Last week, I attended the first meeting of the Portland Pagan Society of Commerce, along with 6 other people. All of these people were, to one degree or another, involved in their own entrepreneurial work, identified as Pagans, and all of them wanted to find a way to support their business and the Pagan community. As I left the meeting, I asked myself the question, “Can Business and Spirituality mix?”
This question is asked, in one form or another, a lot. The usual stereotype associated with business is that of the bottom line, needing to make a profit, which when considered with spirituality doesn’t seem to quite fit. Yet in working with many different businesses, I know that while making a profit is a concern for the business owners, its not the only concern. The business owner wants to follow their calling, do something meaningful that fulfills them spiritually as well as economically. Their business is purpose driven, which means that part of their success is found by fulfilling the purpose for which they created the business. And, many business owners I know work very hard for a long time before they start to see a bottom line profit.
I own three different businesses, and each of those businesses has a specific purpose which speaks to who I am and what I feel called to do. Owning these businesses is part of my spiritual work, because of the services I provide and also because in providing that service I feel that I’m serving the purpose which is part of the DNA of the business. I had the same impression about each of the people that came to the meeting. For them, owning a business was certainly a way to pay the bills, but it was also a way to fulfill their purpose and calling. Whether all of them equated that with spirituality is something only they can answer, but I felt encouraged by how they also wanted to meet to do more than just make a buck. They wanted to meet, to collaborate, and to help each other, but also to provide something to the community at large.
My spirituality is an essential part of my businesses. What I offer and why I offer it is informed by the purpose, the calling that I has driven my businesses from the start. So long as that calling is part of the DNA of my business, I think that the work I do will be informed by the right purposes, and so long as profit isn’t the only reason I’m in business, then I know that I’ll make sure that part of what i do is informed by a desire to serve my community, through my businesses and through my own efforts.