According to Exodus in the Old Testament, God issued his own set of laws – the Ten Commandments — to Moses on Mount Sinai. In Catholicism, the Ten Commandments are considered divine laws because God himself revealed them. They were also positive laws. The Church doesn’t see the Ten Commandments as arbitrary rules and regulations from God, but as commandments for protection. Obey them and eternal happiness is yours. Disobey them and suffer the consequences.
I have my own manifesto of 10 Commandments for good business – a step-by-step system towards good business ownership that I live by, and train clients on when I am consulting with them. My only caveat while training is that you cannot sidestep or ignore any one because you either don’t want to put in the work or face up to the challenges that that particular commandment brings up.
Be honest with yourself, be ready to confront the shortfalls and failures these commandments reveal, be invested in resolving them, and by the time you’ve reached No.10, you’ll find that you have evolved not only as the best business-owner you can be, but the best human version of yourself too.
Commandment # 1: Build Your Self Esteem
• Knowing who you are is the crucial first step. Often times, we humans hide behind ideas and beliefs about ourselves that are either false or negative or both. We’re afraid to reveal our true selves to the world for fear of judgement. This defensive mechanism stops us from being authentic with everyone, and perpetuates a myth that gets caught out in the long run.
Building self-esteem is the seed from which progress of all sorts will germinate and grow. Set a high value on yourself, and the world will measure you by that same yardstick too.
Commandment # 2: Work On Personal Development
• This step is a natural progression from Step 1 because when you turn your focus inwards to find the valuable bits of you, other personal attributes will also reveal themselves that need fixing.
Don’t be afraid of confronting them because every human is by definition, fallible. Just know that it is rarely possible to fulfill Commandment 2 on your own. I had God on my side to help me through my own Step 2 work. I depended on my Bible and my personal conversations with God to shine the light on my path towards personal development. I had help in the form my parents and an uncle who came into my life as a mentor. Some use self-help gurus they feel a resonance with, others look for wisdom in close friends… Wherever your assistance can be coming from, don’t hesitate to ask for it, and use it.
Commandment # 3: Don’t Embellish To Look Good
• It is extremely common among new business-owners to feel a compulsive need to embellish their personalities, experiences and track records. They have big dreams and visions, but at the same time, they are constantly aware of how far they are from reaching their goals. This awareness pushes them to embellish on the truth and present a fictitious image of themselves to the world – and even worse, to themselves.
Be wary of embellishing just because your goals of business success have not materialized yet. There are no shortcuts on this journey towards success, and daydreaming will not get you there.
Commandment # 4: Don’t Fear Loss
• Losses and mistakes are par for the course when you are a business owner. You win some, you lose some, and as long as you stay on the true path, your wins will begin to overshadow the losses. Don’t quit at the first sign of defeat. Or make bad choices because you were so motivated by the fear of loss.
Commandment # 5: Choose Your Company Carefully
• You are who you spend your time with. It is the law of the Universe. You attract people into your life whose vibrational profile match up to yours.
Just think back to a time when you were in a really bad emotional place and then count the people you really liked to hang out with then. Chances are, they were not doing a whole lot better than you.
Make a conscious effort to weed out people from your experience who you have outgrown. If you have moved ahead of them with your self-improvement work, you are no longer a vibrational match, and being in their influence circle with drag you back to the place from where you began.
Look for people instead, who fill your heart with positive ideas of growth, vision, happiness and success. Those that make the cut, are the ideal friends you need at this particular stage in your life journey. And they need you for exactly those same reasons too.
Commandment # 6: Don’t Stop Learning
• Whatever line of business you may be in, choose to be an authority in that field. Know your job inside out and from bottom to top. There are no shortcuts to this process because you’re getting new perspectives and new wisdoms at every stage. Don’t believe the learning is ever done, because it never is. If you don’t expand and grow as a master of your trade, the trade isn’t going to grow either.
Commandment # 7: Respect Personal Time
• Don’t impinge on other people’s personal time. And don’t let them steal yours. Learn to say `no’ to inconsequential obligations because they pile up so quickly that soon you will lose sight of your priorities and long-term goals.
Commandment # 8: Invest Yourself In Others
A true leader is one who knows how to delegate. How to create a work culture by properly training employees to be the best at what they do – and then stepping out of their way. Your job as a business-owner is to make your employee’s work easier. Do all you can to help them reach their goals. Because their collective success is yours.
Commandment # 9: Commit For The Long-Haul
• Stay fixated on your long-term goals and treat day-to-day setbacks as mere blips on the radar. Like it is while driving, your car will always move towards whatever you are focusing on. Concentrate on nearby obstructions and your car will move straight at them. Look forward instead, keeping the obstructions in your peripheral vision, and the car will stay on course without colliding head-on into any.
Commandment # 10: Your Family Always Comes First
• I mention this step last because it is never done. Family never stops being the bedrock of your existence and you can never be finished with this obligation. New business-owners often become less connected with their families while trying meet career goals, and this is a dangerous mistake. A person who is not creating a stable home environment is corroding the biggest source of joy, satisfaction and contentment they will ever have. No business can ever replace the human connections of a happy, healthy family and sacrificing people you love for business is a price you wish you hadn’t paid when it is too late to mend fences and start all over again.
Matt is a founder and CEO of Mastodon Media. He’s a Christ-inspired entrepreneur with a mission to help professionals grow and companies flourish with the Christ-led principles of Business Discipleship.