When I graduated from Cornell University in 2003, I came back to Miami and had the ultimate job waiting for me – a nightclub promoter.
Think about it. I’m 21 years old living in the city that 99% of people my age would give anything to call home or at least an extended vacation.
Then in 2005, I saw the nightclubs needed help with their branding and marketing, so I and my boys started the agency I have today, Creative Complex. We had an office on south beach and all the major nightclubs as our clients. We were some 23-year-olds living on top of the world.
But in 2007, a friend invited me to church and my life took a 180-degree turn. By 2009 I was baptized and a full-blown born again Christian.
The problem is that my business was still in the nightclub industry, and we had even moved into doing work for the strip club world. My life was cut into two halves – my nightlife side and my church / spiritual growth side.
I was living a double-life. At night I was Mr. Party Guy, but at church and at small groups, I was Mr. New Christian Guy. Neither side of my friends knew who I was really, because I was pulling off being two different people.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was when my pastor referred me over to another church that needed a website. It was a pretty big project because it involved doing the website of an association of about 100 churches. But as they were reviewing my proposal, someone on the board of directors went to my agency website and saw all the nightclub clients we work with.
I was caught.
My double life was exposed.
Now I had to choose. Was I going to try to keep the charades going and weasel my way into convincing the church to still do business with me, or was I going to finally decide to hang up my hat and retire from the nightlife once and for all?
We all have things in our business life going on that go against our morals and principles, or at the very least push the boundary and put us on the edge of right and wrong.
The problem for us Godpreneurs is that if we’re sitting here interested in money, security, image, and reputation, the world will pull us in one direction while God’s word will take us in a different direction.
This tug-of-war is was causes us to compromise our integrity, compartmentalize our business lives from God, become inauthentic in our walk, and mix up our motivations. We might be able to pull it off for a while, but at some point, the domino’s fall and we get exposed.
But God has a plan. His plan is to purify our hearts so that over time, He would release blessings on us as we begin to bring our lives into alignment with our calling and all the amazing plans He has for our businesses.
The bible says:
“The LORD detests people with crooked hearts, but he delights in those with integrity” (Proverbs 11:20).
God is clearly interested in integrity and character. Why? Because His will can’t be done through people with crooked hearts. God wants to do great works through people working on their integrity.
If you struggle with some kind of tug-of-war that forces you to live a double-life, or feel inauthentic in any kind of way, then the check engine light is on in heart and you have to check it out to see what that means.
You’re interested in your image, but God is interested in your integrity.
You’re interested in your reputation, but God is interested in your character.
When you finally decide to take up integrity as a main facet of personal improvement in your business life, it’s important to understand three major characteristics God wants from us that define integrity.
3 Steps to Aligning Your Business With God’s Plan
1) Entrepreneurial Integrity is Being Whole.
I used to compartmentalize my life between my business life and my church life, never mixing the two. I had my friends from church and my friends from the nightclubs. I had my achievements for all to see, and tucked away I had my compulsions, addictions, and the things nobody else knows about.
If we segment our lives like this, we lack integrity, because our lives are not a whole.
Integrity as an entrepreneur means you’re the same person at church and in the office, in your speech, actions, and motives, no matter which compartment of your life you’re dealing with.
2) Entrepreneurial Integrity is Being Authentic.
I remember going to the annual nightclub and bar convention in Las Vegas and promoting myself and my agency as the kings of nightlife marketing, but then a few weeks later speaking to a room full of pastors about how to make their websites more effective in order to attract more people to their churches. That’s like playing for both teams!
When we wear masks so that we appear one way in front of some people and another way for others, it shows a lack of authenticity. It’s called hypocrisy, and it’s a major blow to the testimony of the church people think Christians are hypocrites for this very reason!
God wants you to be exactly who he called you to be in business, no matter who is watching or who you’re presenting to.
3) Entrepreneurial Integrity is Having Unmixed Motivation.
At one point I justified helping nightclubs with their marketing AND helping churches market too. But I knew that both the church and the nightclub were trying to get the same exact person into their doors. My motives were now being mixed. Ethically and morally, I couldn’t work for competitors anymore and I had to choose.
When we have unmixed motivations in business, it means we do the right things, and we do them for the right reasons.
We Godpreneurs have unmixed motivations and pure motives. We work to be sincere and straightforward in every area of our business lives and with all people, we come into contact with – clients, prospects, vendors, employees, contracts, and the marketplace as a whole.
Our reputation is what everybody thinks we are. Our Integrity is what we really are. Our reputation is what we are in public. Our integrity is who we are when we’re all alone with God.
The good news is that we can turn to God at any moment and desire to have integrity and begin our walk to perfecting that big part of our life.
God blesses those entrepreneurs who have integrity. Their businesses get to do God’s will here on earth through the products and services rendered in the marketplace.