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Before I started Vanderbloemen Search Group , I was a pastor for many years. And during that time, I had the immense honor and weighty responsibility of officiating several funerals for people who served in our armed forces.

If you’ve ever been to a veteran’s funeral, you’ve probably seen the casket draped in the United States Flag. I remember presiding over both of my grandfathers’ funerals and watching the servicemen painstakingly remove, fold, and present the flags to my grandmothers during the services.

I used to wonder, “Why do we keep the flag? Why not let the fallen soldier take it with him to his grave?” Through the ages, people have sent mementos to accompany the departed. Whether it was enormous treasures for Pharaohs in Egypt, horses buried with departed generals, or even a stuffed animal with a deceased child, we have a long history of burying belongings with the dead. So why not the flag with the fallen soldier?

 Then, a few years ago, a friend of mine explained it to me. The soldier may fall, but the flag doesn’t stop flying.

This is a significant lesson to keep in mind as we remember our fallen heroes this weekend. We recall their falling with grief, we honor their sacrifice with gratitude, and we celebrate the fact that, because of them, our flag still flies. And because of that, we walk on with hope and courage.

Entrepreneurs, can you see the parallels to the hope needed as you lead your business? For me, I feel called to stay in close touch with the cause behind my business. Without the cause, my spirit might falter every time we run into a challenge or experience a failure. And if I’m not running fast after our cause, how can I expect my team to run fast after it as well? As the leader of your business, your team is watching you closely for how you handle challenges. Will you hold fast to the cause for which you are providing a solution or will you falter as problems arise?

The soldier may have fallen, but the flag still flies. We may suffer failures from new ideas, bad hires, or leadership mistakes. We may face setbacks from growing pains, economic frustrations, and difficult clients. But the flag of our mission, our “why” behind all we do, still flies.

When I focus on our larger cause, I’m reminded that those failures are only temporary setbacks, not the death of the cause. When I focus on our cause, I see a new problem as an opportunity to solve a new challenge for our clients. And likewise, when it’s the end of my time at my company and I pass the baton on to the next leader, the flag of the mission will still fly.

Our fallen soldiers have made the ultimate sacrifice, and I’m not minimizing that. Nor do I want to over-dramatize our business lives. But today can serve as a timely reminder for entrepreneurs to ask themselves, “Does my business have a cause that can outlast major setbacks and outlast me?” If not, spend time reflecting on the reason you started your business and the cause that fueled your passion to start it.

Take time today to remember the fallen heroes of our armed forces. Thank God for those who have laid down their life to preserve our national freedom. And let that theme guide you to reflect on how you can focus your business around a cause more permanent than ever. It may make the difference between surviving your next bump in the road or not.

 

Originally posted on Forbes by William Vanderbloemen 

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