Self-employment may be the most challenging and enriching spiritual path we can walk. Every day that we work for ourselves is a day we come face to face with our worldviews and belief systems. Working for ourselves is a constant reminder that success is determined more by state of mind than by external events.
If self-employment is a spiritual path, here are some rules for the road.
1. We are each responsible for the value of our work and for how it is perceived in the world. The value that clients place on our work is not likely to exceed the value we place on it.
2. Prosperity is directly related to priorities. It is up to each of us to be clear about what prosperity means for us and to make these things a priority.
3. Prosperity is also directly related to expectations. When we expect the best, we make the most of each opportunity, including the opportunities disguised as disappointments. When we expect the worst, we find it everywhere.
4. The experience of success and failure is directly related to our fundamental expectations about life. If we believe that things generally go wrong, they will.
5. Marketing is an inside job. When you know what you do, love what you do, and are willing to share what you do, marketing is natural, effortless, and sustainable.
6. The best attitude in the world is insufficient without action. Results happen when you walk your talk.
7. When you do your right work you bless everyone around you. The more on purpose and prosperous you are, the more those blessings seed purpose and prosperity for others.
8. When you laugh at and learn from mistakes you profit from adversity.
9. When you are clear that your business is a gift and when you trust that more will be given, you surf the shifting tides of success with grace and good humor.
10. When we are willing to know what we want and to ask for it, we are likely to get it (or something of greater value).
We can be victims of the systems and culture we live and work in or we can decide to make a stand and a contribution. Doing that requires character, not just in the sense of morals but also in terms of what was once called “intestinal fortitude.”
If I had to name just one thing that turned my life around, it would be realizing that my character is capable of virtually infinite development. Twenty years ago I set out to build character the way another person might build strength or stamina. Strength and stamina are components of character, by the way, so don’t trade in aerobics for meditation or weight training for emotional intelligence. We need all of this to develop a truly flexible character with the tensile strength to build bridges to our dreams.