Be A Spider (4 Wise Moves for Entrepreneurs)

This blog post sponsored in part by the yummy food, great service and free Wifi at Gilbert’s on 17th Street Grill

Even though I’m a writer and creative consultant, I’m a scientist at heart. Most of my work comes from the revelations I have while studying nature and physics.

By David Maiolo (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By David Maiolo [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

On a walk the other day, I saw a huge banana spider suspended between a tree and a building. There was evidence in its web that it had already eaten a few creatures, and it was busy rebuilding the holes that were left.

On another tree close by sat an iguana.

Well, I thought, the iguana will have a healthy dinner.

But then I looked at the spider in the web again and realized I was wrong. There were four things that the spider had going for it that every risk-averse entrepreneur could learn.

1. Make your way by your strength.

Most spiders eat what they catch in their web. Others build traps and eat what gets caught there. Here’s the key: What they build sustains them. The most successful entrepreneurs aren’t selling someone else’s products. Build on the things that sustain you.

2. Know what is your bread and butter.

Spiders eat insects. So they build their webs where insects are: flying between trees, or in dusty corners of your house. Spiders test their success by what they catch—so even if a spider mistakenly builds a web across your doorway, once you walk through it, you’ll never see that spider web there again. If you’re not catching anything where you are, move.

3. Take a calculated risk.

Contrary to Spiderman’s web-slinging in the comics, spiders don’t shoot silk out to build webs across a space. They fling themselves out there, spinning silk behind themselves during flight. Even baby spiders build tiny little parachutes in a process called ballooning (aww) after they hatch and fling themselves into the wind to find new homes. They do that so that they can test the viability of the places they attach their web to. You can’t judge your market or your products with theory. You’ve got to get out there. One of the first things I tell my clients to do is look at what’s already working— but to use that to push themselves deeper into their market. I talk about that on my TEDxTalk here.

4. Stay on the Web.

The spider’s best strength is on the web. Its food gets caught there. It has a great vantage point on its environment. And the spider’s legs are so sensitive to it that any movement on the web alerts the spider immediately. That iguana would have to leap off of the tree in order to catch the spider… unless the spider comes off the web. Once you’ve found the work you are good at, get better at it. Use the gifts and strengths you’ve been given to protect yourself.

And here’s a bonus tip!

5. Have faith in the world around you.

Spiders that are ballooning were at first thought to plan their trajectory. After many years of research, scientists concluded that they don’t really have a plan. They just know they need to move, and move farther than they can jump. When you understand who you are, and what your strengths are, don’t be afraid to jump into the world. Wherever you land, you’ll bring all of that with you.

Be a spider. Just don’t get caught in my hair.

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Faith in the Real World

If you’re familiar with any spiritual teaching at all, you’ve heard of faith. It’s the substance of religion and spirituality.

fingers crossed

Have a little faith (and cross your fingers)!

Why do people who live in the midst of a material and physical world spend time, energy and money in the pursuit of the intangible, and many times, transitory? They have faith.

What is faith? It’s defined as belief in something without evidence or proof. Its word origin is more closely linked to the word “trust”.

Is that really true for you?

Do you really trust whatever god it is that you serve?

Many Christian songs talk about God’s deliverance, saying it’s been there before. But that’s based on past evidence. Who’s to say a new time, with different conditions, will produce the same results?

If your faith is only based on past experience, then at your core, you will have this question too. Past experience is not a true indication of present performance. Even in your own life, you know that the things you’ve done in the past may change now. Scientists don’t consider anything they’ve done a discovery until they can replicate it several times.

Faith based on past experience will be shaky. You know that’s the kind of faith you have if, throughout your entire journey, you have a roller coaster ride of emotions.

If you pray (or vision or plan) and while acting towards your goal, you are worried and fretting and frustrated, that’s not faith.

That’s force.

Faith is easy. It’s connected to an inner position of confidence. Faith in the real world isn’t just based on the intangible. It’s based on inner knowing.

It’s not just trust in God. It’s trust in yourself. If you’re not there yet, keep up the spiritual practice, and get to know yourself better.

The Surprising Reason You’re Sick

Yuck. Sick again? Photo credit: Andriana Mereuta

Yuck. Sick again?
Photo credit: Andriana Mereuta

Recently, I’ve been sick. Being both an entrepreneur and a teacher, illness is no joke.

In my spiritual practice, it’s even more serious. Our bodies’ natural tendency is toward health and growth. You see that in nature. Grass, plants and trees have to be cut to maintain a certain look, and even then, they must be cut on a continual basis. If you’re sick, you’ve wandered away from a consciousness of God.

Your immunity is your body’s system of resilience. Immunity is “exemption from obligation, service, duty or liability; being insusceptible to disease or punishment.” It is your body’s way of maintaining integrity in the face of anything that is contrary to what you are supposed to be.

