Os Hillman is an internationally recognized speaker on the subject of faith at work. He is the Founder and Executive Director of Marketplace Leaders Ministries, an organization whose purpose is to help men and women discover and fulfill God’s complete purposes through their work and view their work as ministry. He is the author of 18 books and a daily workplace email devotional called TGIF Today God Is First which is read worldwide in 104 countries.
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?
I grew up in Columbia, SC in a family of five kids. My two oldest sisters are identical twins. I was number 4 in the order. My dad owned a toy story and was a successful toy executive. However, our lives were dramatically impacted when my dad, who was a single-engine aircraft pilot, crashed over the mountains of Tennessee in 1966 when I was 14 years old. That changed all of our lives.
What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?
I was an exceptional junior golfer that led to a 4-year golf scholarship and 3 years as a professional golfer. I wished someone had told me failure was a normal part of life growing up. When I failed as a young man I thought something was wrong with me that I could not perform under pressure. The truth is, everyone goes through that. But I had no one to explain that. If I had known that, the outcome of my life would have been different. I now understand we all need to “fail forward” and learn from our experiences to do better the next time.
What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
Marketing gurus often say it’s all up to us to climb the mountain and overcome every obstacle. There is some truth to that, but the reality only God is the source of all good things that come to us. We are simply a participant in the process.
Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?
I had a major crash in 1994 – wife left, lost $500k in a Bernie Madoff type of scam, lost 80% of my business and one client who made up 80% of our business fired us and fail to pay a $140k bill. It took me into a 7-year crisis. However, God used that in my life to birth a Christian ministry that took me to 26 countries and would write 21 books. I became an international speaker on faith and work and am considered a pioneer and leader in that area.
What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?
Seeking God for direction in my life. Allowing him to mold me and shape me into the person He wants me to be.
What is your morning routine?
I wake up at 5 am. I read my Bible or other Christian books. I pray. Then at 7:30, I meet with my wife for a devotional time and prayer together. We have done this from day one of our marriage.
What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?
Daily time in the morning with God. Reading the Bible. Writing my insights to share with others in books and devotionals and podcasts.
What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?
Always work off a To-Do list. Focus on the priorities first. Stay on something till it is finished. Never stop till I finish the project. Make sure I have plenty of downtimes to stay fresh and energized.
What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?
The Bible. I became a Christian in 1974. It has changed my life and I am still as passionate about the Bible and its relevance to daily life as ever.
Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” – Colossians 3:23,24 from the Bible