When you start your own business, you often hear about the perk of choosing your own hours. What’s left out is that you end up choosing to work all of them (not me currently writing a blog because I can’t sleep at 11.01pm on a Friday night). It quickly becomes clear that in self-employment, the most demanding boss you’ll ever face is likely yourself.

No matter whether you work for yourself or someone else, you are always your own manager. You oversee your career, your daily routine, and how you react to challenges. You’re in charge of marketing your skills, continuing your education, and even the way you talk to yourself. Unfortunately, many of us (including myself) don’t manage ourselves very well.

If you had a manager who criticised you as much as you criticised yourself, you wouldn’t stick around. If you had a boss who wasted your time like you sometimes waste your own, they wouldn’t last long. If a company neglects its employees’ growth as much as you might neglect your own development, it would likely fail.

14 years in, and it’s not really surprising to me anymore how often people set themselves up for failure when they venture out on their own or take on jobs that require them to be self-starters. Given the chance to excel, we hesitate, procrastinate, and stall.

We’re often confronted when we come across someone who is self-driven, who manages to work remotely while travelling to Japan or the south of France, or those who spends their evenings and weekends gaining another qualification or starting a profitable side venture. And when we meet someone who has managed to find happiness through their own efforts, it seems extraordinary, almost as if it shouldn’t be so rare.

We envy the result, not the journey it took someone to get there.

Remind yourself. You’re actually doing the best you can.

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