Could your religious or spiritual beliefs limit your business growth? This past week, this came up in a session with a client. Recently I’ve written about how ethnicity, nationality or family beliefs affect how we lead and grow our businesses here and here. It’s a common theme in my coaching  with small business owners, particularly when they are about to transform their businesses. Fear makes us tell ourselves some crazy stories that somehow don’t sound crazy in our heads.

That’s really the trigger though, isn’t it? It’s the same for me too. Writing this post feels risky because I’m bringing up one of the “no-no’s” of conversation. I’ve got a story wandering around my head about how you’re not supposed to talk about religion or spirituality if you want to be taken seriously in business.

We all have stories in our heads about what we think is appropriate. We cloak our self-limiting beliefs in a lot of guises. Some of us have gender stories like “nice girls do…” or “a real man does…” Some of us have stories that have class distinctions about what “real” work is and what it means to be rich, poor, or middle class. These get activated when we set a goal that brings us closer to our heart’s desirSpirituality and businesse.

But what about our spiritual or religious beliefs? What role do they play? This is powerful stuff! There is something primal about the struggle between good and evil and the search for transcendence. If you couple these beliefs with messages that you are not good enough, a fraud, or undeserving, it’s hard to differentiate the intersection between your limiting beliefs and your spiritual beliefs. A lot of the clients I work with have a Christian background so I hear themes that center on being poor is closer to God or that one must atone for mistakes forever. My clients who practice Buddhism often describe a separation between their spiritual practice and the day-to-day operations of their small businesses. It almost sounds like their awareness shuts off in the business arena.

So, where is the “Truth”? It’s not in marrying your anxious thoughts and feelings with your spiritual beliefs. It’s not even  in compartmentalizing when and where you act on your spiritual beliefs. Many spiritual practices encourage compassion. This is also found in Humanism, New Age and pagan traditions. Some, including Christianity and Buddhism, teach one to be detached from egotistical wants and desires. What keeps us from extending these gifts to ourselves? Bottom line, we’re afraid of what we truly are.

We waste a lot of energy and time worrying. It’s human to feel scared when you decide to up your revenues to six figures or (gasp) seven or higher. It’s human to feel scared about offering your customer new products or services that will change your business model. And it’s human to feel scared about taking on the mantle of industry leader. It’s no big surprise that it’s also human to find excuses and reasons why we can’t fulfill our mission that thrilled us so when we wrote our executive summary.

Do we have to go public with our beliefs? That’s the ego again, right? It’s less about the public expression and more about the inner process that advises how we lead our businesses. See, religious or spiritual practices don’t limit business growth unless you’re thinking of doing something unethical. The answer is pretty clear there. Most people aren’t going to turn into players. We think we will but we won’t. That’s the fear telling a story again so we don’t take action. Most of us are decent, hardworking people seeking to make the world a better place. We just need to stop and rethink our theology or spiritual paradigm. The Universe, Source, God, or however you name that Energy that is so profound is there to sustain, encourage and challenge us to be the best people we can be. That’s it.

Imagine what would happen if we let go of our fear…