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Be fully alive! (Part 1)

October 18, 2012

“In order for your business to become fully alive, you must become fully alive inside it.” John Jantsch, The Commitment Engine p. 18

There was definitely a time when I was not fully alive in my business. John Jantsch has a simple definition of marketing and it’s getting someone who has a need for what you offer to know, like and trust you. I didn’t really know, like or trust my own business! Yet, over time I have been able to come fully alive inside my business. Part of that has been a healing journey and part of it has been a growing realization that this is what I was born to do.

Know: We all come with varying degrees of knowledge into a field. Sometimes the things we learned while in training whether that be vocational school or college don’t really apply in the real world of work. Sometimes we train for something and find ourselves doing something completely different. For me I spent years training for the ministry and found myself in business. Sure, I had worked in the family business when I was 15 sweeping floors, cleaning paint cans, and washing cars but 20 years later I found myself suddenly in charge of it and learning to do computerized estimates, deal with insurance claims and marketing to referral partners. Somehow my classes in Theology weren’t providing much help here. And the view I had on the bottom of the org chart when I was 15 also did not prepare me for this new challenge.
Like: Secondly, I didn’t really like being in business. At first. Now, I absolutely love it. But in the beginning it was just a means to an end. I just needed a paycheck so that I could do what I really loved which was ministry. That, I thought, was my calling and really, what could be more important than God’s work? Business was just a cow that gave me milk. I wasn’t attached to it. I was using it for one purpose: a paycheck.

Trust: I didn’t trust my business. I didn’t even trust “business” in general. I saw it at best as a necessary evil that would some day go away as we became more enlightened or God more fully redeemed the world.

But over time I came to know, like and trust my business. I know much better now the technical side and the how-to side of how it operates and what makes it go. I’ve also come to see that it has a personality, a unique way of being in my neighborhood and in my industry. And I like it. I have learned to like it in the sense that it brings me loads of joy and the more I work in it and at it the more joy it delivers. It’s like the guy in Chariots of Fire who said he feels God’s pleasure when he runs. I now feel God’s pleasure when I’m running Center City Collision. And lastly I trust it. I know that it is part of the good world that God created and I’ve come to believe that God fully intended business to be a part of the world he created and loves. That’s important to me because if that’s not true then I would have no hope for encountering his presence in the bulk of how I spend my day. But since that is true I can count on him to be there, ahead of me, waiting to reveal more of his abundant life to me there.

Iraneus, a church father from the 2nd century said “The Glory of God is a person fully alive.”

How are you coming alive in your work? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below or an email to

(In Part 2 I will discuss specific strategies for coming more fully alive inside your business.)

8 Comments leave one →
  1. October 18, 2012 12:54 pm

    This brings me back to our VT family room, and having a similar conversation that inspired the song “Gone Fishing”. I believe I sent it to you. It encapsulates the constant search – especially for those with religious schooling- to reside in the flex-state of Charisma and Career. I’ve only sung that sing once in public, ironically. I believe it’s audience isn’t the typical coffee house audience, and it’s not an overt prayer like a worship song that i would lead people in singing…

    But I believe it is exactly what you are referring to here.
    “Do I hang up my shingle
    or throw up my sail?
    Put my nose to the grindstone
    or harness the Gale?”

    Interestingly (and you know I Jones for symbolic stuff Like this) I am wearing (because I’m sick and chilly today and still “homeless”) that thick black and white plaid quilted coat that you brought back to us when you came for the Spirit-Tank (otherwise referred to as Space4Grace) in NH. Eric gave it to me because I couldn’t warm up and he had moved it to the car since it resurfaced during these last Nomadic 7 weeks.
    Anyways- reading your thoughts here, and hanging out in the coat that you and Eric both wore -and perhaps sporting a little bit of a fever 😉 – i get even more fired up becasue ive been deeply sensing a grand merge of Shingle and Sail hovering on our horizon. I’m beside myself with anticipation.
    I live for this stuff…
    It’s Spirit –
    Spirit breathing Life into one’s basic bag of bones…

    (wow- i miss you guys)

    • October 19, 2012 6:44 pm


      I LOVED your comments here. So inspiring! I can’t wait to see where the Wind blows you guys… some of your biggest fans are in Cincinnati and we can’t wait to see you and yours again sooner than later…. so much more to say than this little box will allow. Miss you guys!

  2. October 18, 2012 1:07 pm

    I’m wondering its easier to own your own business then to seek these kinds of things while working under others that might not feel the same way? Just thinking through from your POV and from those that work for you.

    • October 19, 2012 6:42 pm

      DG, I think that’s true… but its also true that this is a very entrepreneurial time we live in that many people are going into business for themselves and many company cultures are shifting to make room for employees to have a lot of input into the corporate culture, their job description etc. Lastly, I’m assuming no one is saying “Don’t pursue your dream” where you work… so wondering if there are steps you can take that direction a little at a time (either on the clock, off the clock or both) until you end up doing exactly what you designed to do… not easy but some little piece of this is totally in your control and you can begin to act on it even if its just a little at a time. Always in your corner… Rocky didn’t win his first major fight. Hang in there! There’s time….

  3. October 18, 2012 1:42 pm

    Hey Kevin – loving this series of course – it’s like I’m reading along with you. Your know, like and trust trinity story is inspiring.

    • October 19, 2012 6:45 pm

      Thanks John! I know a lot of people use the “know, like and trust” phrase that you developed… I just took it in a little different direction AND gave you credit =)

  4. Sarah Smith permalink
    October 18, 2012 5:35 pm

    Kevin, this is beautiful. Warms my heart.

    • October 19, 2012 6:47 pm

      Honored that you’re reading Sarah! Thanks so much for stopping by and I look forward to future engagement here and elsewhere! Not every day that a student gets encouragement on their writing from an English teacher 20 years later!! ok, let’s be honest… 25 years later… time flies….

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