There is a famous quote in the theatre that was said by Constantin Stanislavski of the Moscow Art Theatre in 1924. It goes, “There are no small parts, only small actors.” Likewise there are no small jobs, only persons who don’t glory in the chance to learn from all experiences.
Humility is a key entrepreneurial quality. It keeps you open for constant new learnings and Eureka! moments. Humility enables you to be unobstructed and present to the accidents of life that often go under the name luck. Hence, the value of the small jobs most of us started with that often trained us in the importance of the small mundanities of courtesy, care, and listening that are a great aid to the everyday success of the perfervid entrepreneurial striver.
I got quite a good volume of response to last week’s blog, Small Jobs and Great Entrepreneurs. Here is a letter I received from Don Zinn, owner of Exigent Search Partners, Inc. in Westchester, NY. which I thought well worth sharing.
I love your columns – you know I read them and get a vicarious thrill as only a fellow entrepreneur can. So many today claim to be entrepreneurs, but so few are.
I agree with your premise about small jobs first – I too started as a bus boy at Bar Mitzvah’s when I was 12, also mowing lawns and shoveling snow, until I was 14 and was able to get a job in a union deli – the meatcutters union. There I felt that same contempt your Harvard professor discussed – those guys looked at me and knew my track was very different. But I fought to be respected and proved them wrong by working hard. It was a good lesson.
There is another layer to your premise about being young and foolish when we were young, and foolish. The path to entrepreneurial success is not a straight line. To get to where I am today – the happiest I have ever been as I run my 7th entrepreneurial venture – I had to go through all the other stuff. The failures and the wrong directions were part of what got me here. I wish I had found my place sooner, but I probably wasn’t ready.
Some find that niche sooner, but for me, I had to wander through my own “desert” before I was ready to cross into the “promised land.”
Be well and stay warm
Well said, Don. Thank you.