Find Your Leadership Role

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Seth Godin is a great marketer.

In fact, he’s one of the best.

He’s written 17 books that have been translated into 35 languages.

Mostly, he writes about things like marketing, leadership, and the way things work.

Seth says that there are only three roles in any business:

  • Entrepreneur
  • Manager
  • Technician

 

Most entrepreneurs start out as technicians. They excel at people doing things and convince themselves they can do whatever it is better than anyone else.

So they start a business—just like I did. That’s probably how you got started.

But there’s one big disadvantage to this approach: After you start your business, you spend your days “keeping busy”, not strategizing.

And that makes a big difference in our businesses and our lives.

Changing The Game

How did we become this way? One reason is our school systems. They grade us on how we do things. They give us an A, B, C, etc. for doing our work. That engenders a “doing” mindset.

Put simply, the grading system conditions us to get satisfaction for doing something. And when we do something right, we get instant recognition. But I’m not here to debate on our school systems.

This mindset often trips us up. I know it has tripped me up in the past. Occasionally, it still does.

But realizing this tendency was a game changer for me. It’s reshaped my whole approach to building a business.

Let me explain.

I started my design business because I thought I was better designer than anyone else. So I tracked down leads, made the sale, designed the work, delivered the work, and got an approval.

Then I produced it, launched it, and billed it. Often, I chased it, too—payment, that is. And when I finally got it, I banked it…and then I started the process all over again.

Round and round and round. After a while, it became a mind-numbing routine. I was happy doing this for a while. I got immediate satisfaction from making the sale, designing the project, and collecting the money. But the routine turned into a vicious cycle.

To put it in Seth Godin’s words, I became a manager and technician, not an entrepreneur. I did the same thing when I started my other businesses. And each time I did this, it essentially became a grind.

I realized I wasn’t happy being a manager and/or a technician.

The Game Changer

Two years ago I’ve slowly started to reverse process—with help from great friends, organizations, and my business partner.

Reading books (E-myth, Good To Great, Double Double, 40 Hour Work Year, and Great By Choice.), being in my forum, and attending leadership development learning days reshaped my thinking—in a BIG way.

I absorbed their concepts, applied them, and adjusted things to fit my situation.

After awhile, I realized something: My passion isn’t doing the day-to-day operational stuff. It’s growing a business, creating jobs, mentoring the next generation, or developing a community’s social responsibility.

That’s my true passion. That’s when I was the happiest—when giving back to others.

I can trace this mindset to high school; I tutored high school students and classrooms of grade schools in mathematics.

A little less than 2 years ago, I remember receiving one of many e-mails from former students telling me how much I was an impact in their lives, and thanking me for the influence I’ve made.

This incident was a game changer. It made me realize why I love doing what I’m doing. I’m happy when I’m creating social change, positively influencing people, and helping people make their lives better.

I want my child to grow up this way, too.

It’s partly why I take time every month to write about things than can help others excel.

I don’t do it for the money. I do it because I want to give back to people. That fulfills me.

When people respond to my blog, e-mail me telling me how they felt, or sharing my story with the world, I jump up and down.

Best of all, I hope it inspires them to be better than they were yesterday.

If you’re an entrepreneur, stop doing. Stop being a manager and a technician. And start thinking about what you’re doing and why.

Ask yourself questions like: “If I was gone tomorrow, would people care?” and “Why would someone buy what I’m offering?”

The answers may surprise you. They may also be a game changer. Or more importantly, they may help you find your true passion.

Once you do find that, surround yourself with people better than you. Surround yourself with greatness and go after your passion.

Go after greatness and you’ll become a better leader.

In business today, good enough isn’t good enough.

About the author

Jeremy Choi

I’m a husband, father, entrepreneur, mentor, and an irredeemable golf addict. Possibly like you, my big hairy audacious goal (vision) is to make a positive dent in this world. I write about creating better leaders, workers, and people. I also write about my experiences in all aspects of my life. These ideas are my experiences living & learning through my own core values; integrity, authenticity, leadership, inspire, and health.

4 comments

  • Very well said.I could totally relate to this as till recently I was more focussed on doing (continuously) rather than giving it a break and thinking if I am going in a right direction. I truly believe entrepreneurship doesnt mean doing mundane tasks but it is challenging yourself and creating/exploring something which really brings good change to lives of people.