I won’t lie, working for yourself, and by yourself, really isn’t for everyone.
Self motivation is just the start of the list of tools you’ve got to have in your back pocket to make it work.
Self confidence, self correction, and self promotion are three things that don’t really get talked about much with regards to self employment.
Every single person on the planet suffers from self doubt on a regular basis. Some of us have it more often than others, but we all have it. It’s a natural way to make sure that what you're doing is still the right thing.
I am intimately familiar with my self doubt. In fact, I might even say that it fuels everything I do. When I doubt what I'm doing, it forces me to look critically at what I'm doing, and either find the part of it that makes me deeply passionate about it, like a diamond in a pile of crap; or change course towards what I do feel passionate about.
Yes, my self doubt actually is the source of my self confidence and my self correction. Either I do more of it, or I stop doing it. Go hard or go home.
But no matter how passionate I am about something, there also comes a moment when I have to amplify the volume. And give myself a promotion. Because no one else will.
There have been times when I thought I was done with the work I was doing, only to find that I was just no longer feeling challenged by it, and needed to look for more complicated and fulfilling projects, which also required a higher level of skill. In essence, I gave myself and my business a promotion.
And yes, that also comes with telling the world about what you're doing and how you're doing it differently than the rest.
But there’s one other crucial essential thing that I cannot stress enough about working for yourself:
You need to know what you are adding to the world.
Without colleagues or bosses or employees, without a fixed day to day, it can sometimes become difficult to see how your work is impacting the world around you. How it is useful for the people who will come into contact with it.
And without this knowledge, this faith, this awareness of what your work brings into the world, you will eventually feel a deep, dark pit of dissatisfaction in your gut.
Because as humans, we are designed to cooperate, co-exist, and co-create. We are individual cells that each contribute to the whole organism that is our species, and being disconnected from our greater body can only leave us feeling lost and purposeless, even dead.
So, telling the world about what you're doing isn't just about selling yourself. It's about finding out what role you are playing in the world, so that you can feel fulfilled, connected, and find new energy to keep pushing forward. It can fuel you. Over and over again.
No work exists in a vacuum. No being exists completely alone.
No matter the work you do, you're doing it for everyone, not just yourself. The monk on the mountain meditates to find the truth that will allow us all to become more aware of ourselves. The artist in his studio works to show us the truth that will allow us to become more aware of ourselves. The astronaut in his space shuttle travels away to help us become more aware of ourselves, as a species within a massive system.
So whenever I doubt what I'm working for in this world, I go tell someone what I'm doing. And then someone else, and then another someone else, until I remember once again why I set off on this journey to another planet.
I work the way I do because I believe in a better way of life for us all. Full of love, equity and equanimity.
And sometimes, the best way to reinvent a complex system is to stay out of it and not get absorbed by it.
But it doesn't mean being disconnected. Because connection is the source of life.
Let someone remind you why you’re here, when you forget. I highly recommend it.