you ever seen someone jumping from project to project their entire life? They start something and before it matures, they promptly shift to a new “shiny object”. Soon enough there will be an even shinier object to pursue. The reason is simple. They lack “spirit” in each of these pursuits. There is some level of permanence with matters related to the spirit.
Endurance of Spirit
If anything, spirit is eternal, come to think of it. So here is the thing: Do you want to start a business, a venture or a project that is enduring in nature? Well, start with the spirit. That’s just about it. If therefore you stopped all the traffic and noticed that you are not so emphatic about the “spirit” of your pursuits, it is time to re-evaluate and infuse that spirit right back into the game.
Origins, as already shard in the previous article are critical to understanding the spirit behind what you are doing. How did you get started? What was the enduring motive of the “origin” of your project? I read an interesting story about this.
In the USA, one of the top brands in business is Starbucks. Their backstory is an interesting one. The original owners sold Starbucks to Howard Shultz who had a dream. His dream was to have a company where employees are treated right, given good benefits and complete medical care. This dream was founded from the predicament that Howard suffered when at seven years of age, his father who worked as a delivery driver slid and fell in a sheet of snow and broke his ankle.
Closing All Shop to Reboot!
When he resigned as CEO at some point, whoever succeeded him was not adhering to these standards. Indeed, there was a leaked email that Shultz sent to his CEO claiming that he felt Starbucks was being commoditized. Shultz came back as CEO and the first thing he did was to close all Starbucks outlets so that all his employees would undergo training to re-orient them to the values of the organization.
Think about that! This man understood how critical the spirit of his business was. I cannot even say the “original spirit” because the spirit does not change. Methods do but the spirit doesn’t!
How To Infuse Spirit in Your craft
Let us, therefore, consider several ways that we can use to infuse the spirit into our plans, purposes, pursuits, crafts, careers, projects and all our passionate endeavours:
1. Clarify The Spirit Behind Your Pursuit
This might sound a little bit of cliché but it is true. The simple question is this: Why are you doing the things you are doing? We all have reasons why we are doing what we are doing. Here is the litmus test of the spirit though: Is the reason for doing what you are doing any way connected to spirit? “How would I know that?” Someone might be asking. Well. Here are some pointers:
- Is what you are doing primarily beneficial to others?
- Is what you are doing directly beneficial to others?
- Is what you are doing beneficial to others in the enduringly?
- Is what you are doing primarily for personal material gain?
- Is what you are doing primarily as a means for survival?
- Is what you are doing primarily someone else’s idea?
Well, if you have three Yeses for the first three questions and three Noes for the last three questions, chances are that your pursuit is “spirit-filled”. However, if you have three Noes for the first three questions and three Yeses for the last three questions, your pursuit is not spirit filled. Time to realign.
2. Clarify Your Why
I see many people do this just to “fulfil all righteousness”. People slap around themselves and their organizations some statements that they call “Vision”, “Mission” and “Values” as if filling up a template of sorts. When you ask them to recite these, they have to go back to the board where these things are written and start reading them. Listen. Spirit is internal. What is in the spirit will come out at all times, in the good times as well as in the bad. If you have not clarified the purpose for your existence as a human being first, it is time to do that. Then you can clarify the purpose of the existence of your organization. Those two ought to recognize and serve one another.
3. Teach Your Why
Tell stories to your children, your employees and sometimes even your customers relating to how you started, the reason as to why you started and why you will be around for some time to come. Teach the people that are working with you the spirit behind the tasks and the endeavours of each day. That’s what Howard Shultz did with Starbucks. Unfortunately, one of the worst things you ever saw in organizations is the induction process of a new employee. They are given no clue about what is the spirit behind the organization. We need to teach at induction and thereafter occasionally as chances present themselves.
4. Monitor Your Pursuits against the Spirit
Your values as a person and as an organization are critical. At times you values will tell you to walk away from money because that money is probably coming to you contrary to the dictates of your values, which of course represent your spirit. I heard a story by Strive Masiyiwa who was denied a business opportunity in an African country because he couldn’t bribe, even though he had all the necessary details needed. An American company was awarded the tender instead, only for the US state department to get wind of this. That company ended up losing in the end.
Don't Compromise on spirit
The moment you start to compromise your values as an individual or as an organization, that is the moment you start deviating from the spirit or you start killing its influence altogether. Believe me when I say this: You will never attain your full glory as an individual or as an organization if you ignore, stifle or circumnavigate your spirit. There is no shortcut to the glory that can replace spirit.
We shall continue with these thoughts in the next article.