A Bodey in Motion

Building momentum, one step at a time

Ziglar’s Wheel of Life

How many times have I referenced the Wheel, and yet I’ve never really explained it or why I value it so much.*
Ziglar’s Wheel reminds us of the importance of leading a balanced life. Seven categories, all valuable and all needing a portion of our attention. You can’t spend too much of your time in just one area without repercussions. Ignore any one category entirely, and be prepared to suffer loss well beyond it.

Think of each area of the Wheel as the sides of a container – like a barrel or a cistern – that you’re trying to fill. You’re going to find capacity limited to the height of the side that you’ve built up the least. And if you spend no time building up any one category, you won’t be able to fill it at all, no matter how tall the remaining sides are.

Now, at the risk of sacrificing that analogy, I do have one criticism of the Wheel. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a great tool, and you would do well to implement it just as it is. When I’m setting up goals for the future (whether it’s for one year, five years or thirty years) I always use the Wheel as my primary structure. But there’s a danger inherent to it’s design that requires me to make one change when I think about it:

Everything is spiritual. Being spiritual isn’t something that can be contained within four poorly drawn boundaries. And it’s true that each category can overlap with the others here and there, but, if you dig down, being spiritual actually encompasses every category.

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

– Colossians 3:17

  • Career – When we are working, the products and services we produce are serving other people, even when a profit is earned. Being diligent and honest and glad in our work is pleasing to God. Finding and pursuing the career that best suits you is a spiritual endeavor. (Proverbs 22:6)
  • Financial – The money we have been given throughout our lives, no matter amount or the source, is a responsibility for us to manage and improve. Being financially responsible to our families and the future is spiritual. (Matthew 25:14-30)
  • Social – Other people are in our lives to give us opportunities to serve one another. To be generous. To challenge one another and grow together. Becoming amicable, and having a growing circle of friends is spiritual. (Proverbs 18:1)
  • Intellectual – Becoming wise doesn’t come from being anti-intellectual. We should be constantly learning. We shouldn’t fear math, or science, or literature, or art, or history. Just like money, our mind is a resource to manage and grow. Seeking wisdom and knowledge is spiritual. (Proverbs 18:15)
  • Physical – And our body is a resource we’ve been given to manage, too. Being physically strong and healthy is spiritual (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
  • Family – Is your spouse a healthier, better, holier person because of your marriage? Are you serving them? What about your kids? Do you know why they’re in your life? Being a responsible parent, and fulfilling your role in marriage is spiritual. (Ephesians 5:33)

Of course, that doesn’t mean we can neglect spiritual things and just build up each of those other categories. We have to spend a equal amount of time focused strictly on the spiritual in our lives. We need to make some goals around growing spiritually. It can help, though, if we teach ourselves the right approach to each of the other areas of our life, so they can accentuate that growth.

So, go build your life. Be honest about which categories could use some work, and set some goals to improve them. Gain some balance and become a fuller person. And remember that it’s all a part of loving God.

* No, really. How many times have I mentioned it and linked to it? Go find out and post it in the comments.

May 21, 2013 Posted by | Christ and Church, Marriage and Family, Past and Future, Work and Money | , , , , | 3 Comments

Believe in the Dignity and Morality of Business

(This covers the first chapter from Rabbi Daniel Lapin‘s book Thou Shall Prosper. Each chapter is one part of a set of core principles that approach business and money as spiritual practices, referred to as the ‘Ten Commandments for Making Money.’ We’re covering the first ‘Commandment’ here. My plan is to go through all ten. You can find out more in this post discussing my thoughts on the book. All quotes, unless otherwise attributed, come from the book.)

Making money is much harder if, deep down, you suspect it to be a morally reprehensible activity.

