develop your character and skills.
Recently, I heard a young lady encouraging her friends, telling them, “let your frustration be your determination.” Although she wasn’t talking to me directly, that motivational gem has helped me to keep a positive attitude about some of the difficulties that I encounter in my business and in life.
What are some other things that can help you to have the right perspective so that you can achieve successful setbacks in your business and life? Part 2 is coming soon!
Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, died today. Among all the things that have been and could be said about him, it's easy to see that he was a pioneer.
Now you many never do something as grand as walking on the moon, but that doesn't mean the steps you are taking should be any less significant. You have a legacy to build and lives to impact. You have a mark to leave on history.
If you believe it's possible, you have an opportunity to do something that has never been done before. You too can be a pioneer in your circle of influence.
What steps are you taking toward your destiny that will create greater opportunities for those who follow you? What are you pioneering that will create a path for someone else's destiny?
The pace of life and business seems to be steadily increasing. With this increased pace, making positive decisions becomes more challenging, because there is less time to process critical information needed to make those decisions. Fortunately, God foresaw this, creating within our bodies an intricate rapid response system that we utilize to make quick decisions on the fly.
Our bodies are equipped with a mechanism called adrenal glands, which control our “fight or flight” reactions when we encounter threatening situations. Most times these decisions are made in fractions of a second. In his book, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Malcolm Gladwell provides an interesting perspective on our ability and propensity to make split second decisions. His premise is that we constantly make instantaneous decisions based on a two second first impression of a situation. He explains that this ability to make quick decisions works to our advantage in some situations, and to our disadvantage in others.
While our adrenal glands are quite effective in helping us determine instantaneously whether to fight or flee, they are not quite as useful when it comes to situations when we are given a space of time to make a decision. The negative impact of this is that people have a tendency to make more “flight” decisions when immediacy is not required. It seems that the more time that people have to ponder their situations, the more time they spend focusing on the downside risks rather than the upside potential.
The reality is that running a business or simply living life is all about effectively managing risks. An essential part of managing risks is taking them when necessary. However, if you are unwilling to take any risks, your business or your life will not flourish like it could. There is one main culprit that can be blamed for people’s aversion to risk and assertive decision making. FEAR.
Fear paralyzes people and constrains their decision making process considerably. Fear can even keep people from taking low impact risks. Whether it be fear of failure, fear of success, fear of other people’s opinions, or fear of the unknown, this is a powerful emotion that can sap the courage out of the strongest people. Regardless, fear can be conquered no matter how intimidating a situation may be.
People who achieve great things in life and business have learned how to conquer their fears. You must learn how to do the same if you are going to have significant accomplishments.
Here are some practical steps that you can engage during those situations when you are tempted to give in to your fears. Continually practicing these steps will also help you to make better decisions in shorter amounts of time.
Focus on your vision:
Evaluate the obstacle(s):
Attack the enemy that’s “in-a-me”:
Respond to the challenge:
Pursue your dreams with persistence, patience, perseverance, and passion. Face your fears confidently and assertively. Don’t let anyone or anything, especially fear, stop you from accomplishing all that God has prepared for you.
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I have received multiple questions about the "Business Pastor" title that I use on my web site and social media profiles. People are intrigued by this interesting combination of terms that on the surface may not seem like they fit together. However, if we dig a little deeper we will find these two terms should actually be used together more often.
Before I delve into exactly what a business pastor does, let's look at a few of the Biblical roles of a "church pastor", who is called by God to lead a group of people according to His will:
There are definitely other roles that we can associate with the traditional pastoral role, but these particular functions are key to being a business pastor.
Now this term business pastor has a Biblical foundation if you consider that Peter called us a "royal priesthood" in 2 Peter 1:9. So in reality we are both kings and priests, which represents both a secular and sacred calling. Hence, a business pastor isn't very strange after all (I go further in this teaching two of my other articles, Marketplace of Healing and Kings & Priests in Business).
