I sat down and started to write this piece, and...nada. Nothing came. It wasn't the infamous (and I say "fictional," by which I do not mean applying only to novelists, screenwriters and short-story-tellers) "writer's block." Nor was it an aromatic instance of brain wind-breaking. (I am always careful to "intelligently" combine my thoughts from balanced neural-nutrition, conservative cerebral caloric intake and I chew them at least 50 times.)

No, I just played stump the band in my head--and lost.

So, I went to the Internet and posted the above question in a forum at The Greatest Networkers.comUnity. Not looking for answers, really. Just some starter cables for my brain's frozen battery.

"I've got a writing assignment for Networking Times about spiritual business," I wrote. "I'm asking for your thoughts, please and thank you. What does 'spiritual business' mean to you?"

Here's an edited journey of some of the responses, the first from Rusty Peterman (featured in one of this issue's Profiles):

For me, "spiritual business" centers on expression and choice. My spiritual values and core beliefs show up in how I go about business. They become a visible expression of my inner being. Ultimately, business is not disconnected from who I am spiritually.

"Spiritual business" is also about choice--being wise in choosing which spiritual values and core beliefs I embrace. After all, these ultimately shape how a person goes about business and life. Getting sloppy with this choice can be more than frustrating, it can be devastating.

Aviva Sherman followed:

My thoughts and feelings on the subject are similar to Rusty's. My spiritual business and my life are one and the same. From the moment I wake up to the moment before I fall asleep, my life is full of the "business of living." The choice of how I live my life from moment to moment is a reflection of my values, knowledge, and beliefs. I don't separate the two.

Added M. Patrice Golinvaux:

As I go, there I am. For me, this means conducting my business with the same integrity with which I conduct my life. I live by my values and beliefs, which are based in an ever-abundant, loving, Divine source. I offer people my best--and in return, I will be compensated according to the value that I perceive that has. It can only be so. So my life is my business, my business is intertwined with my life, and through it all runs the thread of my spiritual beliefs.

And this from, Mary K. Weinhagen:

My gut feeling/intuition/
God voice (whatever you want to call it) tells me our "spirit" and all of our beliefs, understandings, or knowings around that cannot be separated out from anything we think, do, or feel--because it is simply what we "be" in each and every now moment.

Spiritual business means I get to share that thought with you, knowing that it opens doors to possibilities for each of us to be more and better and enhances everything. With the willingness to engage in these conversations, openly acknowledging these things, I recognize I am more exposed and vulnerable--you will get a much more authentic read on my level of integrity. ("Are my actions consistent with where I claim I'm coming from?")

And if we mutually agree to expose and express this level of authenticity, we might even ask one another to hold ourselves accountable (where "hold" is a key word) out of mutual love and respect. I have seen and experienced "businesses" benefit from this on many levels--including "the bottom line." Thanks for giving me the space to explore this!

You're welcome Mary K., and my thanks to you and Rusty, Aviva and M. Pat', too.

If you do a simple FIND command on all the above, a few things show up right away--the words values and beliefs, for one and two. Then there's the idea of separation, or rather, the lack of it--connection, without the dis-. Not leaving the importances of their lives behind from 9 to 5. (Biased bunch, to be sure, as they are one-and-all home-based, own-your-own-boss networkers.)

So, "spiritual business" involves--and even revolves around--these people living and working their values and beliefs.

Got that. But...what values? Which beliefs? I mean, if you believe in churn-and-burn, dialing for dollars, throw 'em up against the wall and see who sticks, hype-'n'-hustle business-building...or you value gimme, gimme, greedy-gimme-first-and-I-don't-care-whose-financial-dreams-die-
when-the-plane-crashes-as-long-as-I'm-the-pilot-with-the-payoff...is that spiritual business? And you may never ever separate that and those ways of thinking/feeling from one or another aspect of your 24/7/365 life on Earth...is that spiritual business (or spiritual anything else)?

You know, for some people, that just might be spiritual. I mean, that could be authentically who and how they are, way deep down. Behaving that way may be an experience and expression of their values and beliefs.

"Spiritual business" isn't a military-intelligence, honest-politician oxymoron. What matters is what "spiritual" means to you and me. And you know what, that's nobody's business but your own. It's all "spiritual business." All of it. It's got to be that way.

And if you look at success in business today, you'll see what "spiritual" values and beliefs our global society rewards most highly.

P.S.: My "spiritual businesses" are all about changing that!


JOHN MILTON FOGG is author of The Greatest Networker in the World. You can check out what John is up to with coaching at: www.GreatestNetworker.com/is/jmf.