Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Blending the Spiritual and the Strategic Mind

Over the last few days, I have had an opportunity to analyze the many clients I have been blessed to collaborate with over the years as I did a mini “Good to Great” analysis of what separated the failures, almost-made-its, successful and super successful clients.

And while my analysis was not a super scientific, exhaustive study by any means, I was intrigued to discover that there was one common element across the successful and super successful clients.

The successful and super successful clients had found a way to blend their sense of “spiritual purpose” with the ability to be appropriately intelligent in the areas of strategy, tactics and overall execution.

When I refer to “spiritual”, I’m not referring to a specific faith or creed but rather one that recognizes that we answer to a Higher Authority and that a Greater Purpose / Intention seems to be at play …. a purpose and intention that guides (not rules) their actions and contributes to (not dictates) how they respond to the result of their actions.

I want to be careful not to make generalizations here within the context of a very quick analysis.  However, as I reviewed my copious notes, I noted some interesting things.  The successful and super successful clients had found a way to balance:

  • humility and hubris
  • hanging on and letting go
  • self confidence in execution and trust / faith that things always work out
  • pride in achievement while sharing (or giving away) the credit
  • the individual contribution within the context of a greater collaboration
  • wilful creation versus external events that happened “for a reason” (the belief that there are no coincidences)
  • the acknowledgement of one’s talents, knowledge and skills as a gift to prepare them for the event at-hand versus the “it was all me” mentality
  • the importance of the triple or quadruple bottom line (the latter adding “spiritual” to the common list of people, planet, profit)
  • leadership versus servant leadership.

In other words, it wasn’t just about them and how great they were.  They saw themselves as a a participant and contributor in a Greater Collaboration.

And the rest?

The rest of the crowd demonstrated interesting imbalances, specifically in the areas of:

  • I don’t need to be strategic – God / Spirit / the Universe will do it all for me “just because”
  • If I pray hard enough, it will just happen, despite the evidence that my execution suggests the contrary
  • Being strategic implies that I must be ruthless (even if I am a self-proclaimed “religious” person)
  • God is my hammer and I will beat others with His approval
  • I earned the credit so why shouldn’t I claim it
  • It’s a dog-eat-dog world – humility is a sign of weakness that I will not allow others to see
  • My talents are a result of my efforts and are not a reflection of any contribution from anyone (or Anyone)
  • Leaders exist to rule, even if it includes by force or intimidation.  Servant leaders don’t produce useful results.

Or to put it another way ….

They are great and everyone exists to serve them.  They are also either alone against the Universe (with an agnostic or atheistic approach) or that God exists to serve their needs on demand, like a short-order cook.  They also tend to burn more bridges than the other group, since they have lost sight of the larger sense of interconnectedness between people and events.

It’s like being a successful painter

As an artist, if I focus only on the cost of the paint, the brush, the frame and the canvas, the creative Spirit inside me will never be free to paint what is in my heart.

But if I focus on the creative side alone without any regard to what the materials cost and who will consume my creativity, I end up being a starving or bankrupt artist, with my creativity still trapped inside me and with my gifts being largely unknown to the masses.

As with all things, finding balance in Life is everything.

Have you found your balance?

How do you know?

In service and servanthood,


PS Dedicated to a few people I have discussed this with in recent days.  The balance you seek is within you and within your reach.  Acknowledge it, embrace it, trust it and then take action with it.  The world is waiting for your gifts.  What are you waiting for?


  1. I met you at the Innua meeting. While this is an interesting article I must tell you that you are totally wrong. When one is truly in Spirit there is no room for the mind. If you believe otherwise then you are a blaspheme to the Spirit and to our Mother Earth.

    Someday only those in Spirit will remain. All the rest will be swept away.

  2. Dear Anonymous,

    Thank you for your comment.

    Three observations:

    1. Those who speak with such conviction usually aren't afraid to sign their name (unless their conviction is weaker than then believe).

    2. The comment "all the rest will be swept away" doesn't sound very spiritual, accepting or loving to me.

    3. You provide strong evidence that self-professed spirituality is markedly different than demonstrated spirituality.

    I guess I will have to remain a blasphemer by your definition. :-)

    Create a great day.