The Role of Hunger in Your Business

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Hunger and fear are good for your business. Not abject hunger and despairing panic, mind you. That’s too much. But a little touch of hunger and fear is very useful.

I know there are many people out there who would prefer that not to be the case. And I’m one of them. I wish inspiration and love were big enough motivators for action. But for us humans who aren’t yet enlightened, they don’t seem to work so well.

The problem is complacency. We most often don’t do things until we absolutely have to.

I’ve watched it happen–a client’s savings account dwindles down over time while they are stuck in fear or uncertainty about what to do or how to do it. Perfectionism has it’s tight grip on them.

Then the account hits zero, or whatever feels like “zero” to the person in question. And suddenly they leap into action.

Sound familiar? This is the mother of all feast-or-famine cycles. If you stay in that kind of a cycle, then your business can’t ever move much higher than the ground floor.

But before we go about seeking a fix, let’s take a look at the Sufi teaching that explains why this can be a good thing.

Lashed With Hunger and Thirst

There’s a Sufi story that goes like this: Source, aka God, aka The Divine, was talking to the ego, asking it to leave off injuring itself with various addictive behaviors and surrender to Source. “Am I not Your Lord?” The Divine asked in its inimitable Divine fashion.

The ego responded. “I am what I am, and you are what you are, “continuing right on with what it was doing. The Divine then plunged the ego into fire in order to purify it–kind of like putting metal into fire to burn away impurities.

The result? Nada. Twelve thousand years of fire and the ego is still clinging to its self-destroying patterns.

The Divine then plunged the ego back into the fire adding just a touch of hunger and thirst. Immediately the ego released its grip and allowed itself to be purified.

Yes, I’m talking about us.

The Difference Between Pain and Survival

What this short Sufi story outlines is the difference between pain and survival. Humans have an almost unfathomable capacity to deal with pain and suffering, but we have very little capacity to risk our own survival.

This is one of the reasons that I think this financial crisis is actually going to be healthy for us in the long run; by threatening our survival, it’s making people take actions that could’ve been done gracefully awhile ago. It’s painful, it’s scary, and a lot of people will end up being hurt. Yet apparently it’s necessary. And some of the actions we’re forced to take now may serve us well over the long term.

But that’s a far larger topic than I want to delve into, so I’ll just say that and move on.

Move on? Now you know complacency is a normal human state of being until hunger and thirst are added. So instead of just living with it, let’s move on to how to get your business fanny in gear without your bank account or some other survival button being pushed.

Keys to Hunger-Motivated Business

What else besides (lack of) money threatens your survival?

One of the reasons it works so well to declare goals before witnesses is because your identity as someone with integrity is threatened if you don’t follow through, and your ego sees this as akin to survival. It can be a bullying approach, so I recommend some measure of compassion in it, but it can also be very effective.

Take a moment in your heart to identify what qualities are core for you, such as integrity, generosity, or love. Now put them in play, usually with others’ help, by setting goals your ego will fight for.

It’s a little tricky, but then, so is the ego, and it’s okay to push the ego a bit, if the deeper intention is truly from your heart.

Here’s an example: In the recent Path to Profitability Retreat, we prided ourselves on holding a spiritual container that allowed participants to go deep into their processes. In order to provide that, we needed to double up on our own spiritual practices. So we did. It just so happens that both Holly and I have had a
commitment to deepen our spiritual practices, and this goal helped get us there.

Use actual hunger or thirst to weaken your ego.

One of the key spiritual practices in nearly any tradition is the ascetic practice of fasting–avoiding food or water or both for a set amount of time.

Fasting weakens the ego. Whether it’s Ramadan, Yom Kippur, or
Lent, devoted followers often report a purity of heart after
fasting. The benefit of this purity of heart means that the
ego’s grip is looser, and the heart’s intention and inspiration
is more available.

