One of the hardest workplace spirituality issues is how to sell as a spiritual practice. To overcome that challenge, I can’t over-recommend Carol Costello’s book, The Soul of Selling. It’s the best guide I’ve ever seen for getting rid of emotional baggage and making selling an act of service. Here, with Carol’s permission, is what she learned from her heroine, Mother Theresa.
Mother Theresa: The Seller Who Changed the World
by Carol Costello in The Soul of Selling (Benbella Books, page 183)
My personal inspiration for selling is Mother Theresa. She had a vision based on authentic personal values, and overcame everything in the way of realizing that vision. She discovered how to energize her resources and speak effectively to people about giving her money to help the poor. She saw everyone she contacted as the Christ, and she kept going until she got the result. That is compassion, combined with clarity and commitment, in service to others. That is spiritual practice.
What if Mother Teresa had just sympathized with the poor of Calcutta? What if she had felt very sad about them and talked about them with her friends over lattes, but rejected any real action because the scope of the problem was so large? Or because going around asking people for money wasn’t “spiritual”? Or because she didn’t want to rock the boat and question the system? Or because she might be uncomfortable, embarrassed, or rejected?
Instead, Mother Teresa became a force of nature. She sold her vision, raised a great deal of money, and made the world a better place because she was in it. You can do those things, on as large a scale as you please.
How Are You Called To Sell What Matters To You?
This is Pat Sullivan again, the usual author of this blog. Even if we don’t have to sell a product or service in order to make a living, we’re always selling. At the least, we have to sell ourselves on saying yes to exercise, no to un-nurturing food; yes to patience and thoughtfulness, no to the latest fear-mongering “news” or excess consumerism; yes to real pleasures that enrich our lives, no to cruelty or titillation that hurt others and take us away from who we really are.
There’s so much in Carol’s quote to ponder. What could you envision to benefit yourself and others if you anchored into your most authentic self and listened to what your heart and soul are saying right now? What courage would you find to move from just feeling sorry for the pain in the world to action that enriches you as well as others?
If selling is part of your paid work, what can you learn here about selling from your heart and soul? Will it require you to say no to selling what is not true and moving on, even if it costs you a well-paying job now? Will it require you to have more courage, if you are selling products of services with true value, so you can connect compassionately and respectfully with those who need just what you have to offer?
I’m very grateful to Carol for introducing me to the concept of selling as a spiritual practice. To me that means I can only sell that which I know to be anchored in integrity, serving a useful purpose, and offering joy or at least the alleviation of suffering. And it means I can only sell in a way that is anchored in integrity, authentic, and purposeful.
What does it mean to you? What tips do you have for people like me who are just learning to do this, and who want to sell with more integrity, purpose and the capacity for joy?
As always, many blessings to you, and your comments are most welcome.
Pat McHenry Sullivan
copyright 2010 by Pat McHenry Sullivan