Welcome to the Press Conference
Please feel free to quote the following material in your radio or television broadcasts, newsletters or articles, or sidebars–giving the proper credit. The material is copyrighted, so please be sure to cite me as the source: Kathleen Hawkins, author of Spirit Incorporated, How to Follow Your Spiritual Path From 9 to 5, www.winningspirit.com. You can also use the information as the “raw material” for an interview with me.
I’d like a copy of any articles in which you quote me, or notice of the radio show or television program on which I was quoted–and the date. You can send articles to me at National Management Institute, 3209 Lakewood Lane, Flower Mound, TX 75022-6802, or email the radio or television information to me at: email@example.com. I’d also be happy to visit with you via email or over the telephone if you have questions or comments: (817)768-8332.
SAMPLE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
(answers follow the list)
1. Can you give us a brief description of your book Spirit Incorporated?
2. You’ve said that people’s jobs are a reflection of their beliefs about prosperity, employment, and themselves. How can that be when so many people hate Mondays, are just getting by financially, and would love to have better jobs?
3. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all win the lottery? Then no one would have to work who didn’t want to.
4. What do you mean by “Spirit”? Is spirituality different from religion? And what does it mean to be “spiritual?”
5. Why did you feel a need to write this book and why now?
6. Can people who are unemployed benefit from reading your book?
7. Is incorporating a spiritual approach at work something that can be mandated by management?
8. How can you combine something as intangible and personal as spirituality with business, which is public, materialistic, and has a reputation for being opportunistic and unethical?
9. Doesn’t using a spiritual perspective in business trivialize spirituality?
10. Can you give us some practical examples of how to be spiritual at work?
11. Is your book God-based or inner-based?
12. Can we afford to be spiritual when we have to make a profit?
13. So tell us how we can make more money–ethically.
14. You describe two individuals: One who thinks of himself as “poor” and the other who thinks of himself as “between fortunes.” How can someone with a “poverty mentality” begin to change their mental state?
15. There are some really rich people who don’t care a thing about being spiritual and they do just fine in life. How can that be?
16. Some people make money in questionable or illegal ways and get away with it. That’s not fair! Can you comment on that?
17. How can the spiritually inclined deal with the ethically challenged? What if someone steals from you or embezzles company funds? How can we handle something like that?
18. What can you do if your boss asks you to do something that’s wrong?
19. Are people ever inadvertently unethical?
20. Do you have any tips for dealing with just plain difficult behavior?
21. In the book you suggest that people take time to have a conscience. Can you expand on that?
22. Can you say something about competition? It doesn’t seem spiritual to be competitive, but competition encourages us to provide quality products and services. If we don’t keep the customer happy, someone else will.
23. What do you do if you have one of those really awful days at the office? What about Murphy’s Law, which says that if something can go wrong, it will. Is there any way around that?
24. You call yourself a Spiritual Strategist™. What does a Spiritual Strategist™ do?
25. How can people become their own spiritual strategists at work?
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
1. Can you give us a brief description of your book Spirit Incorporated? Yes, it’s about using a spiritual perspective at work to stay relaxed and centered and positive every day. A lot of books have been written about going out and finding the perfect, ideal job. Spirit Incorporated is about finding meaning in the job that you already have. And it’s about using your job to explore your beliefs about prosperity, employment, and yourself …. because your job is probably a reflection of those beliefs.
2. How can people’s jobs be a reflection of their beliefs when so many people hate Mondays, are just getting by financially, and would love to have better jobs? A lot of people do hate Mondays. In fact, 78% of Americans are unhappy with their jobs according to US Department of Labor statistics. That means that the 22% of people who do like their jobs have to contend with the whopping 78% who’d rather be somewhere else! This can make for a challenging, stressful workplace.
Our jobs reflect our beliefs much in the same way as an echo returns what we call into a canyon. If we call out “Despair, fear, poverty!” that’s what comes back as an echo. If, on the other hand, we call out “Peace, love, prosperity!” that’s what comes back to us.
