Russell Simmons Explains His Success: Spirit First, Numbers Second

The famous, and famously successful, entrepreneur is living proof that thriving businesses need not be soulless.

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By Daphne Mallory

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Most entrepreneurs are able to find information on how to build a business. It's easy to drown in too much information about running a small business. At the same time, many entrepreneurs are not achieving their dreams. It's not for lack of knowledge. It's not for lack of effort, in most cases. What's missing?

Can spirituality make the difference in your business?

I asked Russell Simmons about his recently announced investment in Celsius®, a negative calorie, fat burning beverage that contains no preservatives or artificial flavors, and is low in sodium. Simmons is a highly successful entrepreneur with brands and properties that span the entertainment industry. He also writes books on wellness and happiness, and owns a yoga studio. It's clear to me that Simmons success in business has come from within. There's a correlation between his spiritual practices and his effectiveness in life and in business. Here's his take on spirituality and business success:

Buy what you believe in.

When spirituality infuses your business decisions, you're led by something beyond numbers. The problem is, the typical business advice encourages you to build a business based on financial reports and analysis.

"Some entrepreneurs build a business on numbers that sing to them. They create businesses that they understand how to make work financially. Sometimes the margins are small and I go into them anyway. Most entrepreneurs don't want to do that. I do things that no one has ever counted on because there are no numbers to justify. I do a lot of that," Simmons explains.

He is a multi-millionaire and has built companies with younger and smarter (according to him) leaders running them.

Related: Why You Should Hire People Smarter Than You

Let spirituality shape your decisions.

Simmons went on to explain that he didn't buy into Celsius® for all the reasons it sells. "I bought it because green tea, Acai and caffeine - none of those things are harmful versus other energy drinks that have lots of chemicals that are. That's why I use it personally," says Simmons.

His decision is rooted in the first part of the eight parts of yoga. He described it as: "Do the least amount of harm to yourself or others." He believes that using a clean source of energy to fuel the body is synergistic with that belief. He added, "If you harm yourself, then you can't serve the world."

Succeed in moments of presence.

Many entrepreneurs battle a noisy mind. Some wake up thinking about work, past mistakes, a deal gone wrong. Some turn to external noises on media devices, such as the latest news or gossip. They soon become lost in an endless stream of thinking. Simmons advice: "You cannot be successful except through those moments of presence. You can never be happy, nor can you do a good job in a busy mind. A noisy mind separates you from your potential. A quiet mind focuses you on it."

He believes that everyone, including entrepreneurs, should leverage spiritual practices to move more and more to a present mindset. Simmons shared, "It will make you happier, smarter and more effective. A noisy mind is the cause of suffering and a quiet mind is the cause of ease and happiness."

Simmons is well known in the music industry. He believes that music brings you presence.

Related: You Have the Power to Rewire Your Brain for More Joy

You're a spirit being doing business.

It's hard to box Simmons into one category. He explains, "I still do comedy. I still do poetry. I still work in hip hop everyday, although it's digital, and I'm producing lots of television."

Each business seems to embody his passion and service to the world. His focus on quieting his mind and service has produced several very successful businesses and investments. It's counter-intuitive to traditional business models that begin with the industry in mind, and ignore spirituality. He doesn't appear to define himself by his businesses. His focus is on service and presence.

Who knows where you'll go in business if you remember that you're a spirit being first. Spirituality might be just what you need to bring new life to your business. When times are tough (or not), and when there are decisions to be made, it's best to go beyond the numbers. Thank you, Russell Simmons, for that Aha moment.

Related: Why Business Leaders Must Set a Personal Mission

Daphne Mallory

Daphne Mallory Foundation

Daphne Mallory, Esq. is best known for sharing smart ideas to solve problems. Whether on television, on stage, in the boardroom, or before governments, her speeches and seminars are interactive and rich in content.

Billboard Magazine described Mallory as "Engaging Fans, forging a new path." She appeared on ABC, FOX and NBC and in Entrepreneur Magazine, Essence, Brown Alumni Magazine, Self and more. She hosts a TV show: Family Business with Daphne on KSAW-ABC.

Mallory's training programs include Women & Family Business, Grow Community/ Grow Profits, Grow Community/Grow Memberships, Roadmap to Family Business, and Sales Training for Change Agents.

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