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“The Ministry of Business” by Stephen A. Hitz – Book Review & Highlights

ISBN: 147503802X
READ: 01-27-2016
RATING: 3/5

Amazon page for details and reviews.

A very quick read for any businessperson or entrepreneur that is looking for a higher purpose. Mostly geared towards a more religious audience, this book outlines what you can do today to find more meaning in your life. The book also helps the reader create a “big picture” for their life and gives actionable advice on how to grow into the person you hope to become.

The following is a chronological list of each my highlights from the book. Some of them may seem out of context. If you have any questions about the highlights, read the book or feel free to reach out to me.

the-ministry-of-business-cover

My Top Ten Highlights

  1. The marriage of great spiritual principles with great business principles will enable you to achieve your greatest and noblest dreams.
  2. True fulfillment in life is found in two ways: recognizing our divine natures and fulfilling the purpose of our being.
  3. Acting with faith, trusting your heart’s inspiration, and working hard to see your objectives through are critical components in the foundation of business success.
  4. In all the important decisions in our lives, what is most important is to do the right thing. Second, and only slightly behind the first, is to do the right thing at the right time.
  5. Involving your spouse or life partner in your business ideas and concerns helps create a partnership of trust and support that will help you avoid pitfalls and focus your energy on the most meaningful activities.
  6. Wealth is a tool of service and sharing.
  7. Self-reliance is the true goal, not being rich.
  8. If knowledge is power, then don’t keep it to yourself—give it away!
  9. The first and most important principle of Financial Fitness is hard work.
  10. There is power in keeping our covenants.

“The Ministry of Business” Highlights

Foreword

  • They explained to me that the key to their achievements had been learning just how interconnected their spiritual and temporal lives really are.
  • Living correct spiritual principles had become a life foundation upon which they were able to build both a happy family and a multi-million dollar business.
  • The overarching claim of this book would be that through living correct moral and spiritual principles, anybody can attain personal, professional, and financial success, independence, and happiness.
  • The marriage of great spiritual principles with great business principles will enable you to achieve your greatest and noblest dreams.
  • Read this book and live by its teachings, and your life will change for the better, forever.

Introduction

  • True fulfillment in life is found in two ways: recognizing our divine natures and fulfilling the purpose of our being.
  • God is intimately involved in the full spectrum of life, and that this spectrum extends well beyond my own little world.
  • Only after exercising the faith to take those few visible steps were new sections of the path, and new actions in our life, revealed to us.
  • Nothing about this life is coincidental—there are no coincidences.
  • The knowledge that you have a divine purpose and potential, and that even now God is molding you and directing your life’s pathway toward greatness, will enable you to bring greater happiness to the lives of those around you. And when you’re making those around you happier, you yourself will experience a deep-seated contentment and joy unattainable in any other way.

Chapter 1

  • When viewed together and in relation to one another, these coincidences coalesce into a clear picture of divine guidance.
  • Through consistent encouragement, wholehearted support, and sincere, heartfelt prayer, she helped me regain the vision of what we were trying to accomplish.
  • Even though it was difficult, and at times my faith wavered, we continued to press forward, and as Ginger so wisely reminded me throughout the lawsuit, things really did work out for our good.
  • Acting with faith, trusting your heart’s inspiration, and working hard to see your objectives through are critical components in the foundation of business success.
  • These challenges taught us lessons with eternal value, for we are, after all, eternal beings.
  • One of the critical lessons I learned through this entire ordeal is the importance of doing all we can do, and then trusting God to carry these efforts through to success. In doing our part, it’s absolutely critical that we have the faith to act urgently in following the divine revelations our hearts speak to us. Many times we cannot see the final triumph while we’re in the fray of battle, and in these times, we must trust God and know that things will ultimately work for our good.
  • When we act in accordance with God’s timing, we can be assured that things will work out in the long run for our benefit.
  • This passage is important in pointing out the fact that there are times in life when certain actions are more in line than others with God’s will.
  • God has His timetable for our lives, and a full view of His master plan from beginning to end, but He also allows us free will.
  • In all the important decisions in our lives, what is most important is to do the right thing. Second, and only slightly behind the first, is to do the right thing at the right time.
  • We cannot have true faith in the Lord without also having complete trust in the Lord’s will and in the Lord’s timing.
  • When we act in accordance with God’s timing and God’s will, we open ourselves up to receive the maximal degree of divine aid, protection, and blessing, and our actions will therefore be most effective.
  • Because following the personal revelation given by God is so crucial to your growth and success, it’s important to learn how to recognize personal revelation when it occurs.
  • While personal revelation typically communicates itself as inspired ideas and positive emotions, it’s much more than a fleeting thought or an emotional impulse.
  • God will help you understand the specific and deeply personal way He speaks to you.
  • Exercising the faith to act with urgency allows you to progress along the path God has prepared for you.
  • Learning to trust His timing and put faith in the guidance God gives us are grand lessons to learn, both in life and in business.

