THE BLOG
09/08/2014 04:33 pm ET Updated Nov 08, 2014

When Spirituality and Entrepreneurship Overlap

There are two basic motivations of the entrepreneur. The first is the money-making side of the business, the bottom line. The second motivation is self-fulfillment, a spiritual sense of purpose. This spirituality may be linked to an individual's faith tradition, but there is a spiritual element that translates across the boundaries of specific religions. Entrepreneurs live where this spirituality and business overlap.

Blogs abound on entrepreneurship, marketing, financing, recruitment, and networking. Conversations about spirituality in business are less frequent. The silence on spiritual awareness may be due to the lack of strategies for articulating how our spirituality impacts the bottom line. This is a reflection of the sub-conscious nature of the connection. With years of field testing across numerous industries, it became obvious that such a strategy must be embedded in an easily digestible framework for it to be deployed successfully. Thus, the storytelling methodology of the Matrix Model Management System: Guide to Cross Cultural Wisdom and its workbook.

The first step towards accessing the powerful intersection of spirituality and entrepreneurship is to define and name the elements of spirituality in a business context. Through storytelling, we can identify, name, and own those spiritual elements. Begin by identifying the three key aspects of entrepreneurial spirituality: Vision, Humanity, and Character. In today's business world, with its high number of unpredictable variables, we need Vision that has soul, Humanity that inspires, and Character that shouts integrity and trust.

The next step towards connecting spirituality and entrepreneurship is create a personal dictionary for each element. We start with the first step of all entrepreneurs: Vision. Look beyond analytical planning into your heart and soul. What words come to mind? Here are some possibilities: hopeful, inspired, futuristic, and wise. Give your Vision greater depth of meaning and purpose by regularly practicing this exercise.

"Humanity" often implies grand thoughts of world peace or community volunteerism without clarity for business applications. Yet, if we apply Humanity to cross-cultural communication, we can bring these abstract ideas into the workplace. Words such as cultural sensitivity, business etiquette, cultural competence, customer-oriented, and inclusion are key to relationship-driven businesses. For some, Humanity is further underscored with corporate responsibility projects, charitable activities, environmental initiatives, and community outreach to diverse cultures. Regardless, of the form it takes,  the perception of Humanity will stick to the entrepreneur or business depending on the third element, Character.

The words describing Character include responsibility, dependability, accountability, reliability, trustworthiness, conviction, honesty, fairness and ethical. If a leader, a company, or an entrepreneur doesn't have Character, then their Vision and Humanity won't be trusted. A lack of Character, or soul, can render irrelevant even the most advanced innovations and technology.

Damage control for losing Character and trust in your Vision and Humanity is time consuming.

You will need to address the very soul of the business. Explain how your Vision and Humanity intersect and how your Character drives them. Define, name, and own the elements with articulate, user friendly strategies. This is a monumental task when it has to be done quickly, the very definition of damage control. We need to articulate our spirituality sooner than later. "Later", in our fast-moving world, is best defined as "too late."