The model of a religious leader providing spiritual support to a secular organization is nothing new (I really don't believe in the concept of the separation of sacred and secular, but I will use these terms for the sake of this discussion. That will be another post later :). Corporations, the U.S. military, and even the U.S. Senate have chaplains who serve them in various ways, including some of what I listed above.
Unfortunately, what isn't common are those who operate in a chaplain role for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Entrepreneurs face unique marketplace challenges, and it's often hard for them to find people and places where their personal issues and professional difficulties are understood and addressed relevant to their situation. If a person isn't an entrepreneur, it's typically hard for them to put themselves into the mindset of one.
This is where I come into the picture (and many others who may not yet know it). I am passionate about caring, praying, discipling, teaching, encouraging, and advising entrepreneurs to maximize their talents, pursue their calling, and find fulfillment so they can build extraordinary businesses. In addition to spiritual support, I also provide strategic consulting solutions built on Biblical principles to address the necessary practical activities needed to grow a profitable business. So in short I assist entrepreneurs professionally, spiritually, and operationally.
I don't have a church building, but I'm being the church by providing spiritual and professional support to entrepreneurs and business people who need to be pastored in the marketplace. Entrepreneurs need love and care too! And God has called me to do that for them.
Do you need a business pastor? Are in a corporate job and would like a business pastor / chaplain for your company or department? I can do that for you. Let's talk.
Recently I wrote a post “7 Great Ways Your Church Can Economically Empower Your Congregation and Community.” This post includes six more practical ideas to help people in ways that complement the spiritual teachings they receive at your church. The key thing to remember about all these ideas is that the pastor doesn’t have to do them all or lead every effort. It’s time to strategically engage the businesspeople and professionals in your church who would be more than happy to share their expertise with their fellow church members and the community.
Here are 6 more ideas…
What has your church done to help to economically empower your congregation and community?
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In case you didn't know it already, being a real Christian business is not as easy as sliding a few words into your mission statement or slapping a fish on your logo. This is real world stuff with real world considerations and consequences. We're playing for a prize that's eternal, not just our next quarterly earnings target. So whether you realize it or not, being a entrepreneur who is committed to representing God in your business will put you in the crosshairs of those who are hostile to Christianity, reject Biblical standards, and want you to conform to societal pressures.
"Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." ~ Romans 12:2
Unless you've been totally disconnected from the media in the past couple of weeks, you are well aware that recently Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick-fil-a, stated in an interview that he supported the Biblical definition of marriage. I'm not sure he could have predicted or was ready for the incredible backlash he is receiving for simply stating what he believed. He has been vehemently blasted by those who support gay marriage. Interestingly, for simply stating his beliefs - not declaring hatred or discrimination against anyone - vitriolic intolerance has been a common response by those who demand tolerance for their lifestyle choices.
The treatment he has received really shouldn't be a surprise, because the issue is much bigger than just his position on gay marriage. Christianity as a whole is under attack and marriage is just a part of that. I would even say that the intolerance directed towards Biblical beliefs these days is as much or greater than the intolerance directed towards the LGBT community. But this overall societal response really shouldn't be a surprise to Christians according to John 15:18-21:
"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me."
Attacks are the norm for those who don't understand the "foolishness" of the Gospel (1 Corinthians 1:18-25). In fact, Jesus said, "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you" (Matthew 5:1-12).
So how does all this tie into you as a Christian business owner? Many Believers try to compartmentalize their faith and leave it out of their business affairs. They think they must suppress, downplay, or compromise their beliefs in order to make a dollar or grow a successful business. I don't believe that's true. You can stand up for what you believe in and build a successful business. It just depends on whose definition of success you are using, God's or the world's.
Let's look at five things Christian entrepreneurs can learn from the Chick-fil-a controversy:
As a Christian entrepreneur when you are willing to make similar choices in spite of the potential opposition you might face from people who are hostile to God's ways, you will hear "well done good and faithful servant."
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Business as Mission
The High Calling