Many years ago I had a “get-by job,” one of those little jobs that people do until their “real” job comes along. I was doing office work at a detoxification center for alcoholics and I used to really complain about how I wasn’t being challenged professionally–I had master’s degrees in education and creative writing–and I’d complain about the low salary I was making. Then one day I remembered that it had been my choice to interview for that particular job and when I’d accepted the offer, I’d agreed to that salary and those responsibilities! I’d bought into the myth of the “starving writer” and the idea that teachers were poorly paid and I hadn’t even tried to find work as a teacher or a writer! So I was quite unhappy for a while and nothing seemed to be working out. And then I began to realize that we don’t get what we hope for, we get what we believe in.
So I began to change my attitude and lighten up and things got better, opportunities opened up, and I was able to move on to work for which I felt better suited: I started to teach classes in corporations and my first book was published. And since then I’ve had three more books published.
Who would you rather do business with: someone who’s unhappy and desperate to have some other job, or someone who’s basically pleasant and making the most of the job they have? You’d probably be attracted to the more pleasant person. People will be drawn to you, too, if you’re pleasant. And that can help increase your chances of getting a promotion, a raise, special acknowledgment, or even a new job. The world supports us in finding fulfilling work just as it supports us staying in a low paying job–if that’s the level of our beliefs, if that’s what we “call into the canyon.”
3. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all just win the lottery? Then no one would have to work who didn’t want to. Yes, it would definitely be nice to win the lottery, but you’ve probably heard lottery winners say that the money didn’t bring them happiness. That probably annoys a lot of us who haven’t won a lottery. Of course we’d be happy if we were millionaires …. wouldn’t we?
A lot of people think, if only they could find the right job–or better yet, win the lottery and not have to work at all–then they’d be happy. But ultimately what determines our happiness isn’t how much we have, but how much we enjoy.
And maybe the lottery winners have discovered that having a lot of money comes with a whole new set of challenges, such as having to pay higher taxes and invest wisely, deal with long-lost acquaintances who come forth to plead poverty, or fend off with scam artists who try to take advantage of them. If people don’t feel happy and confident in one set of circumstances, what makes them think things would be different in another set of circumstances?
When I worked in the detoxification center we used to refer to something called “the geographical cure.” This was the kind of thinking a lot of people had that if only they lived in another part of the country, then they could start over fresh and things would be better. So they’d relocate and after a while, they’d start to have the same problems all over again. We have to be happy with ourselves in the jobs we already have, and then we increase our chances of attracting positive people and positive experiences and having good things happen for us.
4. You use the word “Spirit” throughout the book. What do you mean by “Spirit”? “The life-giving, animating force within all of us, the real essence and significance of something (the word “spirit” comes from the Latin word “spiritus,” which means “breath”).
Is spirituality different from religion? Yes. Religion is a way that people relate to God or Spirit. To be “spiritual” means to look for and honor the Life Presence within in ourselves and others. And to do our jobs or conduct business from a spiritual perspective means to know “right” from “wrong,” what’s most life-affirming from what’s obtained at the expense of others, and to act accordingly with honesty and integrity.
What do you mean by “life-affirming”? “Life-affirming” is anything that’s constructive: respectful, caring, helpful, reasonable, responsible, fair-minded, tolerant of diversity, and healthy (working in the tobacco industry, for example, wouldn’t be the most life-affirming spiritual work).
5. Why did you feel a need to write this book and why now? I actually started to write the book years ago when I was working at the detoxification center. Something challenging would happen at work and I’d figure out how to understand it from a spiritual perspective. So I wrote the book as I lived it and over time developed more than 200 ways to have greater energy at work, more effective communication, increased confidence, and a renewed sense of purpose by tuning into God or Spirit, the Source of my inspiration and guidance.
There’s a need for a spiritual perspective today because business is becoming more complicated, demanding, and unpredictable than ever before. In other words, “The future isn’t what it used to be.” Everything is changing so rapidly, in fact, that we need a solid foundation on which to build our lives–including the time we spend at work. One way we can do this is to develop a working relationship with a Greater Power. Once we have that relationship, we’ll feel less affected by circumstances. Instead of looking at circumstances, we can look through them to what’s essential and basic. We’ll be able to make a spiritual response our first response, not our last resort.
