All of us entrepreneurs faced an unprecedented crisis together. However, I noticed there were two types of people: ones that let fear and anxiety overtake them, and another group that was hopeful, positive, and personally flourished.
This quarantine showed me not only how to survive the present mix of trouble, suffering, and responsibility, but how to FLOURISH during a crisis!
God didn’t just want us, business owners, to “survive” this moment in history. He wanted us to LEAD through it and THRIVE from it! I learned that you have to stay in the present moment, connect with others, use your gifting, and keep taking faith-filled steps every day!
God equipped us for a higher purpose. Our purpose is where we find the strength and resolve to push through ANY crisis, even a pandemic.
Here are my three most significant lessons I’m taking away from the COVID-19 shutdown.
Lesson 1 – Be the Light
Over quarantine, I learned that busyness doesn’t equal importance or significance. The hustle and bustle of owning a business had left me overscheduled and overstressed. I had little or no margin that would allow me time to connect with my past clients or linger on a conversation with a prospect.
One thing I learned in the last month, however, is that it is in being connected to others that we find entrepreneurship’s real satisfaction and our purpose in business.
Jesus told his followers,
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.(Matthew 5:13-16 NIV)
You and your business are the salt and the light of the earth!
Christian entrepreneurs, the only way we can be salt in the lives of others is to touch the lives of others and take TIME to know them. The faith and hope YOU bring to the conversation of “uncertainty” will always enhance the lives of the people you do business with. The love and kindness you show to others in Jesus’ name will be the guiding light as WE ALL step into the unknown.
Although “the world” has introduced social distancing and isolation, the contrarian nature of God will prevail. Godpreneurs will rise to find new and innovative opportunities to CONNECT with employees, prospects, clients, vendors, and contractors this week.
The next generation of entrepreneurs will help people connect in new ways to make someone’s day better and enhance their lives.
Lesson 2 – Stay Focused on Your Purpose
Over quarantine, I learned that knowing my purpose and sticking to my calling helped me shut out the negativity around me to continue moving forward into each unknown day.
For years, I’ve blogged about how important knowing your purpose in business is. Discovering an entrepreneur’s calling is the first step to helping them with their logo and website. It’s a REQUIREMENT before moving forward with launching someone’s brand. Why? Because when the winds and waves come crashing all around, a purpose keeps the business anchored to weather the storm.
Notice that during this quarantine, having a busy schedule, accumulating achievements, or having a lot of money wasn’t the vaccine against suffering. Even the most “successful” people in the world were on the same rollercoaster ride. People who thought, “my purpose in business is to make a lot of money,” had their whole reason for existing come crashing down.
We could all go through a major depression if we don’t know our purpose in business. Chaos and crisis are meaningless without a purpose behind it. If we don’t know our calling, we frantically drift to other ideas, daydreaming our way to another venture instead of making TODAY count.
If we’re not running purpose-focused brands, we keep imagining some better situations for our lives when business will be good, missing out on what God has for our business TODAY.
How can we succeed today with so much uncertainty tomorrow? How can we find meaning in dark times? How can we have the faith needed to smile, even with our achievements and money stripped away?
The Bible says
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.(Romans 8:28-29 NIV)
God created everyone with a purpose. He knitted entrepreneurs from the womb with a calling and a business plan that would fulfill the mission.
You and your business exist for a purpose. Yes, this purpose is essential for your branding, marketing, operations, and human resources. But it’s also vital for your success during uncertain, chaotic times. And sure as the sun will rise, challenges in business will ALWAYS exist.
Whether times are good or bad, fulfilling your God-intended purpose in business will sustain you moment to moment, day to day, into the unknown. Although the future is unknown, your purpose is very much known by the creator of the universe. Your calling is what you, as a Christian entrepreneur, must hold on to.
Having your purpose secured let’s you “not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time [you] will reap a harvest if [you] do not give up (Galatians 6:9).
Although I don’t know the exact purpose of your business, I know that it has to do with solving problems for people. God has put a lot of people around you, and you were created to have a relationship with them so you can bring solutions to their lives. That solution will bless them, whether they are an employee, client, or business partner.
If you don’t make the connection that you’re here to serve others, you can make the mistake of thinking business is all about you and meeting your own needs. That’s narcissism. This is the fastest way to lose sight of your purpose – which is to be a blessing to others with the problems you can solve in any circumstance our business is in.
When you see your products or services make a difference in somebody else’s life, that’s what makes your business abundant. When you see your money help employees and vendors move their purposes forward, that gives your life meaning.
Today, God wants to use us to make a difference in somebody’s life. Accomplishing this may not look the same as it did yesterday, but our purpose is still the same.
