Most folks find personal fulfillment from the work they do and are content with the daily routine of working for someone else. And that’s okay—it’s nothing to be ashamed of. The reward for such obedience—clocking in, showing up on time, listening to your boss—is a salary that pays just enough to take care of bills and stay ahead of inflation.
There is a tribe of workers, however, who long to escape salary slavery. These individuals are fed up with employers squeezing every drop of productivity out of them only to be compensated with poverty-level wages and minimum healthcare and retirement benefits. They are tired of being used, rented out, and working in excess of their job descriptions just to fill the coffers of organizations whose sole concern is to profit by any means necessary.
The single most valuable asset at your disposal is time, which suggests that your life is too short to be spending your days making sure that others get to live their lives to the fullest while you are forced to forage for scraps from the master’s table.
There is a part of you that longs for a better life—something greater than what you are currently experiencing. Deep down, you know you deserve more. Perhaps it’s time to be the CEO of You.
Here are practical steps you can take to move from employer dependency to building a self-directed career.
- Follow your effort. “Look at where you apply your time. Pay attention to those things you devote time to and double down your investment there. Where you put in your effort, that tends to be the things you are good at. And if you put in enough time, you tend to get really good at it.”
- Begin building a financial cushion. “Make a budget if you don’t have one. Look for ways to lower the amount of money you need each month: downsize your house, move to one car, and be more disciplined about saving. Having a financial buffer will make it more likely that when you find something meaningful, you’ll be able to act on it.”
- Create a Prioritization System. “Learning to prioritize both long-term activities that gain momentum later in time, and short-term goals necessary for incremental results, is critical, and requires careful planning. The key, however, is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”
- Take intelligent risks. “As you start your journey, the first thing you should do is throw away that store-bought map and begin to draw your own. A true entrepreneur has to be willing to take risks, and take risks often, to succeed. So what are you waiting for? Harness your instincts and see how far drawing your own map can take you.”
- Consult with a proven mentor. “Every entrepreneur needs a good mentor.” Whether it is a trusted friend, a family member, a fellow entrepreneur, or an idol you seek out for advice, it is important to have someone you can turn to in good, bad and difficult times. A mentor can help you see things from a different perspective; advise you when the going gets tough; help you brainstorm ideas, and offer counsel and encouragement when you are having a rough day.”