A Shepherd Boy's Example Could Save Your Business
As Indie Business owners, we are often considered the "Davids" of business, fighting to get a foothold in a world of mega-corporations, which are sometimes called "Goliaths". Last Sunday, I got a refresher course in courage as one of the leaders at my church spoke about how David slew Goliath in Biblical times. The message gave me spiritual strength, but it also reminded me of how we as Indies must slay the giant every day.
You can find the story of David and Goliath in I Samuel, chapter 17 of the Old Testament. In the midst of a war, the Israelites were having trouble finding someone to fight the Philistine warrior, Goliath. When David, the youngest of four brothers, volunteered, everyone laughed at him. But David took himself seriously when no one else did, and that's exactly what we must do if we are serious about our business ventures. David stood up to Goliath. He won the battle and the rest is history. Here's how he did it.
1. David Had a Mission
When David volunteered to fight Goliath, King Saul responded, "You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth." Does that sound like the nay-sayers who come your way? There's always someone to tell you what you can't do, isn't there? As Indies, we must do what David did. Have a mission and defy the odds.
David's mission was to serve God. I suppose he was terrified, just like many of us are when we start a business. But David's singular focus on his mission helped him stay secure in the knowledge that he was where he was supposed to be, doing what he was supposed to be doing. In fulfilling his mission, David spoke up when no one else did and offered to fight the giant.
You too must have a mission, a central focus that propels you forward when the going gets tough. Without a mission, your business will eventually swerve off target. By lining up your actions with your mission, you'll always stay on track, never having much doubt about the next right step to take.
2. David Had a Memory
When King Saul told David that he was too small and inexperienced to fight Goliath, David called to mind memories of other things he had accomplished in life. From David's perspective, these were things that God had empowered him to do. Whatever your religious view, you can certainly remember prior times in your life when you overcame great challenges. David remembered those times and it gave him the confidence he needed to push forward.
In the early years of my business, when I had doubts about being successful, my dear friend Robin reminded me of past victories. "What are you talking about?" she said. "You finished college in 3 years, made the law review and excelled in your legal career. How can you have doubts that you can succeed in a business of your own?"
Like David, we must not focus on the terrible things that could happen. Instead, we must remember past successes and allow them to give us the strength to move toward future successes. Like David, we must have faith or just plain old gumption. The memory of past victories can literally guide us to future ones.
3. David Had a Method
Now this is where David got really smart. In preparation for battle, the king clothed David in heavy armor: a bronze helmet, metal body armor and a huge sword. But David had never worn armor before. In his words, he had never "tested" it, so he took it off. David knew that he had to use his own method, not the method someone else thought would work for him.
David had a plan. He knew what he was good at, and it involved rocks and a slingshot, not heavy armor and swords. Sound crazy? I think it does, but what's great about David is that he didn't let King Saul or anyone else tell him how to accomplish his mission.
Like David, we also must have a plan. Don't go into the battle of business doing what other people tell you to do. Listen to counsel, watch what others do and then work out your own plan. David's methods may have seemed odd, but they were well considered based on his past experiences and his individual talents, gifts and resources. And they lead an entire army to victory.
4. David Was Properly Motivated
After the battle, David's victory was celebrated throughout the land. All the women loved him and he was showered with gifts and praise. And wouldn't you know it — Saul became jealous and eventually tried to kill David. But David did not slay the giant because he wanted fame, fortune and riches. He did it because he was motivated to fulfill his mission.
Yesterday, I got an email with the subject line: "Why You Aren't Rich and What You Can Do About It." I didn't open it, though I suppose it would have educated me about all the things I'm doing that are keeping me from becoming rich. Ugh.
Riches earned in business are nice, but what's more important is the motivation of the leader behind those riches, and we can all check ourselves in this area. After all, becoming rich for rich's sake is what got our country into the economic situation it's in now. Too many people were motivated by greed and, well, here we all are. David's whole victory related back to his motivation. As an Indie, when your motivation is to serve, the outcome is a win/win situation for you and for everyone who comes into contact with you. What could be more satisfying than that?
What do you think?
Considering what David went on to do in his life (remember Bathsheba?), we know that he was anything but perfect. But even in his imperfection, the story of how he battled the giant and won is still inspiring, even thousands of years later. Is there anything in David's use of mission, memory, method and motivation that encourages you today? If so, share it in the comments section below. I'd love to hear about it!