Over the next few weeks, I’m going to share with you some great ways to increase both your impact on the world and your income. Just to give you a heads up, I am not a natural at this. I, too, am learning as I go but I am making good progress and I know you can too. In the coming days I’m going to share with you some of the most important lessons I’ve learned in increasing entrepreneurial leadership skills so you too can live a more fulfilling, profitable, and purposeful life. Here goes:
We have reached another cycle in world history where Dickens famous words, “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times” once again ring true. Not even getting into the terrorist, environmental, and crime issues facing us, sticking mainly to the condition of individuals, there are amazing opportunities and very real threats. On the one hand, there are more opportunities today than ever before in the history of the world to build a profitable, purpose-driven, passion-based business that makes the world a better place! On the other, more people hate their jobs, are losing income, and taking on more debt than at any time since the Great Depression. An increasing number are saying, “I want my work to count, I want to enjoy my work, and I want to earn a good income” and are taking very doable steps to make that happen. Others have resigned themselves to a life of “enduring until the weekend” and hoping they don’t have to work at Wal-Mart when they retire.
I want you to join the group who are developing the right leadership skills and taking advantage of the opportunities. Literally millions of people are joining the movement of building a profitable business, based on their passions and talents, that really helps people. It may not be a revolution yet, but it is sure getting close. The doors are wide open for those who are willing to study and take action. It does not matter what type of intelligence is dominant in your life: academic, artistic, physical, interpersonal, etc.; you can learn how to make an impact and income doing what you love. It may be part-time, supplemental income or it may be your full-time vocation, but you not only can do this; you really need to do it. Here’s why:
The World Has Changed
According to thought leaders like Seth Godin, Daniel Pink, and Thomas Friedman, the world has changed and it is not going back. We are rapidly moving away from the Industrial Revolution based economy of past decades. You know, staying with a firm long-term, putting in your hours, living a comfortable life and retiring with a decent, but not luxurious income. There are still a few companies that value long-term employment and are dedicated to making their workplace positive and rewarding; but the percentage is small. Today, the average worker will change jobs 8 times and will be much more responsible for every area of their life, if they do not give it over to government.
Before I give you specifics on how to become someone with the personal leadership skills to build purposeful, principled, profitable part-time or full-time business, let me give you some undisputable facts about the status of work, income, and employment in the United States.
Clear Employment and Income Trends
In a 2010 report entitled “The Problem with Men: A Look at Long-Term Employment Trends” by the Hamilton Project (http:www.brookings.edu/opionions/2010/1203_job_greenstone_looney.aspx) when adjusted for inflation the median salary of working males has been steadily dropping since the early 70’s. Again when adjusted for inflation, the median earnings for full-time male workers peaked in the early 70’s at approximately $53,000. As of 2010, and it has not gotten any better since then, it is approximately $48,000 for full time male workers. So in 40 years, though the cost of living has risen dramatically, earnings have decreased for most men. When the statistics for all men (not just full-time workers) are analyzed, you see it is even worse going from ca. $48,000 in 1974 to ca. $34,000 in 2010.
According to the Department of Labor the cost of living in the United States has tripled since the early 70’s. That means though salaries for most have decreased, the cost of living has greatly increased so the majority of the population is far worse off than 40 years ago. During that same time span the percentage of income distribution for the middle class dropped from 62% down to 45% while at the same time the percentage of income controlled by the upper class rose from 30% to over 46% and is still climbing. In other words, the majority of the population is controlling less of overall wealth, while the wealthy have a much higher percentage than in 1970.
According to James Altucher, “More people are finding financial success than ever before while unemployment or “underemployment” (where people are employed, but at jobs paying less than they are accustomed to, that they are massively overqualified for) has reached upward of 20 percent.” He then addresses the issue of hiring with these words, “I’ll tell you the answer: ZERO sectors in the economy are moving toward more full-time workers. Everything is either being cut back, moved toward outsourcing out of the country, or hiring temp workers. And this goes not just for low-paid industrial workers, but middle managers, computer programmers, accountants, lawyers, and even senior executives.” In His book “It’s Human to Sell” Daniel Pink gives a very similar, research-based outlook.
There are numerous reasons for this; technology has advanced so companies do not need as many people to be productive, government keeps changing the rules so corporations do not know how to plan and hire, and far too many companies only care about the bottom line so when things get tight, employees go. Getting rid of employees and piling more on those who remain, is the quickest way to increase profits (though rarely the best way).
Before I give you the good news, let me share one more study with you. The Gallup Management Journal’s semiannual Employee Engagement Index shows that only 29 percent of employees are actively engaged in their jobs, while 54 percent are not engaged and 17 percent are actively disengaged. These findings are in line with several other reports I have read that make this clear: 70-80% of all employees either tolerate or hate their jobs. In the wealthiest countries in the world (this is true in Europe as well), only 20-30% of the workforce actually enjoy or are highly engaged in their work.
It Can and Should Be Better
Let me ask you, don’t you think life is supposed to be better than this? You spend most of your waking hours in work related activities, you have limited time on planet earth to live and make a difference; so do you want to spend most of your life doing something you just tolerate or even hate? Some may argue, “You do what you have to do to take care of your family and pay the bills. It’s just a job.” I totally agree that it is honorable and right, not to expect others to take care of you and there is value in all types of work. In times past, and still sometimes today, you have to do things you don’t like in order to do what is right. I get it and agree with it. But with all the opportunities that are available today and the way our world is headed, shouldn’t you be going in the direction of learning to build a part-time or full-time business of your own? At a minimum, why not start heading in the direction of passion-based, purpose-producing, profitable business? If you are so wired or have the blessing of having a regular job, start doing this part-time. If it starts to grow, you have another stream of income, doing something you actually enjoy and it could turn into a full-time calling and income. If you have lost a job or cannot find one; don’t despair because there are great opportunities everywhere. You just need to learn how to find them and develop them.
No matter what, if you will develop very doable entrepreneurial leadership skills, you can make the most of the opportunities that are literally all around you. More on that next time.