When I founded my first speakers bureau Lily of the Valley Speakers I had multiple reasons as to why I became an entrepreneur in the first place.
Having the freedom to build a life that I enjoy was high up on the list. I wanted to wake up each morning happy to go to work and I wanted a career that allowed me to learn as much as I wanted to because I love learning. A career working with and listening to and reading the material of a variety of professional speakers and experts is a fantastic career choice in that regard. In addition being an entrepreneur in general… inherently has its own learning requirements and opportunities.
I quickly learned that the industry that I entered into was somewhat of a cynical industry. This isn’t a fact that clients of ours would be privy to but rather a fact that the “industry” that bureaus belong to seem to be privy to. After interacting with many speakers that seemed cynical and jaded due to their prior experiences with some other bureaus I felt dejected and lumped into the group.
Instead of being able to introduce myself it seemed as if an identity were already assigned to me and my business. Instead of being looked at as an individual who happened to own a speakers and consultants agency I instead felt like I was perceived the other way around: a bureau owner who happened to be an individual. Speaker bureaus in general had years of history behind them that I had nothing to do with. When I came into this industry I was simply looking to build a business doing something that I enjoy. I’d like to think a gal can dream…sigh.
One day while listening to a professional marketing speaker and business optimization expert by the name of Darnyelle Harmon Jervey MBA- (https://www.incredibleoneenterprises.com) she passionately mentioned something that really struck a cord in me. Darnyelle passionately implored us business owners to embrace the idea of building a business that served us and our life’s needs and aspirations to the fullest extent in addition to serving our clients. Darnyelle’s example of freely expressing her beliefs and incorporating her spirituality into her business practices really resonated with me. To fit into an industry I think to a degree entrepreneurs often try to build a business that blends in….but perhaps thats a mistake. Perhaps a part of being differentiated should be organic in the sense that we simply build businesses that are true and in alignment with who we are. If we don’t we can become disconnected from the very thing we built. Things that are disconnected from their source usually wither and die….
It is degrading and uncomfortable to feel like as a business owner….your business doesn’t really belong to you but rather belongs to a machine of an industry. I’m not into degrading myself.
In order to be able to serve my clients well I first must feel like I enjoy doing what I do for work. I must first feel like my business is in alignment with those principles that I believe in. I didn’t and don’t want to become cynical and/or jaded. Life really is too short for that. I want to instead maintain my sense of wonder and reclaim my sense of joy and fulfillment. I’ve realized that I needed to draw a line in the sand proverbially that made it clear that my business and I were on the same page. Make sense? If I myself feel disconnected from my own business….what profit is there in that?
In order to do that I have decided to publicly dedicate my business to: God.
Yes I said it: God.
I believe in Jesus Christ.
I have faith in Jesus Christ.
My worldview is predominantly a Christian worldview and I’ve been afraid for years to say that for fear of repercussions and ridicule. (It’s the same thing all over again in a way. As soon as I tell people that I have faith in Jesus Christ- sometimes they no longer see me as Candace but instead see me with all of the stains of stereotype that come from their negative experiences with others who identify themselves as ‘Christian’.) I actually and personally hesitate to label myself as “Christian” because I associate it with a perfected state. I simply believe in God. I simply pray every day throughout the day. I believe that it is possible to know God. I believe in the power of prayer. I believe God loves me because thats all He can do since He is love. I believe my frailties and imperfections can and will be healed and repaired by the one who created me and knows me inside and out in divine timing using His ordained processes. I don’t believe that its my right to go around bashing those who don’t believe. Each and everyone of us has our own beliefs and our own processes. I don’t believe that its my right to try and force anyone else to believe. I don’t want to engage in debates about my belief. I just simply believe. I simply want to feel free to declare what I believe. Can I belong to a group yet maintain individuality? I believe I can. I don’t believe in God because I come from a super religious family. I don’t. I believe in God because of my experiences and my belief impacts the way I show up in the world and in business. Do I have ‘issues’? Absolutely. I’m a work in progress like anyone else. I also believe that aside from having faith—-the Bible as a book is a historical document and text worthy of reading if not for the mere pursuit of understanding it from that vantage point.
To make a proclamation publicly isn’t necessarily always for the sole benefit of the viewers although they may in fact benefit.
