Are You an Employee, Professional, or Legend?

legends of history

I believe that everyone wants to succeed and feel fulfilled at work.  There are scenarios where you may be in the wrong environment and a change of scenery would be the best move to make.  Before you consider looking at other options, have you asked yourself if you are giving your very best to that company or employer?  If the answer is no, you are not alone.  I have encountered self-employed individuals that work for themselves that were not giving 100% of their best efforts.  That sounds crazy to not give yourself the very best, especially when you say it out loud.  Here are 3 ways you can choose to show up everyday in your professional life.


The most simplistic definition that I would provide is someone who shows up every day and does their job.  No more, no less.  They do enough to keep their job and not enough to really advance in their career.  Merriam-Webster defines an employee as: one employed by another usually for wages or salary and in a position below the executive level.  There is nothing wrong with being an employee but for you to grow in your career then your mindset would need to be more than that.  If you are looking to get to that executive level or show pride in your work, then we will want to upgrade.


When you say he or she is a professional, what immediately comes to your mind?  For me I see someone that is really put together, confident, and the best at what they do.  Whether that is an athlete or a business executive, the image is clear of someone that has a bit of a glow around them.  Merriam-Webster defines professional as: relating to a job that requires special education, training, or skill.  I interpret that as I will be the best at what I do.  Whether that is being a cashier, custodian, or civil engineer, no one will outperform my duties.  If you are sitting in that employee role but acting like a professional, it won’t be long until your title has changed, and you climb that “proverbial ladder”.


This group is special and there are not a lot of them.  Merriam-Webster defines a legend as: a famous or important person who is known for doing something extremely well.  How does one obtain legendary status?  Typically, it takes many years of being radically exceptional at your profession.  Kobe Bryant would be an example in basketball for his legendary work ethic and relentless drive.  He literally created an alter ego (The Black Mamba), and the Mamba mentality is referenced frequently today in business and sports.  Steve Jobs is an example in the business world.  A legendary visionary who changed the world by “thinking differently”.  It wasn’t about fitting in for these legends but rather accomplishing the goal, no matter the cost.

My hope is for everyone to be fulfilled in your chosen profession.  We spend approximately one third of our lives at work.  That is a lot of time spent, so shouldn’t we feel excited and proud of what we do in that time.  If you aren’t feeling inspired daily, look in the mirror and ask yourself, “am I showing up as an employee, professional, or legend”?  Even if you don’t believe that you can obtain legendary status, put in work as a legend would and land comfortably in that professional role.  If you are lacking inspiration, check out the Let’s Go Win podcast to hear from legends in all walks of life.  Their stories are filled with twists and turns, but their mindsets are what allowed them to be legendary.


JM Ryerson is a best-selling author and Performance and Mindset Coach. JM has a question for you. Are you living your best life, and do you feel fulfilled in your goals and achievements? While it’s tempting to say yes, really take a minute to consider what it means to be truly fulfilled. What does that look like to you? Does it match your current environment? As a professional leadership coach for entrepreneurs and executive teams, these are the questions that JM has spent years helping people of all backgrounds answer. His passion to help others succeed at work, at home, and in life is empowering the next generation of business leaders. If you’re interested in pursuing peak performance in both your life and at work, then make a change now.  Stay up-to-date with JM’s latest discoveries through his podcast, Let’s Go Win, and learn more about the power of positive growth.

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