Ways To Incorporate Spirituality At Work

Most people spend the majority of their waking hours at work. If you are a spiritual person, it only makes sense that you will want to incorporate the same ideals you apply to the rest of your life to your work life as well.

Unfortunately, it often isn’t as simple as that. When you find yourself surrounded by others who don’t share your beliefs, it can feel like you need to keep your spirituality under wraps. You don’t want to risk damaging your reputation in the office.

There are, however, plenty of ways that you can remain professional while still staying true to your values and spirituality at work.

How to Implement Workplace Spirituality

Your spirituality often lies at the core of everything that you do. It involves a commitment to your value system, and it is critical to nurture that value system both in your private life and in the workplace. As people become busier and our lives become even more work-centric, it is more important than ever to carry our spirituality into the workplace. The following offers suggestions for incorporating your spirituality in the workplace:

1. Connect Your Work to Your Value System

Don’t just take a job just because it is high paying and has a lot of benefits. These sorts of jobs may not align with your value system, and you may find it difficult develop any sort of workplace spirituality.

Instead, choose a career that focuses on your core beliefs. If you want to do something that gives back to the world, focus your skills so that you can do work that fulfills that.

If you are already on a certain career path, you can always look into working for companies that strive to make the world a better place. Pay attention to what the company stands for. Who are they helping, and how are they treating people both inside and outside the company?

Do research on any company that you are interviewing with. Ask questions during the interview process to see if the organization aligns with your spirituality. Know exactly what you are getting into before you accept the job. Look at their websites and annual reports. What is their mission statement, their vision for the company, and what are their core values? Are the company’s actions keeping with the values that they preach?

2. Look at Things Positively

Learn to let go of negativity at work. Whether it’s a criticism from a colleague, people complaining about their jobs to you, or dealing with a disgruntled client, try to look for the positives.

If you are able to take frustrating situations and bring light to them, you will be better at your job, and you will treat those around you better. Try to use positive words when you talk about the situation. Analyze why it is making you feel a certain way, then move on from it.

3. Treat Others Well

It’s a simple thing that is often overlooked in the workplace. Treat others how you would like to be treated. Say please and thank you. Tell people you appreciate the work that they do. Pay others compliments.

Bringing this kind of kindness to the workplace can be contagious. Not only will it make you more positive, but it allows you to spread joy to others.

4. Take Some Time for Yourself

Have moments of silence throughout the day. This may mean putting some headphones in for a few moments or taking a walk outside to clear your head.

Work on incorporating things like meditation, prayer, or mantras into your workday, depending on the sort of spirituality you practice. These are things that can be done at your desk without anyone even noticing. They can be quick moments throughout the day that bring you back to your spirituality and allow you to focus better at work.

5. Get to Know Your Coworkers

Who are the people that you work with? Would getting to know each other promote a more cohesive environment?

Getting to know what’s important to those around you can only benefit the business – whether it’s a work issue or something that is happening in their personal lives. Sometimes people need someone to talk to, and if you sense that in a coworker, offer an ear. The more you learn about your coworkers, the more you will be able to sympathize with them.

6. Speak to Your Boss About Ideas You Have to Spread Workplace Spirituality

Consider how your company can do more for the community you are in. How can they contribute to the betterment of the world in some small way?

Think about things that the company can do to improve the workplace spirituality for the employees. What are some ideas that could help make employees feel like their work actually matters?

Come up with a few ideas that align with the company’s values and bring them to your supervisor. Be passionate about it. Have a clear understanding of what will be required of the company and how this will not only make the community better, but also how it will improve the business.

7. Be Mindful

Be aware of your actions and how they affect those around you. Think about what you are saying and the words you are using before you speak them. Take care with your words and actions. Notice how other people react to them. Notice how others in the office treat one another, and think of ways you can improve this.

Being mindful of yourself is one of the most valuable things you can do to bring your spirituality to work with you each day. If you are fully aware of your actions and words, you will make decisions that align with your values.

8. Put People First

When you foster a work environment where you put your colleagues and staff first, you make people feel valued. When people feel valued at work, they work even harder.

Put your customers first. Listen to what they want and figure out ways that you can help and connect with them even more than you do now.

Nurture relationships with everyone in the business. This includes employees, customers, and suppliers. When people feel that they are working with someone who cares for them, they want to stay loyal. This is great for the business, but it’s also just nice to be nice.

