Whether or not you are spiritual, I think entrepreneurship, as well as warfare, will at least make you think about God. If there’s a God up there, you’re either gonna plead with him for your life, or curse him when everything goes to shit.
Trusting God, therefore, is probably pretty important toward long term emotional stability and success. If naming a God is too much spirituality for you, just think about Steve Job’s Stanford commencement speech. The part where he’s talking about trusting that the dots will align, things will work out. That’s what I’m talking about.
That’s what I did, as a believer, I prayed and trusted things would just work out, one way or another. That’s trusting God right? Well sort of, but not quite. If you just stop there, like I did, you will be bitterly disappointed when things don’t just work out. You will either confirm in your heart there is no God, or quickly grow to loathe him. After all, you had good intentions, you trusted him, and yet things still fell apart. What the hell? Clearly he is not living up to his part of this spiritual bargain.
And thats part one of this problem, you, like I was, are not really trusting God. Instead we are bargaining with God so that he will align the dots to our direction, not his. Trusting that “the dots will align” is one step, it helps you not make decisions out of fear, which is important, but its not all the way there. It doesn’t account for when the dots don’t align along the way or ever. It doesn’t account for when that typography class you took (as I did) doesn’t help you build some world changing thing but instead is still totally useless for the coding algorithm challenge you are trying to pass at Apple. Maybe you should switch careers to something with typography, maybe the dots will connect then, but for now there is incongruity. How do I trust God in this?
It’s learning the deeper part of trust, that there is a relationship involved. God is a person. He’s not just an abstract force connecting dots in the sky, he’s a person who wants to know you, his creation, personally. And the thing with God is, he is far more concerned with your or my character than our success.
We may not like that, we may hate that, not believe in that, but that is the way it is. Nearly 5000 years of spiritual writings reinforce this idea that God seeks to improve our character, by one method or another. So whichever religion you choose, this idea isn't going away.
Therefore trusting God is also letting go of the pursuit of personal success. Instead we must ask God what success looks like to him.
He knows you need a job. He knows your passions, he made them, and he wants you to pursue them. He is connecting the dots, perhaps on his timeframe not yours. However ultimately, success to God is making you into a better person. A more loving, kind, generous, thoughtful, wise, self-aware, person.
So trust in the dots, but be prepared they may not take you where you expect, and you will have to learn to be ok with that. Even Steve didn’t particularly like what happened when Apple fired him and NEXT failed. And yet thats what lead him to Pixar, and the mentors he met there in addition to the whole experience are what grew him to be a much better manager for round 2 at Apple.
The other part when talking about trust is using God as an excuse to not properly plan and prepare. I did that too, not a great move. Whether you see God as an abstract “dot connecting force” or the personal spiritual being I just described, lack of planning is a classic thing we blame God on. We think trust is an excuse to not prepare. After all, God has it covered. Unfortunately for us, God is too good a parent to let that trick work. He let’s us fail, particularly when we don’t prepare or have a false sense of trust in Him, so that we will learn. If you don’t study for the exam and the teacher fails you, it doesn’t mean he hates you. He just thinks you should study.
Startups are a lot of work, and while its good to fail fast, its better to succeed fast. There are no easy answers, but we all need to do our homework. In this way, atheists perhaps have the advantage, those of us with spiritual beliefs would do well to learn how to better prepare for the unexpected.
So part one of trusting God is trusting things will “just work out.” Part two is trusting he still has your best interest in mind when everything fall apart. Part three is being open to his plans instead of yours. Dallas Willard describes similar themes in his book, Life Without Lack as “the faith of propriety, the faith of desperation and the faith of sufficiency.”