Chapter 2

  • As this passage makes clear, there is a direct link between success and happiness in our lives—both temporally and spiritually, financially and personally—and living the covenants we have made with God.
  • A covenant we enter into with God is done so without fear or threat; it is made out of respect, love, and understanding.
  • The key to all this is to understand that after you enter into a covenant with God, you will be held responsible for how well you live according to the morals, values, and spiritual knowledge available to you.
  • In our professional, personal, and entrepreneurial ventures, it’s critical that we receive divine guidance and aid: these are as central to your success as water is to the farmer’s.
  • The key is to make and keep covenants with God.
  • God will provide a way for us to accomplish the righteous endeavors of our hearts, especially when it comes to our business, financial, career, and entrepreneurial activities.

Chapter 3

  • Failing to understand that who we are at work and who we are at home are deeply interconnected will become an obstacle to achieving your entrepreneurial and career goals.
  • Striving to be consistent in the way you make decisions and the type of person you are, whether at work or at home, will become a significant benefit to you in your business ventures.
  • How you behave and who you try to be in one place will always have an effect on who you are and how you act in the other.
  • When we choose to follow God, we commit ourselves to following His teachings in all places and in all times.
  • Truly, there can be no duplicitous living if you desire the type of divine guidance and blessing we’ve discussed in the preceding two chapters.
  • To maximize your entrepreneurial and career potential, it’s crucial that you decide what type of person you want to become (remember, your relationship with God and the power of making and keeping covenants with Him should help define this person), and then strive to become that person everywhere you are.
  • Allowing your spouse or partner to become your entrepreneurial and career teammate is key in pursuing your goals and dreams.
  • A healthy relationship is one in which both parties freely share their unique abilities, strengths, and attributes so that both people can learn, grow, and become better together.
  • By allowing your spouse to become involved with your business affairs, contributing ideas and providing feedback, praise, and constructive criticism, you create a constant support system for one another.
  • A key concept to remember in all this is transparency.
  • I learned that my bright ideas should not operate in a vacuum, especially if that vacuum is the one sitting on my shoulders.
  • Involving your spouse or life partner in your business ideas and concerns helps create a partnership of trust and support that will help you avoid pitfalls and focus your energy on the most meaningful activities.
  • The key to this type of supportive life relationship is open communication.
  • The only way to develop and maintain the type of support necessary for success is to live a consistently honest and forthright life.

