This week, I have the privilege to speak with serial entrepreneur, Jim Van Eerden.
For many years, Jim has been heavily involved with bringing various companies, brands, and projects to life. His list of clients is diverse and profound. In the past, he has been a partner with the World Cup Organizing Committee as well as the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games. Check out his current project, Sevenly.
Jim helps entrepreneurs, in his own unique way, redefine rich in their businesses, helping them grow while remaining anchored in what really matters.
In addition, Jim is a partner in the publishing company, Life-n Media, that came alongside of me to publish the first edition copy of Redefine Rich. Jim also wrote the preface to the book which you can read at the end of this post.
You have to listen at the 6:15 mark where Jim shares the story of how he and his wife, Rachel, came to adopt their eleventh child, Edison Mateo–their Ambassador of Love.
“If we are spiritually impoverish, if we are relationally impoverished, even with the veneer of richness around us in the material sense, it is difficult to be truly rich.
Sometimes we need to be intentional about brining Ebenezer stones into our lives to remind us what is true about what really matters. How many times do we stumble into our days and not commit our days to God and be quiet before Him.”
Jim, brokenness is seen as an internal thing, but as an entrepreneur, why is it important to recognize brokenness?
“Part of what has drawn me in the entrepreneurial space has been the rise of this social good movement. People are saying, ‘I would like to buy products that carry and represent my values.’ So, as an entrepreneur, you need to be asking yourself what your customers value and why.
It doesn’t make any difference what an owners motives are, if they don’t serve customers above anything else, they’re not going to make any money. It relates to investing in others as well as gratitude. When Jesus was asked to sum up the law and the prophets, he said, ‘Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of your mind, soul, and strength.’
Our current project, Sevenly, takes this strategy to heart. We’ve given away in excess of $5M to various causes. It’s interesting to see these type of businesses emerge.”
Jim, in closing, can you speak to humility and confidence and why those values need to play together.
“What’s true works in the world. One of my mentors, Chuck Colson, taught me this. This practical principle of humility works this way.
If we aren’t operating from humility, then we operate from a position of control. From there, everything starts to go bad. It’s like love, when you try to control love rather than serving in love, it goes bad. In life, if you’re not pouring out, you can’t be filled up. It’s that way in the entrepreneurial journey too. If it’s about getting more toys, you’ll never be full.
I’ve been around some very wealthy people who are sad and empty. I’ve also been around other wealthy people who have this principle of humility and they are in turn, full.
Our true confidence is found, in my view, in who we are in God.”
Here is the preface that Jim wrote for my book, Redefine Rich:
Sometimes a story is given to the most unlikely people – men or women, even children – who were not formally trained in the craft of storytelling, but who are given something that simply must be shared with the world.
Matt Ham has been entrusted with Redefine Rich in this way.
When LIFEᵑ Media had the privilege of helping publish and promote a little book called The Ultimate Gift, I remember feeling the same way. That book went on to sell more than five million copies worldwide, and became an award-winning film. It impacted the way that people thought about true wealth, and the ways that they can pass on an inheritance of values to those in the generations trailing them.
As ancient wisdom reminds us, there is nothing (really) new under the sun. From time immemorial, the pursuit of riches has animated the human experience. The challenge in any good dialogue about The Big Questions – like the question of how we become rich – is to begin by defining our terms in an accurate and helpful way.
Matt does that, and more, in this journey through stories that remind me of a favorite quote from C.S. Lewis:
“In reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself…I see with a myriad of eyes, but it is still I who see…I transcend myself; and am never more myself than when I do.”
Reading Redefine Rich reminded me that I am a rich man in ways that are not measured in financial statements. It also gives me inspiration, as it will you, about how to live richer still. And for that, I’m grateful to Matt, and grateful that we have the privilege of bringing you this important little book about the life well-lived.
For more on my book, Redefine Rich, please visit www.redefinerich.com. You can also order a digital copy via Amazon or by clicking on www.mattham.com/amazon