Have you ever fasted from food as part of a spiritual practice? Or given something up for Lent—like chocolate or television viewing? Have you ever considered giving up something in your business so you could spend more time doing something of greater value? Maybe a business distractions fast is just what you need to refocus your efforts and get your life and business back on purpose!
All kinds of thoughts, feelings and desires can be cause for distraction. You might be distracted by:
• Staying busy as “a sign of power and significance”
• Ensuring all your desires are fulfilled
• Obtaining more and better “stuff”
• Keeping up appearances or reputation
• Getting more clients
• Making more money
• Following the latest advice of industry gurus
• Keeping up with technology
• Making sure you won’t miss out, be inadequate, be misjudged, rejected or left out
• Avoiding anger, disappointment or disapproval from others
The world encourages us to be distracted. Keeping our eye on God and His laws while at the same time trying to follow the ways of the world can be challenging!
Focus on God by Minimizing Distractions
In order to focus on God and the purposes He has for us, it is essential to minimize distractions.
Here are just three distractions I experience regularly in my business:
Distraction #1: Acting Out of Fear, Not Faith
While I’ve been working the last several years in copywriting and consulting, it’s not what I feel called to do. And I knew when I got into the profession that it was meant to be a stepping stone…a skill that I would learn in order to do a greater work for God later, and not something intended to be a permanent profession for me.
What I truly feel called to do is to coach people to align their faith, work and life purpose and, if they feel called to do so, to build a business based on their purpose.
Am I currently doing that? No!
Why not? Well, that’s a great question!
The reason I haven’t fully transitioned into coaching is that every time I get a referral for copywriting services, I say yes! I say yes because I am afraid.
Even though I know that the Lord will provide what I need or want for a living, there is still part of me that is afraid to say “no” to the money right in front of me. It’s easier to say yes to what the world is bringing me than to have the faith that God will send me what I need…and what I truly, deeply long for.
Fear distracts me from doing the work I feel called to do. When I make decisions based on fear, I take my business and my life away from the direction God is calling me to go.
Distraction #2: Taking Advice from Man Instead of God
About a month ago I was contacted by a training and development client I had worked with about eight years before. I was hesitant to work for them again because I felt like it would be a step backward (toward creating content for other people) instead of forward (toward coaching and creating content to support my coaching business).
When I shared the opportunity with a close friend of mine, he said, “I think you’d be really happy working for them again.” It got me thinking about how I’d always enjoyed the work, how easy it was, and how maybe it would be just like old times again. Eventually I talked myself into taking the project (aka rationalization).
It was not like old times. Management had changed and began demanding weekend work time that interfered with my family and worship priorities. After an unpleasant (I’m being generous here) downhill battle, I resigned from the project.
If I had listened to what the Spirit was whispering to my heart instead of to well-intended but distracting advice, I would have spared myself a good deal of anguish and a spoiled reputation with that client.
Distraction #3: Focusing on Profits Rather than Purpose
For the last three years I have known in my heart that coaching on life purpose and spiritual development was the direction I needed to go. I took certification courses. I read books. I even almost had a few clients. But because I received a consistent stream of referrals for copywriting, and because I didn’t know how to build a coaching business intentionally (I knew how to do it…I had just never actually done it!), I convinced myself I couldn’t make money in life purpose coaching.
As it turned out, I couldn’t make money writing copy when my heart wasn’t in it. Why? Because my soul was longing to do what I felt called to do…regardless of the income.
Here’s how God got me back on the right path…
I’m not great at tracking my income. My bookkeeper comes over once a year, right before taxes are due, and puts everything into QuickBooks®. So I don’t usually know until the end of the year or later how much I actually made or extracted from my business.
Well, being that it was October (I always file an extension) we had our annual meeting. My take home pay for 2013 was pathetic. Based on the energy I had expended working on clients’ projects, I felt like the figure should have been at least 500% bigger.
Why? Why did I feel like I had expended so much energy for such a small return? Because I had been focused on profits—on saying yes to the money in front of me—instead of saying yes to my purpose.
Focusing on profits and making a buck was literally sucking the life out of me. It was like a physical drain on my mind, body and emotions. And if you’re still reading this, I’ll bet you know exactly what I mean.
The Fact That I Can Do Something Doesn’t Mean I Should
Obviously I have some business addictions I need to get under control.
Don’t we all?
I confess I’m addicted to being liked, to feeling important because “I have clients,” to feeling secure when I get a check in the mail or a big deposit in my bank account, and to feeling accomplished because the referrals just keep rolling in.
But does any of this matter if I’m merely seeking satisfaction in what the world has to offer instead of finding it through a relationship with God and in doing His work?
Isn’t getting on the right track worth the sacrifice?
I think aligning my business with my life purpose is worth some sacrifice. I’ve decided that the only way to break my addictions is to enact what I’m calling The 2015 Business Distractions Fast. And I’m inviting you to join me!
Solution: The 2015 Business Distractions Fast
I’m not going to give up business building. That’s not what I’m going to fast from. I’m going to give up some of the distractions and tradeoffs I’ve been making that keep me from building a business around my life purpose.
I’m going to:
• Fast from copywriting clients. I will say NO to every invitation to write copy for someone other than God or my own business for the entire 365 days of 2015. I will coach people to write copy. But I won’t do it all for them.
• Fast from fear and replace it with faith. Because fear is the main reason I say yes to copywriting referrals, I will banish fear and enact my faith that coaching clients will come my way and actively pursue that outcome.
• Fast from greed and replace it with generosity. Because I’ve been living in a marketing consulting world that emphasizes “charging what you’re worth” and extracting the maximum number of dollars from each client, I will focus on purpose rather than profits. For the entire year of 2015, I will double the amount I tithe by donating an additional 10% of my gross income to my favorite charities.
• Fast from indecision and “do what I know”. Because I’ve been hesitating about my purpose for too long, I will take bold action! I will DO the things that God has put in my heart to help people just like you. Keep your eyes open for the God and Business Today podcast and the Breakthrough to Brilliance coaching program (both launching early next year).
Please Join Me!
I’m calling this The Business Distractions Fast because the only way I can build a business based on my life purpose is to actively and consciously give up distractions that keep me focused on the world instead of focused on God’s work. I need to be single-minded and serve just One master.
Will you join me?
Will you give up one or more business addictions for the entire year of 2015?
What will it be? Pride? Greed? Fear? Boredom? Feeling like you have to do what you do? Putting your business last? Working overtime every day? Bringing work home with you? Putting your health last? Cussing and swearing just because your clients do? Being grouchy or pessimistic?
What’s it going to be?
Make your decision. Choose at least ONE business addiction to give up for 2015, then head over to my Facebook page and tell us what it is!
I don’t want to be alone in this…and neither do you!