6. Can people who are unemployed benefit from reading your book? Yes, absolutely. I have a chapter called “The Get-by Job,” about all the temporary jobs we have until our “real” job comes along. I share guidelines that readers can follow to explore what their job–or lack of a job–says regarding their beliefs about prosperity and employment. There’s something for everyone in the book.
7. Is incorporating a spiritual approach at work something that can be mandated by management? No. It’s an individual choice, but it’d be great if management chose to do business ethically and set a good example. But if management isn’t that “conscious,” having a spiritual attitude can help employees keep things in perspective and stay centered. When you make a spiritual response your first response, not your last resort, things tend to go more smoothly and, if you’re faced with difficult challenges–as we all are at some time or another–you’ll be more relaxed, resilient, and resourceful.
8. How can you combine something as intangible and personal as spirituality with business, which is public, materialistic, and has a reputation for being opportunistic and unethical? How can you not combine them? If we’re spiritual beings at the core, how can we check our very essence at the door when we come to work? Who we are spiritually, however, and the way we express ourselves, can be two different things. People who are spiritual at the core–as we all are–but who act unethically or behave badly misrepresent their spiritual natures.
9. Doesn’t using a spiritual perspective in business trivialize spirituality? Not at all. It’s easy to feel spiritual when you’re meditating or walking in the woods or at church, temple, or synagogue where people are on their best behavior. But it can be a real challenge and, maybe even a greater test of spiritual strength, to stay positive and peaceful when the “church” is your office, the “altar” a desk, and the “clergy” an irate customer, boss, employee, or colleague. Challenging experiences or difficult situations at work are opportunities to act according to your highest beliefs and, in doing so, to help raise the standards in business.
10. Can you give us some practical examples of how to be spiritual at work? Sure. In the book I share more than 200 ways to do this, but here are just a few examples. You could replace a coffee break, or part of a break, with a prayer break or a daily meditation (pray or meditate before you have coffee and you might need less coffee). Write a personal mission statement that reflects your highest ideals (you’ll find guidelines in the book). Look for ways to create or contribute to a socially conscious workplace, such as conserve energy, protect the environment, or participate in diversity training. Use language that suggests cooperation and respect, such as “team members” and “associates” rather than “superiors” and “subordinates,” or “close the deal” instead of “beat the competition.” Program your screen-saver on your monitor to scroll your guiding principles across the screen. Repeat your mantra–or a word that suggests tranquility–after interruptions to center yourself and return comfortably and quickly to the task at hand.
11. Is your book God-based or inner-based? Yes! It’s both. I don’t assign a direction to God: out there or in here. There’s a story about a little girl who was trying to grasp this concept. She asked her mother where God was and her mom said, “God’s everywhere.” And the little girl asked “Is God in this room?” and her mom said, “Yes.” “Is God on that chair?” and her mom said, “Yes.” “In this cup?” and her mom said, “Yes.” The little girl peered into the cup, then clamped her hand quickly over the top and said, “Gotcha God!” God is everywhere, in every place, every person, every office, and every experience and cannot be contained.
12. Can we afford to be spiritual when we have to make a profit? That question implies that you can only have one or other, you can’t have both, but you can. It’s spiritually correct to make a profit AND to get rich–if you do it ethically. People are doing it all the time. One person who comes to mind is Sir John Marks Templeton, the mutual fund pioneer who merged the Templeton Funds with Franklin Resources for a combined $87.8 billion in managed assets. He feels that for success to be permanent it has to be based on spiritual values. For him, helping people become wealthy is part of God’s ongoing creative process. People who think of money as a form of Spirit, or as a gift from God, treat it with intelligence and respect; they don’t steal it, waste it, or misuse it. They put it to its highest use.
13. So tell us how we can make more money–ethically. First, realize that you’re worthy of being rich and that wealth and abundance take many forms, only one of which is money. You might be temporarily between fortunes, but rich in friends, ideas, health, education, and opportunities. And you’re breathing! It has been said that Life is the greatest form of wealth there is. I completely agree with that!
