Are you in charge of your own happiness?

For me, the Easter break is over a few hours earlier this year.

This evening, I am packing before leaving tomorrow on a ten-day, two-city trip delivering leadership training for a client in Pacific Asia. I am no stranger to business travel but, up until now, almost all of it has been while working for someone else.  The flights remain as long as ever, the security screening is  still a chore and the jet lag just as tiring, but there is difference is now. I am doing it for me and my business – and it feels great!

Last week, I read about a study conducted by the Universities of Exeter and Sheffield, which found that self-employed workers in the UK, the US, Australia and New Zealand are among the happiest. Despite often working longer hours and the perceived lack of employment security, the study found that, thanks to the greater freedom and control they have over their work lives, self-employed people across a broad range of sectors are more engaged and happier at work than those employed by others.

Autonomy seems to be the key factor. When self-employed, we have the freedom to pivot quickly to meet an opportunity, share our expertise to become a trusted advisor and innovate to partner for change or compete with others. Such autonomy and flexibility help to keep engagement and energies high, even when obstacles are encountered and problems arise.

Much of the satisfaction and fulfilment I get comes from providing high quality effective solutions that deliver added value for the organisation and individual employees as well. For me, the trade-off between the risk, long hours and the ups & downs of flying solo are more than worthwhile in terms of the gains in personal wellbeing and improved work/life balance.

As the world of work moves away from traditional salaried roles ands towards project and contract roles of the ‘gig’ economy, do you have a preference for a salaried role or do you dream of being your own boss? I’d be keen to hear your thoughts so please leave a comment, post a reply on Facebook or drop me a line with your thoughts.

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