Being Your Own Boss: How to Keep Yourself Accountable

Running a business can be extremely inspiring, exciting, and rewarding. It can also be incredibly difficult, overwhelming, and stressful. Being an entrepreneur and innovator, who is both creator and manager, means you must be prepared to handle a multitude of things that come your way. 

One of the biggest challenges of navigating your own company is managing yourself. When there’s no one to report to, no one watching over your progress, self-discipline becomes a major component of success. How can business owners best embrace that self-discipline, and keep themselves accountable for their progress and growth? They have to become their own coach. Through self-awareness, defining commitment, and recognizing your personal responsibility in every decision made and action taken, you can hold yourself to a high standard and outperform your own expectations. 

Define Your “Why?”

Preparing for any decision, action, or commitment should start with recognizing why it needs to happen. Why did you start this business? Why are you following this career path? By defining what is motivating you or driving your progress forward, every decision will carry more weight and direction. With meaning and intention supporting your actions, you can see things more clearly, are more prepared to analyze effectively, and will uphold higher levels of consistency. 

Regulate Your Emotions

Holding yourself accountable requires self-awareness and understanding. It’ll be helpful to be able to recognize how you are feeling and how those emotions and thoughts are impacting you. This is necessary at all stages of the decision making process, it carries into the actions that play out, and is evident in evaluating any progress made. 

Understanding your current headspace and embracing a positive mindset are two keys to success. The right mindset built on accountability will impact the standards you hold yourself to and should embrace a balance of recognizing how far you have come, and preparing yourself for how much farther you need to go. 

Specific actions you can take to check in with yourself include journaling. As your own boss, there are not always people you can readily turn to discuss your emotions and thought processes with. Journaling is a great way to dump all those feelings and thoughts as you process, understand, and use them to your advantage. 

As you navigate getting to know yourself better, consider counseling. Personalized online counseling specifically is a flexible and convenient way to establish a trusted resource in your life that can improve your understanding of yourself, your relationships, and your progress towards your goals. Psychologist and writer Ryan Howes, Ph.D. says, “The benefits of therapy extend far beyond periods of crisis. Many people [...] wonder what they can do to be the happiest, most productive, most loving version of themselves. Because achieving your full potential requires a heck of a lot of self-knowledge, self-control, and—let’s be honest—hard work.” Much like being an entrepreneur, you’re taking the opportunity to invest in yourself. Whether it’s short or long term, with open-ended or more definitive objectives, this can be a beneficial means of growth and exploration.

Set Goals Early On

When it comes time to put in the work, be sure to act off of a plan. Defining specific business goals both short-term and long-term are going to be helpful in keeping you on track. 

Begin with the long-term goal(s) of what you are looking to achieve at this point. Then, break down that long-term goal into short-term goals that serve as stepping stones down your path to success. The more specific each goal is, the easier it will be to identify action items that will allow you to achieve them. 

Action items and deadlines are two important tools that will keep you accountable and ensure you are spending your efforts in the right place. It’s one thing to dream about where you want to be, it’s another to set it into motion. The right plan will allow you to do both of those things. Giving yourself a deadline to adhere to combat time-wasters like overthinking or procrastinating. Make sure your deadlines are concrete while also being realistic.

Avoid Multitasking and Other Distractions

As a business owner, you have to take on numerous roles and responsibilities. If you find yourself getting caught up in all the tasks you have to accomplish, break it down in a way that allows you to focus your energy on one thing at a time. Multitasking is not as productive as it seems, it can lead to delayed progress, overwhelm, and burnout. This is especially true in today’s hybrid work environment, where remote work leads to additional unforeseen distractions. 

Practicing mindfulness is a way to help combat the temptations that either provoke procrastination, or incur the feeling that it is necessary to take on more than one task at a time. Mindfulness is the practice of focusing your energy and attention on one particular matter at a time. It’s about being fully present in the moment and not letting other outside distractions or thoughts interfere. Being mindful of a task and following it through to the end is a way to stay on top of your commitments and maintain your set standards. 

Sometimes a change of scenery is a great way to reset your focus. Allotting yourself a specific amount of time to work in a different space can push you to hone in on your necessary tasks. Whether it’s switching between a home office, a company office, coffee shop, or a coworking space; you’ll find this is a way to accomplish more in one sitting, taking on a refreshed setting. 

Reward and Validate Your Progress

To continuously keep yourself accountable and keep on track, offer yourself positive reinforcement regularly. As you accomplish each task, project, or goal, it’ll be helpful to take the time to reward yourself for what you’ve done. This self-validation is gratifying, exciting, and motivating for the future. As an entrepreneur, there are not always outside voices that can offer this sense of fulfillment and instill pride in your work. In order to maintain consistency in your progress, it has to come from within. Simple positive affirmations, that reflect on both your work and yourself as a whole, are a great way to boost your confidence, self-esteem, and drive for the long haul.

Recognize Your Weaknesses

When it comes to self awareness, recognizing both the positive and negative is key to becoming your best self. As a boss, you have to be able to give both positive and negative feedback. The same must be done to yourself. When things have gone well, they should be rewarded and celebrated. But failure drives success, so when things do not turn out as planned it’s important to look at them with a constructively critical eye that will encourage growth and improvement. If you can recognize your weaknesses, the things that prevent you from achieving your goals, then you are setting yourself on the path to improvement by taking the first step in positive change. The most critical thing is to take action to counteract. Without an action plan this negative feedback is not constructive or beneficial, but allowing yourself to change is well intentioned and can lead to a positive outcome. 

Self Evaluate and Make Adjustments When Needed

At the end of the day, growth and progress are a continuous cycle. That’s why it’s so important to constantly evaluate how far you’ve come in comparison to the goals you’ve set. Taking time to look at what you’ve accomplished or did not yet get to, will help you to uncover trends in your behavior, internal and external hurdles to your success, or effective tools to adopt regularly. This could be once every week, every two weeks, or whatever regular interval works best for you, as long as you set aside the time to evaluate where you are standing and how much further you have to go. 

Being your own boss comes with its own challenges. What can you do to be the best employee for yourself? Holding yourself accountable takes a significant level of responsibility, coupled with self-awareness. Looking introspectively is the first step to taking charge of your account. From there it’s about being methodical, and constantly evaluating your performance. With the help of trusted resources, and a plan in place, you can reach your full potential.

Author:

@Mark Rosario

Date:

11-04-2021

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