Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Why Entrepreneurship Is A Lesson In Self Worth

beginning entrepreneur
I had a difficult discussion with an entrepreneur yesterday. He had a pretty rough day that made him question his self worth, which is something an entrepreneur should never do. Question your strategy. Question your product or service. Question your team. But do not ever under any circumstances question your self worth. The conversation really bothered me to the point that I thought about it all night.

I decided to re-read the introduction of my upcoming book "Presidents, Pilots & ENTREPRENEURS". And no, this is not meant to be a clever plug for the book. After reading, I decided to reproduce a section of the introduction here for any struggling entrepreneur in the middle of questioning themselves. Unfortunately, we tend to keep this stuff to ourselves because of our pride.

This post is to remind you that you are not alone and you are worth far more than you may give yourself credit for right now. There are no clever SEO words or phrases in this post. No numbered lists that we bloggers love so much. Just a reminder of how great you still are.

Here is the piece from the book:

Entrepreneurship - A Lesson In Self Worth

Most people are worth far more than the salaries they receive but only a small percentage of the population understands this. Entrepreneurs know this instinctively even if they do not express it. If every person in society truly took stock of themselves they would realize they are worth far more than their annual salaries. Most of us have a number of natural talents, ideas and skills. We often think about our companies' problems and possible solutions while brushing our teeth, eating dinner or even sleeping. What about the Phd who creates a patented invention for his employer? A patent that goes on to earn the company billions of dollars? What do you think he or she is worth to their employer? Let's be generous and say their company pays them $250,000 per year? Is that enough for what they produce? Of course there is far more to pay than just salary, especially in engineering and creative fields. However, most people would not do their current jobs for half the pay, no matter how rewarding.

I remember working the grave yard shift as a security guard in my early twenties while in college, after leaving the Marine Corps. I was assigned to a large multi-national company that holds a number of impressive patents. One night I was in the lobby where a number of the company’s most prized patent awards were on display. Each patent bore the name of the engineer whose great mind was the source of the patent. I asked the company’s head of security what the engineers received for their efforts. I do not remember the exact amount but it was not more than a few hundred dollars, and of course a great deal of recognition.

Some people place greater value on creating great works and could not care less about money or recognition. Perhaps some of the engineers on this wall were of this type, but how many people do you know who can truly say they are pleased with their jobs or their stations in life? I have met countless skilled professionals that work for large impressive companies who are not at all satisfied with their jobs. Unfortunately, many of them, as bright as they are, do not realize their true worth or value.

To be fair, no company can afford to pay every employee their true worth or value. The good news for these companies is they do not have to because most people feel they are worth no more than what they get paid anyway. For the small percentage of those who do understand their true worth, they create an environment which is in line with their vision. Some of them dedicate their lives to charitable and spiritual works with no regard for monetary rewards. Others change jobs often, not because they cannot commit or stay in one place too long, but because they desire to grow into the greater vision they have of themselves. A few others force their employers to pay a premium for their services in the form of high salaries and other perks, which the companies happily hand over. The remaining usually become entrepreneurs.

Over the years I often repeated a statement that I only truly understood recently. When asked by friends and family why I don’t just get a good job instead of trying to run a business, I always came back with the same simple reply. No employer will pay me what I feel I am really worth. This is the psyche of the entrepreneur. There are many other people in society who feel the same way deep down inside but fail to act. You know some of them. They complain constantly about a particular job that they feel they have to keep. They feel helpless and refuse to take any sort of action that will elevate them to a higher station in life.

The true value of a person lies in his or her mind and how they use it. For great entrepreneurs it does not matter the business they are in because they will eventually succeed. This is simply due to the way they use their minds. The human mind is indeed the most prized possession on earth. A great idea that is acted upon can literally be worth billions of dollars. Every break through product or service started as an idea in someone’s mind. What sets entrepreneurs apart is their willingness to act on their ideas, and like great pilots, continue headlong towards the target despite the hostile fire all around.