This quarantine interrupted all of our plans. Our days are not the same, but be encouraged to know God still has a purpose for you TODAY. We can be grateful in this exact moment and praise God because we are fearfully and wonderfully made; his works are wonderful, and we know this full well! (Psalms 139:14)
We don’t wait until the chaos is over, and all our needs met to help others. We are Godpreneurs. God meets our needs. We, in turn, can then help others achieve their needs. Helping others is a common purpose we can all count on during challenging, uncertain times.
Has quarantine lost our ability to help and bless others? We were living a fast and furious, busy with business meetings, grinding and hustling, with no time to invest in others truly. But now, when it all stopped, we discovered that our real purpose in life is to connect with others and bless them with what skills and talents have been given to us.
We were all just given an opportunity to slow down and be present. Everyone in the world was shown what it would be like to be here, today, without distractions. We’ve all connected with friends and family we haven’t spoken to in a while because we weren’t stuck in the tasks of the day.
Now imagine if we all could move forward into the unknown with the same mindset we experienced in quarantine – being present, connecting with others, and enjoying the moments with those close to us. If that’s the purpose God set out for us, why wouldn’t it be the same in our businesses?
The marketplace doesn’t need our busyness; it requires our purpose-focused business to be a shining light, bringing solutions to the industry and blessing the world with our calling.
What the world needs from us Christian entrepreneurs are to see is the light of Jesus shining through us. Light is a beautiful thing when it shines in dark places.
Lesson 3 – Being Intentional
Over quarantine, I learned that I needed to be intentional about the relationships I wanted to keep, foster, or reignite. Since I would be confined to my home, and if I wanted my branding agency business to continue, I would need to purpose to reach out and develop authentic relationships.
First, I took care of my home. I was intentional with setting a calendar for my family, connecting with my wife more, and spending more one-on-one time with my son. Once I had that routine in place, I was able to set my intentions on friends and family I wanted to be in touch with. And then I got to my employees and clients.
If you notice, I was very intentional about one thing: staying connected to others. I wasn’t terrible about connecting with others before the quarantine, but this season certainly brought this important quality under a magnifying glass.
Doesn’t it seem like the challenges and crisis brings essential things to the surface that God’s been trying to work on in our lives?
Taking the initiative to connect with others is a hallmark of the Christian entrepreneur’s walk. This leadership quality is what fosters a culture of unity to the vision inside of our company. For sales and business growth, being intentional about connecting with past and current clients is the difference between good and great.
How can we work on this all-important quality of intentionality across all levels of our business? Why is it so easy for others to be intentional, but it’s hard for us to develop this key ingredient to success?
The Bible says
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.(Hebrews 4:16 NIV)
God doesn’t force a relationship with Him. Instead, He created a line of communication that starts with INTENTIONALLY accepting Jesus as His son, then INTENTIONALLY walking up with God’s throne with confidence to receive from Him.
The formula for being intentional, and it’s return on investment, have been set for you and your business. And the extent to which you’re comfortable with being intentional with your relationship with God is how you’ll develop the habit of being intentional with others.
There are three keys to developing the habit of being intentional that I want to share with you.
- Take Initiative – don’t wait around for others to reach out to you. Don’t wait for the phone to ring. Pick up the phone, open an email, start a text chat, and take the initiative to reach out. If that means you also need to do some “patch up” work to reconcile a broken relationship, then honor that holy-spirit inclination and step into the unknown.
- Be Vulnerable – be yourself. Tell people what’s honestly going on. Your employees or clients will appreciate you more when they see you don’t have it all together. They will accept you for who you are. You’re more human, relatable, and likable when you’re vulnerable.
- Give and Receive Grace – Not everyone you intend to reach out to will be overjoyed to connect with you. You don’t know what they are going through or what past hurts they are holding on to. This is your moment of grace. It doesn’t need to be earned; it only asks to be received (or given) and enjoyed. You receive the gift of God’s grace so it can be paid forward.
We’re all going to be very busy when the quarantine is lifted. It seems like for the first time in humanity, we’ll all be going into unknown, unchartered territory together. The playing field has been leveled. We’re all standing at the foot of the cross, regardless of race, nationality, religion, economic status, or authority.
This is an opportunity for us all to reboot.
As we step into the unknown, let’s be focused on connecting with others, staying in our calling, and being intentional about the relationships the holy spirit is asking us to foster.
Being a Godpreneur is all about showing your employees and customers, “I see you. I care about you.”
Dear God, thank you for the seasons of crisis and chaos, for they reveal our need and dependency on you. Help me to connect with others, stay in my calling, and take the initiative. Thank you for the grace and mercy you have shown me. Help me to step into the unknown, by your side, led by the light of Christ.