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Reflection of Employment vs Self Employment

How I Went from Employee to EntrepreneurSo I was having dinner at my Moms house last night and was checking out some of the pictures she had and ran across this one. I almost fell out of my chair. It immediately brought me back to 8 years ago when I was an employee for a local government and caused me to reflect on the differences and also the similarity of me then versus now.

My Life as an Employee in the IT Field

I touched my first computer in 1999 (never did computer classes in high school) and decided to go into the field. Looking back, I had never been interested in anything technical or how things worked or even science fiction but what prodded me to go into the field is a friend of mine who was really smart at computers made a comment one day that I could never do computers (I think hinting at my stupidity when it came to them) and that challenge, certainly not intentionally, prompted me to go into computers for the next 5 years. I had no idea how I was programmed or that I was on auto-pilot back then.

The job itself was not that bad but I was not happy. I had no idea what residual income even meant, had never been in network or Internet marketing and really my goals were hinged on the little box of that employer. There were some similarities though that I now find interesting.

Top Similarities of my time as Employee and Entrepreneur

1. I had a strong work ethic. I worked a lot of hours, leaving for work before the kids were awake and a lot of times got home after they were asleep. In the picture you can see that I was named employee of the month which was a real big high for me back then. I think (could be mistaken) that you got $50 added to your pay for being employee of the month but it was an honor. At the time the county had 2,000+ employees (I assume it is less now) and to be singled out was very nice.

2. I craved contribution and growth. I wanted to become more valuable and to do so I studied a lot and I actually spent about 4 hours a night on Microsoft newsgroups answering SQL server questions. I went out and got some IT industry certifications such as MCSE, MCDBA and CCNA. The funny thing was is I was and still am not very technical but when I set my sights on a goal I go after it and typically achieve it.

3. I saw employment as a game. A lot of people I used to work with really focused on getting credit for their work and ideas, being right or how someone else was treated/compensated. I focused on how to play the game to get to higher positions and increased pay. I started with the county at around $25,000 a year and 3 years later was around $80,000 a year. I worked my way up and achieved positions that required a college degree even though I did not, and still do not, possess one. To get promoted to database administrator I wrote a 5 year action plan and had it bound and on the desks of every member of the hiring committee the day of the interview. No one else going for the position felt the need to think outside the box.

Most important, What’s different between Ray the employee vs Ray the entrepreneur

Employment vs Self EmploymentThat picture really got me thinking about how I used to think vs now. What were the differences? I think this is a great exercise to go through as it forces you to distinguish what type of thinking has brought you to where you currently are.

1. I thought too small. Similar to what I talked about above, my imagination had a very short ceiling. I could not wrap my mind around creating something I owned vs just work up the corporate ladder.

2. I completely lacked presence. I could be standing in front of the most amazing sunset ever recorded but I would be thinking of what to say in tomorrow’s project update meeting. This was the case with my kids as well. I spent a little bit of time with them on weekends but was not really there as my mind was solely focused on work.

3. I really cared what people thought of me. If someone in our department walked past me without saying hello, it would seriously ruin my day. I was so caught up with what everyone else thought that I didn’t think for myself.

4. I didn’t value my time. I would get up, go to work, go home, and repeat. Time is the killer for most people. I didn’t understand the difference between enduring life and enjoying it.This also meant I did not understand leverage. Leverage of time, intellectual property or passive income was NOT in my vocabulary.

What Caused My Employee Vs Self Employment Shift?

I ran out of goals. Any higher in the organizational chart and I would have been subjected to ten times the meetings and for a very small, if any, increase in pay. I started wondering if I was simply valuable because I was in a county government department and wondered how I would fare in the private sector. I jumped to an insurance company for a small increase in pay and then, I think because of my boldness, started having thoughts of what the hell was I doing with my life. I wondered why I was even in technology and what was the point. At the same time I had friends from high school making tons of money in real estate and I decided to jump into that and have never had a job since.

The Lesson: How to Create Shifts

To create a shift you have to face a fear. To face a fear you have to desire something more. This can be a desire of more money, more freedom, more whatever. The fear I faced when I lept from county government to the private sector was what if I was a big charade and wasn’t as good as I thought I was. The fear I had when I left a large salary with benefits to become a real estate investor was what if I didn’t make it and all my friends and family were right.

The more you face fears and take action in contradiction to them, the faster you will speed your results. Once upon a time I had a major fear of public speaking. Now I have spoken to audiences in the thousands and it is where I actually thrive. If you want different results in your life, it is NOT just taking more action but taking fear inducing action.

Contrasting Lifestyle

I used to barely see my kids, now I take them to school and breakfast everyday.
I used to be inside a tiny box, now I know anyone can accomplish anything regardless of the circumstances.
I used to really be bothered by anyone criticizing or not liking me. Now I go confidently in the direction of my dreams regardless of who’s permission I have.
I used to take one vacation a year. Now it seems like I am hanging with cool people at some cool location once a month.
I used to have to ask permission to get off work to take my kids to the dentist, now life has a little more freedom in it. =)

Know that you deserve the lifestyle you truly desire and you should never give up or give in that you are in a lifestyle that cannot be altered. Hope you have taken some value from this blog post and you use it to impact your life!

Also, if you did not know, I am in the top 50 MLM Blog contest. If you vote me on on this site, you will get a private invitation to attend my LIVE and INTENSE 4 part series on Leadership. Go here and Vote if you have not already done so

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Ray Higdon

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Skype: ray.higdon
Email: [email protected]

Image: Felixco, Inc. / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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