This article seeks to reach the employee considering becoming an entrepreneur over to the disengaged employee needing a reason to become engaged. There is a poem titled “Who Makes These Changes,” written by Jalāl ad-Dīn Rumi in which he reflects on the imperfectness of life. During this reflection, Rumi describes how his efforts do not always end in the result he seeks. In fact, more often than not, he receives an unexpected result. It’s safe to say I’m not the only person who can identify with the wisdom this poem seeks to share. Just think of how many times you’ve attempted to do something with one intention in mind but elicited a completely different response. I’d bet more often than you'd like.
When I first read this short 11 lined poem, I was drawn to the title, "Who Makes These Changes" and the last two lines of the poem, "I should be suspicious of what I want." As I read the title, I began to think back to a short time ago when I decided to give entrepreneurship a try. By the last two lines of the poem, I began to reflect back on my longest held position to date. And so we begin.
I believe there are some people who take on entrepreneurship for the wrong reasons. That is not to say there is anything wrong with pursuing a goal or vision but the why is just as important as the how.
What's My Why?
If your why is based on ill feelings towards your current employment situation. I’d suggest rethinking your decision. Feeling stuck at your job, not liking your peers or boss, your ego, your commute and those overly negative scenarios aren’t grounds for good decision making. I’m thinking they fit more in the category of motivating factors. The jump to entrepreneurship should be based on an assessment of risk, if there’s a need or market for your service or product, a solution to an existing problem, or a vision that you can afford to pursue considering both time and money. There are tons of other ways to gauge reediness but I recommend not having negativity be your influence.
After figuring out your why, figure out your why.
Who, what, and or why you are pursing this transition are incredibly important. Who are you doing this for? Are you seeking to purse a personal passion or are you doing it with another person, population or industry in mind? What are you doing this for? Is it for the money your projecting you’ll make or to solve a problem? Why is this important to you and why is it worth the risk? Answers to questions like these are what you are going to use as fuel on this daunting journey. There is a lot of mental toughness and discipline involved in entrepreneurship and it is definitely not for everyone. This is especially true if you are not working with a strong team that compensates for each other’s weaknesses.
A few years back, I found myself employed in a position that required nothing of its staff but mediocrity. Disclaimer Alert: Out of respect for the organization and its consumers, I will not elaborate further on the positions specific responsibilities. What I will do is describe the approach I took to maximize aspects of the position and all the benefits that followed.
Want to Do vs. Have to Do
It didn’t take long for me to learn the difference between wanting to do something and having to do something. I figured the best way to dictate my happiness in any position was to actually want to do it. Already you may understand my why with this thought process. Initially my eagerness to fulfill the jobs duties with enthusiasm and effort were for self. After learning the job, my self-position transformed into an “us” position. Us meaning, the more I support someone else, the better I feel. The more I listen to someone else, the better I am. The more I do for someone else, the larger I appear. The more I share with someone else, the more I inspire.
This sort of gratification was addictive. It drove me to the point of wanting and eventually achieving the status of being one of the very best at my position in the surrounding counties. My want to do attitude now began to embrace the have to do attitude and provided enough fuel to lap the world several times over. No need to be suspicious of my motives here. What I sought was to satisfy my basic human nature of giving and receiving.
Who Makes These Changes?
You do! A disengaged employee often lacks intrinsic motivation or cannot find a reason to be motivated. The person who simply works for extrinsic motivators will surely never be satisfied but like most things in life, this is a choice. It is just as easy to find an aspect of your job that you can latch on to and draw happiness from as it is to find aspects of the job that you dislike. For many, there are more dislikes than likes but if this is the case, I’d challenge you to question yourself and find out why you are still showing up. Don’t you owe it to yourself to be suspicious of what you want? If you are working a job that doesn’t provide the gratification you once thought it would then get suspicious, investigate your why and make the changes. “Don’t stand still, you are not a tree.”-Joseph Lalonde