So Many Ways To Screw It Up
My wife avoids sending me to the grocery store. I’m fantastic at buying the wrong thing. If there weren’t so many choices, I wouldn’t make so many mistakes. I feel the same way about grocery shopping as I do a new year. There are too many choices.
All The Opposing Questions
Here are the opposing questions fighting each other in my head today.
Should I build something new?
Should I revisit the projects I’ve already created to make them better?
Should I travel to more conferences for the purpose of making more connections to grow my business?
Schedule or No Schedule?
How can I better plan my day? Because I struggle to know where to put my time when I have no boss.
How can I be productive, but still leave time in my life for spontaneity, service and whimsy? That is a big reason I chose self-employment in the first place.
Personal or Technical?
Do I write about the realities of marriage, sharing personal and emotional support with others?
Do I write about technology tips, tools and guides that will simplify life, but totally lack emotional impact?
Local or Global?
Do I volunteer more at church? Because I want to be more connected to my local community.
Do I spend more time launching a podcast that could have a global impact?
What I Do Know 2016
My goal is to not hate goals.
The reality of life is more helpful than the perceptions we carry. The reality of self employment is far different than your perception of it. These three truths aren’t meant to discourage you. Expectations are important. Realistic expectations are vital.
Here are three realities of self employment, and specifically of being a solopreneur.
1. You Create Your Own Momentum
There’s no one telling you when to start. There’s no one telling you that you have to finish.
It sounds like freedom if you’re tired of unrealistic expectations but the lack of designated start and finish lines creates inefficiency.
Deadlines help us move forward. Deadlines create urgency. They are imperative to finishing. When you’re self employed it’s up to you, the start and the finish.
2. You’re Lonely By Default
If you want community you’ll need to go find it. Chatty workplace aren’t always inefficient. Talking shop keeps us sharp. Community gives us a sense of belonging. That doesn’t happen in your home office or at the coffee shop while you wear your headphones.
Community is constructed and nothing is built well without intention, so build community.
Community is constructed and nothing is built well without intention, so build community. https://t.co/mxQZAOafVj
— Andy Traub (@AndyTraub) December 7, 2015
3. It’s Difficult By Design
Self employment is difficult for the same reason marriage, weight lifting, childbirth, paying your taxes on time, and eating lots of veggies are difficult. Things that are worth it are difficult. There is no gain without work, not if what you’re working for is worth something.
A great marriage is work, it’s worth it. Paying your taxes on time takes discipline, is worth it. Self employment isn’t always difficult but when it’s not difficult it’s because you’ve already worked hard to get to where you are.
Romance + Reality
Romance is vital in relationships and if you’re courting the idea of self employment then you deserve to be realistic. Romance puts you close to an idea, hard work helps your idea reach its potential.
Self employment has tremendous benefits. Taking a job is virtually impossible for me to consider. The reality of self employment is still very different than the perception. Proceed, but proceed with realistic expectations.
This may not have been much fun to read but it’s the truth. The truth brings freedom, even when the truth hurts.
— Andy Traub (@AndyTraub) December 7, 2015
The key to life is not ability, it’s belief. Nothing is more important than belief, nothing.
Action matters of course but how often do we act without believing first? Everything great begins with belief.
- If you’re in sales and don’t believe in your product customers can tell. You’ll sell less.
- If your child doesn’t believe they’re good at math, spelling or ballet, they won’t be.
- If you think you’ll never live in a different place, you won’t.
- If you think you’re undeserving of love then you’ll never feel loved.
- If you’re convinced the world is out to get you then it will be.
- If you believe your marriage will thrive it has a chance to thrive.
- If you believe you can make more money you will think of ways to do it.
What You Should Believe In
Is there going to be an open parking spot? Is the sermon going to be good this week? Are you going to do a good job at work today? Is driving to work going to be enjoyable?
When we make the assumption that things are going to be good we are setting ourselves up for joy, not failure. I’d rather my children expect Christmas morning to be great and then have their hopes fulfilled than to have them expect it to be horrible. We know people who expect the worst, they don’t enjoy the life they’re given. We can believe our circumstances will benefit us for no other reason than life is better when we expect a good outcome.
People know when we believe in them. If you vocalize this belief it’s even more powerful. You spend a lot of time at work around people who share the same goals as you. Do you believe in them? Do they know you believe in them? Their performance and their attitude while they’re working will drastically change when they know you believe in them.
