Roman Malanke

One’s Most Demanding Boss

We live in an ever more dynamic world where constant personal and professional growth has become a necessary condition to even remain on the same level in life. In order to really “progress”, we should be able to constantly demonstrate steady acceleration of such growth.

Luckily, we are surrounded by all kinds of people who help us grow by pushing us outside of our comfort zones by expecting more from us. Those of us who have jobs also have bosses who want us to become more knowledgeable, more experienced, and more productive every week. People who run their own businesses have exigent customers who every time must be given more for less, otherwise they will simply run to competitors. Even in personal relationships and families, partners and family members expect each other to step up in caring, maturity, and creativity with passing of time. Lastly, even strangers who surround us in big cities want us to think and move faster. Remember the gentle push you received last time you got distracted in a subway or at a checkout line in a grocery store?

With such a slew of demands coming from all around us it’s easy to get discouraged and overwhelmed. There is, however, a very effective preventive measure. I call it “being one’s own most demanding boss”. The idea is that instead of passively navigating through the demands that life throws at us, we should forestall them and consciously set even higher bars for ourselves.

For example, when working on an assignment it’s helpful to imagine the worst and most aggressive possible critics we could give ourselves for it, and try to produce something that could withstand that. That way, even if we are eventually criticized by someone else, we will receive it in a much more constructive way. But there is a very big chance that such attitude in itself will help us achieve much better results and be praised, which will come as a pleasant surprise. If practiced constantly such “self-bossing” approach becomes a second nature and serves as an accelerator for both personal and professional growth.