How to work for yourself is the eternal question asked by disgruntled or disengaged employees around the world.
So, aside from the obvious of starting your own company, how can it even be done?
For many people, there exists an understandable yet false view of the relationship between employer, boss and employee. This view is based on a system of:
1) I go here
2) I do this thing for this long
3) This person gives me this much money.
When laid out like this, it seems that time/effort is essentially traded in exchange for money and throughout life, many, many, many people will tell you this really is the case.
— But it doesn’t have to be.
Now I’m not here to say “believe in yourself, reach for your dreams work hard, blah blah struggle-porn.” My point is much more simple than that: every single thing in life is a choice. Understanding this (not just ‘knowing’) can fundamentally change how you do things, how you perceive them, and how you experience them.
Making the deliberate choice to enjoy something mundane seems like an incredibly disengenuous thing to do. After all, you’re not supposed to lie to yourself of all people. But in reality you’re not lying, you’re just using a coping mechanism — that’s fine.
As with most things, it’s a process. In just ‘knowing’ everything is your choice, you may start to notice how many more small decisions you make each and every day. From there its about making the deliberate effort to recognise the other options as being options.
Ex. A disgruntled customer is being difficult.
Option A) Be rude, impolite and hostile back
Option B) Recognise this as an opportunity to exercise will power (it’s like a muscle)
This is the typical unrealistic head vs heart debate in real time. All employees know they they shouldn’t be hostile to a customer no matter how much of an asshole they are but “it’s instinctive.” My point is that although it may feel like a natural reaction, that is only because you are conditioned to deal with problems like this through habits built over the course of your life and behavioural mirroring.
The initial expenditure of will power is a massive effort — but it gets easier. It also translates into other parts of your life.
Having an argument with your partner? Instead of continuing and risking damage to the relationship, exercise willpower, listen, discuss feelings and root causes, propose and decide on solutions.
So how is this ‘working for myself?’
A: (still) Mindset
Realising the choices you make everyday as having a real impact — beyond their immediate result — means that you are given the option to genuinely improve on yourself, learn and grow constantly.
Made a sale? Awesome, you did that.
Didn’t make a sale? Still good; opportunity to learn. (Define target customer, work on delivery, be more punctual, be more empathetic to their needs or change up the process)
With this kind of mindset, it’s easy to see how to make the most out of every opportunity and constantly learn without having to wake up at 5am, read a book a week, listen to podcasts on 2x speed, work weekends or give up partying.