Chapter 4

  • For hope without a plan is much like an airplane without an engine: it may look really nice, but until it’s airborne, it’s not really achieving the true purpose of its creation.
  • Trust is really the foundation for any success in life, business and otherwise.
  • Trust is something that permeates all our activities, and affects all aspects of how we live and interact with others.
  • We must trust ourselves, others must trust us, and we must find mentors in whom we can trust. All three levels of trust are vital if we are going to not only make it through this divinely inspired obstacle course we call life with confidence and happiness, but ultimately find ourselves at the Pearly Gates when it’s all over.
  • Through Private Victories, we learn to trust ourselves.
  • Public Victories occur when we demonstrate to the world—bosses, work associates, clients, investors—that we are worthy of their trust.
  • In the business marketplace, this type of trust usually translates into revenues and profits.
  • Hence, we need to experience regular Private Victories, during which we learn to trust ourselves, before we try to convince the external and public world that we are worthy of their trust.
  • As we strive to become both trusting and trustworthy, I believe it’s equally important to have mentors whom we can trust—mentors who will counsel, lead, and be an example in our lives.
  • “Go Home, Get Your Education, Make Your Mark, And Get Prepared To Be Of Service.”
  • Here’s what this simple formula looks like in greater detail: 1.  Get Your Education:
  • Education prepares us to enter the marketplace confidently, fully equipped with the tools needed to become successful in achieving our Public Victories.
  • 2.  Make Your Mark:
  • We must strive to make our mark a positive one in this world.
  • 3.  Get Prepared To Be Of Service:
  • Working together, these three components will point any person toward great individual success and lasting happiness.
    Striving to make your mark in the world motivates you to become self-reliant, and self-reliance spawns self-confidence. Self-confidence, in turn, will help you reach out to others in need, and when you do this, you will find true happiness and inner peace.
  •  4. Get Up Early:
  •  5. Work Hard:
  •  6. Find Oil:
  • Everyone, to be successful, has to build a better mousetrap or provide a superior service to his or her competitor. That product or service then becomes that person’s oil.
  • This guaranteed six step formula for happiness: 1.  Get Up Early. 2.  Work Hard. 3.  Get Your Education. 4.  Find Your Oil. 5.  Make Your Mark. 6.  Get Prepared To Be Of Service.
  • The real power of The Formula lies in its spiritual focus on serving others.
  • By making this your focus, you will give yourself the tools to do whatever is necessary to reach your own personal goals, but you will act and achieve in such a way that empowers and enables those around you as well.

Chapter 5

  • Choose very carefully who you go into business with, and never become partners with a person just because you’re afraid of the unknown.
  • I’ve become a firm believer in the need for mentors in our lives—people we can trust and learn from, people we can always rely on.
  • While business partnerships can come and go, begin and end, finding a true mentor will provide an anchor in all your business activities.
  • Being in charge of your own business can be one of the loneliest jobs possible. This is why it’s important to recognize the need for mentors in our lives, and because such mentors aren’t automatically provided, we need to actively seek out and adopt the right types of mentors whenever we can.
  • The difficulties and fears we face as entrepreneurs and professionals are normal, and adopting strong mentors is one of the most effective things we can do to overcome these challenges.
  • Mentors are individuals who have already experienced the challenges of life as a businessperson and who have successfully learned to overcome them.
  • A good mentor will care about you as an individual, and will listen to your concerns, questions, and ideas.

Chapter 5 – Tips in finding and adopting good mentors

  • Thoughtfully and prayerfully ponder what types of mentors you need in your life. Consider your goals, your strengths, and especially your weaknesses. Think about what type of person would best help you overcome your challenges and reach your goals.
  • With your image of an ideal mentor in mind, be watchful for people who may meet these ideals and who possess these attributes. Have faith that they’ll somehow present themselves to you—remember, there are no coincidences.
  • Make sure that any potential mentor will raise you to higher ground.
  • A great mentor will take an interest in you personally, and will be ready to adopt you for life.
  • Mentors should not have a personal financial interest in your success at the outset, and perhaps never throughout your career
  • A good mentor–student relationship should become meaningful to both parties.
  • Great mentors receive as much joy in your successes as they do their own.
  • Mentors, by definition of being successful professionals, are generally very busy individuals. Yet good mentors should
  • never make you feel like the time they give you is a burden to them.
  • Keep in mind that good mentors become friends for life.
  • When approaching potential mentors, be bold enough to directly ask for some of their time. When they agree, set an appointment and share your goals, ideas, questions, and concerns with them.
  • Always be communicative, clear, and direct when approaching and speaking to potential mentors.
  • Once you’ve found and adopted strong and uplifting mentors, keep them close for the rest of your life.
  • Be open in sharing your ideas and concerns, and in asking them questions.
  • By seeking out and adopting good mentors, you fill your life with the people whose support, advice, and real-world, experiential knowledge can lift you above the traps of fear and poor business decisions. They will enable you to take the steps necessary to see your brilliant ideas, lofty goals, and professional aspirations come to life.

