Autonomy, purpose and mastery are crucial to your business. Here’s why…

Building your own business takes hard work, perseverance and self-motivation. In this video (and the article below) learn about the power of autonomy, purpose and mastery. Highlights:

  • An overview of autonomy, purpose and mastery and how they motivate us
  • The downside of having too much of a good thing
  • What to do to make it work for you

In Dan Pink’s book Drive, we learn that autonomy, purpose and mastery are the things that – once we are earning “enough” money – truly motivate us to perform.

Autonomy – is a sense of control. It’s the ability to decide what you do and how you do it. Micromanagement, a common complaint, is lack of autonomy.

Purpose – is a sense of meaning in your work. The feeling that what you’re doing matters. Meaningless work (TPS reports!) point to a lack of purpose.

Mastery – meets our human need to grow, develop and learn. Feeling bored with your work, not learning new skills, not being challenged enough – means the need for mastery isn’t being met.

Simply put, if we get enough of these things in our work, we will be productive and happy.

Self-employed? We get Autonomy, Purpose and Mastery in a big way

Each “hat” we wear in our business comes with an opportunity for mastery.

The good news is that as a self-employed person, we get turn up the volume to 11 on these things.

As your own boss, you have all of the autonomy in the world.

You choose what to do, when to do it, where to do it, how to do it and who to do it with.

Autonomy is what compels a lot of us to start our own businesses: we simply don’t want other people telling us what to do!

With this freedom, you can create a business that lines up with your purpose.

You can use your life energy to do meaningful work.

As for mastery…self-employment is the biggest, baddest, most intense personal and professional development program you could ever take!

In addition to providing the service you offer, you also need to take on all of the roles in your little company: being the boss, sales & marketing, customer service, administration – some of which you’ll be familiar with, others you’ll have to learn.

And that’s just the business side!

Then there’s the personal development part: overcoming fear and uncertainty, putting yourself out there and becoming visible, developing habits and making yourself do what needs to be done.

Too much of a good thing

Like most good things, having too much often becomes a problem.

I could pick this thing up and talk to people. Instead…I’m going to tweet stuff and wait for it to ring.

Too much autonomy can lead to choosing being comfortable over doing what really needs doing

There’s no boss micro-managing you – at the same time, there’s no boss telling you what to do at a higher level either.

You need to define your own jobs, make your own plans, execute all of the things and take action on a daily basis.

You may be able to the straight line between where you are and what you want – and choose to take a meandering path instead – in order to stay in your comfort zone.

For Obligers, especially, too much autonomy without accountability can mean that the important things don’t get done.

Too much purpose can lead to wanting to help everyone

A good mission is bigger than you are. It’s more than you can accomplish alone.

This can feel overwhelming: so many people to help, so much to do.

I ran into this problem myself a couple of years ago – seeing additional ways my clients needed help – and getting caught in the trap that I must be the one to provide it – instead of narrowing my focus to what I’m good at.

If you’re a Questioner, lack of clarity around your purpose can leave you feeling adrift and lost.

With this new contraption I can download the entire internet into my head. Then I can start working on my business!

Too much mastery can lead to endless procrastination while you “learn everything before you start”

Marketing towards small business owners is relentless. There’s always something else to learn – and a tempting free webinar to help you learn it.

Alternately, some people continue to seek mastery in their own line of work, rather than learning the business skills they need.

They take yet another coaching program, yet another wellness certification or modality – while conveniently avoiding learning things like sales and marketing.

Want to avoid getting swept away by too much autonomy, purpose and mastery? Create a plan, get started and stick to it.

Create a strategic plan

I’ll use my autonomy to create a plan to achieve my purpose and master what I need to learn!

Step back, look at the big picture and create an overall strategy and plan for your business.

Figure out who you’re here to serve, what services you’ll offer, how much you’ll charge and how you’ll go about attracting new clients.

Set some goals and measurements.

Break your projects into tasks and put everything into a calendar.

With that in place, you can:

  • Use your autonomy to decide what you’re going to do and to get it done.
  • Turn your desire for mastery towards the skills you need to develop.
  • Use your sense of purpose to give you the energy to do the hard work. When you’re clear about your purpose, you can access the energy and enthusiasm you’ll need to meet the challenges of being in business for yourself.

In this way, you’ll be using the power of autonomy, mastery and purpose to drive yourself towards success.