Regardless of whether you are an entrepreneur or an employee, having a sense of purpose is worth more than any monetary rewards. Very often a person that is struggling to pay the bills will argue with this fact, and feel that those that have become financially successful don't understand their situation. They have bills, they have deadlines, they can't take risks, they need this and that. Those that are struggling believe that money is the driving force and if and when they become successful then they will stop worrying about the money.
Those that have created financial success work from a far different mindset. They get up each day believing what they do makes a difference. They don't start their day thinking about making money and paying the bills. They go out on a limb, working on projects that fulfill them. They are not afraid to risk doing something new and innovative. They are willing to fail, make mistakes and continue to learn and grow. They are far more committed to the vision and the work they do than the paycheck. Very often they have started their work with nothing but an idea....they are working off the kitchen table, or a card table, or a dorm room. When you take the time to learn about the thinking of this type of individual, you realize that the money came AFTER. Many great examples of financial success were driven to create something meaningful before they ever made a dime. The reason they have created financial success is they followed their passion doing work that fulfills them, and provides something of value to society. This thinking was present far before they ever made their fortunes. THIS is the key that so many miss.
For many years I have observed parents taking their children to hockey, soccer, piano lessons, etc. I wondered many times why so many parents insisted on putting their children into "travel" sports, and witnessed how many of them were stressed out due to all the travel commitments involved. Our son played both hockey and soccer locally. We took our lawnchairs in the summer, sat on the sidelines with a cup of coffee and cheered on the team. In the winter, we took a coffee to the arena and did the same thing on a Saturday morning. These games were never stressful. We enjoyed watching him, and he enjoyed playing the games. On the other hand, I have watched other parents for years, fundraising, complaining, driving through snowstorms, missing family events because they had a game out of town or a tournament at Christmas. The stress of it all is displayed in front of their children. Two questions constantly came up observing this. Why are they doing it and what are they teaching their kids?
In my observations, it seemed very clear that it wasn't the kids that wanted to play at this level....it was the parents pushing them to be part of this "elite" group of players so that one day they may be able to make a career out of it. Young Johnny could be drafted to the nhl... To me, it seemed more about money and status of playing at this level than what the child actually wanted. As parents we always want to help our kids avoid the pitfalls we have encountered and very often parents end up living out their inadequacies through their kids. In observing our own son, he played locally, loved the games and then outgrew it and went on to other things that interested him.
I believe a big missing link to realize in this is that kids know what they like. They have passions, interests and skills. However, society conditions us to push them in certain directions because this is how they will find success. We must allow them to follow their ideas, interests, and passions and build their skills in what actually interests them.
It is not our job as parents to figure out and mold our kids in something we want. It is our job to help them discover that for themselves.
When they are going through the decision making process of choosing what they want to do with their future, allowing them the space and time to figure this out, without the pressure of conforming to what other's believe they should do, is the greatest gift we can give our kids. This is where they discover for themselves the direction they want to take their lives and emerge as confident, responsible leaders in their own lives.
Society has been conditioned to believe the only way to work is to be employed by an employer. Most that have bought into this belief see this as "job security".
The reality in today's economic climate is there is no such thing as job security. People from all sectors that thought they would be working their entire careers in their job, are finding themselves laid off or downsized. Very often after securing new employment, the pattern repeats itself after a couple of years and they find themselves in the same situation. Others wait 2, 3 years putting out resume after resume, waiting for someone to hire them or government to provide solutions.
One of the most overlooked possibilities is starting your own business. There are so many talented, experienced people going through change due to downsizing or layoffs that do not recognize how capable they are of starting their own businesses. The "fear" of risk and stepping out on your own has been so ingrained into society that even when people have a deep down desire, they are too afraid to take action. These type of questions go through a person's mind:
– what if it doesn't work?
– I don't have the investment
– what if I can't find customers÷
– what if I fail÷
When you work for an employer and their business is not doing well, you have zero control over finding new clients or making the changes necessary to turn that business around. The control ultimately lies in the hands of the owners of that business. If they are not willing to make necessary changes, or do what it takes to find new customers, you will be affected. This is not job security. This is a false belief so ingrained into society it has destroyed people's internal confidence to take personal responsibility for their own futures.
In the world we live in today there are so many new opportunities. A person can choose to re-invent themselves and take a new direction. It starts with developing the mindset necessary to take on a higher level of leadership and personal responsibility in one's life. It requires asking yourself new/better questions. A new business may be different from the exact role you used to play as an employee. To get started, one must ask themselves what skills do I have, what are my interests, experience and passions? Make a list of these things and start asking better questions. What are all the things I could do with this list? Perhaps you are going to take a different direction. Change creates new opportunities.
Another option is freelancing, which is another way to be self employed. Rather than putting all your eggs in one employers basket, offer your experience to many businesses. Businesses today do not want to hire full time and do not want to pay benefits. By freelancing, you have the opportunity to work for many employers so if one falls off, you are not totally out of work. You simply replace that contract and you are back on track. Very often freelancing gives a person the opportunity to earn far more than they ever would have made working for a single employer. It also creates the opportunity to build a global freelance business rather than focusing on one geographical area. For instance a web designer, consultant, office admin, etc etc can all do work from a home office for anyone globally. There are possibilities for any field...you simply must start thinking outside of the limitations you perceive.
The only way you can truly secure your future is being willing to be the one that takes full responsibility for creating your own work. Realize the value you have and stop buying into this false belief of "job security". YOU are the only one that can create your own job security.
We live in a society that accepts we must all follow the same way of thinking, and not question the perceived "experts" or what is "normal". This often leads to frustration and a feeling of lack of control within one's life.
The media publishes something and society accepts a reporters point of view. A Dr. gives an opinion and a patient doesn't question them. Decision makers in government, education, etc make decisions and society is trained to accept what they decide.
What has happened to using our own minds to make decisions? With all the technology tools available, we can do our research on things we question.
When our daughter graduated college, we went to the graduation ceremony. We were told not to applaud until the end of the graduation, after all the graduates had crossed the stage to receive their diploma. This hit a cord in me. I could not sit there and let our daughter cross that stage after all the hard work and commitment she had put into getting her degree. I expected other parents would feel the same way and would question this "rule". I couldn't believe no one had the courage to go against the grain, and chose to sit still and just watch graduate after graduate cross that stage without a moment of recognition. It was the most demotivating display I have ever witnessed of recognizing someone's accomplishment. When it came time for our daughter to take her turn across the stage, we stood up, cheered and clapped wildly for her. Yes, she knew it was probably coming and was a bit embarrassed, but said she loved every minute of it and she will never forget her moment. The interesting thing was, once someone had the courage to think for themselves and actually do this, almost every young person after that got roaring applause from their families.
We are all part of society, but we do not have to be like cows in a pasture. We are individuals. We have minds to think, intuition to trust. We can choose to go against the grain.
Debbie Ruston - Entrepreneur - International Trainer, Visionary Leader