Dear Friends and Students who are seeking
to live the life of an Entrepreneur.
When the religious entrepreneurs of the early centuries of the Christian Church left civilization and went out into the desert, it was said that they wanted to find Jesus and become fully alive. Fully alive; what does that mean? And could it be a part of flourishing?
The sixth principle for the growing network and media movement that we call The Christian Entrepreneur is the quaint, but powerful word, flourishing.
In our past survey of principles we have discovered that one of the things that we will encounter in the entrepreneurial life is the necessity of going boldly as risk takers.
We inevitably will face criticism, rejection, betrayal, and perhaps some pretty difficult and traumatic failures. Why then would we want to subject ourselves to those risks and seemingly negative rewards, in order to be a Christian entrepreneur?
The answer is because we can, and we need to create, and in some cases because we must, if we want to be fully alive and to flourish.
I remember the story of a business leader who left a good job in a major organization to build his own business. He went through it all, from a “trough of sorrows” to deep failure, to eventual flourishing. He said to the group of young students, and possible entrepreneurs, these telling words
“I can tell you this, you may have a successful career, but you will never even come close to flourishing, and reaching your full capacity of life and achievement, working in the corporate cubicle of a modern organization. You will die with things you could’ve, and should’ve done, not being done.
So as we begin The Christian Entrepreneur project, we will focus a great deal on just what it might be like to live and experience life, as flourishing.
But in this brief introduction to the thought conversation, may I suggest a few things that Frank, Mike, Dave, Jake, Helena, Tim, Joe, and “yours truly” have begun to discover and share about flourishing.
Indeed principle six, Fully Alive & Flourishing is one of the central goals of the Christian entrepreneur
– Fruitful. Yes another wonderful word that means that to flourish is to grow. People and organizations grow when the environment and the nutrition is right. So we are called to create for ourselves, and for our colleagues, and customers a place and service to grow.
“Fruitful” is not just some soft fuzzy thinking. I often point out that if I do all the work to grow an apple, I have something that I can use and that is real . I can eat it. I could also sell it and get some money for it; and because it’s fruit, it has seeds in it that I can use to grow even more apples. Indeed, fruitful. And because it is fruit, it is “sweet.” Ever heard the the words “sweet spot?” Well that is next
– To flourish means to “come down in the place just right.” The old Shaker song called Simple Gifts uses that exact line.; “…to come down in the place just right.”
When we are in a flourishing place we can sense that in some way we were made to be here, and to do just what we are doing.
I remember working with a woman who took an early retirement from the insurance industry because, “I was so tired of it.” She got involved in some children’s work as a volunteer, and later was even asked to take some leadership positions and roles. I remember her saying to me, “Stan, I should’ve done this 30 years ago.”
– Part of being in the right place is to have a sense that the role you are playing, and the things that you are doing; indeed the story you are living out, seems to also be a part of God’s big story.
To flourish means that you are in a story and a role that is bigger than you! You have a key role to play in the big story, and on the big stage. As I have said for years, “It’s your turn, in your town, and you’re on! …. Blessings, and break a leg!”
– Flourish means that you have developed the strength and courage, the spirit, and the ability to live well in the midst of adversity when you do not even know what might be coming to you next.
You are increasingly at peace in turmoil, and know that life is difficult, and that adversity is part of the plan. God is with you and you are not alone. Seek to be not so afraid.
– Flourish means that you take time, from time to time to shut up and listen and maybe learn. Retreats, contemplation, Spiritual direction, and meditation can help bring this flourishing quality to us.
I remember the wise woman, who said to me, “Stan right now you have too many voices in your life. Find time in a way just to listen to God.”
– Flourishing means that these four qualities will begin to come into your life. You will have more and greater (1) ideas on the human condition and what should be done. Your (2) influence for good will expand. Your (3) impact on others will grow, and you will gain greater (4) income.
Please note that income does not necessarily mean, make money. True Income are the good things that begin to come into your life. That is true income.
– Finally flourishing means to be ready to teach. Right now, I am trying to help some successful leaders, to take the role of teachers and mentors.
Right now they just don’t see it. But I will keep trying, because if you want to truly flourish in the world you must share what you know with others. That’s the deal.
Now you know some things about principle six, to be fully alive and flourish as a Christian entrepreneur.
Please let these ideas sit on your head, sink to your heart, and see if they sync and resonate with your spirit.
All the best, blessings, and flourishing to you!