Why Every Business Must Have a Spiritual Mission

Why Every Business Must Have a Spiritual Mission

Is your business mission statement spiritual?

This time of year, it’s common to take some time to reflect on the things that you’re thankful for. Most of us are blessed. Quite often we’ve received far more than we need and definitely more than we deserve from others.

The difference between being and doing thankful

As a young man, I was blessed to have my rich dad and poor dad. My poor dad was a great man who gave me many things, including integrity, love, and a hard work ethic. My rich dad also gave me many great things, including street smarts, financial intelligence, and a love for business and investing.

One thing rich dad said to me rings true this time of year. “It’s not enough to just be thankful, you have to do thankful.” By this, rich dad meant that we needed to do something with the blessings we receive.

It would not have been enough for rich dad to teach me all he did on money, business, and investing only to squander that knowledge away. If I had done nothing with that knowledge, I could have been thankful emotionally and mentally, but not through my actions.

In order to show my true thanks, I had to take the knowledge that my rich dad gave me and put it to work.

Doing thankful means doing business for more than just money

Of course my rich dad taught me how to make a lot of money in business and investing. But he never taught me that making money was the be all end all of business and investing. Quite the opposite.

Rich dad said, “A business needs both a spiritual and a business mission to be successful, especially at the beginning.”

To rich dad, the most important aspect for the success of a business was its mission. That’s why he made “mission” the base of the B-I Triangle. For him, the mission was the life-blood of a business.

“If a mission is clear and strong, a business will weather the trials that every business goes through during its first years. When a business gets big and forgets its mission, or if that mission is no longer needed, the business will begin to die.”

When you were blessed in life, rich dad taught me, it was not enough to be thankful and then build a business that benefited only me. The key was to build a business that actually improved the lives of others. That was doing thankful.

It’s why I’ve spent my life building a company that teaches others how to live a rich life. Yes, in the process I’ve become rich, but so have countless others.

The positive power of a spiritual business mission

Rich dad chose both the words “business” and “spiritual” on purpose. To him, it was imperative that people were in business for more than just money. Being in business just for money is not a strong enough mission. It doesn’t provide the fire, drive, and desire necessary to stick it in for the long haul.

“The mission of a business should fill a need for your customers,” said rich dad. “And if it fills that need, and fills it well, the business will begin to make money.”

Rich dad used Henry Ford as an example of a businessperson who was driven by a spiritual mission first and by a business mission second. Ford wanted to make the automobile available to everyone. That is why his mission was, “Democratize the automobile.”

The result is that Ford built a business model based on efficiency to lower costs so that he could make his cars affordable. In the process he perfected the assembly line, and made a lot of money. But his spiritual mission drove the business mission.

The difference between businesses with a mission and those without

A spiritual mission does not drive many companies. And sometimes, great companies lose their mission. Rather than continually being driven by their spiritual mission, they begin to focus on business as usual…doing what everyone else is doing and allowing profitability drive mission rather than the other way around.

For instance, when Steve Jobs was pushed out of Apple and a management team from the traditional corporate world replaced him, the company went downhill rapidly.

As soon as Jobs was brought back into Apple, the spirit of the company rebounded, new products were brought to market, profitability increased, and the share price went up.

Jobs understood the power of a spiritual mission in a company. One of his last public statements was this: "It is in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough—it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the results that make our heart sing.”

For Jobs, building tech products wasn’t enough. He knew Apple had to make hearts sing.

A business’s spiritual mission is felt, not seen

The spiritual mission of a business is hard to measure, impossible to see, and for all practical purposes, intangible. Yet, most of us have experienced the benefits of great missions.

We all can tell the difference between someone who is only trying to sell us something for a commission and someone who is actually trying to help us.

As the world becomes crowded with more and more products and services, the businesses that survive and do well financially will be the ones focused on serving and fulfilling the company’s spiritual mission—their customers’ needs—rather than just increasing the company’s revenues.

How will you do thankful this year?

Often in life, thankfulness is counterfeit. We say so with our mouths, and we may even mean so, but when the rubber hits the road, we do nothing with our blessings. This explains the trust fund kid who wastes away his family’s hard-earned wealth, and it also explains the lottery winner who goes broke within a decade.

In life, blessings often come cheaply. The real cost of a blessing comes in the lifelong stewardship of that blessing. It’s a great honor and a privilege to do so—and one not everyone is willing or able to do. And if you’re a business owner, you are greatly blessed and privileged.

This Thanksgiving and throughout the holidays, I encourage you to sit down, reflect, and determine where you are simply being thankful versus where you are doing thankful in your business. What you find out may surprise you.

And the question is, once you find out, what are you going to do?

Happy Thanksgiving.

Original publish date: January 13, 2015