Working for yourself, being your own boss, can be alluring and liberating. Liberty enamors us, as it should; however, responsibility rests at the opposite end of the same stick, and we must lift that too, regardless of its weight.
Self-responsibility, in particular, is crucial to the success of your personal endeavor. Many people eschew good management. They confuse accountability as nitpicking and fear too much discipline will suffocate their autonomy.
Think for a moment, about the best boss you ever had, or a favorite teacher. What attributes and abilities did they exhibit that you appreciated, maybe even admired? Did you shrink under their leadership, or did you grow? Which of their admirable qualities and skills do you currently possess?
I recommend you reflect on the following questions to gauge how satisfied you are with the leadership you provide to yourself. Assume a purely tactical point of view, citing examples you can measure over time.
*How satisfied are you with …
- Your vision?
- Your mission statement?
- Your current alignment with your values?
- The frequency you use your strengths?
- Your ability to design and use an action plan?
- Your documented code of conduct or set of rules you follow?
- How you organize your time?
- How you decide what is urgent, important, both or neither?
- How you create and meet deadlines?
- The degree to which you grow your confidence?
- The support you receive?
- Your work schedule?
- The quality and frequency of your breaks?
- Your workspace environment?
- How you physically and emotionally feel at the end of your workday?
- Your management of your stress while completing tasks?
- The level of expectations you’ve established for yourself?
- The number of vacation and sick days you allow yourself to take?
- Your ability to limit distractions during your work hours?
- Your incentives, rewards and celebration of accomplishments?
It is highly unlikely you answered every question with a response of very satisfied. If you did, you may be too comfortable and not challenging yourself adequately. On the other hand, if you experienced high dissatisfaction with many of the queries, you have just provided yourself an enormous amount of valuable feedback. Consider which areas to improve first and put your immediate attention there.
Solopreneurs and freelancers thrive in non-traditional settings. That does not exempt them from needing, perhaps more than most, strong self-discipline, and barring that, an effective accountability partner.