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Being your own Boss

Being your own Boss Series: Jocelyn K. Glei

Samantha Lloyd on March 28, 2018
Jocely K. Glei

Being an entrepreneur is incredibly rewarding, but also comes with its challenges. Hover wants to share our interviews with entrepreneurs doing things we love. To start off our new “Being your own Boss” series, we interviewed Jocelyn K. Glei. Jocelyn is a podcaster, author, and business owner who understands the unique challenges of launching yourself off the ground and has stellar advice for anyone looking to do the same. Hover loves to promote entrepreneurs and business owners around the globe, and we are proud sponsors of Jocelyn’s incredible podcast, Hurry Slowly. Delve into Jocelyn’s world and learn how hard work and rewarding yourself pays off in a fulfilling way.

What gets you out of bed every morning and how do you start your day?

When I wake up, I always want to leave the house immediately and feel the day, see what it’s like outside. So I stroll down to my local coffeeshop first thing, and let my brain gently unfurl while staring out the window, reading, or going for a walk in the beautiful park nearby. It’s a slow process of easing into the day.

You coach others on how to find creativity and meaning in their daily work. How do you find it in yours?

There’s a quote I like from the author Clayton Christensen that goes: “Questions are places in your mind where answers fit. If you haven’t asked the question, the answer has nowhere to go. It hits your mind and bounces right off. You have to ask the question — you have to want to know — in order to open up the space for the answer to fit.”

For me finding meaning has to do with constantly questioning and reframing my work. Asking questions like:

1. Is the way that I’m spending my time aligned with my goals?

2. How much time am I spending on maintaining existing projects versus building new things?

3. What feels like a project that would be a little scary to take on? That would require some stretching of my current skills?

How have you prevented burnout in the tough position of running your own business?

By burning out before I started my own business and learning my lesson! Burnout is quite hard to detect, and you often can’t really recognize it when you’re in it. But since I’ve been there I’m a little more attuned to the signs for myself now.

Stress isn’t necessarily bad for your health. It’s only bad if you think it’s bad. That is, if you feel like the stress is having a negative impact on you. So it’s important to be aware of whether you’re engaged and excited about the challenges you’re taking on, or they just feel like a drag. If it’s the latter, then you’re probably going to be on a path to burnout.

So I’m constantly assessing and reassessing the full landscape of the tasks I’m doing and asking: Do I still want to be doing this? Is it feeding me? And if not is there a way I can pare down the amount of time I’m spending on this.

For instance, I recently decided that I would cease writing essays for my newsletter and my blog, so that I could instead put that writing energy into a new book. There are short term gains from those little posts, but the longer term gains of putting a book out into the world is much more meaningful to me.

What is the most difficult aspect of working for yourself?

That’s easy, creating accountability and staying motivated.. I wrote an article about how I do it called how to feel progress.

What is the most rewarding aspect of working for yourself?

Total freedom of course. I like to have complete control over what I devote my energy to. But this necessarily comes with total responsibility. So you have to be ready for both if you want the freedom!

Can you discuss a time where you agreed to a project and regretted taking it on?

I used to do it constantly. Now I make a concerted effort to say “no” to some opportunities so that I can say “yes” to my priorities.

We’re all faced with a dilemma right now: We live in a world where we have two selves. The first is our physical self, which necessarily has a finite capacity — your body has limits and there are only 24 hours in a day. The second is our digital self (e.g. your email inbox, your social media notifications, etc.), and this self has infinite capacity — it will accept any number of demands, requests, updates etc. It never says, “No, Jocelyn doesn’t have time for this many emails.” It just keeps accepting them and alerting me.

This imbalance between what our physical self can actually do, and what our digital self wants us to do creates a huge tension. And the only way to solve it is to get better at saying no.

What made you want to take the leap into podcasting with Hurry Slowly?

I had been contemplating doing a podcast for a good 2 or 3 years beforehand. And I like to take on projects that make me learn new skills. I was also intrigued by the idea of “finding my voice” in a completely literal way, and the intimacy of the medium. It feels much closer than writing.

Which accomplishment are you most proud of/which is your favourite and why?

To be honest, I am never entirely satisfied with anything I create. I think that’s what drives one to keep making new things. Someone I was speaking with recently defined creativity as “self-expression,” and I like that definition. With each new creation, I think I am pushing closer to an authentic expression of the self. So in that regard, Hurry Slowly is my favorite because it feels the closest to the real me.

What is the number one step a person can take to get their own business of the ground?

Seth Godin said it best in one of the books I edited called Make Your Mark: “If you wait until you’re ready, it’s almost certainly too late.”

What do you wish everyone knew about running their own business?

I think I put it best in an earlier answer: Total freedom is total responsibility.

What is your favourite thing to do to relax and step away from the stress?

Rock climb and go for long walks in the park. The best way to get out of your head is to get into your body.

What advice should every person who wants to launch their own business live by?

Decide what opportunities you’re going to say yes to, and what opportunities you’re going to say no to. And stick to your guns.

Catch Jocelyn K Glei’s podcast about avoiding burnout, improving productivity, and unleashing your creativity and every Monday!