With all the beads, prayers, affirmations, “laws of abundance,” and other woo-woo business accoutrements flying around these days, you’d think there’s some fire sale promotion going on spirituality.
Maybe it’s the rough economy, or the unsettling pace of change. Business seems to be getting more and more difficult, and support is hard to come by. When you’re struggling, the idea of having the unseen realms backing you is pretty appealing.
But can getting more spiritual really help your business?
For some of us, spirituality is everyday stuff. It’s how you relate to the world, in business just as in all other things. It’s what’s for lunch. As the Zen master Suzuki Roshi said, it’s “Nothing special.”
For others, spirituality in the realm of business can seem profane, inappropriate, or just plain bizarre.
So which is it? Is spirituality the missing leverage point in business — or is it just plain wrong to use spirituality to get what you want?
What the Heaven is spirituality?
Spirituality is one of those words that can be tricky to define.
The Oxford American Dictionary defines it as:
… of, relating to, or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to the material or physical things.
I would define spirituality as any connection we feel to a greater purpose, existence, or reality than ourselves. It means there is a core Oneness that everything comes from and everything returns to.
Ever been in love? You know what I’m talking about.
Things spirituality doesn’t really work for
On a power trip? Spirituality is not going to get you world domination.
If you want to manipulate people into doing something that’s not in their best interest, your connection to love and all-that-is ain’t gonna help you.
Because spirituality isn’t a tool or technique, you can’t “use” it like that. When people describe their spiritual experiences, they tend to use words like:
- “connected to everything”
- “full of love”
- “deep trust and peacefulness”
If you’re trying to trick people into spending money on something worthless, it’s pretty doubtful those words describe your state of mind.
But hold on … something seems familiar here.
Copywriting, business, and spirituality
Here are a couple of key themes about copywriting and sales that you’re probably familiar with if you’re a regular Copyblogger reader:
- You’ve got to believe in yourself and your product.
- You need an attitude of service.
- Rather than talking endlessly about yourself, you have to listen to your readers and engage them in conversation.
- You have to care about your audience.
Great salespeople and marketers, the ones you feel good about and look up to instead of feeling slimed by, have this combination of confidence and humility, caring and willingness to deliver on their promises.
Are you starting to see what I’m seeing?
Maybe this spirituality thing could be helpful after all
I don’t know about you, but that sounds like an amazing way to spend my time.
To be awe-inspired by the presence of the people you are wanting to help, to be humble and not distracted by trying to be something or someone you’re not, to feel connected to everything and full of love. And to have it all grounded in deep trust and peacefulness.
If your blog posts, tweets, products, content, conversations, and connections reflected that sort of approach, what would that do for your business? Or for that matter, for your life?
Spiritual teacher soup
Listen, I may have been designated as a master teacher in my spiritual lineage. I may have years of spiritual practice behind me.
But let me tell you, all I need is a bunch of cool people to launch cool things while I’m sitting on the sidelines and all my internal voices get going.
I’m an incompetent booby. I’ll never catch up with those guys. Maybe what I do doesn’t matter anyway.
I get worried and upset and angry.
The usual things that I’m tempted to do in moments like that (work harder, be brilliant, eat too much ice cream) tend to be completely ineffective.
In fact, they leave me feeling even worse.
Maybe you’re the same. You end up doing crazy things. Like buying yet another high-priced program when you already know what to do. Or launching a sales page that feels like it was written by a sleazy car salesman. Or retreating into a corner, too paralyzed and overwhelmed to do anything at all.
That’s one of the very useful things about spiritual practice. My practice allows me to drop all of those thoughts very quickly, saving me from acting on those impulses, from sabotaging myself or scaring off our clients.
It allows my heart to drink the love, peace and groundedness it thirsts for.
That’s the real payoff. The side effect? I’m more on-point with what I’m doing. Efficient, effective, connected.
Mother Teresa — you know, that once-unknown little nun who mobilized tens of thousands of people to care for the poorest of the poor, and trotted the globe bringing in millions of dollars and creating a legacy that has lasted far past her death?
She insisted that everyone associated with her Missionaries of Charity spend precious hours in spiritual practice every day, even when there was the pressing need of dying and starving people all around.
Why? Because getting stuff done simply wasn’t enough.
Ticking items off a to-do list is draining. But understanding that what you do and who you are into the world is an expression of profound love and caring — that’s when miracles happen.
It worked for her. It works for my business and our clients. It can work for you, too.
Have your spirit call my spirit, they’ll do lunch
As the great Sufi sheikh Ibn al Arabi said,
All streams lead to the Ocean.
There are a million ways to connect to spirit. Some are organized, some are eclectic. Some are communal, some personal. All, hopefully, are grounded in love and service.
I share my Sufism with two poets you may have heard of, Rumi and Hafiz. Sufis talk about Remembrance as a spiritual practice. That this connection with spirit is not something to cross off a to-do list or a technique to be mastered, but an essential part of who you are that is simply to be Remembered.
What if you were to stop in the middle of your busy day, right in the middle of your never-ending task list, right in the middle of the sales page copy or blog post you’ve been pushing uphill, and took time to speak to your heart and ask it to remember?
To remember that love and connection are essential to your business.
To remember that you aren’t alone, and that you don’t need to be anyone other than who you are.
To remember that it’s okay to be humble and in service, and that you are cared for deeply.
No one has to watch you do this. If you want help, I did a short audio to guide folks, Ack! Where’s My Heart?
Stop working so hard. Use all of that tremendous will power and individual force that you’ve been given to ease off the gas pedal and just stop. Stop. Breathe. Remember love.
When you step on the gas again, you just might find it easier to do whatever you were struggling with before, and making bigger ripples once it’s out there. Who, after all, can resist love?
About the Author: Mark Silver helps entrepreneurs and small business owners who want to make a difference, but also need to make a profit. Check out his website and blog at Heart of Business, follow him on Twitter, or take the free Remembrance Challenge.