Monday, January 25, 2010

The Spirituality of Business

Woman and Hay

If business can inform spirituality, as we mused last week, then why not the inverse?

I had the pleasure of interviewing businessman (and fellow HCB writer) Bradley J. Moore who recently wrote a helpful article on Six Ways to Take a Micro Sabbatical over at Michael Hyatt's blog.

Here's what Bradley told me about spirituality and business, as well as a few other important things like tweeting in traffic and working for HCB...

1. Tell me about your business life. What does your average day look like? (Sure, you can start by revealing which traffic lights you tweet at during your commute :)

Actually, my commute is not so bad— about a half-hour, which is just the right amount of time to gear up and decompress on the way to and from work. [Note that Bradley did not divulge his favorite traffic tweet locations :) ]

The most important and consistent part of my day is arriving at Starbucks before work at 7 am to get my Venti 3/4 decaf. Other than that, there's no average day. I work with lots of different people on lots of different projects. We're constantly analyzing, developing and delivering on projects to add shareholder value.

Did I sound like a consultant just then? [why, yes, Bradley, you kinda did! :)] I thought so. Anyway, I could be dealing with banks on financing an acquisition, or working with a group of managers on strategic planning, or working my way through understanding a specific issue that we want resolved.

Right now I am deep into a strategic planning rollout and also a couple of real estate development projects, and we have some new acquisitions brewing up in the near future. On top of that, we're constantly looking for improvement opportunities, to do better, faster, cheaper. It never ends.

[Bradley may do all these complicated things, but he is actually quite easy to talk to; I completely enjoyed meeting him recently (again, without knowing it was again) in NYC.]

2. You write a lot about spirituality and business. Do you think there's anything inherently spiritual in business, or do you use the "add-on" model where you Christianize what is inherently secular?

I never thought much about spirituality as part of business. Although I've always been a deeply spiritual person, I never connected that to my job, other than praying that God would "bless the work of my hands." I think that comes from the Psalms, but I would pray that every day for years and years as I was building up my career. I loved God, and I also loved the idea of building a fulfilling career in business.

But I never connected them closely until a few years ago. I was going through a little career angst— getting antsy for my next big promotion, feeling a little disatisfied where I was at— and I was working through the whole thing with a good friend. At one point he said "As we get older, who we are becomes more important than what we do."

That struck me pretty hard. Then he said, "Instead of looking for that next big promotion, you should focus on what brings you joy, because then you'll bring joy to others."

It's a long, meandering story, but the bottom line is that I realized that there was a lot about my current job situation that did actually bring me joy, and I turned the focus to bringing meaning and support to others through my job, rather than focusing on my self-promotion. It was a way of linking God's purpose for me into my work.

3. You're a writer and, more recently, an accidental poet (make no objections to that last assertion: you are poetic, especially on Twitter!). Tell me a little about your writing journey and how it relates (or not) to your business life.

Yes, Twitter is fun! Did that sound poetic? That was an actual Tweet I posted one day.

[trust me, Bradley has tweeted things poetic enough to feature for Random Acts of Poetry :)]

I have always enjoyed writing, ever since I was a child. And as a management consultant I had many opportunities to write— we were in the "ideas" business, after all. But a few years ago, this friend of mine I mentioned earlier, when we were discussing my career issues, he encouraged me to pursue something creative and fun, something aside from thinking about work and career all the time.

I decided to start writing, just for myself. One thing led to another and I realized that writing was both spiritually therapeutic, and fun. It brought me pure joy, and I wanted to keep pursuing it. I gravitated towards writing about how Christianity related to my career, and the total lack of direction or connection that I received growing up in the Evangelical church in drawing that link between God and career.

I realized that God cares about my career, but I had never heard anyone talking about that. It changes everything. So I decided to focus mostly on that subject, figuring that there had to be plenty of other people who had or needed to have that same experience. Blogging was just the thing to provide an immediate outlet for all of these thoughts.