To make a proclamation publicly is often for the resoluteness of the person making the proclamation….sort of like married people who publicly proclaim their commitment to one another in marriage ceremonies and wear rings as public displays of their covenant.
If I have to hide that I am a believer or a practitioner of faith—-that simply isn’t living. That’s pretending and discarding a very large part of my personhood.
“For what shall it ——>profit a man or woman if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” Mark 8:36
I now ask myself this question with most of my decisions. What does it PROFIT? Why are we doing it? If I have to hide my own identity or beliefs or potential to be perceived a certain way or to fit into a certain corporate box….what does it PROFIT? To promote the potential and intellectual property of others do I have to suppress my own? Does any reasonable person expect others to do that? (I remember when I was a little girl I used to ask my grandfather Bentley Barrington Carson: “Why?” all the time. I was a curious kid. He got fed up one day and said lovingly “Because “y” has a long tail.” I.e “Because ‘why’ has a long tale.’) 🙂
I haven’t had an easy or a perfect life. Has anyone? I wasn’t born on the right side of the tracks. I don’t come from the Brady Bunch. I’ve overcome a lot in life and I personally and wholeheartedly give all the credit to God Almighty and God Almighty alone because only God and I know the entirety of my story and how I got to this point. Building a business and becoming an entrepreneur took a lot of bravery and sacrifice for me. If I can’t acknowledge the one person that has been there for me through thick and thin then I don’t want to be anywhere where I cant acknowledge them….even an online space….even in this hyper-competitive and corporate industry.
Do I go into sales presentations and meetings talking about God? No I don’t because its not appropriate. Its not called for or relevant in that context. Most likely on this blog I’ll never bring it up again but I needed to dedicate my business to the one I have respect and reverence for in the sense of completion—i.e. a full circumference. How dare I—the recipient of blessings believe that I can receive a blessing as large as a business and then hide my gratitude to the one who gave it to me? (Cuckoo….cuckoo…..lol) My soul has a root that needed to be acknowledged as the root of that which was created through me. And so now we are in alignment. Simple. We go to chiropractors for physical alignments. Well I just got my spiritual back cracked. 🙂
I’m grateful for my business. I’m grateful that I woke up this morning. I’m grateful for clients. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work as an entrepreneur. I’m grateful to get to meet and know some of the most brilliant people on the planet. I’m simply grateful. That’s all. So if you’ll excuse me…..I need to do: Proverbs 16:3 (AMP) “Commit your works to the LORD (submit and trust them to Him) and your plans will succeed (if you respond to His will and guidance.)”
“Dear Father God: I come before you humbled and bowed down to praise you…to honor you…and to thank you….asking and appropriating your forgiveness for all of my sins done knowingly or unknowingly in thought deed or task not because you seek to punish me but because you seek to reconnect me to you the original life source and original source of love. You are love. Father I dedicate this business that you were kind enough to bless me with back to you and I humbly state that you have my heart. I humbly acknowledge that even though I am the owner of this agency on paper and in the natural realm – YOU are my CEO. I will not and cannot do all manner of things for money. I am grateful for you and all the opportunities that you have bestowed upon me. Father all the money in the world could never replace you. You are God. Money isn’t God. Father I ask humbly that you would continue to bless this business: The Intelligentsia Agency. Go before me. Bring me to the clients you have for me to serve. I ask Father that you would continue to bring us clients from the North South East and West…and from all over the world. I ask that you would allow us to do excellent work integrally… in the name of Jesus the Christ- this is my simple prayer. I ask that you would bless the work of my hands and the fruit of my mind. I ask that you keep me humble and dependent on you. I ask that you allow me to make someone’s day every day and send someone to make mine. Keep malice and strife far from my presence. Keep my business out of trouble. Keep us organized. Help me to hire the right team members. Keep me and protect me Lord so that as I am prospered I do not lose the integrity of my personhood and soul. Make me a sound and reputable leader. Protect me from those with wrong motives. Enable my mind to think clearly and expeditiously. Bless me with patience. Bless me with discernment. Bless me with wisdom. As we grow and become more well known order my steps keeping me humble as the past is left behind millisecond by millisecond. Father thank you for my grandfather Bentley Barrington Carson and all that you blessed me with though his practical wisdom and love. Amen.”