Try taking a single day and, if it’s not dangerous for you medically, fast. Don’t eat or drink for twelve hours. Keep up your meditation and prayer practices during this time to support
the process, and notice how you feel afterwards.

It seems like an impractical business suggestion, but spiritual traditions around the globe have recommended fasting and prayer before big projects or decisions. It creates that sense of purity
and resolve that can get you moving forward clearly and in a big way.

Choose the middle path.

While fear of survival can get you moving, too much can paralyze you or make you sick. Don’t fast too much. Don’t let your bank account go too low. Don’t set goals you don’t have a chance of reaching.

The ego has all kinds of built-in mechanisms that can support you in your business, and fear of survival is one of them. You don’t have to think it’s wrong as a motivator, it’s actually very holy. But be conscious of how it works, and use survival with love and intention.

The best to you and your business,

Mark Silver

———— ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— –
Mark Silver is the author of Unveiling the Heart of Your
Business: How Money, Marketing and Sales can Deepen Your
Heart, Heal the World, and Still Add to Your Bottom Line.
He has helped hundreds of small business owners around
the globe succeed in business without losing their
hearts. Get three free chapters of the book online:
http://www.heartofbusiness.com

Dying Printed Media – Who Cares?

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Thanks to the advances in Technology, we see people using the Web for all kinds of reasons, primarily for getting entertained and informed. This obviously affects magazines and newspapers that depend on circulation numbers to survive. Recently it has been reported that many newspapers and magazines find it difficult to sustain their profits as the expenses to maintain their publication are relatively high. It is rather difficult to sustain existing personnel and continue paying bills when circulation numbers fall. So what are they doing about it?

Basically, the leading magazines and newspapers have made their moves long ago; it is only logical to follow technological advances and be there first. Making the move to the Web is unavoidable: people are looking for the digital equivalent of their favorite printed media in larger numbers. You have to be there to survive, otherwise you will lose your readers, it is that simple. Nowadays people go to the web and pickup newspaper
Web sites as their favorite page for their browser; they load RSS feeds with the latest news on their blackberry and other mobile phones. They get the news instantly, as it happens. For free. In the most ecological friendly manner. No waste of paper, no delay for the next days or weeks issue.

Is this worrying for printed media? For those that have not joined the ride yet it is. They must change their business and launch their electronic identical quickly, otherwise it will be over soon. Will they make money? It is a calculated science; with less to spend on ink and paper, and the low costs of maintaining their electronic equivalent, plus all those online advertising platforms that exist, it should be a struggle but there is opportunity.

What about the end consumer? People still use both printed and electronic media, but as technology gets perfected, they will be migrating from the former to the latter in increasingly larger numbers. The market responds slowly with some test devices like book readers (Amazon and Sony have made advances there), but
there is still no such device to allow a friendly reading of an electronic newspaper or magazine in all public places. When this brick falls into place and such technology becomes widespread, their will be little reason to buy paper issues as a consumer, and practically no reason to stay in conventional printing methods as a publisher.

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Dying Printed Media – Who Cares?
Copyright (c) 2009 Kostandinos Papahatzis
Economist Magazine Reviews
http://www.economis tmagazine- reviews.info/
Kostandinos Papahatzis is responsible for reviewing magazines and newspapers; my latest work was on Economist Magazine. I also have a related website for reviews for those who wish to purchase an
Economist subscription. http://www.economis tmagazine- reviews.info/

Connect With Your Clients

We have an important job. I’m not saying that because I know other financial services
professionals will be reading this article. I truly, deep down in my heart, believe it. We may be in a business dominated by numbers, rules and regulations, but when you get right down to
it, our business is dedicated to helping individuals and
families.

Get the Balance Right

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One of the questions I get most regularly from associates throughout our company is “how do I build a successful business and maintain a quality family life?” I don’t believe there is one perfect answer to that question because people’s circumstances and attitudes on this subject can vary substantially. I do think, however, there are some common sense things which my wife, Cindy, and I have done over the years to give us simultaneously a great family and business life.