What is The Spirit of Business

How can entrepreneurs and business owners create and run a thriving, sustainable business and thoroughly enjoy life at the same time?

 

Sarah:
This is the Spirit of Business episode number one. What is the Spirit of Business with Matt Murphy and Sarah McCrum.

Matt:
Welcome Sarah to the Spirit of Business

Sarah:
And welcome Matt to the Spirit of Business.

Matt:
What is the Spirit of Business?

Sarah:
I think that’s the big question. Do you want to start us off? I think you’ve been doing some dictionary research.

Matt:
Yes, I have. I like to understand the meaning of words because it helps provide clarity around what we’re really going to be talking about. And the definition of the spirit means that the non-physical part of a person which seats emotion and character, is known as a soul. And so then I did some more research on what’s the definition of a soul? And that’s the spiritual or immaterial part of being regarded as immortal. It’s the emotional, intellectual energy or intensity, especially revealed in a work of art or artistic performance. So it’s interesting when you start to look at those two words of spirit and soul go together, and what they actually mean. And so when I start to think about the spirit and the Spirit of Business, I put the two things together, looking for definition and saying, well, the Spirit of Business really is the emotional, intangible energy or character of a person, which is really the business owner, which is revealed in business, which really is the work of art. So that’s kind of how I thought that it was a really great way of explaining what the Spirit of Business is.

Sarah:
So in a way, to go back to the definition, what you are saying is that the spirit of the business is that bit of the business almost that you can’t see. But, I noticed that it used the word immortal. So it’s the bit that lives beyond the physical part of the business. And then it’s expressed through the physical day to day activities, which is like creating a work of art, a business is actually a work of art, it’s a contribution, something that you create and give to the world.

Matt:
It is. And to really look at the definition of a business, a business has a life of its own and so therefore it creates a legacy. It’s beyond the business owner, but really I see it’s an expression of the business owner in the first place, is the way that I see the spirit of the business, which then manifests into a lot of other things.

Sarah:
Yes, it’s a really fascinating way of looking at it and it speaks to that feeling. I always look at the feeling of it when I say the Spirit of Business, I feel the way that it calls us. It’s aspirational. It calls us to be the best of ourselves and to create the best business that we can.

Matt:
So why are we sitting here having a chat and talking about the Spirit of Business, what’s this all about? And it comes back from the philosophy and purposes that we have individually, in terms of the life work that I’ve done and the life work that you’ve done, in terms of supporting similar types of people, which are business owners and businesses. And the good part about it is we want to achieve the same result, but we come up from different perspectives. So your philosophy on and basis for a lot of your work, Sarah, is energy. So energy’s the core to the success of people realizing and fulfilling a better life. Did you want to elaborate a little bit more about that part of the work that you’ve done?

Sarah:
Yes, when I think about it really simply, I realize that my energy or your energy, it’s very simple, it’s both how I feel and it’s also my capacity. And so in business, how you feel and feeling good obviously is great if you’re in business and having capacity to produce, which is what businesses are doing all the time, that’s actually what your energy is. And I work with energy all the time, so I’m just constantly helping people to expand their capacity and also to feel good while they’re doing it. That’s the energy piece for me.

Matt:
Yes, and my background is being an accountant and a business owner and running accounting firms and looking after businesses. It’s a lot more from the perspective of guiding business owners to realize their goals and aspirations in business, but ultimately to have a better life. So business as a vehicle to be able to help achieve that. So the conversations we’ve had over many years together has been very much around the dynamic between energy and having a better life and navigating through the complexity of business, which is always a very difficult thing to do. It creates different perspectives around solving problems for business owners that are difficult and we’re coming on it from different angles. So I love the fact that we have this dynamic of conversation between us where we come from different angles, but we get ultimately the same result, which is a better life for business owners.

Sarah:
And it’s interesting that in fact we both are really interested in solving difficult problems. You solve them from the business angle, which relates to people’s energy. I solve them from the energy angle, which relates to people’s business. So there’s a huge area of overlap, although we have such different starting points.

Matt:
Yes, that’s the thing that I like and that’s why we’re really here together. And our purpose for this particular podcast is really creating a communication medium and to discuss the issues faced by business owners to provide a different perspective and greater clarity for the purpose of a better life.

