October 31, 2014

7 Zen Principles Make You Happier and More Successful in Business

zen principles in business

7 years ago on February 7, 2007, I launched my business and became an entrepreneur for  the second time. I am quite in awe that I am still here given the tumultuous years and change we have all been through.

I consider myself a “spiritual entrepreneur,” as I deeply care about the what, why and how of giving back to the community, people and world that supports me.

Professional fundamentals and personal values are the keystone of long term success. I am so intrigued with this that I made this timeless ideal the focus of my new book #trusthewhy coming soon:

“There is something about putting the right energy and intent out that just attracts the right things, as well as the opposite. Serendipity, law of attraction, call it what you like, it is real and I have come to accept it, believe it and live it.”

Zen is one of the oldest most enduring Japanese schools of Mahayana Buddism, emphasizing the value of meditation. It emphasizes experiential wisdom in the attainment of enlightenment. Simply put, we live it, we learn from it and we share it.

Below are seven principles of Zen that can be applied to your personal happiness and business success.

7 Zen Principles in Business

Eliminate the Clutter – Kanso

Take a good hard look at pruning people, places, processes and things that are cluttering up your path that are not adding to you and helping you to grow.

Who and what do you need to let go of and move on from?

Work-Life Integration – Fukinsei

We must always be improving and refining our work-life integration or else it’s just a continuum of crash and burn.

How can you recharge and renew your priorities, energy and health? 

Simplify and Streamline – Shibumi

Try to make things easier to do and follow by making efficiency your goal in multi-tasking. This is about finding and using appropriate apps, technologies and systems to help make things simpler and more user friendly for you and your customer.

Remember, creating the memorable customer experience is the key to customer retention.

Authenticity – Shizen

Nothing is more important than being who you say you are and delivering that consistently. Come out more from behind your business so that people can get to know the real you.

We want to know more about who we are trusting and engaging with today.

Subtlety – Yugen

Less is more. Focusing on how you can make a difference and solve problems through education and inspiration.

Contribute consistently in a thought provoking way by sharing your “experiential wisdom” through content marketing, social media and volunteering.

Amazement – Datsuzoku

There is nothing more wonderful and exciting than hearing and reading about the stories of real people and the amazing things that happen to them daily. Share your story and the stories of ordinary, real people doing extraordinary things.

Find RAK (random acts of kindness) that are happening in your world and beyond and celebrate them. This is the Zen and Karma that multiples and attracts more to you.

Calm Solitude – Seijaku

Take time to reflect, muse and meditate even for short dedicated amounts of time.  Zen is about intuition and listening for the prompts and messages that are all around us.  This principle is so essential to well being and translates to our families, community and businesses.

Listen, look and pay attention to the day you are in.

The Zen of my business success has always started with me and continues with we. The journey has had its own ebb, flow and pace and has continued to move me exactly in the direction I am supposed to be going.

Here’s to your Heiwa (peace) and Seiko (success), always.

Zen Photo via Shutterstock

23 Comments ▼

Deborah Shane


Deborah Shane Deborah Shane is a past staff writer for Small Business Trends covering marketing, branding and social media topics. She is a Top 100 Small Business Champion, career transition consultant, personal branding strategist and social media specialist. Deborah hosts her Top 100 Small Business Podcast weekly. Her book #trusthewhy Fundamentals, Values and Humor Get You Through Anything and award winning "Career Transition: Make the Shift" (2011) are available through all major book sellers.

23 Reactions

  1. Thanks for sharing. I’m a firm believer (and recent convert) that work, family, free time, volunteering, etc..are not mutually exclusive. If you want to live a healthy and fulfilling life you can’t expect to have success in one or two areas and neglect the others. Its hard for me sometimes to balance and make it sense of it all. But it becomes easier with practice and maintaining a positive outlook. When I start harnessing the good and are thankful for all that I have in my life, the good keeps on getting better.

    • Thanks John. Working at all this is the key. Success is impacted by so many factors today. Stress management and health are indispensable for the other areas to thrive. It’s a work in progress for most people and I have found that making it a way of life helps a lot.

  2. I think that there is a really a trend towards Zen. You can see it on how minimalistic websites are now more accepted than before. I guess Zen can really help businesses in the sense that it can introduce peace and organization.

    • These are ancient timeless and more mass appeal principles that absolutely work. They have worked for me and can work for others. Thanks for your comment

  3. Outstanding article Deborah. I practice Yugen every day, and never knew it. Like many small business owners, I find it very difficult to bring peace and harmony to my business when running around like a madman, yet I know it’s possible.Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Thanks Dana, I couldn’t agree more that we sometimes run around like mad people and sometimes we just have to stop and get focused and get centered.

  4. Thanks Deborah, that’s a great powerful summary, seems like a great example of “Shibumi” and I have to chuckle as I write it as if I knew; I confess I didn’t know that until I read your post.

    I want to put in a special vote for fighting clutter, your “Kanso”. I’m one of those natural clutter-er people but for the last couple of years I’ve forced myself to clear off my desk every day before I finish up, and it really helps me with starting fresh the next day.

    • Hi Laura, thanks for your comment. Yeah, something about being organize and managing clutter that just makes you feel better and more efficient. Thanks for stopping by and please come back. Peace.

  5. Hi Deborah, I met you at BarCamp Miami a few years back, you were giving a presentation as was I that day. Great article, when you are a business owner the business can be like another child, if you don’t find that balance burn out is inevitable. Thank you for the zen tips.

    • Hi Karla, great to hear from you. I moved to Tampa Bay last year to be closer to family. So true, about our biz becoming another child. So many people allow the overwhelm and then it’s really tuff to get a grasp. Not easy but essential to find and respect the need for balance, less clutter and some personal peace. Hope all is great!

  6. I must admit that this is a great stuff for employers, employees and everyone in general,
    applying Zen princinples in organisation can greatly improve quality of work, performance, motivation and productivity. Any entrepreneur who want to be happily successful should apply this!

    • Joseph, ancient, time tested and enduring fundamentals and values always work if we work them. Zen is not only practical but very spiritual.

  7. As I mature in years and wisdom (hopefully), my thoughts seem to have stumbled upon some of the principles of Zen.
    Reading these principles may save me some steps and time.

  8. Wonderful post, it has amazingly shown what Zen instincts can do in a business. As tension & stress are very much part of new business, but handling all pressure in a better manner, as one can excel in all dept. I believe Zen should be practiced to bring reform & peace within the work culture, where every decision can made with full spirit.

    • Steve, what I have always loved and been drawn to with Zen ideas is how it encourages us to use and develop our instinct and insight.

  9. Me…just superb , an immediate fan, great crossing paths :)

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