Six established women entrepreneurs sat on couches around a coffee table: a lot of horsepower in one single location. They were taking part in a 3-hour live-stream presentation in which they would share their starts (and false starts) in business. They would enlighten and inspire.
As they took turns introducing one another, it was obvious they were all connected. They had mentored one another, masterminded together and those who had been in business longer had offered the first stage experience to newcomers. In short, this was a sisterhood of sorts. And, indeed, they implored all budding entrepreneurs to get out from behind their computers, go to live events and build their own versions of sisterhood, specifically including diverse talents, strengths and weaknesses.
Next, the topic turned to money stories. Bankruptcies, month-end struggles, spiritual crises of meaning and strokes of good luck. Most had a “hard luck” component, maybe an unexpected Aha!
And each had a moment when some combination of factors came together to result in an extremely successful 6-figure launch which then confirmed that they were on the right track.
When entrepreneurs with 7-figure annual incomes talk about how they started out, how they struggled and how they succeeded, unfortunately there is a sameness about the stories because so many details have been stripped out. Their story has been told hundreds of times from stages and on calls. Typically, the story is flat.
However, a couple of the entrepreneurs were able to dig past their own canned presentation and reconnect with the emotions of that period. One in particular resonated. (We’ll call her Sue.)
Sue spoke of tithing.
While at the very beginning of her business, long before it was generating enough income to offer much comfort, Sue had read about tithing. “Not being a Catholic,” she said, it wasn’t something her extended family did, so the concept was somewhat foreign.
Sue read that, while most people wait until they have ample money to tithe, the key was to tithe from the existing resources, however restricted they might seem. It meant the first 10 percent taken right off the top of all income, after tax withholding. The mere ability to separate out those funds meant resources were not quite so limited.
Sue’s message was that, the more she set aside and contributed to efforts she cared about, the more she made. Instead of this activity being a drain on her much-needed available resources, it actually felt more like putting fuel on the fire.
I admit I have not tithed in my life.
And I’m not interested in the traditional concept of tithing, where I’d be doing so out of duty—out of “I should do this”—and contributing to institutions or groups who market themselves as needing it. Instead, I’m interested in proactively earmarking funds that—by their simple existence—will make me feel abundant. It will represent a free flow of money that allows me to make wonderful things happen, whoever the beneficiary is. (Even if the beneficiary is me.)
This will be an experiment. I’ll let you know how it goes. But that’s how I believe tithing can have the greatest positive impact on me … and on my life.
Let us know in the Comments section below if you tithe regularly, or if you have ever thought of doing so. What does tithing mean to you? How has it affected your life?
Bio: Sharon O’Day fixes financial lives. She is a tell-it-like-it-is money expert with a successful career in global finance, plus an MBA from the Wharton School. Today she specializes in getting entrepreneurial women over 50 back on their game so they can have more money, less stress and more joy. With her “Over Fifty and Financially Free” strategies, they take actions that lead to their ultimate goal: financial peace of mind.