To enlarge your concept of abundance, think of everything that you see as a form of wealth–trees and flowers, the bus/car/bicycle that you take to work, clothes, food, shelter, friends and family, someone who smiles at you–and you’ll realize how rich and blessed you really are. Every day write down 10 new ways to make money, then choose one or two, write action steps to take, and set deadlines for follow through. Educate yourself about managing money by taking classes or reading books or magazines about it. Look at the language you use regarding money; the words you use help shape your experiences. I know someone who used to ask, “What are the damages?” after he’d eaten in a restaurant and wanted the bill. It’s no surprise he was having financial problems. When I go out to dinner, I’m happy I’ve been able to hire a whole staff of people who have done all the shopping and cooking for me and who will clean up afterwards. Also realize that money can surprise you and come from anywhere if you’re open to receiving it. A paycheck isn’t the only source of income.
14. You describe two individuals: One who thinks of himself as poor and the other who thinks of himself as “between fortunes.” How can someone with a “poverty mentality” begin to change his or her mental state? Start by being grateful for what you already have. Remember that Life is the greatest form of wealth. So begin by just being glad that you woke up to see another day! Realize that “income” isn’t just a paycheck. It can take many forms. Maybe you have opportunities to learn new skills at work, pleasant customers or vendors or coworkers, flextime, health benefits, your own parking place, a helpful support staff, a short commute …. and best of all: you have a job with a salary! Motivate and encourage yourself by reading the inspiring stories of people who overcame horrendous physical, financial, and emotional odds to become happy and successful.
Focus on what’s positive in your life. I’ve heard of writers who paper their walls with rejection slips. I suppose they’re trying to show what good sports they are. I’d advise, instead, that people paper their walls with acceptances. Go back as far as you need to–back to kindergarten if necessary to the time the teacher wrote a note to your parents saying that you were “bright and creative, cheerful, and delightful to have in class.” Then photocopy that note a dozen times and paper your walls with those! Or write praises for yourself on sticky tabs and put those up around the house and read them out loud every day; this will help you call forth those attributes in yourself and reinforce them.
Look for meaning and purpose in your own success stories, in what you’ve already done and who you are. Remember times in your life when you: a) Turned a negative into a positive or overcame an obstacle b) Took a risk and it paid off c) Inspired someone, stood for what was right, or showed courage d) Learned from a mistake e) Handled increased responsibilities–financial, physical, or emotional–with style and grace f) Contributed something of value to your family, friends, the community, or society g) Lived your dream or achieved a goal h) Were persistent.
When you realize all the successes that you’ve had so far in life, and you appreciate the endless forms of abundance that are already in your experience, then you’re sure to enjoy even more success, abundance, and prosperity.
15. There are some really rich people who don’t care a thing about being spiritual and they do just fine in life. How can that be? First of all, you might be judging them by your own standards. If you pray or meditate, for example, and read inspirational books and do other things you consider spiritual, and you notice that other people don’t do those things–or at least don’t talk about doing them–you might be tempted to think that don’t care about spirituality. The fact is, we rarely, if ever, know what’s really going on in someone else’s mind or heart, so we can’t say for sure that they don’t care about spirituality.
Second, they might be living spirit-filled lives, but don’t think of it that way. The spiritual laws work whether people are aware of them or not. They might be kind, loving, honest, hardworking, creative people who are savvy investors–and their lives work for them. And, finally, for some people, thinking about spirituality just isn’t a priority until they have a crisis of some sort.
16. Some people make their money in questionable or illegal ways and get away with it. That’s not fair! Can you comment on that? There are two ways to get rich: ethically and unethically. Ethically is healthier for everyone involved. People who behave unethically might be doing it out of fear: a fear there won’t be enough to go around–not enough money, prestige, or power–so they’d better get all they can as fast as they can any way they can.
Fear–especially low-level, unconscious fear over time–can have serious negative physical and psychological affects; we don’t know what’s going to happen to them in the future. Personally I think there’s enough good to go around for everyone and I want to do business in such a way that I can sleep at night. And I want the people with whom I do business to rest easier, too, for knowing me.
