Often, new clients come to coaching because they feel trapped in their jobs. Trapped by money, loyalty guilt and quite often, fear of the unknowns of a new job. They hate Monday mornings, resent management decisions and often feel quite stressed out.
There is actually a cure for this misery!
And you don’t even have to quit your job to experience this cure. Certainly, that is one option, but unless you take a spoonful of the cure I’m about to offer, you are likely to transfer your “trapped woe” right over to the next job. So, whether you stay or go, I highly recommend this amazing cure.
Here it is… are you ready? The cure is… adopt the mindset of someone who is self employed.
Now, I can already hear your protests: “But I’m not self-employed, I work for the man!” Or, “I have no idea how to just up and change my mindset.”
I’m not saying it’s easy-peasy, but it is absolutely possible. I did this back when I worked in the corporate world, before I became literally self-employed. The circumstances of my job did not change, but my reaction to it and my enjoyment of work and life shifted monumentally. Once I freed myself – mentally – from what had previously felt like a trapped situation, voila, I was no longer trapped!
A client made this shift about a year ago. He was unhappy at work, but the logistics kept him from quitting outright. He took a stab at viewing his job differently. And it worked. He began viewing this job as a stepping stone to the next job. From this new mental perspective, he wasn’t trapped in this job, he was just on a bridge to the next career move (still undefined). He essentially relaxed his grip on the job, held it a little more loosely. The cool part was that over time, his new mindset resulted in less stress and a more positive attitude toward his company, colleagues and the work itself. And guess what? That new attitude showed up in his demeanor, ability to work with his team, and even his creativity. He is still working there today, is well respected and even escaped two rounds of layoffs. He is still keeping his eye out for the next move – but in the meantime, he is enjoying his work (which spills into other areas of his life) and the company is getting a better worker with the deal. What’s not to like?
Try it right now – try on the idea that you are self-employed and your big client happens to be the company you now work for. As a “free agent,” you are choosing to continue working with this particular client (your company), you are not dependent on them – rather, you are agreeing to a collaborative relationship with them: You provide an agreed-upon level of skill, productivity and creative energy in exchange for your “consulting” fee (a.k.a. your salary). You want to preserve your good reputation in the marketplace, so you do your best possible job and provide great customer service.
Remember, you do this silently, within your own mind – don’t go telling your boss what you are up to! But if you can make this mindset shift, and really be consistent with it, your working experience will improve. (Note: If you work in a truly abusive situation, that is another story.)
Here are some differences in the employee vs. the self-employed mindsets:
“I’m an employee of this company.”
- I’m loyal to the company and expect the company to be loyal to me – we are like family.
- My fate is in the hands of my company’s management. Closed door meetings scare me!
- I’ve earned a certain amount of seniority, so I am more secure here. Or, the opposite: because I am a senior staff member, paid a higher salary than others, I’m at risk for being laid off.
- I’m a dedicated “company man/woman,” my self-identity is linked to this company.
- I used to share my good ideas, but I grew tired of getting shot down. Creativity means more work, dealing with politics and bureaucracy.
- I am financially dependent on this job. If I lose it, I’m sunk.
“I am self-employed and have one big client (the current employer).”
- I care about and am very committed to my client – the company, the people, the mission. But I am not attached.
- I do great work and serve this client at my highest level of ability, until I move onto the next gig.
- My own professional and personal reputation is my most important asset. I do everything I can to preserve my good standing – including working well with my team, communicating clearly and directly, treating my client (company) with great respect, even if I don’t agree with the way they handle things.
- I’m always looking out for the next client (new job), and may even have a side gig (for example, a hobby you convert into revenue activity)
- My marketing materials (resumé, LinkedIn profile, etc.) are strong and I keep a close eye on the marketplace (job market), following hot prospects and keeping my options open for a potential new client (new job).
- I take creative risks because I am more passionate about my work than I am about the company.
Even if I disagree with management’s approach, I feel proud of my accomplishments and know that I’m truly doing my best work.
- I eagerly seek out any training or coaching that will help me, as an individual, improve. I don’t expect my client (company) to pay for this, but if they do, I appreciate the gift.
- I expect the client (company) to uphold their end of the contract we have – to provide me an agreed-upon salary and benefits in exchange for the agreed-upon amount of labor. I do not expect more than that, but am appreciative of extras.
Trying on a new perspective is like inserting a new lens in your glasses – you are looking at the same images, but they appear slightly different through different filters. Give it a try and let me know how it goes!