Can spirituality help entrepreneurs?
Oct 03 2012, 20:21 | By SME Mentor
Spirituality and entrepreneurship may sound like a heady cocktail, and make some people squirm in their seats for they refuse to believe that spirituality and entrepreneurship can go hand in hand. But that is because spirituality is often confused with religion and ascetic practices. To clear your notions about spirituality and how it can help in your entrepreneurial journey, read on!
For an entrepreneur who is laying down the building blocks of his business one by one, life is all about taking that one big step and several small steps to realising one's dream. Hectic schedules, crazy deadlines, pesky clients are all a part and parcel of entrepreneurship. In order to get a better grip on life it might make sense for an entrepreneur to resort to spirituality.
So what is Spirituality?
Before we get into how spirituality can help and entrepreneur let's take a look at spirituality itself. What is spirituality really? In the words of Sri Aurobindo "Spirituality is nothing other than practical psychology." Spirituality is indeed universal and goes beyond all religions. Spirituality is what gets you in touch with your "authentic self" if you will. By getting in touch with spirituality you get to attune your inner self with your outer self, without letting ego get in between.
Every human being has a "divine spark" in his inner self says Dr Sharada Nandram, a professor in the Centre of Entrepreneurship at Nyenrode Business University in the Netherlands'. She is also a regular visiting faculty in the leading B-schools of India and delivers lectures on entrepreneurship, leadership and spirituality. Dr Nandram constantly tries to dispel misconceptions about spirituality that keep entrepreneurs away.
Spirituality Vs Non-Spirituality
Most youngsters who are aspiring to be entrepreneurs today believe that being spiritual isn't going to get them anywhere. In fact they feel it can blunt their competitive spirit and douse their passion. However, Dr Nandram thinks quite the opposite. "Spirituality helps young minds to get a sharper focus because it helps calm the mind. When the mind is calm a lot business ideas can come that can prove to be very beneficial. Only with focus good decisions can be made. That can be gained through the practice of spirituality." She says. A clear and calm mind can not only ring about good ideas it has a direct co-relation to lower stress level, increased creativity and a deep feeling of fulfillment or satisfaction.
You don't have to be act like a Godman or wear saffron robes or resort to frugal lifestyle in order to practice spirituality. Spirituality is like a gym for your mind, where you perform a set of exercises to keep your mind calm and increase productivity and also become a good leader by setting an example for those around you. Here's what you can do:
Start your day with silence
Practice some deep breathing and pranayama, the first thing in the morning. This helps you get in touch with your inner soul and brings about a feeling of being in touch with your inner self.
Maintain a journal
Reflection is an essential part of spirituality. Get in touch with your inner feelings, and don't let them fleet by. Make short notes of your thoughts and actions during the course of the day. At the end of the day, read through and you will yourself be able to figure a lot about yourself and how you can do things just a little better for yourself and your employees.
Deep breathing in a stressful situation
If you are in a situation where you feel bogged down by pressure, practice deep breathing. The healing power of breathing is often underestimated. Deep breathing can help you get rid of negative emotions of fear and stress and rejuvenate your mind immediately. This will help you think clearly even in a a stressful situation.
Take a break to revitalise
Even in the middle of the day, take some time to close your eyes for a while a do a chant that soothes you. This is a great way to get back concentration and helps you work with renewed energy. Indian entrepreneurs as Dr Nandram says have a vast wealth of knowledge in their own tradition. Getting a few tips from an elderly person at home may be a good idea to reconnect with your roots!
Learning how to still your mind
There are several mind stilling exercises in yoga that an entrepreneur can find useful, but in case you don't want to sign up for yoga just as yet, try this. Pick a spot in your office space where you can be alone for a while and sit in a still and comfortable position. Many thoughts will come up, but do not try to fight them, instead flow with the tide. Keep going where your thoughts take you and imagine yourself flowing like a river over many boulders and obstacles.
If you keep going there will be a point after which you will reach a state of calm. Practice this every day and you will soon find that slowly but surely you have reached a stage where you can easily get in touch with the feeling of stillness, without making any effort at all. This is when you know that you are in touch with your inner being, your true self that will inspire and encourage you.
An entrepreneur more than anyone else , needs to cut out all the noise around him at times, in order to attain peace of mind. If an entrepreneur chooses the simple path of spirituality he or she can be better equipped to take better decision and make their businesses grow. As Dr Nandram puts it "Practising spirituality will improve the unique relationship that one has with their soul." This she believes is a life skill that can help entrepreneurs to fine tune their imagination, intuition and reflection.
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May 24 2013, 20:45
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