17. So how can the spiritually inclined deal with the ethically challenged? What if someone steals from you or embezzles company funds? How can we handle something like that? Part of being spiritual is to stand up for your rights, hold people accountable for their behavior, and give them a chance to redeem themselves. But get your ego out of the way first. As soon as you realize that someone has done you wrong, take a deep breath and meditate, pray, go for a walk or a run, or discuss the problem with someone who can help you keep things in perspective.
You might also have heard the advice to write an angry letter to the person who did you wrong, then tear it up without mailing it. But what if you have a legitimate reason for being angry? It makes sense to be angry if someone has taken advantage of you, or is just giving you the run-around or giving you bad service, but there’s no benefit to having a knee-jerk reaction, and it might only make matters worse. So you might want to write that letter, then give it to a more objective colleague to edit, then rewrite it and maybe mail it later; but first be sure to count to ten–that can be 10 minutes or 10 hours or 10 days–until you cool down.
When you get your ego out of the way and act without anger or revenge, you’ll be coming from a position of strength. You’ll think more clearly and, in a calm, positive frame of mind, be able to stand up for your rights, hold people accountable for what they’ve done, and give them an opportunity to correct the situation or redeem themselves. You also give yourself a chance to evaluate what went wrong and guard against it happening again.
If you’ve been betrayed or misled in business how can you restore your faith in people and in your own ability to be a good judge of human nature? Rather than scold yourself for having been gullible or for having misjudged people’s intentions, console yourself. Remember all the smart decisions you’ve made, all the ethical people you know, all you’ve accomplished so far, and everything that’s working for you right now. This helps you repair your faith in yourself, takes the sting out of a temporary defeat, and puts things in perspective–good things do happen.
Also recognize the point at which the return on your invested time, money, energy, emotions no longer exceeds value of your investment. Let people’s karma/God deal with them: “What goes around comes around.” Don’t give any one person or situation power over your success. If you do that, you’ll only get angry at the person or the situation you feel is “responsible” if doesn’t turn out way you wanted. There are endless opportunities to get ahead and be successful.
What if a situation calls for legal action or a lawsuit? Consider all your options. Think about what it’ll cost in time, energy, and money, then decide if it’s best to tie up your energy that way or move on. One option would be to take the case to a mediator, which would save everybody’s time, energy, money, and dignity.
18. How do you handle it if your boss asks you to do something that’s wrong? I don’t give legal advice, but let me just say that if your boss asks you to do something wrong according to your sense of fair play, you could just say, “I don’t feel right about doing that,” and leave it at that. Speak in terms of your own feelings rather than coming right out and accusing your boss of wrongdoing.
If your boss continues to press you to do something that you think is wrong or wants you to do something obviously illegal, research all your options. The company might have a procedure for addressing grievances or dealing with particular legal issues. And there could also be a time when you want to take a stand and have the courage of your convictions, even if there will be negative repercussions. But think it through first and pray or meditate for wisdom and guidance. You want to come from a position of strength and not act out of anger or revenge.
19. Are people ever inadvertently unethical? Sometimes. These are the people who slip up by mistake or just let things slide, or who don’t take time to listen to their consciences or to be considerate of others or to treat people with respect or don’t think about the consequences of their actions. They’re not totally “present” ethically. I call them “missing in action.” If you have people like this in your experience, remember that nothing happens in isolation; you’re an integral part of the whole and, in one way or another, a player in every situation. So look for parts of a situation that you might have helped create or which you allow to continue. Maybe you could hold people to their deadlines rather than let them string you along, or meet with them to discuss the issues, or take a stress-management class, a time-management course, or assertion training.
20. Any tips for dealing with just plain difficult behavior? I’ve got about 28 strategies in the book, but here are a few I really like: Keep in mind that difficult behavior might be someone’s bid for understanding, love, or acceptance; it could be a cry for help, not an assault on you personally. If people are giving you a hard time, you might mentally step aside like a bullfighter and think “Olé!” Let them blow off steam then direct them to positive solutions. You might ask, “What can we do to correct the problem? What would have to happen for you to feel good about this?” “What’s going on?” “Can you tell me more?”
