Spiritual lessons from CNBC’s “The Profit”

During our May road trip to Texas, my sister Liza and I would relax by watching TV.  CNBC was showing “The Profit.”  After one episode, I was hooked.  From May to July, I watched every new episode and any reruns.

Marcus Lemonis congratulates Tonnie, owner of a cupcake shop, in marketing deal. (Courtesy of CNBC)
Marcus Lemonis congratulates Tonnie, owner of a cupcake shop, in a marketing deal. (Courtesy of CNBC)

Entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis puts up his own money to save dying companies.  Marcus explains well the mechanics behind a business.  His solutions, if followed, would mean a flourishing business and money for him.  But a handful of episodes recount the collapse of deals as business owners balk and Marcus loses his money.

Watching all these episodes, I was surprised how much “The Profit” goes beyond the business and tackles emotional and psychological issues.  Those issues bring out powerful spiritual lessons.

With a new episode after the Oct. 28 GOP debate on CNBC, I would like to give the spiritual lessons I gleaned from the show.  (I included URLs to clips from the show’s website.)

  1. Humility: Entrepreneurs are usually go-getters with type-A personalities. Those traits bring leadership and build companies.  But sometimes, they can also blind business owners to problems and inventive solutions.  Humility is needed to balance them.  We need to realize that we need help and we can’t do it alone.  Sometimes, business owners seek help on their own terms.  We need humility to swallow our pride to act on a painful solution.  When an owner says that he’s the top dog, there is going to be trouble.
  2. Awareness: Business owners in trouble would end up in a rut, relying on old methods that never worked. The solution to the problem might be underneath their noses the whole time.  All the spiritual masters highlight the need for self-awareness of strengths and weaknesses.  That would require an outside perspective, which Marcus provides well in these two examples:
  3. Adaptability: Business owners might see the solution, but changing how they lead or operate a business is always difficult. The saints have all dealt with difficult changes.  St. Louis de Montfort had to tear down a replica of Calvary after the faithful contributed time, money and effort.  Some of episodes of “The Profit” show some owners venting frustration and anger over Marcus’ proposed changes.
  4. Plan with a purpose: Marcus meets business owners who haven’t really thought out the costs, food service or assembly line, and expansion. A prime example is this video clip in which Marcus tells Tonnie that expansion is a bad idea right now for the cupcake shop:
    Likewise, Jesus talks about counting the costs in the Bible (Luke 14:28-32).  How often does a Christian plan for personal prayer time, Confession or Mass/church service?
  5. Respect: Marcus has stressed building up employees. In many episodes, owners would berate, insult and curse at employees, including family members.  How would you feel working in that environment?  Would you stay any longer?  Golden Rule still applies, even in business.
  6. Responsibility: Sometimes, business owners are willing to point fingers at everybody except themselves. What they say is just mind-boggling.
    They want to be in charge, but they must be in charge of themselves first.
  7. Trustworthiness: Marcus once commented that he preferred handshakes instead of written contracts because all business wasbased on trust.  My supervisor in Georgia told me that being trustworthy is free.  But the costliest thing is lying.  The best example was the episode of Artistic Stitch.  The owner wasn’t being honest about expenses.

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