Thursday, March 31, 2011

Jesus Christ, The Entrepreneur

In this time of Lent, I can't help thinking of Jesus Christ. And there's a side of the Jesus story that comes to mind when I think of anyone on a path to change the world, surrounded by people around them who just don't get it.

Try starting a business and see how many people you encounter just don't understand why you are doing the disruptive things you are doing. You are not interested in fitting in, not able to sit still and embrace the status quo, get a paycheck, stand in line, wait for a promotion every few years. Instead you are off wandering around seeking like-minded disciples to get your business off the ground, challenging every "business as usual" practice, believing you can invent a better way of doing just about anything, instead of being home for dinner, giving the baby a bath or buying your wife a new dress, or your husband a new pair of pants. You are on a personal quest, following a path only you understand.

Think starting a business is tough? Try starting a religion. Try walking this earth as the embodiment of love. Whoa! Some elevator pitch! Talk about a calling. There's such a lack of love all around us, you have your work cut out for you if this is your goal. You're not building a better mousetrap, you're finding every dark corner of hatred, fear, malevolence and you're replacing it with harmony, love and joy. They must have thought, "this Jesus guy is off his rocker!"

One of my favorite "quotes" from the beleaguered savior is, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." [Luke 23:34] It's mind-blowing to really ponder this statement. Stop and think about it for a minute. Someone is crucifying you, nailing you to two pieces of wood, letting you bleed to death and you are thinking about forgiving them. You are actually defending their ignorance to a third party. Imagine being able to embrace forgiveness at such a high level. You are understanding how much the people acting against you are acting without knowing any better, acting without knowledge.

It is a stretch perhaps to think of Jesus as an entrepreneur, but this is so often what a person with a big idea faces -- many ignorant people around him/her who just don't get it. So when you walk this world as an entrepreneur, an artist, an innovator, a parent giving birth to a new person who might change the world as Jesus did, arm yourself with this amazing strength. Remember it's all okay if they don't get what you're doing. Expect it. Walk the path you are here to walk, forgive them later, but just keeping putting one foot in front of the other.

Photo: Basilica di San Pietro, "Michelangelo's Pietà"