Sarah:
This is better life, better life, better life, better life.

Matt:
It is a better life.

Sarah:
In business.

Matt:
Because it’s all about creating thriving, sustainable businesses in a rapidly changing world where the business owners are enjoying every aspect of their life.

Sarah:
And that’s quite a big ask from my experience, and I know from your experience, everybody would love to enjoy business and everybody would love to enjoy life, but it’s really easy to say the words. It’s not so easy to actually do that. It’s actually easier to run a business and do the numbers and do your sales and do all of that stuff than it is to enjoy it. But if you don’t enjoy it, what’s the point? So bringing enjoyment in is very important here.

Matt:
And I find the work that I’ve done, especially lately is connecting the business owner back into their business when they’ve been disconnected over a period of time, is around the word purpose and really what is business purpose at the end of the day. And we’ve had that conversation before and really it’s expressing the spirit of business.

Sarah:
Which is rather like being a human being, what’s the purpose of being a human being? It’s really to express your spirit, your deep values, that part of you that’s going to live on beyond you. The business is the same. There’s this intangible part that is the legacy. It goes beyond the people and the activities that the business does every day. And if we express that through business, we talked about business being like a work of art, then the business is fulfilling its purpose and it’s becoming the best business it can be of its type.

Matt:
Well, while we’re talking about purpose, it’s probably worthwhile talking about our individual purposes. So from my point of view, I’ve spent most of my life, my purpose is helping business owners achieve the reason why they went into business the first place. So their goals and aspirations. So that’s been a lot of my life’s work. On a personal level, my personal purpose is working with cool people, doing cool stuff, with the impact of a better life. I know that sounds interesting from the perspective of using the word cool. Because what does cool really mean at the end of the day? And when I break that down, I think well, cool people to me are people that are what I call plain clothes rebels. And they’re typically business owners because they’re people that look like and present like normal people. They’re not dressed up in black and riding motorcycles, although some business owners do that, but they’re predominantly not accepting the status quo. They’re not accepting the mediocrity. They’re looking to push the boundaries and create something unique and special. And there’s a big driver for that. And so working with cool people that are trying to do that is really inspirational for me. And that’s my happy place is to be working with those types of people. And I’ve spent my life doing that. Doing cool stuff for me is actually solving difficult issues that provides clarity. There’s a mastery involved in that and I get a real sense of achievement by being able to do those sorts of things. But really the greatest sense of achievement that I get and being on purpose for me and connecting my purpose is around helping people have a better life. Okay. And that I use business and business is my strength, but the business is a vehicle or a vessel to be able to then provide the elements of a great life. And that’s really what motivates me to sit here and chat to you about this for the purpose of really helping other people with that goal. In terms of your purpose and your work, Sarah, is it worthwhile having a chat about that?

Sarah:
Yes, I think the thing that has driven me really for my whole life, even when I was a teenager, I can see that, is this feeling that there’s a freedom, there’s a liberation we can experience in our spirit. I actually use the words liberation of the human spirit. And it’s not just about my spirit, it’s not just about me being free, but it’s being surrounded by other people who are experiencing that too. So, it’s that kind of deep liberation that interests me. And also, I talk about radical abilities like liberating our radical abilities. I’m a really big believer in the potential and the power of human beings to do amazing things. And I think that we’ve often been dumbed down to some extent by education and kind of mass consciousness. And I want to see people doing things that they could never imagine they could do, solving problems they didn’t think they could solve, becoming a person who they perhaps didn’t imagine they can become. So that’s what’s really important to me and that’s what I love doing on a day to day basis.

Matt:
Which is kind of similar to mine in terms of, I call it working with cool people. Really that’s what you’re doing. You’re working with cool people that are able to then express a full life with what they’re doing.

Sarah:
Yes, and I think especially, I’m particularly interested in people who are willing to show up to deal with the big problems, and willing to show up consciously. So to solve problems in a way where they don’t just do the formula, they don’t just do what everybody else does because it’s what everybody else does, but they think about it, they reflect, they have values, and they express their values, which comes back to the spirit, that spirit, those deep values are right in the heart of the business. And I know that you too are also somebody where the values are really important.