9. Find Others Who Feel the Same

Find others in your workplace who share the same beliefs and values as you do. It is always nice to have someone at work that you can share ideas with.

If you don’t feel comfortable speaking about your spirituality at work, discuss it with your friends that you have outside of the office. Ask them how they implement spirituality at work without making others around them uncomfortable.

10. Slow Down

Sometimes life can move so fast we stop paying attention to our spirituality and our values. We’ve all been in situations where we make snap decisions, say things we don’t mean, or act in ways we’re not proud of.

Slow down when you can. Take care in every action that you do, every decision that you make, and every word that you speak. Remember that they all have repercussions. Take on one thing at a time instead of trying to multi-task.

Even when it feels like it’s impossible to slow down, simply take a moment and step back from the situation. Take a few deep breaths. Slowing down is easier than you think.

11. Take Stock Regularly

At the end of each week, each month, or even just at the end of each day, think about how you can add more spirituality to your daily life. Think about your actions over that period of time and reflect on whether they were the right ones. Learn from those reflections and take that forward to try to improve.

No one is perfect and we are all learning how to practice our value system in different real-life situations. It’s very easy to think about how you will react to certain situations, but the reality is usually very different.

Take stock regularly of how you are applying your values to your practice of spirituality at work.

No matter what your beliefs or values are, it is important to carry them with you both in your personal life and when you’re at work. Be true to yourself, and if you feel that you are not able to carry your values with you at work, then it may be time to find somewhere that you can.

Nashville has always thought big. People have moved here with dreams of conquering the city, or even the world. Adam Neumann, cofounder and CEO of WeWork — which has two locations in Music City — has described the company as a place that fosters that kind of growth.

So it makes sense that the two meshed so well at WeWork’s Nashville Creator Awards, held on September 13. Host Ashton Kutcher ticked off the long list of larger cities where the Creator Awards, a global competition that rewards entrepreneurs, have already taken place. “London! São Paulo! Nashville, you are on that list!”

Adam Neumann and Ashton Kutcher at WeWork’s Nashville Creator Awards.

Neumann twice interrupted the event to increase the amounts of the prizes, underscoring that “think big” theme for the night. He boosted dollar amounts for runners-up in the nonprofit category and gave performance arts winner Melanie Faye a recording studio, in addition to her $18,000 cash prize. All told, WeWork awarded $888,000 in prize money in Music City.

If you were expecting a prim-and-proper pitch competition, well, this wasn’t your father’s shark tank. The crowd of more than 2,500 people at Marathon Music Works was standing room only, and there were lines outside of more folks who wanted to get in. (Food trucks kept serving outside all night.) Faye rocked out on her signature blue Fender guitar as attendees made their way to their seats. “A lot of times on stage I am inhibited, but the audience was giving me a lot of energy that I could feed off,” she said. “So it made me play at my potential. It made me a lot more confident.”

Sarah Martin McConnell wowed the judges — and the crowd — with her elevator pitch for Music for Seniors, a nonprofit that takes live music to the elderly.

Kutcher described Nashville has having seemingly contradictory, yet laudatory, qualities: humility and confidence. Also one of the judges, Kutcher said the one quality he looked for most in a creator is “grit.”

Music City’s quirkiness came through loud and clear in all the best moments of the evening:

Best way to fight the stereotype: Nashville likes to emphasize that it’s not just about country music. Sure, the mega duo of Florida Georgia Line were celebrity judges, but what better way to show Music City’s range than to have G-Eazy (wearing a “Cashville” T-shirt) in the house? The rapper played to a happy after-party crowd that danced through beer and confetti.

Janett Liriano of Loomia pitches her company to the judges.

Best eats: Food trucks lined up outside —  including That Awesome Taco Truck, King Tut’s, and Bradley’s Creamery — fed attendees in a makeshift park with picnic tables and a view of the city skyline in the distance.

Best thirst quencher: On a day that topped 92 degrees and humidity levels as noticeable in the air as the confetti streamers that later rained down, “refreshing” was the beverage watchword of the night. Palomas, served both as limed-accented drinks from the open bars in the vendor market and job fair and as shots once the winners were announced, helped the parched and got folks in a party mood, while keeping it light. For non-drinkers, WithCo’s drink call the Jackass, made with fresh lime and ginger, was a particularly popular pre-show energy kick.

