This was originally published on AllBusiness.
As we see more entrepreneurs incorporate spiritual practices into their businesses, we’re also seeing a rise in the use of spiritual tools in business. CEOs and high net worth individuals no longer see turning to tarot cards and psychics as taboo.
Speaking of tarot, those magical, mystical cards that can tell fortunes—or at the very least, provide insight into our psyches—present certain archetypes that we all possess at one point in our lives or another. When we apply these archetypes, such as The Fool’s “beginner’s mind,” to our businesses, things get really interesting.
It All Begins with a Journey…
If you’re unfamiliar with tarot cards, this 78-card deck was invented in the 1400s as a game and a fortune-telling tool. Centuries later, the tarot has become a hot commodity for everyone from the American millennial to the Italian nonna.
The deck starts with The Fool, a card that on the surface seems to be an idiot we should disregard. In some decks, he appears to be on the cusp of falling off a cliff with a silly grin on his face. But the deeper you go into the meaning of The Fool and the tarot, the more you realize there’s something to learn from him.
The Fool represents innocence. The beginning of a journey. He’s in that spot where we often say, “If I knew then what I know now…” But The Fool has yet to learn the ways of the world from his mistakes.
You Were Once The Fool
If you’re an entrepreneur, you were represented by The Fool when you first started out. Remember all the mistakes you made? All the money you wasted? All the wrong decisions? Now you’re probably a bit better off, having wised up through experience and time.
We are all The Fool at one point or another. Often we step into this role many times in our lives. The key is being open to the journey and allowing ourselves to be new and inexperienced and take away valuable lessons from this experience.
Rediscovering “Beginner’s Mind”
Assuming you’re a few years (or decades) into your role as a business owner, you may feel as far from that Fool as possible. But consider whether you may have become jaded and discontent in how you operate. Maybe you roll your eyes at yet another book published in your industry because you already know everything it contains. (I’m speaking from personal experience here.) You have stopped attending conferences for the same reason.
You don’t feel challenged. Maybe you’re even a bit bored.
This is where returning to that role of The Fool can inject new energy and excitement into your world. In the mindfulness world, we call it “beginner’s mind.”
The idea is that even if you, for example, have been doing yoga for 25 years, you can still come to the mat as if it was your first time. You can leave behind the preconceived notions about how a pose should look and feel, and experience it anew. It is a humbling experience to set aside what your ego knows you already know.
Doing the same in your business provides a fresh look at what you may have glazed over in seeing. You may get new ideas about how to grow your business simply by taking a different perspective. And hey, a little less ego in business isn’t a bad thing!
How to Play The Fool
If you’ve felt stagnant in your business or simply don’t know how to move forward, you may need a dose of The Fool to get you back to beginner’s mind.
1. Step Away
Start by putting some space between you and your business. That might mean taking a week’s vacation, even if you don’t go any further than your backyard. Delegate all decisions to your most trusted employee and do not, I repeat do not, engage with your business. Having that space allows you to really see your business from an outside perspective.
2. Learn Something New
Even if you feel like there’s nothing new for you to learn in your industry, find something to pick up. That might be learning to use a new software program or diving into a parallel industry to the one you serve. If you’re stumped, learn something that’s got nothing to do with your business. Learn how to scuba dive or crochet. It may seem irrelevant, but starting from scratch at something will teach you what it is to be new and inexperienced, a sensation you likely haven’t felt in a while.
It’s that beginner’s mindset you’ll take back to your business. You might even find parallels between what you’re learning and your business. For me, learning Italian helped me see marketing through a different lens. And learning something new rewires your brain’s neurons, which may inspire you to do more new things!
3. Shake Up Your Routine
If you always arrive at work at 8 a.m. and check your email at your desk for an hour, challenge yourself to change it up. Maybe take your laptop to a park to work, or wait a few hours to check your email. Play around with different work schedules and shift your daily tasks if possible. If you have staff, shadow them and learn what they do, since likely it’s been a while (if ever) since you did those tasks.
4. Let Go of Ego
Yes, you know a LOT about your industry. You’re successful. You’ve made it. But there is nothing wrong with being The Fool and rediscovering that “beginner’s mind.” It’s a necessary step on our journey to success, and it would do us all some good to revisit that mindset. The more curious you are, and the more you learn, the better the entrepreneur you can be.