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Lessons from the past

I’m currently taking a course at Creighton on spiritual and personal leadership development. As I was going through the reading for the week, I noticed a trend in how people acted as leaders in their businesses. I came across this statement:

“In 1800 four out of five people were self-employed and thus quite connected to the people affected by their labor.”

I think this part of the reading also caught my attention because I could apply it to other courses that I was taking, like this entrepreneurial course. I would say that being a leader and being an entrepreneur are something that go hand-in-hand.

There were several things I noticed from this statement. The first is that clearly, entrepreneurial work is nothing new. People have the tendency to think being an entrepreneur, independent creatives and freelancers are a new, cool, hip thing to do — but it’s actually been around for a long time. This is how the world moves forward. People that want to be able to contribute something distinctive in the world pursue it.

The second, and maybe even more importantly, that these people felt more connected to the people affected by their labor. Now, I worked with a startup of sorts this past summer and that’s definitely relatable. One of the biggest lessons I learned about myself through that experience was that I enjoy doing work that is meaningful. For me, I felt I was able to contribute something more than a suggestion to be tossed aside. I was able to come up with an idea, follow through with it and see it help the business I was working for. This project wasn’t necessarily for a specific client, but it was definitely something I felt I could be even more proud of because it was something I was able to connect my talents with and put to good use.

People back then worked in small shops or on farms so it makes sense that they would be more connected to the people that bought their products. In relation to entrepreneurial media, I think that’s what makes it appealing to some people. It feels like there is more of a purpose, and you’re actually contributing some good to the world as compared to a big corporate job (with probably a big paycheck) where you get shuffled along. From an entrepreneurial standpoint, the work you do is all about being creative, learning and moving forward.

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