Chapter 6

  • Wealth is a tool of service and sharing.
  • Success is measured by the amount of “goods and services” that can be given to those less fortunate and in need.
  • This attitude maintains a broader perspective in which money is not an end in itself, but is recognized as only a single piece in the larger puzzle that is life.
  • Self-reliance is the true goal, not being rich.
  • Working to provide resources sufficient to meet our needs—along with a little extra—opens doors of opportunity.
  • When we view money as the means of becoming self-reliant rather than an end in itself, we are more likely to avoid becoming prideful, arrogant, and self-centered.
  • Maintaining a healthy attitude toward money also makes it easier to recognize and take advantage of opportunities to serve others; and in the end, this is the true joy of financial independence.
  • The first and most important principle of Financial Fitness is hard work.
  • The second principle of Financial Fitness comes from Arkad, the hero of Clason’s book, when he says, “Pay yourself first.”
  • This money comprises the Independence Account.
  • The third principle of Financial Fitness also comes from Arkad, who teaches, “A part of all you earn is yours to keep.”
  • This concept provides a more refined definition regarding what exactly should be done with the money we pay ourselves first.
  • These funds should be set aside as cash, and then should be allowed to accumulate until we have enough to begin investing in appreciating assets or other business opportunities—this is the Gold Account.
  • At this point, any profits, dividends, or interest should be put back into the original Independence Account, and as this account continues to grow larger, continue using it to make increasingly lucrative investments.
  • The Budget Account must be cranked down to the bare minimum in order to allow more money to go into the Independence Account.
  • The Budget Account should usually be something like a checkbook that receives barely enough to cover the frugal written budget from paycheck to paycheck. It should go from “rich” to “zero” through the course of each budget cycle.
  • The third account is the Savings Account, and it’s devoted to covering any irregular expenses such as holidays, birthdays, insurance, and emergencies.
  • This is the account that also covers any “wish list” items—a new truck, a yacht, a jet—those non-appreciating assets that are mostly for fun or as a personal indulgence.
  • While it’s crucial to never allow the consumption of material objects to become the main focus of your business and financial endeavors, there’s nothing wrong with making a “wish list” and rewarding yourself once in a while for your hard work.
  • Self-worth, self-esteem, and productivity will all expand, and as they do, your opportunities to do good in the world and serve others will also become greater.

Chapter 7

  • my Personal Constitution is most meaningful when I allow it to become dynamic, capable of growing and evolving according to the changes of life.
  • Becoming better—a better entrepreneur, family member, friend, associate, and all-around human being—is what the Personal Constitution is all about.
  • A Personal Constitution is a single document outlining who you want to be and what you’re going to do to accomplish this objective.
  • The Personal Constitution becomes the guiding document for how you live your daily life, and when followed, will allow you to attain your loftiest goals and desires.
  • We need a foundational system of values upon which to build.
  • The first step in writing a Personal Constitution, therefore, is to identify those values or personal qualities most important to you. These are the attributes you most admire in your role models. These are the qualities that define what type of person you ultimately want yourself to become.
  • After you’ve brainstormed a list of values, it’s time to prioritize them.
  • This is a critical exercise and should be taken seriously, because the way you prioritize your values has serious consequences when it comes time to implement your Personal Constitution into your everyday life.
  • The way we prioritize the values and personal qualities that are most important to us dictates our actions.
  • Once you’ve prioritized your list of personal values and qualities, it’s time to begin writing your Personal Constitution. Begin with your number one, most important personal value and write a sentence that begins “I am,” and ends with a description of that value.
  • Then build this first sentence into a paragraph by defining what exactly this means to you.
    To identify your values, picture your ideal self—don’t only consider what you want to be, but really ponder who you want to be.

Chapter 7 – Long Term Goals

  • After you have a written and prioritized set of values, it’s time to move up the pyramid and focus on setting goals.
  • When setting goals, it’s most effective to break them into long term and short term goals.
  • All goals must be written out in “I will” statements.
  • Such language is direct and binding; it commits you to take action and complete tasks.
  • Long term goals begin mapping out the concrete objectives that must be accomplished in order to become the person you aspire to become.

