Isn’t it just marvelous, being your own boss?
You get to plan your own day, make your own rules, live life on your own terms…
Except, when that own boss is Martin.
In that case it’s no fun at all.
In fact, I’ve been a terrible, terrible boss to myself.
If I would treat an employee the way I treat myself, I’d probably get sued.
Piling one task after another onto my plate.
Setting massive goals, and several at a time.
Forcing myself to multi task, when I know full well that multitasking is a recipe for frustration and failure.
Talking myself down when I don’t meet the utterly unreasonable expectations I create.
Honestly, boss-me has been a total tyrant to worker-me.
So this week, I fired boss-me.
Worker-me is now completely free, and I tell you:
It’s a total gamechanger.
There’s a lesson in this for you, but first let me tell you what happened.
You might remember that last December, I made a very specific planning for this year, with actions, milestones, big goals and pretty ambitious projects.
But because of circumstances beyond my control, my plan fell to pieces right before the new year started.
And since then, I’ve been trying rather frantically to get back on track.
But because I had so many goals to work towards, all I achieved was creating more backlog as I went along.
Now, if you know me, you know that I’m a fan of resilience, grit, and getting stuff done no matter what.
So that’s what I applied, but in the last few weeks, it began to wear on me.
Slowly I started to enjoy my work less, then I started to lose focus, next I lost productivity, and finally I ended up not liking where I’m at.
Until last Monday, a few friends heard my plight, and said:
“What you need is time off, Martin. Take a step back, drop any work that’s not must-do, and figure out what’s the ONE thing that you really have to do in order to make progress”.
It struck me like a ton of bricks.
Such good advice.
So that very instance, I fired myself from everything but the very essential.
I cancelled all goals.
Publishing books, publishing interviews, launching an interview site, all the other things boss-me had put on my plate:
Everything moved to ‘unslated and for later consideration’.
All goals cancelled.
I even abolished all my powerful good habits, except for daily meditation and a daily email.
But even that daily email is currently not the first thing in my day.
Broken the rules, the flow (which wasn’t flowing anyway) and the habits.
Wow. So simple, and so powerful.
The effect has been nothing short of magical and miraculous.
The very next day I was no longer tired, no longer unfocused.
I reveled in the freedom of not having any ‘gotta do this thing and that thing’.
Pottered about the house, talked to friends, made some things in my workshop, went for walks to think and to listen to podcasts, caught up on reading.
It’s now day three of no boss (and good riddance to him, stupid bossy bugger), and this morning I was back to my normal, happy, energetic and motivated self.
In fact, I was positively buzzing with adrenaline.
And in those last three days, I’ve become very clear on what really matters.
Hint: it’s people. You guys.
People and serving people is what matters most.
But because I was making life a misery for myself, I sabotaged my ability to serve truly and properly.
I’m still in the freedom phase, but it’ll end in a few days.
Come Monday, I’ll probably be back to normal work routines.
I’ve already figured out what’s the one thing I need to do.
All that’s left is deciding on exactly how to do it.
And once I do, I’ll work on that one thing and one thing only.
Only once I’ve got that thing on the tracks and moving forward will I start on the next goal.
No more multi-goal multi-tasking for Martin.
So is that the lesson for today?
To fire yourself?
To take time off?
No, because I don’t know your situation and I don’t want to give you advice that’s not right for you in your circumstance.
The lesson is very simple, and it’s this:
Be nice to yourself.
Maybe you already are, but there’s a good chance your driving that camel too hard and it’ll die before you reach the oasis.
If you’re your own boss, be a good, compassionate, magnanimous boss.
You’ll get a LOT more results from the worker-you, I assure you.
Scared, nervous, not sure if it’s ok to loosen the reigns a bit?
Not sure how to break out of the self-flogging so many of us do?
Talking to a coach might help.
Let me know if you want some of that.