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Adventures in Faith

How & Why I Blessed My Competitor

Shortly after buying the N2 Publishing franchise for Chadds Ford, PA, I set a meeting with a very cool brand. I pitched a plan for them to be embedded in the "resident generated content" in this affluent "chateau country" and they loved it! I left the meeting elated as this partner would quickly establish credibility for my new magazine.

I called my wife and uttered the words, "...it went great, if this comes through, it's going to crush the competition."

My wife quickly retorted that she did not like the sound of that. I immediately recognized the great pride and selfish intent that had welled up in me; and I didn't like it one bit.

So began a journey to examine my heart, motives, and how my Christian faith should guide my business. I asked God for forgiveness, asked for a change of heart, and dove into the truths of Scripture, which softened my heart for others, even my competitors.

Then I actually started to pray for them and their businesses by name. As I did, I began to think about their good qualities and the reasons why a customer would want to work with them instead of me. It occurred to me that I could both grow my business and bless theirs.

I soon found myself in a negotiation with a potential customer who, when we got into the details of what they wanted, I realized my competitor was a better fit. When I mentioned this, they were surprised at the suggestion, and very thankful as well.

So I made the introduction--it felt good to do it.

A month passed and I decided to stop by to meet my competitor in person. I was warmly received. My referral had turned into a nice piece of business. Our conversation flowed as we educated each other on our strengths. I also learned that the business owner, this competitor, shared my Christian beliefs, what an eye opener!

Soon after I received an email from my competitor (who now feels more like a friend) sending me a lead. I didn't anticipate that happening!

As I thought about what had occurred, I realized that what we were doing, by being selfless and recognizing the value of the other, this was actually resulting in the best deal for the customer!

What if we all worked like that, what if we genuinely cared about people so much that we took time to know the ecosystem within which we operate our business and could guide customers to the best solution, to the best of our ability, with a desire to be a blessing.

Maybe that's radical, counter-intuitive, or even anti-Capitalist, but I believe it's Biblical. And it has worked well for my business, and given me a great peace about my dealings.

Thank God for teaching me this important lesson!

Originally posted & responding to comments on LinkedIn.

Adventures in Faith

I Just Turned Down a Sweet Job

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Colossians 3:15 -  Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

So I had this amazing opportunity presented to me. An international diplomat with a vision to launch this really cool business start-up in Silicon Valley, through a wild set of circumstances/connections was introduced to me. And, low and behold, after a few Skype calls, felt like I was the guy to launch this thing in Silicon Valley, and I had to turn it down.

As the opportunity unfolded, I put a lot of prayer into the decision. And what I heard early on was Colossians 3:15. When I say "heard" what I mean is that I opened my Bible for guidance and when I read it, that verse jumped off the page. Then, it showed up in a devotional. Then, when I talked to a pastor about this big decision, he brought up the same verse without knowing it had already come twice before.

This pastor told me that the word "rule" in that verse, in the original language (Greek  βραβεῖον), it means to umpire or call the shots. He told me that whenever he has a decision with lots of little steps, like an interview process, he let's the verse guide him. And so I took that fact that this verse had popped into my life three times in a row, well, I decided to let God's peace rule in my heart too. 

And so as I take these steps, I let God make the calls, if I get peace about it in prayer, in reading Scripture, through my wife, etc. then I know that I am in God's will, if I do not, I simply backtrack and move in another direction.

That was easy when I had peace about it. Then, something strange happened. A few communications with the parties that were involved left me feeling less at peace. There weren't any huge red flags, by all means, I still wanted to take the job. But, the peace was fading. So, I brought in the big guns, my incredibly discerning wife, to see what kind of peace she had. And, as we reviewed the details, she had great insights, and she too had a fading sense of peace.

There were still a couple of steps to take short of taking the job, and so I decided to take them, and continue to see what happened with this feeling of peace. Within another week, it did not return, and so I reached out to the various parties who were now involved both in Silicon Valley and abroad to withdraw my application. 

The good news is that these guys are also Christians, and I knew they were praying about this whole thing too, so I figured it wouldn't end badly. And, in fact, they were so gracious in their understanding. We agreed that this was the best solution, even if it wasn't predicted or convenient. I resolved to continue to find a way to serve the project and certainly pray for it.

Within 48 hours I realized that the contacts I believed would serve this start-up should still be plugged into it, even without me at the helm. And so I reached out to make those connections. I continued to pray for the project, and then a dear friend of mine, who I had discussed this whole thing with, sent me another candidate for the job. So, I reached out again with a new candidate for the job, someone with arguably a better skill set for the position that I have.

The conversation continues. The team that is in place to launch this enterprise, well, they are Godly men, they're praying too and while we know that I won't work with them in a legal sense, I know that in God's Kingdom we are all co-laborers, and I have a high level of certainty that we will continue to serve each other in our efforts. This is the kind of really sweet relations that can happen even in rejecting a sweet job offer when one is dealing in the Kingdom of God.