Updated: Dec 27, 2020
As an entrepreneur, I’ve never had just “one” business. Instead, I’ve always owned several businesses either on my own or with partners.
It’s fun to own multiple businesses because I could have money coming from different places, not be bored just doing one thing, exercise my creative juices in different areas, and whenever possible feed leads or opportunities from one complementing business to another.
But there’s also a darker side to owning multiple businesses that I’ve avoided talking about for many years, but it’s finally time I confess – a lot of times I feel out-of-alignment, pulled in different directions, and divided in my decision-making. As a result, I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve caused damage to my reputation in business because of the domino effect that happened both professionally and personally when I didn’t pay attention to what this division in my life was doing to me.
It’s not that owning multiple businesses is wrong. Many people are successfully managing 2 or more businesses.
What I discovered was wrong with me didn’t really have anything at all to do with the business itself, but with a much deeper root in my own personal life – my integrity.
We Christian entrepreneurs know that integrity is important. We’ve heard about it, and we may have an idea of what it is, but integrity has so many levels in all seasons of our life that it essentially becomes a life-long muscle that has to be strengthened and exercised.
The Definition of Integrity
One definition that the dictionary gives for integrity is “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.” As Christian entrepreneurs, I think we would all say that we pass this test or that we’re working on this in our lives and we feel justified by this definition.
But there’s a second definition of integrity – “the state of being whole and undivided.” The difference is that this definition is not about honesty or character or goodness. Instead, this version describes integrity as wholeness or oneness.
In other words, an entrepreneur with integrity has perfect alignment between their words, actions, beliefs, and I would argue, even their businesses. A business owner of integrity is not divided, we don’t say one thing and do another, and we are consistent with our core.