Wednesday, June 15, 2016

On Saints & Startups

Editor's Note: Today we bring you another wonderful piece by Alisha Olandesca. You can find her on Twitter @stainlessstyled and in her own corner of the internet at

Is your faith a scale-able enterprise or is it more of a lifestyle business? 

A mentor posed this question to me early on, within the context of our business model. The Holy Spirit left me contemplating this idea for quite sometime however. It took a while to really dissect. I thought I'd bring my musings to you good folks because when we examine this question through the lens of our Catholic beliefs, the differences are striking. 

In this analogy it's important to look at what defines these two types of companies. A lifestyle business is essentially self serving (not selfish I might add). It's ideal really, for someone looking for a way to work from anywhere, anytime, and for themselves. In terms of sacrifice, there's relatively little. Time, yes. Effort, definitely. Money, some I'm guessing. The end goal is Freedom! To pursue a passion that allows you to lead the lifestyle of your choosing. Many business owners work enough, to earn enough, to be content. It's not all sunshine and lollipops I'm sure, but as far as employment goes...not too shabby. 

A start up is much different. There is a lot of time and finances required. The goal is to reach as many clients as possible, as efficiently as possible, and then exit the business for a large reward at the end. Many exits are made within 5-10 years. Some even sooner than that. It's a swing for the fences, all or nothing effort.

When I explore these definitions, I see me on one side and the Communion of Saints on the other. I can only speak for myself, but maybe you can relate. I get comfortable. I like my faith to  provide for me on my own terms. I pray more when I am in need. I am more devoted to the Holy Eucharist when the adoration times line up with my schedule. I confess when it's most convenient. It's a shameful admission that I get pulled into a worldly lifestyle, where room must be made for Jesus. And in full disclosure, the more comfortable I am, the less room there seems to be.

But our beautiful Communion of Saints....They swung for the fences! They dreamt of an eternity with Jesus and dove into the Catholic enterprise head first. There was no need to make room for God because He was the room in which they dwelt! Prayer was not a product of their own need, it was a product of the need they saw in others. The sacrifices made by the Saints is immeasurable. The most notable point here is that in our world, a successful exit is not a guarantee. With God it is an absolute certainty. We can swing for the fences, and know that when our exit is made, we get a reward that is more than even the hardest working soul will ever merit. 

The ironic thing is that when we do commit to a start up faith, we gain a faith of freedom in return.

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