What's in a Name?

Friends often ask why I named my company SDG Senior Living. Inevitably they'll start guessing at what the abbreviation stands for. "Is it Senior Design Group?" "Is it Seattle Development Growth?" "Is it Smart Dashing Guy?" (OK, no one has guess that last one, but they were thinking it). Of course the answer to all three is "no."

The day I decided to go legit, I was consulting with my start up team (OK, it was the Legal Zoom Website). I went through all the combination using words like "Senior, housing, living, compassion, care, assisted living, etc." and of course - like every good entrepreneur - then began to add my name with forgettable outputs like, "Gonzales Senior Services (GSS)," "John's Eldercare Consulting (JEC)" and others far worse. After discerning my "team's" impatience with me as evidenced by seeing messages like, "Are you still there?" and "Your session is about to time out," I had an epiphany.

I realized that I was going about this all wrong. I mean, how often do you have the opportunity to name a company? A name that will show up on websites and business cards and brochures is a responsibility not to be taken lightly. The only thing I can think of that compares is maybe having a star named after yourself, or deciding on your child's name. My two daughters, Cholera and Moonblood, will attest to this. Hi kids!

OK, seriously, I wanted to make sure I was able to come up with a company name that was meaningful and maybe even provided a catalyst to engage in conversation that serve a greater purpose than garnering business.

Years ago I learned that composers including Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handal among others would write these three letters (representing a three word phrase) at the end of many of their compositions. Three words, Soli Deo Gloria (abbreviated S. D. G.) have meaning in Latin as follows: Soli is the singular of the adjective "lone" or "sole"; the singular Deo, meaning "God"; and Gloria is the nominative case of "glory," or "gloria". Soli Deo Gloria is usually translated as "Glory to God Alone." but some translate it "Glory to the Only God."

I've had a plaque on my desk for years. The simple inscription is from Proverbs, and says, "Commit Thy Works unto the Lord." Everything in heaven and on earth is the Lord's and naming the company SDG is a reminder to me of the small part I play in His story, and every business card I hand out motivates me to represent His company in only the most ethical and honest way that I can. It has also had the unexpected benefit of releasing me from worry about the business. I just need to do the best job that I can, the Owner makes all the "big" decisions.