Not All Entrepreneurs Are Commercial Geniuses
I've said it many times before, and I'll say it again. There are two kinds of person out there, and inside each of us. There's the Victim, living his life as if he's entitled to whatever he wants or needs. The Victim is critical, and cynical. He needs to be taken care of (usually by a big government), but is always quick to point out how much better a job he'd do if he were the one in charge. He's political. He's competitive. And he's often passive-aggressive in his behavior, smiling in your face while stabbing you in the back.
Thankfully, there's also the Victim's opposite: the Entrepreneur. "Entrepreneur" is a better way to label the Victim's opposite than the semantic opposite ("Victor"), because people who have an attitude opposite that of the Victim don't think of life as win-lose, and therefore aren't out to win at the Victim's (or anyone's) expense. No, the Entrepreneur lives life as though she feels obliged to create things in this life, and spends a lot of her energy creating opportunities for herself and others. She works hard, takes risks, bets on herself, and takes care of herself and of other people. The Entrepreneur doesn't want dominion over others, and cherishes freedom above all other societal values. She's creative. She's collaborative. And when you need help, she'll offer it before you ask.
We each will be dominated, to a greater or lesser extent, by the inner image we nourish. So a great way to feed your inner Entrepreneur (and starve your inner Victim) is to think of yourself as being in business for yourself, even if (and especially if), in a commercial sense, you are not. The Victim in your workplace acts as though it's the "company's" job to make sure he survives... the Entrepreneur next to him operates as though the company's survival depends upon her, and her performance. The two mindsets are completely opposed to one another.
A smart person asked me recently if the term "Victim" takes things too far... not all people who don't own a business, she said, are "victims." Particularly, she disagreed with the notion she thought I was putting forth that someone who works for the government is automatically a victim. She pointed out that not all of us are cut out to run businesses - some lack the intelligence, the talent, or any of a number of ingredients (particularly luck) that make a successful business owner.
It's the mindset I'm labelling, though, not the job description. I stand by this: each of us has the potential to be an Entrepreneur or a Victim, to be dominated by one attitude or the other, and our behaviors will tell you which inner image we're nourishing most.
She was right - not everyone is equipped to run a business (and it isn't for the faint of heart). Some people need to be "worker bees," and our society depends critically upon them. But two worker bees with the same job description can have completely different attitudes toward their work, and you'll tell them apart by the way they do the job.
Two waiters may work the same shift. One takes initiative, is always positive, and always seems to hope more customers will walk through the door (however "slammed" he is). The other seems to see customers as an interruption of the social aspects of the job, gripes when he's "seated" with too many customers, and is always quick with a criticism of the management.
Two government managers may have the same daily duties. One tries to keep costs low for her bosses (the taxpayers), works hard to be the best leader she can be and to continually improve herself, acts like her unit is a business and she's a stockholder, and even works long hours to make sure the citizens get the best possible service. The other shakes her head often in bewilderment, wondering why her colleague works for the government if she's going to "overfunction" like she does... she is more about "having" a job than "doing" a job, and less about being her best than about making sure no one else gets something she doesn't get.
In other words, in any walk of life, in any job, you'll find Entrepreneurs and Victims. Not every Entrepreneur owns and runs a commercial enterprise, and not every one is a creative genius. Most Entrepreneurs, in the attitudinal sense, are solid, self-reliant worker bees who don't own the business they work for. They only act like owners, in the sense that they feel a strong obligation to help their organizations succeed, whatever it takes.
Maximize your potential by exercising your initiative. Be in business, whether you're in business or not. And take care of your business, every hour of every day. Life is better when you do.