My Horrible Boss
...the self - employed struggle.
4 tips to getting along with your boss - when it's you.
Love what you do but can't seem to find balance with your boss?
At one point or another you will find yourself challenged by your 'boss'. It can be difficult to get along with this individual. Especially if you want to get ahead in your career, your boss can set the tone for your future and you want to make a good impression, right?
Establishing this healthy relationship is important in any work environment, but what do you do when you're your own boss?
Discovering what you are passionate about and making a career out of it, is one of the most magical experiences you'll ever live.
Being our own leader, answering to our own aspirations, creating you for you, this is something so many of us dream of. More often than not, these dreams do come true, but I would be lying if I ignored the hardships that come with answering to your own beck and call.
The sky is the limit. And when it rains, it pours...
So come the days where I am my own worst enemy, my own horrible boss. Weeks have passed, the 'to do list' blandly ignored, feeling over worked and exhausted. Saying to myself 'this isn't working; I need to break up with my boss'. I need a vacation from myself.The thing about being your own boss is that you hold all cards. There are boundaries that will need to be established, and can only established by you.
So what do you do when you're feeling challenged?
What do you do when you're feeling like you can't keep afloat. You can't keep up, and you really need to break it off with the boss.
1. Quit Your Self Employed Day Job
A new rule for my self employed self. At least twice a week I will not work. No matter the excessive amount of emails, phone calls, growing 'to do' lists, hoozits and whatifs; two out of the seven day work week I promise to quit my self employed job. Work can wait. On your days off schedule a play day, spend time outdoors; discover new hobbies (that are not work related!).
If you're anything like me, turning off your cell phone and laptop can make a huge difference for your scheduled personal time and relationships.
Overworking yourself in your day to day will show. Your body will fight back, and there is no Instagram filter on your own reality. Quit your job, you're the boss.
In this time spent away from work I find myself refreshed, I find myself inspired to try new things (maybe something I am not super great at - like juggling hats!). I find my walls come down and I allow myself to learn new things vulnerably.
As self employed artists we may feel the tendency to inspire those around us by representing positive ideologies and being a good role model. A good face makes for a good product. With our Instagram and Facebook accounts filtered through Photoshop and the backspace key, it is certainly easier to pretend we know what we are doing more than ever. You literally have the opportunity to create an online persona at the tips of your fingers. And for some of us, that filter can be dangerous and addicting. Unlike my social media account my life is less than glamorous and that's human of me.
It took years of practice to make my shows look flawlessly performed on stage, by no means does that mean I am perfect. The time I spend away from perfecting my work, the time I spend with my image turned off, is time spent reconnecting with authentic me. The gal who can't juggle hats, who can't shoulder hoop to save her life, and is as much a student as she is a teacher. She is as much a participant as she is a performer.
Take time away from being the very best, and just be you. That's pretty damn spectacular already.
2. Take a Vacation/ plan a retreat
You work hard, you know your brand, and you love your work. So take a vacation, one that preferably lasts longer than your scheduled two days off.
The great news, work related retreats and vacations are a must for the self employed entrepreneur. We are social butterflies, and time spent in nature is always good for our hearts and soul! Work vacations help you find more people like you, building lifelong friendships (and business partnerships too!). This is the family that can and will support you on your business adventures, invest in the lifestyle that is your creative field.
As a self employed rock star with all this free time on your hands, take time to listen to podcasts during your travels, watch YouTube videos (but not too many!), and be inspired by what the artists around you are saying.
Work vacations are also a great way to network with awesome people and fill your need to socialize while still focusing on the work that needs to get done. Personally, I feel the most inspired at circus retreats or music festivals. I use this space as an excuse to work and have fun at the same time. More often then not I will meet the one person I've been looking for. The perfect biz partner, the superstar co-host that I desire, taking both our business's to the next level.
