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Mindset Fundamentals for the Christian Entrepreneur
Monday, January 8, 2007 at 03:17PM
by Tim Darnell, President and Founder of Advantage Conferences
My entrepreneurial journey is guided by my personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God’s Word in Scripture. There are fundamental premises that I have discovered along the way that are profound, foundational truths for Christian business people. What I am about to share with you are some of the main components of my thinking that I know will have a tremendously rewarding impact on your business and life.
MP – Most people
Champions – success minded Christian winners who have “set out” on their entrepreneurial journey.
1. Christian Champions define themselves by their relationship to Christ and clearly defined Godly principles and ideals, and are directed by their resolve to improve the world. They are inner directed rather than circumstances directed. They are vision directed rather than visually directed. They are positive and hopefully expectant even amidst seasons of roaming in the desert. They operate according to a higher standard and higher goals than MPs do. They don’t choose their actions based on what is expedient, but rather on what is Godly and right.
They see the big picture for the long term; and their destiny as intertwined with their contribution to society and God’s direction for their life.
2. Money is good, not evil.
There is a mostly unspoken, but truly ridiculous widespread societal notion held by MPs that wealth is evil, money is dirty, and wealthy people are bad. None of these generally held, subconscious ideas are true. On the contrary, money is the resource that builds and sustains orphanages, churches, charities, hospitals, missionary trips, and all sorts of good and important institutions. The more we produce, the more we are able to fund worthwhile projects, build institutions that help mankind, and service needs throughout our communities and the world. When needs arise and we have proactively created increasingly larger access to resources, the more problems we can solve and the more needs we can help fill.
Money is only evil when it is pursued for greedy purposes.
When it is used for God’s kingdom, it is an important “cog” in establishing His purposes.
3. When we change our thinking, we change our results.
You can change your thinking for better results. The fact is, you can be much wealthier within a relatively short period of time. This is a simple premise, but a notion that MPs reject. The fact is, you don’t have to continue your life at the same income level you’ve been stuck at over the last five or ten years. It is your thinking that has you locked in, and has kept you from amplifying your current income by double, triple, ten times or even more.
No program, no DVD collection, no real estate book – nothing I can say or teach you will help you until you can positively embrace the notion that you deserve to be and can be wealthier for the sake of your family and God’s kingdom. That is the first step in achieving a more powerful financial status – believing you can, should, and will reach a greater level of income.
4. We have an obligation to produce at a higher level, make more money, and continually become more resourceful. Profit is not a dirty word. It is a noble result of offering value to the marketplace. People tend to be stuck in middle class because they model their lives based on what they see everybody else doing. But being middle class is being “other” directed. It is born of wanting to fit in and be accepted. It doesn’t match up with the potential God gives you. MPs never think long and hard about what type of income and lifestyle they should lead. They simply allow their income to happen based on what job they can find or based on what everybody else is making. The latter is not a good mark to strive for because most people are broke.
“Barely getting by” is not acceptable. Mediocrity is anathema.
Taking care of our families and being able to ‘stand in the gap’ when others are suffering or in need is the responsible way to live. Money is simply a universally accepted resource that “gets the job done”. Not having money is a condition that can be endured with joy; but poverty or mediocrity is not a condition that is at all to be desired or vaunted as noble.
5. We have the fiduciary obligation to risk at higher levels and thereby deal in larger amounts of money. If we don’t risk, we will never achieve anything other than the ordinary. Faith allows us to risk. Faith replaces the trepidation that accompanies risk. We must learn to operate by faith instead of fear.
A “fear” perspective keeps us operating in terms of “minimums”, rather than at “optimum” levels. Making faith based as opposed to fear based decisions, allows us to accomplish extraordinary good for society.
6. Your business WILL succeed over the long haul.
Most people don’t attempt great things for fear of failure. If MPs really thought they would have a more fulfilling life and that their attempt at a business truly would work, they would start their own business and commit to their entrepreneurial journey. The rewards of independence in terms of time, finances, worship, travel, and giving are much more likely to happen as the owner of a business. Successful people understand that business does work given consistent effort for sustained periods of time and that though that effort will often stretch you, it will also immeasurably reward you.
7. Failure is an ongoing part of every success. Champion Entrepreneurs never pull back or hesitate based on the fear of failure.
They know that nothing worthwhile is accomplished without multiple failures. The difference for Christian champions versus MPs is the willingness to move forward in spite of obstacles, failures, and difficulties. In fact, if you are not experiencing some sort of obstacles and failure every day, you’re not building a business – you are not committed to a successful endeavor. Failures are the expected, yet brief delays that absolutely MUST occur in the progression of achieving the extraordinary.
