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Self Employed

Are You Self Employed?

Brad Burton, the charismatic founder of 4Networking, says that the wonderful thing about being self-employed is that you get to choose exactly which of the eighteen hours per day you work!

Regardless of how many hours you work, take a moment to consider how well your working life meets your innate needs. Most of us work because we have to – we need the money to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. This is another way of saying that we have innate needs for security and nutrition – and if our working life provides these things, then we must be doing something right.

But most self-employed people will, at some point, have felt lonely to some degree. Work which is truly rewarding usually involves interactions with other people. And this is precisely because we need more than just food and shelter – and many of our innate needs are met through connecting with people. 

And Are You Sane?

Spending too much time in front of a computer screen can send you stir-crazy. I know because many years ago I used to write computer programs for a living. When you start looking at life from the perspective of innate needs, you soon realise that the benefits of going to work are more than just security and food. When you spend too much time without your need for attention being met, you start to feel stressed. It feels different to feeling hungry, but it is essentially the same mechanism at work. Your emotions alert you to the fact when there is some nourishment missing in your life. And attention is a form of nutrition as real as a burger or salad.

People who enjoy their work generally get many of their needs met at work. These can include their needs for attention, respect or status, for achievment, for meaning and purpose.

One of the difficulties of being self-employed is getting these innate needs met when you spend much of your time on your own. Here at in8, we define stress as your natural response to a situation in which one or more of your innate needs is not met. And it is relevant to note that a precursor to all mental dis-ease is stress – i.e. needs not met.

Of course, two of the innate needs which are often easily met through being your own boss are the innate needs for control and for privacy. The real problem is the balancing act involved in getting all of your innate needs met in balance.

Things that help

To stay sane, we need to minimise our stress levels, and this can only be achieved by finding ways to get our innate needs met in balance. For this reason, if a large part of your work is of a solitary nature, make sure that you also take time to network with other people. And if possible, do it by meeting up in person rather than through LinkedIn, blogging, Facebook, Twitter or other virtual means. Business breakfast formats such those provided by 4Networking, BNI and many others can provide this. But getting out and about to sell your products or services in any way will help.

Remember that you don’t need to get all your needs met through the same job or activity – sometimes it is far easier to get your need for community met at the pub, social club, gym, church or in family get togethers than through your work. All that matters is that you get those needs met.

If you want to know more about the needs model, have a look at our “in8 Cards” resource pack. Or call us to find out how we can help improve your life and your well-being. If you are close to our base in Trowbridge, come and meet us to discuss how we can help.