4. Congratulations, you're officially a Content Editor (for the Work Section) at HighCallingBlogs. Can you talk about that?

I'm so thrilled to be part of a team of smart, thoughtful, professional writers that make up HighCallingBlogs. It's been exciting for me to go beyond writing as a hobby to actually writing as a real job!

The writing, sharing and the community of HCB fulfills a very important part of my life, and I'm looking forward to building something great and lasting with that community, that I hope will make a big difference in many people's lives.

[Like many of us at HCB, Bradley originally started as a volunteer. Just for the fun of it. I think that's a marvelous way to fall into a job. :)]

Woman and the Hay painting, photo by L.L. Barkat.

Random Acts of Poetry Prompt:
Choose a character from a book— children's, grownup's, matters not. Write a poem to, from, or just about the character. Post it by Thursday evening, Jan 28th, for links and possible feature at HighCallingBlogs

HighCallingBlogs Bookclub, new selection...
Would you like to read with us? Stop in and get the scoop on our next book...
Loving Monday: Succeeding in Business Without Selling Your Soul

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Blogger Unknown said...

My contribution.

I'm really enjoying the gradual path of getting to know this community. I love the diversity within our common joy. Thanks for the interview!

10:07 AM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

Thanks for this post. I too am interested in work and spirituality and am pleased to learn of others who share this interest.

11:53 AM  
Anonymous Maureen said...

Wonderful interview. I enjoy learning more about all the characters at HCB.

11:56 AM  
Blogger Kathleen Overby said...

HCB is like an incubator, hatching thoughtful conversation, which grows up, goes out, breeds, lays eggs, hatching a new batch. Planting - Harvesting. I'm very grateful for the inclusive ambiance. Great post LLB.

12:28 PM  
Blogger Charlie Johnson said...

You are exploring something profoundly important in your reflection on the spirituality of business. Gnostic dualism causes us to compartmentalize our lives into separate spheres. Authentic wholeness leads us to ever greater degrees of integration. Something along the lines of the spirituality of business is what possessed Jesus to get out of the synagogue and into the streets, fields, and seashores. Your enterprise at HighCalling is true, good work-- keep it up!

12:48 PM  
Blogger Dianna Woolley said...

Random Acts of Poetry Challenge drew me right in. You can see my contribution tomorrow, 1/26 at

I loved describing the heroine of a wonderful, recent read entitled, OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon.

Fun challenge!

9:13 PM  
Blogger Dianna Woolley said...

LL - As an aside, I see that "Love in the Time of Cholera" is a favorite read of yours.....have you seen the movie? It's one of my all time favorites!! I've yet to find anyone but me who has seen it. Just wondering......

9:17 PM  
Anonymous bradleyjmoore said...

Hi LL -
Thanks again for that nice interview! This subject of faith and our work is an important one, and I look forward to getting some good thinking generated over at HighCallingBlogs. Maybe we'll even figure it all out one day!

6:27 AM  
Blogger Bonnie Gray said...

Congratulations, Bradley! That is so exciting! I enjoyed the interview and got to hear you two chat. I cannot think of a more lovely person to pump up the connection between faith and work at HCB! Blessings now follow you, flowing to everyone there.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

My poem is up L.L. I loved this one. She just popped into my head as soon as I read the prompt and gave it a tiny bit of thought.

3:31 PM  
Blogger SimplyDarlene said...

Here is my RAP contribution this week. Great timing as I am in the midst of the March family once again!


7:27 PM  
Blogger Glynn said...

For the RAP:

11:47 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Oh... sunrise sister... I didn't know there was a movie. I should see it then, yes? :)

9:56 AM  
Blogger Kathleen Overby said... Little Red Riding Hood. It's Ok if I'm too late. Woops.

11:31 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Fun interview, LL.

1:31 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

oh, how did i miss this one? I'm glad you directed me here a couple months later! Great interview. Made me re-read the NY post too, which gave me goose bumps--again.

12:43 PM  

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