Jeff felt confined at his first job.
He stocked shelves at the local grocery store. Jeff worried about getting his allotment of groceries stocked on time. He cared about his boss’ evaluations and performance standards.
He didn’t worry about the structure of his work day. It was imposed on him by the store.
At the end of the summer, he quit. Jeff was ready to make his own way.
He made a decision. Jeff would be an entrepreneur. He’d start his own business so he could set his own schedule, his own standards of workmanship, and his own evaluations.
He’d be free from the man! It would be exciting and fun! He’d control his own destiny!
It turned out to be the most challenging thing he’d ever do.
Why? Because it required a fundamental shift in his thinking. Jeff had to go from externally-imposed discipline to self-discipline.
This is the professional mindset of the entrepreneur:
I wake-up every morning at 5 A.M. I make a smoothie, have a touch of coffee, then then lace-up my running shoes and throw on a hoodie.
I run for an hour around the lake and watch the sun rise. As the light begins to reflect off the lake, I always pause in my mind, and let the moment stand still. I try to appreciate it as if it’s the last sunrise I’ll ever see.
I come home, shower, and dress for work. I’m sharp and ready.
My ritual is two things. Lacing up my running shoes and pausing to take in the morning light. When I’ve done those things, I’m ready to start my work day.
This short passage reveals the qualities of mental toughness and sense of purpose that every entrepreneur must have. Entrepreneurs must inspire their self:
On top of all of this, Jeff has another secret: habit. Certain things he makes himself do every day.
When he worked at the grocery store, the manager told him when to show up for work and when to go home.
They instructed him to have a cheery, helpful attitude with customers. Told him when to be on the job, how many days a week he’d work, and how many days he’d have off. They told him when to eat lunch and take breaks.
Jeff was good at this job. He worked like a professional. But his professional standards were imposed by his employer.
There was nothing wrong with this job. Jeff disliked the routine, but he understood the management. They needed to impose standards on employees so the store would run properly.
What Jeff discovered when he started working for himself was that not as much changed as he thought. The big difference was that instead of the store telling him what to do, he had to tell himself.
He set his own agenda.
He decided on his working goals and how he’d meet them.
He decided how much to sacrifice to reach his goals.
He decided when, where, and how much to work.
He’d give himself a good evaluation and a raise if he deserved it.
He’d chew himself out when he screwed-up.
Jeff learned that he was a much harder boss to work for than the grocery store manager. He learned that as an entrepreneur, he worked more evenings and weekends than he ever did working for someone else.
To be an entrepreneur, you have to make a mental shift. You are your own boss – which means you still have to do all the hard work of any boss. You impose standards on yourself.
You must make that mental switch. You have to want success – badly.
You’ll be the toughest boss you ever had.
Inspirational thanks to Steven Pressfield.