Namaste symbol of Reverence by John Hain
When I began my exploration of how spirituality and business are interconnected, I focused on work as an invitation for personal and spiritual growth. This came out of my own experience, where situations in my work environment pushed me to expand my perception of myself, my spirituality, and my business.
As I deepen into this practice, my perspective as an operations and business planning consultant has sparked curiosity for what the business itself looks like in this new world; what do the work systems and structures look like that can hold space for individuals-- staff, customers, suppliers--to bring their full selves to work, including their sacred selves. I've uncovered that one important business concept to help create this structure is reverence for time.
Reverence for sacred time
A foundational pillar of the divine is reverence*. Reverence for our eternal beings, our bodies, our co-creators, and our journey in this life. And, at least in this incarnation of name and form, it also means reverence for how we spend our very precious time.
This has been one of the most difficult lessons for me, to express deep and constant reverence for how I spend my time. Some of my most painful moments have come from allowing myself to be involved in tasks and projects that are not my work.
By spending time doing tasks that aren't our work in the world, by not holding our time in great reverence and fully appreciating the value of that time, we waste our personal gifts and unique perspective. The world is shifting, including the business world, and one of the changes is that there are stronger consequences than ever for spending time on things other than the work we are here to do.
Your sacred work
I often work with clients on capacity planning, which includes evaluating how key staff are spending their time and working with them to shift to more time spent on higher-value tasks. From my new perspective, I'm understanding that this is not only a good business practice, but also supports the sacred in each of us.
This process begins by understanding how much time each team member is dedicating to high, medium and low-value tasks. Your high-value tasks are ones that you love, are good at, only you can do, generate revenue, and/or save costs. Low-value tasks are things you don't like doing, tasks someone else can do just as well or better than you, and/or tasks that cost more for you to do than someone else. (If you are a small-business owner who typically does everything, you will need to assign a market-value hourly rate to your time--you are not free!). Medium-value tasks are everything else on the list.
From there you can understand what percentage of time is dedicated to high, medium and low-value tasks. Next comes the opportunity to invite in a sacred conversation with yourself or you team members; what tasks bring you joy and ease, what tasks make you feel lethargic or anxious, what does your inner voice want you to work on more often? (If there is nothing on this list that you love doing, well, then I have so much compassion for you dearest one, and hold a prayer that you can find a different way forward.)
What this process may do is bump you and the people you work with up against strong, long-held beliefs and stories that are no longer serving: I can't trust anyone else to do this work; I'll lose my job if someone else takes on those tasks; I can't challenge or question people when they ask me to do something; no one else would do this if I don't; work isn't supposed to bring me joy--that is why they call it work.
This too invokes the sacred. Because now you are being invited to release those stories, remove or shift some of the blocks that are preventing you from being your best self. You are surrendering those false beliefs to make room for more of what is true. And that my dear friend, is your only purpose on this earth.
Now, I appreciate that sometimes we need to spend time on unexpected issues that arise, expected seasonality that requires in increased effort, or projects that are off the rails and need attention--I know as well as anyone that sometimes shit gotta get done. But if chaos, overwhelm, stress, repeated mistakes, miscommunication, and inefficiency are the norm, then you or the leaders of your company are not holding the team's time, their value, in deep reverence.
Creating the structure and systems to allow for the transition of team members to spend a higher percentage of their workday on high-value tasks can, itself, take time and patience. You do not need to rush this, and you will find that the intention and the smallest actions to shift towards reverence will create momentum that will start to build towards more ease, more joy, more flow, and more productivity. You will start entering a state where your business will make more money and be more productive as everyone is spending a higher percentage of their time doing their best work in the world. You do not need to chose between money and joy, impact and ease; those are also old stories that are simply untrue.
Shifting to deep reverence for time during work requires faith, and even bravery, especially if your business is currently in an overwhelmed or chaotic state. Breathe deep, take the leap, and remember your requests for help are always, each and and every time, answered.
*Four pillars of the Sacred Feminine Lori-Ann Speed teaches through the wisdom of Mary Magdalene are radiance, reverence, receptivity, and revolution.