A mistake we make in discussing leadership is that we pin the spiritual leader as only leading a church or family in spiritual matters. While it’s true that a spiritual leader might do this, a spiritual leader is also one who leads in a business.
This is because a spiritual leader is not defined as someone who deals strictly with faith. A spiritual leader is someone who incorporates their beliefs into all matters of life.
With this in mind, we shouldn’t say that Jesus was a spiritual leader because His work dealt with the spread of Christianity; rather, He was a spiritual leader because His beliefs informed every action in His life.
When our beliefs about the world inform our work, we lead more wholesome lives, lives that are truly more successful than those who don’t integrate their beliefs with the rest of their life.
This isn’t a success defined with money and prestige necessarily. Rather, it is a success that comes with leading a meaningful life.
Here are 6 reasons spiritual leaders can be more successful in life:
1. They know they can distance themselves from the noise.
Warren Buffett is known for saying, “The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.” Basically, the successful person is comfortable saying no to the matters that don’t contribute to their mission. They know how to filter through the noise. Yet, the unsuccessful person is someone who can’t filter the noise, and as a result, say yes to everything.
A spiritual leader knows they don’t have to contribute to everything. They are content with the silence. In fact, most spiritual practices incorporate a practice of being content to offer nothing to the noise. Silence is how spiritual leaders spend time with more important matters.
2. They incorporate intentional practices of slowing down.
A spiritual leader is concerned with finding peace throughout the day. This is why many leaders wake up early and do devotionals in the morning. They are concerned with sharpening themselves to face the day. An unspiritual leader might wake up early but get right into the rush of work, while the spiritual leader knows that their most optimal performance only comes after establishing peace.
3. They don’t feel the need to showcase their accomplishment.
Humility is a large part of spiritual practices, but it isn’t treasured in many cases outside spirituality. However, it should be valued in all cases, because many of us waste our time, attention, and energy trying to get others to notice our work rather than doing better with our work. Humility and secrecy is how we break free of the addiction to showcase our accomplishments, and focus on creating better victories instead.
4. They focus on the wellbeing of their employees, not just their output.
A benefit of cultivating one’s own spirituality is that they know how important it is for others to do the same. They know the health it brings to someone’s entire life. Because of this, they foster habits and practices that encourage not only output from their workers, but transformation. They are more inclined to care about their worker’s overall wellbeing, which in turn improves their workers commitment to the mission.
5. They measure success with internal features more than external ones.
Many of us measure success with numbers and statistics. Yet, the true success is not only an external matter. Most successes spill out from internal reservoirs, such as our belief in the project or our personal achievement in it.
The irony is, when we care more about the internal aspects of a success, we create better success than we would if we cared more for an external feature. For instance, when we are passionate for a project, we work harder for its success than we would if we were just putting it out there for the numbers or response from others. Spirituality, by discipline, teaches us that it is the heart that matters in many cases—not how people respond to what we do. Because of this, we create better success by first pouring all of ourselves into the project—not by catering it to fit mass popularity.
6. They understand life is not all about their work.
People with spirituality often have a bigger scope to life. They realize that life is much larger than their work, though it comes as a high priority in one’s life. Their scope typically includes how they respond to God in their daily dealings. Because of this larger scope, they allow for more grace and margin for errors in their life. They understand there is more to life than work when they commit a mistake at work. Giving themselves grace because of this scope keeps them healthy and guilt-free—the conditions necessary for making a difference.
While it’s true that anyone can be successful in life, letting your beliefs inform all aspects of your life helps establish the balance necessary for finding a deeper success—one that’s not defined by how much you do or have, but rather by the meaning you feel resonate in your life.
Beliefs add meaning to life. It’s time to apply those beliefs into our work so we can feel a deeper meaning there as well.
Photography by Mikaela Hamilton