Prepare to REST
Often, it’s a lot easier to see the hand of God at work in our life by looking back on an experience than while we’re right in the thick of it all. In this post I’m going to share some snippets of my own journey in business over the past ten years and what the times have taught me through practical experience about how believers in business can prepare. In other words, I’d like to share some ideas regarding actively engaging the business destiny of your life. Because of reading this article, I hope you take decisive action to realize it in new and profound ways.
I’m going to start this story at its end as destiny makes more sense that way. It’s July 2018 and earlier this year my company closed on our fifth NAPA Auto Parts location in Kentucky. For all my strife the 10 years prior to this, I had no new stores to show for, just several failed attempts and disappointment. What’s more, it was just a year earlier that I had somewhat given up on my dream to grow and expand the company after our most recent attempt flopped. After that, I reserved within myself to just focus on making the four locations we already had the best they could be.
This is when God went to work on my behalf, coming out of left field with an opportunity that was exceedingly, abundantly above anything I’d ever asked or thought. Another owner in the NAPA business who had been one for about 35 years decided to retire and cash out on his business which is NOT something that you see much in our industry. What’s more, this store was one of the best opportunities of its kind that had come up for purchase in a long time from a sales and profitability standpoint. The circumstances weren’t something I brought about. In fact, God dropped the opportunity in my lap in a way that both He and I knew it was all Him (birthed out of REST).
Prepare to WAR
It’s important to point out that while this opportunity may have dropped into my lap, it didn’t close without a fight. There were plenty of roadblocks, rough learning curves, and dog fights to get to “closed deal.” This speaks to how God, in His infinite wisdom, sometimes does things for us through REST, and at other times chooses to use a good fight or “opportunity” to work through us. Wisdom is learning to discern the difference and rightly adapting to situations as we come across them. Frankly though, you can’t do that alone. God designed the Christian life to be walked-out in close relationship with Him and a “right company of believers” to help see our destiny to fulfillment.
An interesting precursor to God’s REST going to work in our lives is the preparation that came before it. You know that section in the Bible that emphasizes the need for “new wineskins” to contain a new thing? God may have dropped that opportunity in my lap, but it wouldn’t have happened had I not prepared my wineskin with Him to receive it over the course of the preceding ten years. How did I do it then practically speaking you say?
It was early 2009 and I was getting to go to one of my first national conferences with NAPA where approximately 1,500 of their top corporate leaders and other ownerships from across the country were convening to review how the last year turned out, cast vision for the new year, and exchange ideas amongst the best of the best in our industry. This is where I first started getting exposed to some of the largest and best ownerships across the country. The exposure expanded my thinking in a way I hadn’t experienced before.
Prepare Your WINESKIN
I started daydreaming about one day building one of the larger, better operating, respectable ownerships in our country too. I started networking with these other model owners, visiting them, and finding out how they got to where they are, so I could eventually create similar success. This journey led to a very spiritual yet practical out working over many years and that has become the wineskin I use today.
Here are just a few of the milestones I crossed on this journey to give you a clearer idea…
- we went from having a limited ability to buy and distribute product at the best prices to now having a large warehouse that provides the ability to scale our buying and distribution operations
- we transformed from a singular, bottlenecked leadership structure capped on its ability to grow to a modular, executive management team structure to scale more easily and more quickly
- we went from an outdated HR strategy (outdated and often non-existent employee handbook, policies, forms, etc.) to an updated, top-notch strategy that better empowers our teams
In a meeting earlier this year I had with a top NAPA executive, he said acquiring money for growth is the easy part but the more important aspect is the people. More specifically, does the leadership of the company have the capacity to take on the growth they say they want? For the believer the question becomes, can their wineskin handle the new wine? Practically speaking, do they have a team with the capacity to take on the extra work? Do they have the facilities to handle the added flow through of sales? Do you see where this is going, and can you relate it to your own situation?
Prepare to INHERIT
How then do you prepare to walk in the destiny for your business starting today? Please note this post is not designed to cover everything. Its purpose is to inspire and encourage you to keep pressing toward the mark on your journey. It’s designed to stimulate new insight about you and your business, cause you take new action, and ultimately adopt an empowering perspective and lifestyle that amplifies your life with Christ.
Here are some simple steps you can take NOW to get that ball rolling …
- Paraphrase one aspect of your business’s destiny. Revisit one that has a pressing need right NOW for clarity, action, and results. Look at it freshly through the perspective I’ve just shared.
- Get direction from the right company. Share your vision with the right company of folks around you to refine your direction forward. Make it easy by starting with one or two other people qualified to advise you.
- Take personal responsibility. Ultimately step two should illuminate the path with action to take NOW to “prepare your wineskin.”
- Establish recurring follow up. Determine a frequency (i.e. weekly, monthly, etc.) that works for you to follow up with your right company. Share and celebrate your progress when you reconnect (and when you inevitably fall short from time to time), leverage your support to work through it and find new resolve.
I hope my story has inspired you and that you’ve gleaned some value from the suggestions I’ve shared that can be leveraged to produce better results in your business. If you liked this content or have further questions, please reach out to me or let NC-C3 leadership know so I can follow up and expand upon key ideas and interests in future work.
Adam Sherwood is President of Maysville Auto Parts, Inc. which owns five NAPA Auto Parts stores in the state of Kentucky. He’s a big proponent of blending spiritual and natural best practices as one to establish the kingdom in and through business. He’s at his best when he’s living this reality and helping to facilitate the same in other business leaders. Adam can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.