Calling COVID-19 a test of entrepreneurial faith could be the understatement of the decade.
According to data from Pew Research Center, one-third of the U.S. population reported feeling high levels of pandemic-related stress. From economic instability to health concerns about their teams, leaders everywhere are struggling to make sense of this situation that swooped down without warning.
As a business owner, I understand and share the distress of every person who’s been thrown emotional, financial, and social curveballs during the past few months. I’ve also had to make some very tough decisions since COVID-19 became a household name. However, I’ve also cultivated a deeper relationship with my family and religious beliefs in the past weeks. I believe those connections are a hidden opportunity to become a stronger CEO in both my personal and professional realms.
The Importance of Entrepreneurship and Family Life
Plenty of driven, career-minded, type-A sorts claim to succeed because they’re driven solely by a lone-wolf mentality. I would argue that it’s better for entrepreneurs to surround themselves with the support that can only be offered by family — and especially during crises.
As a Christian husband and father, my family buoys me and provides a sense of purpose and direction. I take my family responsibility and being head of the household seriously. It’s my job to provide for my wife, not to mention mentor my children and grandchildren. Those are my God-given duties, and they fuel my fire. And in return for my commitment to them, my family loves and respects me.
This isn’t to suggest that being a family doesn’t have its own ups and downs, particularly when shelter-in-place rules abound. Nevertheless, my wife and I have been able to unearth some benefits of quarantine, such as spending more quality time together. To me, owning a business and having a family are blessings rather than stressors. As a result, I see this time as a chance to grow instead of feeling defeated.
Why Entrepreneurs Need Faith During Their Business Journeys
Part of my never-ending optimism certainly comes from family, but much of it also comes from faith. Many people believe that you shouldn’t mingle faith and entrepreneurship, but I believe having faith is critical for professionals. Business can be unforgiving, but faith provides you with a measuring stick and moral compass. It can also help you find commonality and camaraderie with like-minded colleagues.
Case in point: I’m working with a gentleman on a deal. We’re both Christians — and our negotiations revolve around that commonality. Not only do we share a desire to enter into a transactional business arrangement, but we also share a sense of fellowship, boundaries, understanding, and even community.
This isn’t to suggest that faith in business must be guided solely by Christianity. Entrepreneurs can have faith based on religion or any realization that they’re serving a higher calling or purpose. During these challenging times, being able to lean on any kind of faith makes it easier to work through uncertainty without feeling overwhelmed.
Integrating Faith, Business, and Family
Are you longing to put family and faith to work for you as a business owner? Below, I share a few strategies that have worked for me. Try implementing these as a starting point:
1. Develop your relationship with and trust in God. I often talk about mentoring people as part of my mission. Not long ago, my wife asked, “Who mentors you?” The answer didn’t surprise me, but it was probably the first time I said it aloud: God and my faith.
Indeed, I have a personal relationship with God — and it gives me a sense of peace. I know that whatever’s happening, it’s God’s will. Sure, I have doubts. But I firmly believe in the truth of the Scriptures. So I work hard, understanding that some outcomes will always be out of my hands. Consequently, I sleep well at night knowing that I’ve done the best job I could.
2. Name your faith. Maybe you don’t consider yourself religious or spiritual, but you can still have faith. You might have faith in a concept, your co-workers, or a calling. I recommend figuring out what guides your spirit and keeps you pushing ahead in spite of the potential to face risk or failure.
Take heart: You might struggle initially with verbalizing your faith walk. Spend time alone contemplating what you believe in. Ask yourself how you know that things will work out in the end or what causes you to pursue a passion that others might call crazy. Once you know your faith, you can develop it further.
3. Build a family. Entrepreneurship and family life don’t have to be mutually exclusive (and at least for me, they’re permanently intertwined). It’s fine if you’re not married or in a romantic relationship. You can still have family in the form of a circle of close friends or relatives.
Being alone right now isn’t healthy, especially if you’re the head of a business. Humans are social by nature, and they thrive on emotional support and community. Hey — even teams with the most talented players and coaches rely on cheerleaders and fans to bolster them from the sidelines.
The good news is that many of us are adjusting to this new normal, and the economic markers seem to be trending upward. In other words, hope’s on the horizon. Rely on family and faith to provide guidance, comfort, and calm. Who knows? What happens next on your entrepreneurial journey might be a beautiful surprise.