I remember every time I had a huge project or a new promotion I would get such a case of the nerves that it was unhealthy. I worked for a bigger company and I volunteered for everything, qualified or not.
I was the marketing manager with a finance degree.
I was the Corporate Controller without a CPA or Accounting Degree.
I was put in charge of store design and construction when I didn’t know the difference between a pliers and a wrench. (I still am not sure.)
I am a business person who became a mental health counselor.
Working for a fairly big company had it’s “this is the most fabulous career ever” moments to “this is hell on earth.”
But there was a distinct difference in dealing with the nerves in a big company working for someone else compared to the very small sole proprietorship I have now.
The difference – you were always on the pedestal with a crowd waiting for you to fall off.
The positive of being on the pedestal was:
fear of public humiliation pushed you to give it your all
bosses and owners were threatening (I mean encouraging) you to accomplish the goals
people (your team) were counting on you and depending on you
And I achieved so I would never let them down. The problem with this motivation was that it was external and fueled by the fear of negative consequences. Don’t get me wrong. There were worldly rewards for achievement. Recognition and Money.
But at the end of the day (or decade) I was zapped of energy and trying to figure out what lasting legacy my heart and soul were leaving behind.
Let me pause here and say that towards the end of my corporate career I found Jesus.
I was looking for Him because the money, the recognition and the goal accomplishment wasn’t giving my life meaning. When I slowed down long enough to think, I realized it was a hollow success.
The difference now – no pedestal but Jesus is there to catch you even if you stumble.
My motivations for my Christian business are:
I want to make a difference in God’s Kingdom
I want to help others find God’s will for their lives
I want to help businesses to shine a light on Jesus, showing that businesses based on Christian values can be and are successful even in the secular marketplace.
Forget the pedestal. I want Christian businesses to be a city on a hill.
“You are the light of the world. A city 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 men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16
How does a finance manager successfully navigate the new product waters bringing unity to the traditional competitive relationship between a marketing and sales department?
How does a marketing person run a $100 million company’s Accounting department reducing DSO to an all time low, increasing investment returns, reducing the corporate tax rate and bringing the monthly close to a best practices of 5 days.
How does a career support department manager develop and launch a new cutting edge strategic business unit for a traditional, high market share cash cow business?
How does a Jewish corporate business executive become a Christian coach and counselor?
It was Paul who said,
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
They say hindsight is 20/20. I can look back now and know that God has always worked through my weakness.
He chooses us before we are born. So although I didn’t know that I was His at the time, He did. And even then, I now believe, God was working through my weakness.
Thankfully now I know to give Him the credit.
The pedestal was scary because I knew the fall would cause bruising and bumps.
The city on the hill is scarier because I don’t want to let the God who created me, and who has worked faithfully through me, down.
But the difference – building my business on my Christian values.
Brings color and definition to the vision God has given me for my business.
Creates a unique culture for my clients and stakeholders that they can rely on.
Gives me guidance on building a team that is especially equipped to build that city on a hill.
And we will do it on a foundation of rock (God’s Way), not sand (Secular ways).
With Jesus’ methodology of discipleship and spreading the Good News as our marketing and sales model.
Through servant leadership and leading by example we will form a path for other businesses to see that they too can achieve traditional success on a foundation of Christian values and become their own city on a hill.
Why? Because for Christian business owners our point of difference and our competitive advantage is Jesus Christ. He is our CEO.
Brad Harmon says
What a great testimony. It sounds like our corporate careers were much alike except that I was the CPA trying to do all those other positions. My struggle was keeping my Christian standards in the face of this with an owner who wanted to cheat everywhere possible.
You’re right about the city on the hill being a scarier place. There are so many people ready to tell you how your faith ruined your business, or worse that your stumble up the hill led someone else astray. It’s such a different mindset when you let God take the reigns – sometimes one that’s hard to understand or explain.
Though the struggles are different, thank God the rewards are too! Thanks for sharing your story with us. It was an inspiration to me.
Brad the struggles are definitely different and thankfully we don’t have to go through them alone. With God in my life now, I feel like I have support and guidance from a trusted source! Thanks for connecting and sharing.
Michelle Bloebaum says
This post is right on and so encouraging!!! I am grateful to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for His work through you! I am just beginning my journey in business ownership. Your posts are informative and edifying. Thank you.