What if they’re not worth believing in? That’s a fair question but it’s irrelevant. If they’re not capable that will come to light no matter what. If they are capable your belief will increase their performance and their perception of themselves. Belief is an injection of hope and you can dispense as much of it as you want.
The most dangerous emotional state in marriage is not anger, it’s indifference. When you believe the best of your spouse you won’t see them slighting you at every turn. You’ll assume the best. If you believe your marriage has great potential then it has great potential. If you believe neither of you are capable of changing, then you’re probably right.
This isn’t about lying to yourself about the current state of your relationship, it’s about believing that the present is an opportunity to grow when the present is a trial.
Other than your belief in yourself your belief in your spouse has the greatest effect on your life.
- It is a fulfillment of your vows
- It will deeply change their identity
- It will make them a better parent
- It will make your marriage more enjoyable
- It will enable both of you to withstand difficult times
- It increases the chance your spouse will also communicate believe in you
Let’s not the most important person in your life, you! It’s true, you are the most important person in your life. We risk being selfish in this moment so let me clarify what I mean when I say you should have belief in yourself.
- Believe you need help. This means I shouldn’t go through life alone.
- Believe you can’t earn everything. Accepting the gift of another person’s love, be it your spouse, a friend or God, is something that only happens when we believe we can’t earn that love.
- Believe you’ll never get it right. Perfection is not your goal, your potential is. Perfection is a distraction from creating not a reasonable goal.
- Believe you’ve got your own race to run. Comparison is a fast track to discouragement. You must run our own race and escape the trap that comparison creates. Your goal is your potential, not the abilities or achievements of others.
What To Do If You Struggle With Belief
Consume more belief
Saturday Night Live made this a funny skit but affirmations matter. You need to hear positive messages of belief. Books and blogs like this one are a great place to start.
Surround yourself with belief
If you’re constantly struggling with belief your best friends and coworkers probably are too. We are who we spend our time with. Find people who inject belief in your life and if you can’t find any it’s better to be alone with a positive book then together with a negative person.
You want clarity in your relationships at home. Resolving conflict in the workplace is equally important. You’re avoiding the very thing that will bring clarity and get rid of the lingering conflict once and for all.
Conflict brings clarity.(highlight to tweet)
Conflict is neither good nor bad, it’s just part of getting clarity. When conflict is done well the outcome is clarity. When it isn’t done well it causes even more confusion, hurt and anger.
Three Aspects of Healthy Conflict
1. Honest – Don’t say “It’s not a big deal” when confronting someone. Tell them that you’re hurt, confused or angry and give specific examples.
2. Direct – Don’t talk to someone else about a conflict, talk to the person you have the conflict with. This is the step people get wrong the most.
3. Mature – Planning ahead will allow you to stay calm and discuss the issues instead of just the feelings from the issues. Mature people seek a solution. Immature people seek to get even. Seek a solution over your own feelings of vindication.
Watch the video below to learn how to gain clarity at home and learn the key to resolving conflict in the workplace. Click here if you can’t see the video below.
Worrying about work, or the inability to stop working when we should be investing in our family isn’t because we’re selfish, it’s because we lack faith.
If you and I really believed that God would provide for us then we could work hard and then stop. But we don’t work hard and then stop. We work hard and then work some more and then work a little bit more. Then we check our email one more time before going to bed. You get the point.
Our boundaries between work and family are lousy. (highlight to tweet)
The reason you worry is normal. It’s human. I struggle with it even though I know it too.
How to stop worrying about work
Either God cares about you or He doesn’t. Either He will provide for you or He won’t. That’s His job. Our job is to work diligently and then when we’re done working to work hard on being present with our family.
- Stop working at a specific time every day, no matter what
- Leave your phone in the car when you go out with your family
- Make your bedroom an email free zone
- Schedule time with your spouse and your kids just like you do appointments with co-workers
- Ask God to give you great effectiveness at work
- Thank God for His provision
- Repent of not being grateful and for not having faith that He will provide
None of this is that complicated. I’m encouraging you to let God be God and you be you. You’re the parent. You’re the spouse. You’ve got your job with your family and your job with your employer. Do them both well but do them both separately and with intentionality.