Melanie Faye rocked out on her signature blue Fender guitar at the Nashville Creator Awards.

Easiest way to influence your future: Inside, Neumann, Kutcher, and the finalists demonstrated what happens when one has ambition and curiosity. Business card-maker Moo helped people put that initiative in their own hands –– literally. Market-goers wrote a postcard to their future selves that Moo will mail 12 months from now.

Best wearable art: WeWorker and East Nashville florist FLWR Shop used liquid latex to paint fresh-flower corsages on the wrists of willing attendees.

Local vendors showed off their wares at the Nashville Creator Awards.

Best salute to veterans: The world-changing went on not just on the stage but in the pop-up market and job fair, which hosted many businesses and nonprofits specifically focused on helping refugees and veterans, including Bunker Labs, a national nonprofit for veteran entrepreneurs.

Most quintessential Nashville item for sale: Music City’s Original Fuzz was selling its line of guitar straps made from vintage and one-of-a-kind fabrics. Camera and bags straps were available for those who can’t pick a note.

Dozens of jobs were on offer at the Nashville Creator Awards job fair.

Biggest scene-stealer: Before the pitches began Kutcher and Neumann asked for two volunteers from the packed audience to pitch their idea. Sarah Martin McConnell’s hand shot up, and in 30 seconds she wowed the duo — and the crowd — with her elevator pitch for Music for Seniors, a nonprofit that takes live music to the elderly. She was awarded $50,000 to triple the organization’s size by the end of next year. “This is a turning place for us,” she said.

Product that best knows its niche audience: Nashville is home to the largest Kurdish population in the U.S. The majority of Kurds are Muslim, and Muslim women who participate in wudu, a washing ritual where water must reach every part of the body, cannot wear waterproof makeup or nail polish. Enter Júwon Enamel, a vegan nail polish with a water-permeable polish, to solve that problem. (Júwon means “beautiful” in Kurdish.)

Biggest winner: Stephanie Benedetto, founder and CEO of Queen of Raw, the night’s biggest winner with a $360,000 prize for her online marketplace for excess raw textiles, demonstrated a lot of grit. “The kinds of questions they asked were so valuable, informative, and supportive,” she said, but they also forced her to think about the direction she’ll take the company going forward.

Best sign you were on the right track: Anthony Brahimsha, who walked away with a second-place $180,000 prize for Prommus, his high-protein, clean-label hummus, says that “as soon as you win this award, all the blood, sweat and tears that you put into the company comes together. I’m talking, literally, blood, sweat, and tears… Finally, it feels like an affirmation that you were doing the right thing.”

When luxury clothing retailer Burberry burned millions of dollars worth of items that it couldn’t sell, it caused an uproar. Destroying excess fabric is rampant in the industry, but Stephanie Benedetto may have come up with a solution.

Her business, Queen of Raw, offers an online marketplace for buying and selling fabrics that might otherwise go to waste.

Queen of Raw cofounder Stephanie Benedetto wants to use the prize money from the Nashville Creator Awards to take her company international.

The New Yorker says there’s $120 billion worth of excess fabric sitting in warehouses around the world. That costs the factories that made it, the companies that ordered it, and the warehouses that store it. And Benedetto says it also costs the planet.

The textile industry is the second-biggest polluter of clean water in the world, right after oil. That cotton T-shirt you’re wearing as you read this? Benedetto says it took a mind-boggling 700 gallons of water to produce (unless you happen to be wearing an organic shirt, in which case it’s more like 10 gallons). Multiply that by the 2 billion shirts sold annually across the globe, and you can see the impact this has on the environment.

With Queen of Raw, Bennedetto says that businesses can sell their excess raw fabric (hence the name) instead of destroying it. And if the company that buys it ends up not needing it? Well, it can sell it to another firm.

Buyers become sellers and sellers become buyers,” she says.

Bennedetto says she’s continuing a family tradition. A century ago, her immigrant grandfather worked in the garment industry on New York’s Lower East Side. Today, she runs her technology-driven company from New York’s WeWork Empire State.

A former lawyer who specialized in fashion, technology, and other fields, Benedetto started mapping out Queen of Raw on a napkin four years ago. She officially launched this year with cofounder Phil Derasmo, whose Wall Street and startup contacts were a good balance for her fashion industry chops.

