People who come to the United States from other countries see America as the Land of Opportunity. This isn’t just a cliche — if you talk to recent immigrants, they’ll tell you this is how they really feel. This country wasn’t founded by professional warriors, as were many other nations. It was founded by entrepreneurs. George Washington was a businessman who wanted fairer taxes and property rights. So this country has been structured from the beginning to be friendly to business people. Our taxes are relatively low for a Western country, and our laws give people the freedom to set up any business they can think of here. While taking the risk of investing money and opening up a new business isn’t for everyone, this country still has more opportunities to make a living doing a wider variety of things than any other place in the world.
It may be natural for immigrants to see America as the land of opportunity because they can compare it with the country they came from. But it’s often harder for native-born Americans to see the abundance of opportunities here. As children, most Americans are able to go to school full-time and basically have all their essential needs taken care of at least until they are teenagers. In school, teachers tell children exactly what they need to do to get good grades. In college, students have a little more autonomy but in most places of higher education, the students are essentially given a roadmap of how to get their degree – which classes they need to take, how many credits are needed, etc. So growing up with all this structure and direction, it is only natural that one’s first instinct would not be to take initiative on their own in the workplace. Many people leave college for their first job and expect the employer to provide the same structure and direction that they got from school growing up.
For many people, searching for a job doesn’t feel natural because there isn’t a set structure to it. Like being an entrepreneur, being a job seeker requires imagination and initiative. Most people want to get their job search over with as quickly as possible so they can get back to the comfort of a corporate job. But for those who want to truly have a career and a life they love, adopting a permanent entrepreneurial mindset is the only reliable way to achieve those goals. Salespeople and entrepreneurs wake up in the morning and know they have to take initiative that day to earn a living. If a salesperson doesn’t pick up the phone or an entrepreneur doesn’t execute their business plan, they don’t make any money.
Proactive people take the initiative to go above and beyond what’s required. Doing that little bit extra can be the difference between getting a promotion and not getting one. Or it could be what makes someone want to introduce you to a recruiter who gets you a great job. If you’re proactive at work, you’re constantly looking for ways to help make your team more efficient, save the company money, etc. Taking the attitude of always looking for new opportunities is what it takes to land a great job. This same attitude is what it takes to be a star performer once you land the job. And it is absolutely essential if you have your own business.
I hope this article will inspire you to take a step back and examine how you’ve been going about your job search. Have you been as proactive as possible, exploring as many opportunities as you can and with a positive attitude? Think about how a good salesperson approaches a prospect. They are optimistic and realize their positive attitude will contribute to closing the sale.