Editor’s Note: This is the first post from the group, Young Catholic Professionals (www.youngcatholicprofessionals.org), in Dallas, Texas. Randy Hain and I applaud their efforts to call today’s young adults to “Work in Witness for Christ” and are grateful for their contributions here to the mission of the Integrated Catholic Life™. – Deacon Mike Bickerstaff
What’s Important Now: 5 Steps to Finding Faith and Balance in Business
Last month, in the heart of downtown Dallas, the CEO of Ambit Energy addressed 180 Catholic young adults on his experiences “Working in Witness for Christ.” The group that hosted the event, Young Catholic Professionals, invites Catholic executives to address the group as part of their monthly Executive Speaker Series. Jere Thompson, Jr. took the theme of balance as his focus for his speech, challenging the group to make a list of their priorities and, using that list, to ask themselves every day, “What’s important now?” Drawing from Thompson’s talk, here are five simple ways to find that balance in your career.
- “Never sacrifice integrity for growth.” As young professionals, we may be tempted to exaggerate our resume, skills, or experience. The temptation is the same for young businesses. But Ambit has met every service snafu and PR hurdle with honesty and candor. The result? Relationships based on trust and a business built on the Truth. According to Thompson, there’s no better foundation for ultimate growth.
- Eliminate distractions. Think about the time that you use up every day checking your Facebook, responding to texts, flipping channels… it adds up. These may seem like innocent enough pastimes, but time and again successful and faithful businessmen and women tell us that these are the thorns that choke the seed of God’s Word and the seed of your vocation.
- Be the same person at the office as you are at home. Business personas are a thing of the past. Your coworkers want authenticity and respond better to someone who is honest not just in their work, but in their personality. By the same token, be the same person in good times as you are in bad. Jere Thompson tells his employees, “My father ended every day on his knees. When things were going well, he never took the credit. When things were going badly, he never complained.” That attitude of stability, humility, and peace will take you far in business and in life.
- Connect with other Christians at work. Whether they share in your Catholic faith or not, Christian values are a bulwark against the storm of secularism. Talk to faithful coworkers about your business decisions and your prayer life. You’ll find it strengthens not only your relationships, but also your resolve to bring Faith to the workplace daily
- When you pray, listen. Some years after Ambit Energy had begun taking off, Jere Thompson was on vacation with his family. As he sat in a small church in Colorado, he heard a voice getting louder and louder. The voice said, “It’s time to build a chapel.” Years later, the fruit of that prayer sits on a hill in Irving, Texas. St. Francis heard the very same thing as a young nobleman in Assisi. The fruit of his prayer now sits on the chair of St. Peter. How many saints in the making have heard variations of God’s call to build His Church on Earth? When you pray, listen. You never know in what way Christ might be asking you to “build my Church.”
A popular prayer to St. Joseph the Worker reads, “Grant me to look upon work with the eyes of faith.” Work and faith don’t always seem to mix. But by the testimonies of Jere Thompson, Jr. and various other Catholic business professionals, we see that the virtues that help you succeed in the spiritual life are the very same qualities the world ultimately wants (and needs) in its leaders. In the words of Thompson, Jr., “Build your business—build your foundation—on rock. Build it on the Truth.”
Teresa Amador Gallagher is a Management Associate for Young Catholic Professionals, a 501(c)(3) which encourages young adults working in various professions to “Work in Witness for Christ.” Learn how to bring YCP to your city at www.youngcatholicprofessionals.org.
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