Benedetto estimates that by 2025 Queen of Raw could help save more than 4 billion gallons of water and prevent 2 million tons of textiles from going to the landfill. While Queen of Raw strives to have serious social impact, it was important to Benedetto for it to be a for-profit business to show the industry that preventing waste will help their bottom line.

Benedetto knows how hard it is to run a successful startup. But things suddenly got a lot easier on Sept. 13 when she took home the top prize — $360,000 — at the Nashville Creator Awards.

“We were a bootstrapped company and it took us all the way to launch,” says Benedetto. “We want to be able to grow and scale beyond the U.S. and around the world.”

Her ultimate goal is to get people — business owners and consumers alike — to stop and think.

“Wherever you are, whatever you are going, the materials in the space you are in —the office, a car, a plane — did not come from nowhere,” says Benedetto. “If everyone thought a little differently about one T-shirt, about sourcing sustainably one thing, that would have a massive impact.”

Architect Luiz Alberto Altmann Fazio was volunteering with a well-known nonprofit when he visited a favela in Rio de Janeiro. There he saw for the first time the problems with sewage encountered by many poor communities in Brazil.

“Companies won’t build sewage networks in poor communities because they don’t see it as economically viable,” he says.

About 50 percent of Brazilian households are not connected to a sewage network, a statistic that disproportionally affects the poor. So Fazio created Biosaneamento, a project to build low-cost biogas toilets in communities that lack basic sanitation.

A biogas toilet is similar to an eco-friendly composting toilet in that it converts waste to fertilizer. But a biogas system takes things a step farther by also collecting methane gas that can be used by the local community. This gas can be a lifeline for poor families, who have seen the price of canisters of gas rise in recent months in Brazil.

Despite Brazil passing a law guaranteeing all citizens access to a sewage system 10 years ago, Fazio says that in a best-case scenario, the country is still at least 25 years away from fulfilling its promise. The total cost would be more than $100 billion.

But Biosaneamento offers a cheap and quicker solution to the problem. The construction of bio-toilets uses readily available materials and can create jobs in the community.

Biosaneamento, with offices at Rio de Janeiro’s WeWork Carica, is a winner in the nonprofit category at the WeWork Creator Awards. With the $18,000 prize the company will be able to build up to 50 systems — enough to serve 150 homes and 600 people.

Fazio says that says that their system would cost around a tenth of a sewer traditional system. One of the big benefits would be improving the health of local communities.

“In poor communities with open sewer networks you have high rates of diarrhea and other diseases,” says Fazio. “For young children this can be deadly.”

When São Paulo business leader Alcione Albanesi decided to start a nonprofit organization back in 1993, little did she know that 25 years later it would be one of the best-known programs in Brazil.

“At the time, we couldn’t have imagined where it would take us,” says Albanesi, who started off her career as head of a successful lamp company.

Today, Amigos do Bem — which translates as “Good Friends” — has 8,600 volunteers working to help 60,000 Brazilians in Sertão, one of the country’s poorest areas. The semi-arid region sits in the northeastern part of the country.

Through volunteering, fundraising, and other efforts, Amigos de Bem serves 118 villages in the remote parts of the states of Alagoas, Pernambuco, and Ceará. Last year, Amigos do Bem received an award from Brazil’s Epoca magazine, which honours the 100 best non-governmental organizations in the country.

Sertão is a visually beautiful and enchanting place that has inspired some of Brazil’s best literature and cinema, but it’s also a region that throughout Brazil’s history has suffered from natural disasters, poverty, and neglect.

While there have been some serious improvements in recent years, including much-needed grants provided by the government, problems remain. Jobs are hard to come by, and many residents rely to varying degrees on subsistence agriculture to help them get by.

To make matters worse, two years ago the area suffered its worst drought in history. In 2014, Brazil was removed from the United Nations World Hunger map, but in Sertão, there are many areas where hunger persists.  

“It’s a difficult fight,” says Albanesi, a resident of São Paulo. “It’s really complex. Without a humane intervention, it’s a pattern that repeats itself.”

In partnership with leading supermarket chains in Brazil, Amigos do Bem donates 11,000 food baskets each month to poor families in the Sertão region. But while the nonprofit started off with donations of food and clothing, it has expanded to offer housing and medical and dental care.

Today, the organization is focused on self-sustaining projects such as university scholarships that will benefit nearly 200 students. Most of them will be the first in their families to go on to higher education.

“Today, kids and teenagers in the region can dream,” says Albanesi.