For the last few weeks I have been contemplating entrepreneurial thinking vs employee thinking. The idea is not my own, I got it from Barbara Winter who is teaching a workshop on this subject. The topic fascinates me. Having spent 17 plus years in the cubicle farm myself I feel certain that I have been deeply imprinted with employee thinking. Since I am not yet successful entrepreneur I can only try to imagine the difference.
It seems that employee thinking must be the norm in western society, dictating that work be validated by dollars. We are raised on the idea of hourly pay, steady pay for steady work. The irony of course is that this is an illusion. As employees we are not steady workers. We may put in our time in steady increments but hour in and hour out are we always worth our X amount of dollars? Aren't we at times worth more and other times worth less? As employees we are not used to putting in a days work without a days pay. If we didn't get paid it must mean that we didn't work. Conversely, if we made money we must have been working, as in the four letter word WORK, implying that there was at least some part of it that was disagreeable.
How does a fledgling entrepreneur forge ahead when faced with the two commonly accepted myths of work is only work if you made money and didn't have fun doing it? Starting out if you are lucky you may make a little money but chances are that you have actually logged a lot of "work" hours before you see that first paycheck. Worse still if you are going out on your own to pursue a path of your own choosing you probably have actually enjoyed most of the activities (work) that you have done. This can be very confusing to a person who is ingrained with employee thinking and their assumption is likely to be that these activities that were enjoyable and did not bring in any revenue must not have been work. Therefore the wanna be entrepreneur is trapped somewhat by feelings that they must certainly be doing something wrong.
As an employee we are used to having input and requests from multiple sources. We have constant reminders of what we should be working on. As novice entrepreneurs we select something to work on. We hope we are choosing wisely but there is no one there to confirm our decision. The road is curved and bumpy we stumble, we learn, our progress is painfully slow but we move ahead. Perhaps we are beginning to untangle the ropes that bind us to employee thinking. We may be starting to believe the words of Michelangelo - "Faith in oneself is the best and safest course."