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Wellbeing / Working alone

Working for yourself: Balancing freedom and discipline

A strong sense of freedom is undoubtedly one of the key appeals of working for yourself, and discipline helps us keep it all together.

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Just yesterday I took a couple of hours off in the morning to cook for a dinner party (cooking is such great therapy for me, love it!).

I can’t really imagine explaining that to a boss, “Hey boss, would it be okay if I came into work at lunch time today? I want to fluff around at home cooking lasagna for a dinner party I’m having tonight.” I think I would be forced into flying solo quick smart if you know what I mean.

Freedom however, can be also become your downfall unless it is balanced with some discipline. Freedom requires a framework to contain it.

Take the caged bird metaphor. A bird sits in its cage wishing the bars were not there so it could fly and be free like the birds on the outside.

Then one day the cage door is left open and the bird has its chance of freedom. Out it flies, free at last. The first thing our friend notices is flying further than one side of the cage to the other is hard work. The bird’s fitness is low and so flying makes our bird exhausted pretty quickly. Then it starts to get hungry and realises it doesn’t know where to find food, except in the cage. Then another bird swoops on it and our bird realises it doesn’t know how to protect itself.

"Having the freedom of working for yourself is a wonderful thing, provided you have the discipline to place the framework and parameters around it."

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“Geewiz” the bird thinks to itself, “This freedom business is much harder in reality than I ever dreamt of! Maybe I should head back to the cage and reconsider it all.”

Sound familiar? Having the freedom of working for yourself is a wonderful thing, provided you have the discipline to place the framework and parameters around it.

Consider taking a look at your business and the areas that could do with some improvement. Is there a lack of discipline present in these areas? Maybe not enough discipline in managing your time, or your workload, or your ability to say no or yes, or the discipline to do the tasks you don’t particularly enjoy.

How is your balance between freedom and discipline?

John Raymond

is a coach and trainer who helps people manage people. His aim is that his work will help you to love your work and those important people around you will love the way you work too.

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