Now, you can take this one of two ways:

1) A compromised immunity can be a punishment from God: you’re sick because you forgot you were God’s child. If I feel I’m a smart person, then that could be embarrassing. People who believe this don’t show up for Sunday service when they’re sick, and they stay away from our Bible studies and prayer meetings.

or…

2) A compromised immunity is a warning from your heart: you’re sick because you’ve taken on obligations, duties and liabilities that weren’t yours to begin with. Your energy is being spent on the wrong things, and it’s time to make some choices. In that case, you reach out to your circle of friends, spiritual partners and spiritual teachers for support, and you look within for guidance. You practice extreme self-care and enter what I call a “no-guilt zone.”

I chose the latter.

My sickness reminded me so much of my natural state of being that I looked through everything in my life that I felt obligated to, uneasy about, punished by and liable for. Anything that wasn’t true to who I am called to be was up for debate. Anything that didn’t contribute to my bliss didn’t make the cut. Even while sick, I wrote my blogs, and I taught my classes. I mentored and planned events. I went to the beach and spent time with people I love.

We can’t fear sickness. Sickness is a tool for growth. A tree with damaged limbs must be pruned so it can bear fruit. (Like this quote? Click here to share it on Twitter.)

If you’re sick, don’t just recommit to your physical health. Use the time of self-care to look at the mental, emotional and relational obligations that compromise your integrity. Then, choose joy. Even if your physical healing isn’t immediate, your true healing will begin.

What about you? Do you muddle through sickness, or is it a time of self-reflection?

If You’re Here, You’re Nearly There

I teach a class called Your Hidden Potential.

How do you know you're on the way?

You’re on the right track.
Photo credit: Pinellas Transit Authority

In it, I train professionals in very diverse career fields to use the true power available to them no matter what position they have– and no matter where they are financially or socially.

I use lots of analogies but my favorites revolve around storytelling.

If you understand your life’s story on a larger scale, the possibilities that open to you are tremendous. But most of us are only seeing what’s immediately in front of us.

I used to be that way — especially when it came to morning traffic.

Every morning, at a certain point in my route, there is a major bottleneck and traffic slows to a crawl. I hate traffic of any kind. In my next life, I’m going to be a Nascar driver so I can have an excuse to speed on an open road. But I digress…

The bottleneck happens every morning. There’s nothing to be done about it. At first, I used to get anxious that I’d get to work late. EVERY DAY. But soon, I figured out how to schedule my morning… and I’d be on time. Right after the bottleneck subsides, it’s nine minutes before I get to work.

We want the bottleneck to disappear. But it’s a landmark on the road to work. If I get there, it mean’s I’m nearly there.

So it is with our own lives.

You’ll encounter obstacles on the way to your fantastic life. How you meet them determines where you go and how fast you get there. The obstacles build your strength. They test your character. Sometimes, they even tell you who to let go of on the way to your brilliance.

Every hero must test her mettle before moving towards the prize– and the great news is– if you’re being tested, your prize is around the corner.

If you’re here, you’re nearly there.

What do you think?

Ever confronted a challenge and later realized it was just what you needed to get you to the next level? Comment below or hit the Facebook page and check in.

Hidden Success in the Corporate Workplace

“How do you do it?” she asked.

One of my coworkers had approached me.

Amen

Amen.
Photo credit: Andriana Mereuta

“What?” I asked.

“How do you stay so cheerful?”

We both work in a high-stress, high-stakes environment with constant changes in priority—and one urgent issue after another.

Wow, I thought.

“It’s an inside job, “ I said. “If I paid attention to outer stuff, I’d be insane.”

That’s what I said.

What I meant was: I’m a spiritual woman who prays and listens to inspirational things, surrounds herself with like-minded people and trusts God to guide me so I feel connected to something that gives all this stress greater meaning.

But if I said it was God that would have started a conversation that I didn’t want to have right at that moment.

Because leaving things up to an invisible force is counterintuitive in a world that lauds superachievement and serial entrepreneurship.

Prayer and spiritual study is not seen as real work.  Those of us who are spiritual know that is a lie.

You can live exactly as you have been living right now if you do nothing. In fact, that’s what happens with most people. We see what exists, believe that is all there is, and live life within that worldview.

Every inspired, progressive life– every corporate success story– started with the person believing in something that did not exist yet and working to make it possible.

What is that if it isn’t spiritual?

The legendary Steve Jobs envisioned touchscreen technology, and made it a reality. It didn’t exist until he made it so.

What is that if it isn’t spiritual?

If you listen to the media, people who follow “God” are Westboro Baptists, extreme Zionists and suicide bombers. And “spiritual” people use crystals and channeled messages. I feel obligated to separate myself from those categories– but then I know that isn’t the majority.

I think we need better marketing.

A well-run business follows certain principles, but it’s made innovative when the person running it works those principles to make something greater.

We suffer when we hide the parts of us that are the most vital. My spirituality is the reason I live the life I do – and why I can work where I do and be the blessing that I am. My spirituality, like that of many others, is inclusive and inspirational. It opens my heart and encourages me to serve others. I follow certain principles in order to be part of something greater.

I’m coming out. I’m spiritual, and I do business in the corporate marketplace. How about you?