Are You an Employee, Professional, or Legend?

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 love a good podcast, check out my podcast “Let’s Go Win”. It’s a show with lively conversations providing tips on leadership, mindset, health, and everything you’ll need for success at work, at home, and in life! I’d love your opinion and a review!




JM Ryerson founded and sold 3 businesses and is now helping leadership teams do the same. He is an Author, Leadership & Performance Coach, International Speaker, and host of the Let’s Go Win podcast who has been building companies and leading sales teams for over 20 years. JM is the co-founder and CEO of Let’s Go Win whose mission is to increase leadership, enhance culture, and help teams achieve peak performance. JM’s great passions are inspiring people to live their best lives and become open to what life has in store for them. His ultimate goal is to give others the tools that will allow them to transcend their self-limiting beliefs. JM was raised in Montana and lives in Boca Raton, Florida with his wife Lisa and their two amazing boys.