2 min read

374: From Overwhelm to Purpose: Barry Rowan's Guide to Spiritual Well-being

374: From Overwhelm to Purpose: Barry Rowan's Guide to Spiritual Well-being

Join us as Barry Rowan shares insights from his book, The Spiritual Art of Business, guiding us on a journey of faith-driven leadership and its profound impact on the world around us. 


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In this episode:

  • Barry's Background:

    • Beyond his professional achievements, Barry is deeply involved in community service, serving as a trustee or board member for various educational institutions and ministries, including Harvard Business School and Christian Fellowship. (02:51)
  • Crisis of Meaning:
    • Barry recounts a profound personal journey spanning nearly two decades, where he grappled with the purpose and meaning of his work. A pivotal moment came during a tearful episode at a Colorado campsite, marking his dissatisfaction with a divided life. (05:06)

    • After an intense period of introspection and reading, Barry concluded that God likely exists and committed to living a life centered around that belief. He describes his entry into faith as "kicking and screaming" but ultimately transformative. (05:48)

  • Meaning in Work:
    • Barry emphasizes a shift in perspective: rather than seeking meaning from work, one should bring meaning to it. This inversion, focusing on internal values and beliefs, leads to a more integrated and fulfilling life. (06:49)

    • The Spiritual Art of Business: Barry outlines a spiritual cycle encompassing four phases: Surrender, Transformation, Becoming a New Creation in Christ, and Engaging with the World. This cycle represents the journey of aligning oneself with God's will, transforming both the individual and the world around them. (08:35)

  • Surrendering to Christ in the Workplace:
    • Barry Rowan emphasizes the transformation that comes from surrendering to Christ. This surrender allows God's Spirit to flow through individuals and influence their work. (12:38)
    • By emptying oneself of personal ambitions or the need for recognition, individuals can focus more on their true calling and become better leaders. (12:47)
    • Leaders who prioritize the organization's well-being over personal gain are viewed as more trustworthy and compassionate. This perspective enables them to treat their employees as whole individuals rather than just economic contributors. (13:33)
  • Overcoming Fear in Leadership:
    • By immersing oneself in prayer, Scripture, and present circumstances, one can confront and understand these fears. Such a practice allows individuals to identify underlying spiritual reasons behind their fears. (19:19)
    • Viewing fear as an emotion to be understood, rather than an overwhelming force, can help individuals navigate challenging situations with greater resilience. (22:14)
  • Living Out Christian Values in Corporate Settings:
    • Barry Rowan challenges the notion of a sacred/secular divide, asserting that all work can be infused with purpose and spirituality. (25:53)
    • He shares personal experiences of maintaining faith-driven principles in challenging corporate environments. Despite facing tough business situations, such as significant debt and operational challenges, Barry found that applying Christian values strengthened both his leadership and the organization's outcomes. (27:04)
    • Through his approach, Barry has had multiple opportunities to share his faith with colleagues and stakeholders, leading to deeper conversations about purpose and motivation in the workplace. (28:33)
  • Mastering Time:

    • Barry emphasizes the importance of "getting to no" by having a strong yes burning inside. (30:15)
    • He shares a personal experience of stress due to misaligned time allocation and establishes the need for balance in work-life. (30:48)
    • Barry suggests defining personal balance, setting boundaries, and ensuring one isn't overwhelmed by time demands. (32:05)
  • Mentoring vs. Intergenerational Friendships:

    • Barry sees himself as a fellow pilgrim rather than a mentor. (33:32)
    • He stresses the importance of bi-directional relationships, termed as intergenerational friendships, where both parties learn and benefit. (34:00)
    • The essence is in spending quality time together and sharing experiences. (34:35)
  • Spiritual Retreats:

    • Barry views personal time with God as pivotal for spiritual growth. (38:11)
    • He began with just 10 minutes daily and gradually increased his time, emphasizing the journey from discipline to craving and then to responsibility. (38:47)
    • Retreats, even short ones, are crucial for disconnecting from worldly voices and reconnecting with God's voice. (41:40)


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