3 Major Lessons From the First 161 Days of Girl Bossing
April 11, 2018
When I bid farewell to the corporate world, I must have had the biggest grin on my face.
I was free from the shackles of 9-5 and yes, I took pleasure in the simple things, like whipping up exciting breakfasts, lunches and snacks (for 2.5 years, my Monday to Friday breakfast had not deviated from the muesli and yoghurt concoction), doing a load of washing in the afternoon, not wearing makeup or office appropriate attire, watching Netflix during lunch…
Yep, you get it. It’s got its perks.
Well, there were a number of things I didn’t mentally prepare myself for and it was only once the Girl Bosshoneymoon periodendedthat I was confronted with a few realities.
You need to get out and socialise.
The truth is, working from home can get lonely. Having initially pounced on any opportunity to work from home, I thought the full time version would be bliss.
Why wouldn’t it be? Calling the shots and working in my pyjamas if I wanted to…
While that sounds likethe dream,I quickly discovered that social isolation was a very real issue and not one to be taken lightly.
Deleting at least 8 hours of social banter, five days per week (40 hours) does not come without some consequences.
Accidentally putting myself under house arrest triggered some pretty intense stomach-churning anxiety during social events. I even questioned my ability to hold a conversation, even though this was once a daily occurrence for me.
You could say that I overlooked the social benefits of working in a team environment, big time.
Eventually, I connected the dots and realised that social isolation was the primary cause of my anxiety.
Fortunately, I was able to remedy this by actively scheduling in social catch ups during the week, making small talk with the person at checkout or sales assistants in stores and even acknowledging people down the street.
It’s the accumulative power of all the little interactions that really nourish you and make a difference.
You need to set some rules and boundaries.
Setting your own rules is an empowering responsibility, but it also presents a host of challenges.
After all, there is no one holding you accountable, no one checking that you’ve completed your to-dos, no one imposing deadlines.
It’s all on you.
Once I settled into self-employment mode, I knew that if I didn’t set some boundaries for myself, whatever healthy habits I had would tragically dissipate.
So, in order to remain disciplined and avoid falling down too many digital rabbit holes with all this newfound time up my sleeve (which is very likely in an unsupervised environment), I created a morning ritual and set a few ground rules which I’m constantly adapting:
No work (except posting on Instagram) until I’ve completed my morning ritual.
Plan the week in advance to identify my priority tasks.
Take regular digital-free breaks to reset and stretch.
Plan each day the night before.
No Facebook before midday.
Netflix, only while eating lunch.
Schedule in at least two social catch ups during the week
Talk through my feelings. It’s easy to keep the book closed on your emotions when you’ve been doing it for most of the day, so this is a really important one.
No checking emails between 5pm and 8am. This one is new, but necessary.
You need to give yourself a pat on the back.
Validation from superiors or even team members don’t exactly exist when you’re the boss.
There are no formal performance appraisals or streams of feedback to verify your efforts. Once again, that’s now your responsibility.
As someone who thrives off feedback, it was a difficult transition to make because to be honest, I wanted someone other than my friends and family to tell me that I was on the right track.
I had so many questions pulsing through me.
Am I prioritising the right tasks?
Was that task supposed to take that long?
Am I spending too little time on this task?
Am I doing enough?
Some days, I would feel defeated by my to-do list and those feelings of incompetence would creep in.
Ultimately, I knew deep down whether or not I was doing right by my personal mission, so there was no need to search for external validation.
Although it has been a challenging couple of months navigating this new territory, it has also been the most exciting chapter of self-discovery, with plenty of life lessons learned and plenty more to digest.