People can rationalize any behavior, so to challenge them, threaten them, or disagree with them might only make them more defensive and stubborn. Rather than trying to convince others they’re wrong and you’re right, approach problems with a cooperative spirit of looking for solutions. People also interpret behavior differently. If they’re abrupt with you, for example, you might think they’re angry, but maybe they’re just trying to be efficient. Or you might think they’re unmotivated, when in fact, they’re just not clear about company policy.
Take time every week or every month to meet with people to “decompress.” Find out what’s going on with everyone, iron out any problems, clear the air, identify potential problems and figure out how to prevent them, and make sure everyone’s on track.
21. In the book you suggest that people take time to have a conscience. Can you expand on that? Slow down and take time to listen to your inner guidance, your inner sense of what’s right. An interesting strategy used in gambling casinos is to keep things going at such a fevered pace that people don’t have time to think or get in touch with their intuition or good sense. You put yourself in similar jeopardy when you rush from appointment to appointment, activity to activity, item to item, barely stopping to catch your breath.
Take time, instead, throughout the day to think about how you’ve been handling things. You can do this during a break, an appointment with yourself, a meditation, or unexpected free time that you find here and there while on hold on phone, waiting in line, or between appointments. Think about how well you’re doing. Ask yourself “Did I handle that situation in the best way?” If you could have handled something more wisely, take time to correct what you did or figure out how to handle it differently the next time.
22. Can you say something about competition? Yes, wouldn’t you rather “do” lunch than be lunch? If we’re all the same spirit at the core, then we just fight ourselves when we compete. It’s like those Betas, sometimes called “Siamese Fighting Fish.” They knock themselves against the sides of the aquarium fighting their own reflections. When we compete, we fight our own reflections.
But competition encourages us to provide quality products and services. If we don’t keep the customer happy, someone else will. You can also provide a quality product and good service because you believe in what you’re doing and you believe in excellence and good service. That’ll keep people coming back, too, and it’s mentally healthier than trying to keep customers satisfied for fear of losing them.
23. What do you do if you have one of those really awful days at the office? There’s no rush hour in “heaven,” so get your bearings and calm yourself down with a meditation, a prayer, or a mini-vacation in your mind, just sitting at your desk. Mentally go to a place where you’ve felt peaceful. Then think about all the times you felt enthused, confident, excited about being alive, really connected to your Higher Self. This helps you recreate that frame of mind. When you return from vacation, you’ll be refreshed, alert, and ready to tackle what you need to do.
But what about Murphy’s Law, which states that if something can go wrong, it will? There’s a higher law than Murphy’s Law: Universal Law, which simply put, states that we help create our experiences. If, on some level, you helped create a problem or have allowed it to continue, you also have the power to solve it. I believe that every question has an answer, every problem a solution. When you align yourself with your Higher Self (Spirit or God), you think more clearly, have access to a wealth of creativity, intelligence, and wisdom, and can solve any problem or improve it significantly.
You also might want to analyze why a day was difficult and figure out how to prevent future difficult days. Stay “prayed up” so you can draw on your reservoir of inner strength during tough times. Get the big picture. Ask how one day is going to fit in with rest of your life. And remember that for every tough day you have, you have many more that go smoothly.
24. You call yourself a Spiritual Strategist™. What does a Spiritual Strategist™ do? I help people explore ways they can incorporate a spiritual perspective at work, whatever their faith, whatever their job. I don’t tell them how to do it; instead I share ideas that have worked for me and for other people. Ultimately each person is the authority, the expert, in his or her own life.
25. How can people become their own spiritual strategists? Write a personal mission statement (described in the book) that addresses your spiritual values and keeps you on track. Pray or meditate daily. Remember that there’s a solution to every problem, a spiritual foundation to Life, and a Power greater than we are operating in all things, including business. This is a Power that we can use to be happy, successful, and prosperous. So remember to make a spiritual response your first response, not your last resort.