“Wig”, as most call him, sat in front of me over the simplicity of a Subway sandwich shop table and motioned his arm with a fist up and down saying thoughtfully and slowly, “it’s about wisdom.”
Last week I was with a group of Cross Country athletes from our local High School and had them answer this question, “What is wisdom?”
Their answers were thoughtful and aware– sincere and slow.
These student-athletes were genuinely thinking about the question. It was not a case of “let me just spit out an answer so this guy can move on and we can go do anything other than this!”
Wisdom forces us to slow down and listen closely.
Wisdom invites us to lean in and fine tune our ears to hear.
Wisdom speaks in truth, prudence, good judgement, plain-terms, knowledge, discernment, insight, strength, service, eagerness, right-ness, experience, longevity, instruction, joy, and life.
Business Owners are invited daily to walk away from Wisdom and instead to go down the wide, inviting, luxurious path of deception, feeling-above-truth, injustice, confusion, apathy, gossip, and near-term assumption. Of course it never feels or seems that way in the moment.
There are two reasons why Wisdom must be the primary value that hovers above all other published values in your business (and everywhere else).
First, Wisdom was around long before you were.
The personification of wisdom is well written and documented in the Jewish Proverbs.
“Rulers lead with my (Wisdom’s) help…”
“I (Wisdom) have riches and honor, as well as enduring wealth and justice.”
“My (Wisdom’s) gifts are better than gold, even the purest gold, my wages better than sterling silver.”
As you read through you begin to uncover the game-changing option you have in embracing Wisdom.
Those values and benefits are within Wisdom in part because of how long Wisdom has existed. “The Lord formed me (Wisdom) from the beginning, before he created anything else. I was appointed in ages past, at the very first, before the earth began. I was born before the oceans were created, before the springs bubbled their waters…”
Working through a recent parenting challenge I reached out to a mentor who is older and more experienced than I am. He walked me through a similar challenge their family experienced which gave me loads of confidence and courage to walk through in our family.
The majority of insight you receive will likely be categorized as opinion, the minority of insight you receive is Wisdom.
He had been there before, and his challenge instilled bravery in me.
Wisdom has been there before, which is why the secret to wisdom is simply, “Go get wisdom!” (Prov 4:7)
Second, Wisdom’s foundation is solid when everything else is flimsy.
All that time spent strategizing, marketing, thinking, and wondering can make our businesses feel like a house of cards.
Most businesses are built as a house of cards, fancy exteriors with very little substructure underneath. We see it all of the time and appreciate when a business owner takes time to become aware and admit it. Only then can transformation begin.
When we are fragile and in chaos we will do anything possible not to have our flimsiness exposed. Fingers crossed and arms clutched we hope that “everything will just work out.” Or we believe the consequence of the “everything will just work out” mentality won’t be as bad as the pain of putting in the work on the front end.
Wisdom says “put in the work while no one is looking and reap the reward on the back end.” The opposite of wisdom is “everything will just work out.”
Here are a few helpful ways to “go get wisdom”.
- Read the Jewish Proverbs, they are clear and pull no punches.
- Proactively reach out to someone older than you and farther along than you in that thing you are chasing and ask lots of questions over a sandwich.
- Read. Read. Read. (also listen to podcasts and audiobooks)
- Ask for it. James the Jewish letter writer says, “If any of you lack wisdom, ask God who gives to all without judgement.” (James 1:5)
Once you begin the long discipline of procuring wisdom you will then be able to deploy wisdom. Once you deploy wisdom be ready for counter punches which you will then combat with…
Everything else moves, shifts, and fades out. Wisdom endures.