Business Partnerships Are Hard: Part 2 – Dealing with Selfishness

If we don't get the selfishness under control, the natural stresses of business will cause such a great pain of loss and rejection between partners

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The business partnerships I’ve been in were hard because it involved two selfish people trying to build something together. At some point, when the new car smell wears off from the partnership, either my partner or I would begin to feel the sting of not getting something our way.

My partnerships became especially harder the closer I drew to God. My partners weren’t on the same spiritual growth path. As I learned about being less selfish over time, their human nature was to continue to look out for themselves. Nothing terrible ever happened, but nothing good was happening either. Lucky for me the partnership dissolved in peace and we’re all friends, but I still wonder what we could have been if we all were a little less selfish.

We entrepreneurs don’t need to read a book about being selfish. We were born with that, and our good parents were supposed to lovingly (hopefully) guide us towards a life of sharing, caring for others more, putting others first, being sensitive to other people’s needs, etc.

But when our parents leave, and we’re on our own, who’s there to continue to guide us away from the software that’s forever installed in our brains?

If we don’t get the selfishness under control, the natural stresses of business will cause such a great pain of loss and rejection that partners quit with the attitude of

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  • “I have to take care of me for a change.”
  • “It’s my time now.”
  • “I need to be looking out for number one.”

This is precisely the opposite thinking that we need.

So how do we remove selfishness from ourselves?

The Bible says:

Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others.

(1 Corinthians 10:24 NLT)

You and your business partners will drive each other crazy because you don’t notice the things that are important to one another. What you do and don’t do can make blood boil inside.

You’ll be fighting a natural software installed in your mind. You’ll have to uninstall the software daily, only to realize the next day that the software has automatically established itself again.

It’s a virus, and there’s no cure for viruses. We can only suppress a virus. We Godpreneurs do it by choosing to draw closer to Jesus daily.

It’s not that we need to be less selfish in our business partnerships, it’s that we need Jesus more in our own lives. This will suppress the virus to the point where it could possibly lie dormant for the rest of our lives if we get really good at making Jesus first always. When we draw closer to Jesus, His ways rub off on us, and we begin to show Christ-like-behavior: “No one should seek their own good, but the good of others” (1 Corinthians 10:24).

We Godpreneurs can triumph on our partnerships even when the other partner isn’t showing the same level of Christ-like behavior. We just have always to be thinking, “What does he or she need?” instead of, “Here’s what I want.”

It is part of the awesomeness of putting God first in your business that when we put our partners first, our own needs get met too.


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