One of my favorite Southern sayings is that when you see a turtle sitting on a fence post, you know it had help to get up there.
Many business owners will tell you the same about their success: They had help getting there. The Lord gave them talents, abilities, people around them, and sometimes just good fortune and timing. Overall, they needed help to get where they are now.
Now that they are on the fence post, what next? Just as turtles can’t stay in one spot forever, neither can business owners. Those who have reached this level of success have three options:
1. Stay there and burn out. Some business owners find their entire identity in being a business owner, and the thought of retiring or leaving the business means giving up that identity. So many owners continue to stay active in the business long after it is time to let go. I remember some senior partners at law firms that would be well into their 80s and 90s, but still go into the office every day. If our identity is in our business or work, it’s hard to accept change. Our identity has to be in Christ alone.
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28
2. Try to get down by yourself and fall to the ground. Although the business owner can admit that they had help to achieve success, sometimes they stubbornly believe that they can move forward by themselves. This is when the crash occurs. Pride will always cloud our judgment and lose focus on the true measure of success.
“Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18
3. Ask for help to get off the fence post. I have the great pleasure of working with some tremendously successful Christian business owners, and all of them seem to have something in common: They will admit that they are not the owner of the business, but that God is the owner and He is in control. This means that God can do what He wants with His business. Sometimes that means transitioning the business to someone else. Other times that means lifting the business to a higher fence post (a new level of success). And even sometimes, that means gently placing the business softly back on the ground. Whatever occurs, the business owner (i.e. turtle) knows that God is in control.
“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” Matthew 16:25