A few years back, I was meeting with my Spiritual Director regarding work. As we were praying, with a hint of uncertainty as to why he was asking me, he asked, “When people say to you ‘Who do you work for?’ how do you respond?” Having proudly extricated myself from the grind of a corporate environment and into entrepreneurial status, I said, “I tell them I work for myself.” My Spiritual Director looked at me, chuckled knowingly and said, “Oh, Okay. Well, He wants you to know that you don’t work for yourself, you work for Him.”
That was the beginning of the beginning for me and for the concept of Christ-Centered Selling. With the acknowledgment and acceptance of my new boss, came the recognition of His authority over my life’s work, and therefore a realization that business as usual was to be no more. If I was going to work for Him, I needed to conduct myself in a manner that was worthy of Him. If I desired to stay in His good graces, I needed to fully and freely abide by His rules and operating procedures as expressed in Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the Magisterium of the Church.
I realized that to lay claim to the title “Catholic” on Sundays only is, at best, hypocrisy. I needed to be willing to live His message on Sunday morning, as well as Monday morning and Tuesday morning and Wednesday evening and Thursday afternoon and Friday as well as Saturday. I needed to find a way to live Christ’s message and still succeed in an environment that is very often opposed to Him.
In prayer, several questions came to me that I needed to answer for myself. I invite you to pray those questions for yourself. Can you do what you do ethically? Can you do what you do with integrity? Can you do what you do and give glory to God in the process? And can you do all that and still prosper in the business world?
If you can answer “yes” to all of the questions, praise God! If the answer to any of those questions is a “no,” or if there is a hesitation in your mind before you answer “yes,” then, perhaps, it is time to reevaluate your current situation.
I was conducting a training session in New Orleans for salespeople in various industries. At break time, a man named Francis came up to me and said, “I have been selling for twelve years now, and every night for all those years, I have gone to bed with a heavy heart and with tears in my eyes. Until I saw you a few months ago, I never knew how to reconcile my faith with my work. My answer to your questions was always “No”; but you taught me different and now I can answer “Yes.” You have given me back my dignity and my faith. I cannot thank you enough.”
Francis wasn’t alone in his experience; many salespeople I have met felt the same way. What they initially thought was the right way to do business was wrong on many levels. They realized they were doing business the wrong way, for the wrong reasons and for the wrong boss.
The process of Christ-Centered Selling gave them a new means of prospering in business, an opportunity to work for a new boss and a completely new understanding of their true work. They found a way to satisfy the customer, the company and their conscience without compromising any of them.
Our true work is not our nine-to-five job; our true work is to respond to the grace of God in our lives. We must come to the realization that there is a better way to do business: a way that supports and nurtures our souls and protects us against sin. We are, in all things, to manifest the will of the Father, our true boss, for our own salvation and the salvation of others.
Christ-Centered Selling does that. It’ll make you and your customers happy. That will surely make the Boss happy. And who knows, maybe you’ll even get promoted. May God bless and protect us all.