I love the start-up mentality. I love it because I love the idea of building something from the ground up. Laying the foundation, the frame, the walls, and filling in all the details. I used to build houses for a living, but now I build my business. But as my company grows, I always aim to keep a start-up mentality because innovation, fresh ideas, and collaboration are what makes a company. While some markets remain stable for years, things can change at the drop of a hat, and innovation is needed.

That’s why I encourage those who are just starting out in the workforce—or, actually, anybody in the workforce—to find a company where they can be an active participant. Obviously sometimes you have to take a job you don’t like to pay the bills. But if you are making a choice on where to look, think about companies that are start-ups or have that start-up mentality. Seek out companies where you can contribute with your own creativity. Where you can build practices and systems that shape the company.

You don’t need to be a CEO or VP to do these kinds of things. You don’t even have to be a manager. If you’re at the right company, you will be doing this all the time regardless of your status. Now this doesn’t mean you will have the freedom to go rogue. Each company has its own standards, vision, and style. But within those parameters, you can create, suggest, and persuade your company into better and best practices. And if you keep getting shot down or ignored, maybe you should start looking for a place that’s a better fit for you, that is willing to see your ideas as valid and even valuable. That place may even be a company you start yourself.

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