I've been traveling in Vietnam for the last few weeks and have been impressed by the consistency of prayer and ritual in every shop or office. Walk into any establishment, you will typically find a small altar with burning incense and offerings to Buddha and/or Cai Shen. It made me aware of my own use of prayer relating to my business, and my observation of others who do the same in Western culture.
I have certainly witnessed on many occasions the following prayers by people I know:
• Praying to close that big deal.
• Praying to make payroll at the end of the month.
• Praying that your expensive new marketing campaign will work.
• Praying your employees will get it right this time.
• Praying your client won't see the big mistake you made.
• Praying that something not so good happens to your competitors.
But real prayer is about focus and discipline, traits that have great relevance to daily business performance. People of any religion who pray regularly use the dedicated time and ritual to organize their thoughts and feelings. Those who do so daily find meditative value in clearing their mind and grounding their soul, so they can deal with people in a strong, calm, and centered manner. Daily prayer gives you the space to focus on what is really important and at the same time mentally and emotionally prepares you for what ever is coming your way, be it challenge or opportunity. (Hint: It's always both and sometimes in the same occurrence.)
You don't need to be a religious fanatic or even believe in a particular god to use prayer effectively in business. Here are some basic components:
1. Be Thankful
Whether it's God, Buddha, Mother Earth, Allah, Ganesh, the Force or even just the universe around you, express your gratitude for the many wonders of the world and the fact that you get to enjoy them every day.
2. Be Humble
Acknowledge that no matter how successful you are or how many people you employ, you are a small part of something bigger. Accept that your role has impact and requires commitment to make the world a better place.
3. Be Hopeful
There is nothing wrong or selfish about asking the universe for good things to come your way. Prayer connects you with powerful forces to improve your life. But recognize that the universe is not Santa Claus. Ask for that which you are ready to be worthy and deserving.
4. Be Open
So often what I think I want turns out not to be what I really need. And what's more, had I received my original desire, I would never have experienced the events in my life I now treasure most. The universe has its own way of answering prayers. Express that you are open and ready to accept whatever comes and make the most of it.
People ask me all the time if prayer has contributed to my success over the years. It has indeed helped me through challenging times and also helped focus me in abundant times. Here is how I incorporate these prayer components into my own daily 10-minute ritual:
1. Being Jewish I begin with a powerful Hebrew prayer, which glorifies God and his kingdom (the world around me).
2. I then express gratitude for nature, my health, my family, and my friends, wishing them peace, good health and happiness.
3. I then say the following prayers related to business and goals:
• Praised be God, who shows me opportunities, and gives me the courage, strength, and wisdom to pursue them to their fullest extent.
• Praised be God, may you grant favorable results to my business, cash flow, and to all my deals and transactions.
• Praised be God, may you support me in my pursuit of the Awesome Experience.
Prayer is obviously very personal and individual. For some, discussion of a religious subject is taboo when it comes to business. But you don't need to proselytize to benefit from faith and prayer in your daily business life. Just find 10 minutes a day by yourself to focus your soul and be at one with the universe.
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