Not sure if there is a retreat geared towards your community, you'd be surprised what excuses we can make up to take a vacation! A simple Google or Facebook search shows groups connecting over everything, everywhere. Haven't found the support group you're looking for? Create you own! Camp out under the stars with entrepreneurs like yourself and you will see just how much of an impact you are making with your hard work and boss drive! You could even host your own vacation/ retreat and inspire those around you to take action. Include team building exercises, meet and mingle with rock stars, and trust that you deserve to play too! All in all you will be much happier being one with the community, rather than playing as the competition.
We are much stronger in our world, together.
3. Make a Mess
My favorite way to motivate myself in my work is to take whatever projects I have going on, whatever schedule I am committed to, and to make a huge mess of it (in the most professional manner of coarse). I know, it doesn't sound like the most productive work habit. But boy it is ever my life saver!
For those of you that may know me personally you would be familiar with my many 'silly moments' regarding characters the I play. Lifeguard Kate for example is a prime candidate for making a mess of her responsibilities. These characters that I embody are more then just comical bits that I fall back on for fun. They are literally the backbone to staying focused in my work. I hardly prep for these characters (and they came to be entirely by accident) what I do, is give myself this moment to just see what happens, see what I can create, and embrace the mess I make. If creating an alter ego is what I needed to release any frustrations I had previously had with my image, then so be it. If you need to play pretend to let go, that is what we have our imagination for. When I trash the walls of expectations and allow the work to flow freely, it allows me to breath again, authentically... and not by some deadline or by some silly expectations that I have created for myself, as some kind of 'adult'.
So how does one make a mess of their work, in a professional manner? Literally, get messy! During these times of desperation, get creative - do something you've never done before. Be playful in your day, play dress up, play pretend, anything that inspires you to use your imagination. I suggest doing the most silly thing you can think of, right now, and committing to it!
Throw paint at a canvas, take your shoes off and muck up in the mud, reconnect with who you are - without anything holding YOU back. Dress up as a lifeguard and puddle jump with your best bud! Really allow yourself to play with your work, and find comfort that it might not always be perfect. It could get messy.
Put on a ballgown and dance around (indoors or out!) embrace yourself to embarrass yourself! You might just stumble upon a new idea, or let go of any constricting thoughts you had about a previous one.
Find yourself humbled by these moments, and by humbuggin' the journey we may feel more able to learn and create again. We may feel inspired to recreate works we already have, or finish projects we may have been ignoring.
We find a loss of ego/ expectations for being the best and we learn to just be.
Be silly with your work, and always play.
When the boss is happy, you're happy!
Expectations are a pain in the a*$, don't be a pain in the a*$.
So here you are left with this huge mess you've made, and you're not entirely sure what to do with it... at least you made something right? You know the feeling after a bad break up, a lost work contract, or everything you own literally breaks down? You know when this happens all at once, usually within the same crazy 7 day work week?
This moment sucks, and I couldn't love it more.
It's the "OK I don't know what I am doing anymore, and that's okay".
I love this moment. When boundaries are pushed, and the castle walls are build. "This isn't working, and something's gotta give".
You hit the pavement hysterically laughing because you literally have nothing else to give. The good news is that once someone loses everything, they have everything in the world to gain. There is a certain beauty is rebuilding from the ground up. So after making a huge mess of this life you are 'adulting' so very well, you can happily, rebuild. You can include all the things you want, and scrap what you do not. You can include the relationships that serve you well, rebuild with friends and family by taking time to connect with them again, you can rebuild what is your life and what your business will look like, through your eyes by your hands. You reorganize your life, your home, your work. Repaint the dressers, repaint the bedroom walls, cut your hair off, and make a total re-haul of what you want to represent in this world.
You stand taller, speak louder.
The times in which I found myself with nothing left but broken puzzle pieces, are times well cherished. Because I had nothing else, I had to trust in my two hands, they would be enough. I felt I had nothing else to lose, therefor I could face my world, fearlessly.