It’s impossible to succeed and thrive if you believe the work you are doing is inherently immoral. Who we are and how we earn our living must be willingly woven together in our minds. Being one person at work and another in your social life with no connection between the two except the drive to and from your place of business will stunt your financial and spiritual health. If you have trouble with that statement, it’s probably because you believe one of these two myths:

1. You’re not in business for yourself. The truth is we’re all in business. We’re all self-employed. Some of us have chosen to limit our contracts to one client (by becoming an ’employee’) but we all have skills and abilities that make us mobile in the market-place. (e.g. A teacher who feels restricted in the education system today can become a specialized tutor tomorrow.) If you can no longer see the nobility and worthiness of those skills and abilities, then you likely see your current position as a trap that you can’t escape. Realizing you are truly in business for yourself releases that trap, and gets you back on the road to growth.

2. Activities that earn a profit aren’t moral, let alone spiritual. The truth is when you are engaging in a voluntary exchange of goods and services, each dollar bill you earn is a certificate of appreciation from your customer for the good or service you provide. Attending to the needs of others with honor and diligence is a moral action, despite there being a price tag attached. Also, if you’re an ’employee,’ try to remember that you’re still engaging in voluntary exchange. You voluntarily filled out the application, you voluntarily show up each day, and you can choose to quit at any moment. You are performing a moral action.

As for the spiritual aspect of profitable work…

“In the Hebrew language there is no word for spiritual. […] The assumption is that you are a fusion of two realms, and a human being occupies a totally unique place in the entire universe. How you handle your money. How you handle relationships. Sexuality. Forgiveness. Reconciliation. Business. School. Work. Play. Recreation. Everything we do, we do as an integrated being. 100% physical. 100% spiritual.” [emphasis added]

– Rob Bell, Everything is Spiritual.

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

– Colossians 3:17

… and remember Jesus’ Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30). Some have taken it as only applying to the handling of one’s spiritual gifts, but there is no doubt that the story can more directly apply to the activity of business pleasing the ‘Master.’ God has given us the ability to create and earn wealth, so it follows that in doing so we can engage our heart and spirit in a way that places us in His presence. An act of worship.

To wrap up, here are some quotes from the chapter that jumped out at me:

If feeling passion and pride for my work helps me talk enthusiastically about what I do, so does talking excitedly about my work increase the passion and pride I feel for it.

Rabbi Lapin makes these kinds of almost algebraic statements at several points throughout the text. It appeals to the math nerd in me, which is nice, but this has proven true in psychological studies as well. Emotion follows behavior as much as behavior follows emotion.

Ancient Jewish wisdom insists that approval of our friends is an important aid to a person’s business success; and likewise, people are stimulated and encouraged by their friends’ approval.

Deep within traditional Jewish culture lies the conviction that the only real way to achieve wealth is to attend diligently to the needs of others and to conduct oneself in an honorable and trustworthy fashion.

We must all understand that in a free, transparent, and honest marketplace, you cannot make the money in the first place without benefiting other people. If you subsequently choose to give money away, that is fine but it is not the justification for making money.

You must come to see that part of your goodness, part of the benefit you bring to others is your daily conduct in operating your business enterprise. Whether you work in forestry, pharmaceuticals, or other industries that incur the wrath of culture, whether you make widgets or run a small flower shop, you must understand the nobility inherent in going to work each day. The rule is that people seldom excel at any occupation that deep down they consider unworthy; and even if they are neutral about the morality of business, that neutrality is a weak reed on which to build success.

No matter what you do, the odds are that you are in business, and it is much tougher to succeed if, deep inside, you lack respect for the dignity and the morality of business. If the heads of Fortune 500 companies are being excoriated as immoral exploiters, so are you. The difference is only one of degree.

That’s my take on Rabbi Lapin’s First Commandment for Making Money. Keep looking here for my thoughts on the Second Commandment: Extend the Network of Your Connectedness to Many People. It should be up some time later this week. Feel free to comment and share your thoughts and questions about this chapter, whether you’ve read the book or not.

November 7, 2010 Posted by | Read and Reviewed, Work and Money | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment