“This is a hijack!”
Being an EEn means we are setting out to be pioneering.
We are setting out to disrupt what is current and what is accepted.
Make no mistake that this will be unpleasant for some people in our lives and therefore inventible ourselves.
There are absolutely some perfectly valid reasons why what we’re currently doing isn’t going to work within an EEn approach to life. If the checks in column of nays are stacking up then the luxury of being a self-motivated person means we shouldn’t have too much trouble finding opportunities else where. But there are definitely some EEn touch points that if we aren’t able to be successful in living out where we are at, then there is good chance that our next gig will be no better.
“No one listens to me.”
Back in Friends With Everyone I discussed the importance of earning influence as part of the change process. The assertion is that just as our goal should be to influencers, it’s important that we seek our ways to consciously allow ourselves to be influenced in order to broaden our horizon for the possible. What is no doubt obvious is that being willing to listen to others around us is a key part of this process.
More to the point, if we’re not willing to give the time of day to ideas and leadership that is not our own, why would anyone want to give that to us. If people are constantly unwilling to hear us out – whether at work, in our homes, or out in the world – it says more about us then it does about anyone else. Either we have a pattern of choosing to relate to close-minded people (and if so what does this say about us), the way we come across to others just doesn’t really work, or we haven’t convinced anyone that we are in fact willing to listen and change ourselves.
If our colleagues, our friends, our love ones and even the salesperson in the recreation store aren’t for us then something is drastically wrong. These are all relationships we have entered into willingly. People don’t have to listen to us because we are God’s greatest gift to them, but because we’re willing to give as much as they are.
So if we can’t get our message across, if not one respects us enough to let us have our say there are one of two things I would first suggested we rule out before ding the cut and run form our roles:
- Are we being genuine in our opinions and are we speaking our own minds?
- Or are we regurgitating someone else’s prose to impress or because we are being mentally lazy?
- When we do speak, do our actions march to the same beat or do they create doubt that we don’t really care?
- How have we demonstrated that we are willing to recognise the genius of others and allow some give and take in finding the best path forwards? Maybe, we aren’t currently as effective at revealing this as the season dictates?
- Or are we a glory hog resisting anything that would indicate that what someone else had to offer could trump our contribution?
Make Sure It’s Not Us Standing In The Way
Even if our boss is lousy and the organisation we work for sucks as far as being open to innovation, our will to act will always find an outlet – we are hijacking the current picture after all so what it is now doesn’t matter in the end. This why being an EEn and hijacking our jobs is so potent – it always changes the status quo.
So strangely enough, it is ourselves that are greatest hindrance to making a meaningful difference. It’s our hang-ups and our unwillingness to bend that inhibits our ability to act entrepreneurially.
Being an entrepreneur isn’t about having our own way. It’s not about have a grand vision and dominating the landscape with our personal philosophy – that is empire building.
Being an entrepreneur is about realising opportunities to make things better – chiefly for the benefit of others. Understanding how to bring as many people along for the ride is a must for the entrepreneur. So when we’re leading innovation from the inside out of an organisation as an EEn it’s only more important to focus on bringing people with us.
If people aren’t listening then we need to check it’s the right time to give the message we are broadcasting. Similarly, we need to make sure we have earned the right to speak by proving we are also there to listen.
The resistance people may show to our leadership isn’t because they don’t want our contribution (though we may need to be flexible on our approach to suit them and not our preferences). More likely is that they resist because change is painfully for almost always part of the process if not the whole shebang for some parties.
When we carry the vision, we have the comfort of seeing that the light at the end of the tunnel is the sign of a better place. We know this because we created the light and helped to point out that we’re in a tunnel.
It’s not enough to explain what’s wrong and point out how to exit tunnel. Sure it’s a valuable skill to dream up the future direction and strategise the way forward. But there is nothing less attractive for the follower than the person full of suggestions of how things could be better but short on the gut conviction to be the person to own the burden of leadership.
There is nothing easy about being an EEn. It causes tension in all aspect of life. This isn’t meant to scare it’s a reality check. The purpose of seeking to be an entrepreneur within employment is to apply pressure to the conventional mindset that pervades the organisation and to challenge the status quo that people are too comfortable to move away from own their own. The EEn takes on more work, more risk, and more ownership – initially for nothing.
But we do it, and willingly, because we care, because we are hear for the long game, and because we are convicted to doing meaningful that liberates others to discover the same.
The Final Word
Finding a way to financial independence so we don’t have to work under someone else’s lead has little to do with better outcomes and more to do with avoidance. Quitting is convenient for the person leaving of course but true leadership isn’t about personal convenience.
If our pattern is to quit we’ll come up short in the innovation stakes more often than not. To innovate, we must find a way to embody needs that aren’t necessarily our own but are important to address nonetheless – empathy isn’t about relating our own perspective to someone else’s, it’s the ability to take on the other’s and see why it matters.
The greatest EEn’s are those who can recognise needs and solve them before anyone else has understood their anatomy. We don’t need a job that works for us to learn this; in fact we’re probably better off with a little struggle.
If marrying employment and entrepreneurship is where our heart is then quitting where we are at right now only make’s sense if we have come to the end of all the change we are willing to do as an EEn.
In fact, we could measure that being truly successful as an EEn means we help build an organisation that no longer needs our lead. When this happens, I would say this is transitioning out not quitting.
But if we follow the adage that the best way to start is to begin where you want to end, then quitting as our way to start being an EEn has already foreshadowed how successful that move will be.
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This series of posts is part my project EEn: How to hijack your job, be happily employed, and become an entrepreneur (or die trying) and was inspired by Chris Guillebeau’s The $100 Startup. This series is for people have the entrepreneurial spirit and who still want to work for others (and not negotiate the tricky seas of running a start-up).
If you have a great idea for a product or service that your employer will never do in 1000 years and you want to leave your job to do that instead – go read Chris’ book.