8. Accomplishment requires Continuous Giving on the part of the Christian entrepreneur - from the beginning and for the duration. Champions never stop giving. They never begrudge having to give and contribute. In fact, Christian winners are intent on being successful so that they can give more!
A word that winners do not avoid, but rather embrace, is the word, “pay”. We are not afraid to pay. That includes “paying the price”, “paying more” and “paying often”. MP’s are highly reluctant to pay, and many avoid “paying” at all costs. A great example of this mentality is evidenced at restaurants, where champions expect to pay the bill where MPs avoid the bill. Entrepreneurs request that the waiter/waitress bring the check to them prior to ordering.
MPs hope someone else will take responsibility for the check. They simply avoid the responsibility.
9. Business should not be attempted by people who are desperate for money or who are afraid of money. So often, we see people who really need money, but will never have any consequential amount because they are subconsciously afraid of money. The fear of money will keep money at a distance.
Fear of paying, as mentioned in point 8 above, is the twin sister to fear of money. Negativity regarding money as discussed in point number 2 sets up an invisible chasm that separates MPs from money.
The problem with fearing money and being desperate for money is that people can sense both of these conditions a mile away, and will not follow that person’s attempt to influence, attract, or lead.
10. Money is not you. People who trade hours for dollars spend a lifetime of their waking hours devoted to making money and wrongfully become overly attached to it. They subconsciously become unable to separate the sacrifice and hours invested in achieving their paycheck (money) from themselves. This sets up reluctance to part with the money they have – a condition I fondly call, financial constipation. MPs associate their money with their effort, time, commitment and pain, into which they’ve put so much personal investment that they aren’t willing to let it go. Entrepreneurs understand that money has nothing to do with their self. Money is an extraneous tool to use, not a part of them. One must learn to willingly let go of money for it to be effective.
You must learn to distinguish money as separate it from yourself.
11. Money must circulate. Money must first go out and then come in – a “give and take revolution”. The frequency of the circulation (number of revolutions) increases wealth for the Christian entrepreneur.
Christian entrepreneurs open doors for their own business by constantly and increasingly circulating money in other businesses (vendors), employees, and the Church.
12. Being more financially productive enables the Christian entrepreneur to be LESS attached to money. Money is a terrible master; and it tends to be more of a master when there is less of it. Being a successful business owner with established cash flow and investments enables you to think less about money and focus more on important areas of life
– serving God, worship, family, recreation, travel, athletics, hobbies, etc.
13. Success is accomplished in God’s timing. Success is catalyzed by risk, achieved through tenacity, and sustained through vigilance. Success will be attained to the degree that the Christian entrepreneur faithfully follows and relies upon God and trusts without reservation in 1. God’s guiding hand; 2. his/her own talents, will, and ability; and 3. the viability of the product and enterprise. The events, the rewards, the progression of their business – the entire timing of our lives is in God’s hands. The Christian entrepreneur must never bemoan results, but rather push forward in joy, assuredness, and positive expectancy knowing the results will occur.
14. Christian Entrepreneurs embrace abundance and reject scarcity
. Knowing that Christ came so that we would live more abundantly, we also know that we can do all things through Him who strengthens us. Scarcity is an un-Godly concept. It is a rejection of God’s kingdom, His promises, His Word, and His reality. Champions know that there is enough to go around for all and thereby don’t participate in or see business as a “dog-eat-dog” competition. In fact, the Champion will go out of his/her way to help everybody, even his/her competitors.
Always remember, when you know the Creator of the universe, you become convinced and aware of God’s abundance - that there is plenty to go around for everyone!
15. Champions refuse to shrink back. They don’t pass the buck of responsibility on to others. They don’t hesitate due to fear, d-o-u-b-t, or worry. They relish responsibility and simply search for the inevitable solutions that are inherent in every problem and difficulty. They don’t play “small ball”, but constantly move forward, building for the bigger arena, the bigger game, and the solid Win / Win for everyone.
16. God owns the silver and gold. It’s all His. He created it. Money and wealth are ours to briefly “handle”, not possess. What we do with our talents and the money we come in contact with is a test of our acknowledgement of His “ownership” and our “rental”. When we figure this proper relationship out, we realize that the popular notion of “tithing” is a very limited way to treat the wealth we are so graciously and mercifully given. We will only have money for a brief time and we can’t take it with us. It is not to be treated in a cavalier way. It is precious, but not because we can buy stuff for ourselves or that currency has any value on its own. No, it is precious because we can use it mightily for Him. Tithing should be the lowest consideration. When we seek first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33), we know, know, know, know – that we will be taken care of totally, and therefore have no trepidation in giving what we don’t really own to worthwhile, Godly projects.