Every day, every moment of your working life, what type of value are you delivering?
In an ideal world, when you first start working at a company you and your employer agree on a price for your inborn talents and aptitude to learn. But if you have ambition for the company’s success, the actual value of your work will always outpace its price. Your drive to succeed – for the company to succeed – will transform you into someone who everyone wants to work with. In contrast, think of someone who is always bemoaning the company and what it stands for. Not exactly leadership material.
Your price – your material compensation – can probably be summarized in less than three paragraphs. Your value unfolds across the arc of your career, revealed in every conversation with your customers, co-workers, vendors… really any time you talk about your company you affect your value.
Now let’s return to the title of this post. The moment you conflate your price and your value, you begin to believe that the former determines the latter, instead of the other way around. I like to call this mindset Perceived Predictability: you have locked yourself into thinking that what happens to you every day at work is only a reflection of your price.
In a way, this is true: what happens to you is a reflection of your price, but only in the most superficial, trivial sense. “If I complete tasks X, Y, and Z, then in exchange I receive $.” Say this to yourself enough times, and watch your confidence and courage deflate like a whoopee cushion. If ambition were a requirement for this job, would you hire yourself?
Yet nothing ever ‘happens’ to those who have ambition without ego. Instead, they make it happen for everyone around them – that’s a huge part of their value. But when Perceived Predictability takes over, you start to identify with the object of your work instead of its subject.
In an ideal world, your price will always be playing catch-up with your value. This is our goal. If you really want greatness for yourself, it must come as a consequence of the pursuit of greatness for your company. Are you self-employed or currently in transition? Then strike out ‘company’ and replace it with community.
If you want greatness for yourself, try to help everyone around you be great. If you are willing to sacrifice your comfort, your time, and above all your self for the good of your community, your value will increase without bound.
And while it might sound paradoxical, we cannot avoid Perceived Predictability by running away from it. We need to set our sights on something greater than ourselves. Ambition is pointless without a goal, and just as we cannot measure our own value by our price, so too we cannot measure it by our company’s sales numbers or its rise on the stock market. There is something deeper at work here, something greater than chasing numbers.
Aim higher. Find your purpose and your career will never be the same.