5 Sources of Wisdom and Inspiration for Your Business


When I began my first private clinical practice in 2003, my mentor, psychologist Dr. Charlotte Dillon, told me that the key to a successful practice is “collaboration not competition.” Despite having a competitive spirit, I decided to trust my mentor and allow the process of collaboration to unfold. I knew enough at that stage of my life to listen to those that have significant life experience and are where I strive to be. She was right. Her voice was the one in my head each time I wanted to hold back ideas or a referral for fear that it would somehow hurt my career. In addition to my mentors, I also turn to famous leaders and apply their wisdom to my business practices. Below is what has worked for me in developing and maintaining successful businesses.

1. The Golden Rule. Jesus said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Strive to run your business the way you’d want others you patronize to run theirs. Whether you’re serving coffee, selling windows, or installing cable television, run your business with the Golden Rule in mind and strive for excellence in all that you do. Another way to think about this is what type of business, service, or experience would you want for your significant other, children, parents, siblings, and closest friends, etc.? Only the best, of course. We may be able to accept “good enough” for ourselves but we want excellence for our loved ones. That’s the kind of business to run.

2. Be the Change. What is it that you want to add to the world? When you’ve been a consumer and were displeased with your service we often can readily identify how things could be improved. Being the change calls for us to do just that. I recently read Paul Kalanithi’s book, When Breath Becomes Air. He described in his book how he readily practiced being the neurosurgeon he’d want to have. His practice was tested and strengthened when he indeed became a patient. That kind of intelligence, compassion, and ambition are the qualities I want from my service providers in my daily life. I readily integrate Mahatma Gandhi’s “Be the change you want to see in the world” in my practice. If I fall short of client expectations or my own, I can at least rest in knowing I did my best and that there are areas I can and will improve upon.

3.  Have faith. “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase”- Martin Luther King, Jr. I love this quote because whether you realize it or not, the only thing that exists is the first step or the present moment. The other steps don’t exist yet because we are not there yet. So, essentially each step is a first step. This does not mean that you shouldn’t have a plan of action. Of course you should have a well rounded, critically thought out plan. It means not to let the fear of the unknown make decisions for you.

4. Be a trailblazer. “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” I had this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson on my mirror for the longest time as constant source of inspiration. Although I haven’t consciously strived to carve a path or leave a trail, this wisdom does resonate with me as I find joy in doing my own thing. Contemplating Emerson’s quote, eventually lead to my new business, Per La Vita Wellness, where I integrate my love for people, evidence-based practices, yoga, teaching, meditation, and health.

5.  Be present. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”- Maya Angleou. I recall hearing this quote by Ms. Angelou on Oprah some years ago and it resonated with me. As a professor and a clinician, I certainly hope that people will remember the things we’ve talked about in class or in session. However, as I think back to the many great teachers I have had, it is the way I felt in their presence that has been the most enduring and inspiring. What I think is important to remember is that what may be considered work, is someone’s life. I don’t want people to ever leave my office or classroom believing that they were just work to me. I want them to know that while I may have a job to do and will soon return home to my family and other parts of my daily life that they are an important part of my life. I want them to feel respected and cared for and to know that I am honored to be working with them.

There you have it. Great wisdom from those who certainly know better. Are there any messages of greatness that inspire you? Join the conversation. I’d love to hear from you. Thank you for your thoughts and for reading!

Kristen Brendel