Matt:
Absolutely, and it’s a lot easier to explain what I do being an accountant and a business advisor, it’s probably a little bit harder for you to explain some of the work that you’ve done around energy. But I like to simplify everything as you know. And one of the statements that you’ve used before to me is that you like feeling free to be who you really are in doing what you love to do is effectively what you are trying to create for people.

Sarah:
And for myself

Matt:
And for yourself. Well, you know, we need to enjoy this. This is about our own purpose. So we’ve spoken about the purpose of the podcast and the purpose of why we’re here and our own personal purposes. But really, a good conversation to have is around business purpose and talking about what is the purpose of businesses and why is it so important to actually have this as a topic really.

Sarah:
It’s interesting because we often talk about my purpose, your purpose, a person’s purpose. And now we’re saying what’s the purpose of the business itself? Because anyone who has a business will know that it kind of has a life of its own and it’s not entirely in your control. And things take off that you didn’t expect and things don’t fly when you thought they would. So there’s clearly an existence to the business, which is not just as a result of you. So I see that really the purpose of the business is literally to express the spirit of that business.

Matt:
Well, where does the spirit come from? If we go back to the definition, it comes back from being inside of somebody too.

Sarah:
So maybe it starts from the business owner, but then other people come together to form that business and maybe people are there for part of the business journey and they all bring their spirit to it as well. So it becomes this weaving of energy, different energies together, lead, guided by the owner. But it’s not just the owner’s spirit that creates the business, the business, that work of art consists of so many different threads.

Matt:
So if we think about the work of art, then it’s a combination of multiple people, multiple people contributing to that work of art. That’s what you’re really talking about there. So, really the business owner or the leaders of the organization are about influencing and guiding people to connect with the purpose.

Sarah:
Yes, and that people at all levels, the leader, or the owner influences and guides the clients and the people who work with the clients, the people who work within the business and all the other stakeholders. And that’s a really important role because you will have seen, and I’ve seen when owners lose that spirit and the guidance of the spirit of the business, the business actually loses its spirit too, and it becomes a very different thing. So that role of leadership when you own and run a business is very influential.

Matt:
It is, and I see this happen everyday, and I find that when business owners and leaders of the organizations are disconnected with the purpose, that’s when things start to go awry in businesses. And also the people are just so unhappy and they start to look for solutions like, well, I’ll just exit out of the business and I’ll sell it. And so I spend a lot of time really speaking to the business owners about how can you reconnect back in? And really the way to reconnect back in is around identifying, articulating what the purpose was of the business and why you created it in the first place, and what the essence of the
true spirit is. And once we actually connect that, it’s amazing to see how people’s faces change and the delight that’s on people’s face when they actually get that and see that, oh, that’s the reason why I went back, why I created the business in the first place. So I love doing this type of work. It’s really, really enjoyable.

Sarah:
So, the Spirit of Business, the podcast, the essence of it is that as you reconnect with your purpose or connect with your purpose, challenges come up. In fact, I would say that the challenges that come up for business owners who are connected with their purpose, those challenges are very directly related to the purpose always. And so what we talk about is those challenges and different perspectives on how to meet those challenges and stay on track with that purpose because that’s what actually gives you a good life, a fulfilling life, a better life. If you bring all of yourself together in one track and you’re doing what’s
deeply meaningful to you, and you solve problems in a way that’s aligned with those values which are deeply meaningful for you, then you actually feel really good about life and you feel you’re living a good life. And for me, what’s important is you feel like you’re living your life. You feel like this is the person that I was born to be. And that speaks to the spirit of the human being.

Matt:
And the benefit that I’ve had with being connected with you is that you’ve been challenging me about my ideas and thought processes over the years around what makes a successful business and solving difficult problems. And so this is probably five years in the making in terms of our connection together, of recording some of the great conversations that we’ve had in the past that we haven’t recorded, that we are reflecting upon and solving problems for. So that’s the really enjoyable part about this for me, is that we’re able to share all the lessons that I’ve learned over the years, we are now able to share with people that want to listen to this podcast.

Sarah:
So that’s the Spirit of Business. Come back and listen to some more. Thank you for listening to the Spirit of Business with Matt Murphy and Sarah McCrum. We’ll be back next week with another episode. You’ll find the show notes with links and other useful information on our website, sarahmccrum.com/spiritofbusiness. If you enjoyed this podcast, please subscribe so you can catch future episodes.

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