Chapter 7 – Short Term Goals

  • short term goals—those things you will do during the current year that will move you closer to accomplishing your long term goals.
  • Once again, this goal uses clear and direct language—language that commits to action.
  • It is clear and attainable, and because it’s measurable, there’s an objective way to determine whether or not success is achieved.

Chapter 7 – The Daily Task List

  • The apex of our productivity pyramid is the daily task list. This is, in my opinion, the most fun and the most productive piece of the Personal Constitution.
  • Your daily task list should be a written out list of tasks and personal assignments that you will accomplish that day. When making these daily lists, always consider whether or not each item on the list will move you closer to achieving your short term goals.
  • Daily task lists are so powerful because they provide the guidance needed each and every day.
  • When you prioritize your values appropriately, you will naturally set the type of short and long term goals that will help you become a better, more loving, more serving, and more content individual. When you’re serious about achieving these goals, you’ll begin planning each day, and as you follow these plans, you’ll find yourself taking full advantage of every Productivity Point—every minute—you’ve been given.
  • The fulfillment of your daily task lists will lead to the accomplishment of your short term goals. Reaching short term goals is progress toward achieving your long term goals. And as you gradually reach these goals, you will one day become the type of human being you’ve always wanted to become.
  • The key is to make the most of your precious minutes today by keeping in mind what you want to become tomorrow.

Chapter 8

  • Giving back must be sincere and selfless, not superficial and self-serving.
  • Giving back is important, not because of the potential blessings it may provide, but because of the way it changes hearts.
  • Ideally, your entrepreneurial ventures will be such that they inherently change the world for the better, but always keep in mind that nothing changes the world more powerfully than the act of giving with a heart that’s aligned with God.
  • As you use your professional activities as a means of giving back, recognize the blessings involved: the blessings you help bring about in the lives of those you serve, the blessings you may receive, and especially your personal nearness to God.

Chapter 9

  • When we focus on serving others and uplifting those around us, we ourselves are blessed.
  • The closer we align ourselves with God, the more He can bless us in all our life endeavors.
  • Success in the business world is always the product of numerous contributors.
  • When we combine an understanding of the collaborative nature of professional success with the recognition that business and financial successes are ultimately intended to bless the lives of others, it becomes possible to become the unseen difference.
  • The unseen difference is guidance, mentorship, and leadership given and shared “behind the scenes.”
  • The manner in which these things are shared is important.
  • When acting as the unseen difference, a person regards his or her knowledge and experience as sacred, and shares these things in humility and love.
  • If knowledge is power, then don’t keep it to yourself—give it away!

Chapter 10

  • At some point, any successful entrepreneur must consider his or her exit strategy. This represents the final step in entrepreneurial efforts—it is the finish line of all business ventures.
  • By giving yourself some sort of finish line, you help define the ultimate goal of your efforts.
  • You set some standard toward which your business decisions and actions must work.
  • Defining your own personal finish line is largely a practice in self-examination; it’s about asking yourself questions and answering them honestly. Ask yourself where you’d like to be in the next five years, the next ten years, and so on. Consider what type of future you most desire, and how you’d like your “retirement” to look.

Chapter 10 – Some questions to ask yourself when trying to establish your requirements for selling [your company] are:

  • What involvement do you desire after the sale, and how will you ensure that it happens?
  • How will you protect your associates, the team that “got you there” in the first place?
  • How will your company’s culture be protected, and how will you keep the company from morphing into another empire with an entirely different identity?
  • Does the sales contract reflect the exit strategy that’s best for you, your family, and your future?
  • What selling price is right? How much is “enough?”

Chapter 12

  • One of the issues facing our day is the increasingly hedonistic attitude of many young adults. Living lives devoted to the pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification, these individuals focus on whatever whims bring instant satisfaction. Their sole concern is themselves and their own private happiness. Sadly, this focus can often lead to addictions and personal practices that destroy lives. The solution to this hedonism is building a life focused on making and living according to covenants with God, since such covenants are largely aimed at living morally upright lives, providing service, and giving back to others. I hope the teachings of this book will contribute to breaking the yoke of selfishness by providing life-long answers and practices that will uplift, inspire, and empower.

Afterword

  • In life and in business, a great partnership is one that evolves and adapts as life changes.
  • There is power in keeping our covenants.