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The Four Stages of a Leader’s Spiritual Growth

November 9, 2010

I know a gentleman who runs a major division of a global firm. He is super-successful, has a wonderful family, and is faithful to his church. By all appearances, he models Christian maturity. But when I asked him to get involved in a discussion group promoting spiritual growth among business leaders, he turned me down flat.

“Stan doesn’t ‘do’ small group discussions,” his wife later told me, on the sly. Her voice was lowered to a shushed whisper, as if she might get caught giving away the goods.

“Oh, that’s okay.” I whispered back in stealthy collusion. “I’m sure he’s following his own unique spiritual journey.”

I certainly didn’t hold it against him. Maybe Stan had a bad experience once with small group vulnerability. Maybe he has trouble articulating his spiritual thoughts in public.

Or maybe he is a shallow, spiritually lazy man with no interest in a deeper reflective life.

As I seek out men and women interested in connecting their spiritual lives to their work, the thought occurs to me: Why do some people feel compelled to pursue the inner truth of the greater purpose for their lives, while others seemingly don’t give a rip, content with their car, house and weekend football on TV?

To find out the answer to this provocative question, click here to continue reading over at The High Calling.

Photo by Marco D., used with permission.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. November 9, 2010 8:18 am

    It would be interesting to learn that Stan takes you up on your offer,
    if only to speak with you and you can get a chance to ask him that wuestion!

  2. November 9, 2010 10:11 am


    Maybe he is afraid to share his spiritual feelings with you. Spiritual feelings and thoughts may often be considered to be flaky by a Northern American society fueled by industry.

    What if you believed a spiritual thought to be deeply true, but the revealing of it would result in a sweeping alienation by all of your peers and the rest of society? Would you still come forward with the thought, profound as it may feel inside of your mind? Or may you hold the spiritual thought close to you with the idea that the thought itself has been responsible for your success and fortuitous movement through life?

    Maybe the refusal to join a vulnerable small group is a signal that he does not wish to give away that which sets him apart from all others.

    • November 10, 2010 4:28 pm

      Yes, I believe that could be part of it.. afraid to be too vulnerable for one reason or another. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. But really, why would a big hot-shot Director be afraid of talking about his deeper spiritual thoughts? I just don’t get it, I guess.

      • November 12, 2010 10:51 am

        Maybe he just had something better to do and didn’t want to talk to you and your group. Maybe he thinks you’re an arrogant asshole (your words, not mine!!!). No, apparently he dined with you last month. Okay, so maybe he was tired and lacked the energy for a such a discussion (holidays and all coming up).
        “Wouldn’t he leave the discussion more energized than before?” Yeah, probably, but maybe you forgot to mention that (+why)?

  3. November 9, 2010 11:48 am

    I’m in the ” Scott Peck is full of crap” stage.

  4. November 9, 2010 8:45 pm

    It’s difficult to ascertain one’s values or exactly what their journey entails simply from a description. I think it’s more likely, particularly in American society, it’s difficult for people to open up in a small group. This is particularly true of contemporary males, despite generational differences.

    I recently read Tim Pond’s Three Insights, which offered some great insight into individual growth through parables. I would recommend this book to Stan or anyone else who would be interested in personal improvement. Keep up the great writing!

  5. November 16, 2010 8:41 pm

    Seems like too many folks continue to disconnect Mon-Friday from Sunday faith; isn’t the Christian life about uniting the two? Good post!

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