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You Don’t Need To Prove Yourself

Do you ever feel like you have to justify how much you work? How hard you work?


Does your constant need to prove you’re working hard lead you to work more and more and more until you burn out? 


TAKE BACK THE DAY


It’s so easy for a self-employed business owner to feel the necessity to work flat out. 


It feels like it’s the only way you can prove to the people with ‘typical’ 9-5 jobs that you’re more than a glorified babysitter who spends all day tinkering away on the piano. 


But it can lead to you working non-stop from the minute you wake up until the minute before you fall asleep. 


Your brain doesn’t switch off.


While feeding the cat, you find yourself fretting over how you’re going to ensure that Freddie is ready for his performance. 


Or while you’re doing the laundry, you’re humming Meg’s new piece, creating ways you can help her tackle the rhythm that she’s finding tricky. 


Not having a 9-5 job where you clock in and clock off leads to the danger of your mind always being on. 


Tip: Set yourself office hours.


Don’t check your emails until after breakfast. 


Turn off notifications on your phone after you’ve finished teaching so you can actually unwind before bed. 


Make a point every day to take back the day and do something for YOU. 


Whether that’s yoga first thing in the morning before you start your daily tasks.


Or sitting down with a cheesy romance novel after you finish teaching in the evening. 


One thing that isn’t work-related so you take the time for YOU.


THE FEELING OF BEING JUDGED 


If you’re not in a 9-5 job where you have somewhere to be all day, you can feel that you’re looked at funny by other people. 


You can be on a mid-morning walk around your local park. 


“Nice for some. But I actually work during the day.” 


This is what you think someone in the office you walk past is thinking as they look at you. 


But what they don’t know is that you’re listening to a podcast about setting up group piano lessons - a new venture you’re planning.


Or maybe you’re sitting down to have brunch in a local cafe. 

“She must have a husband with a well-paying job that enables her to swan about on a weekday morning.”


This is what you think is going through the head of the older lady in the corner of the cafe as she watches you sip your coffee.


But what she doesn’t know is that you’ve spent the last few hours handing out fliers and putting up posters for a summer camp you’re running (and you’ve already had a tonne of people sign up) 


You know what? 


The chances are, no one is thinking anything about you. 


And even if you do cross their minds, they’re probably thinking that they’d like a walk later or that your brunch looks yummy—why didn’t they order that? 


What you’re convinced people are thinking is you projecting your thoughts and worries.


THE GUILT


Society has brought you up to think that you’re only successful if you’re working nonstop at a 9-5 job. 


You found something you’re passionate about and pretty darn good at. But it’s not a 9-5 job.


Which means that for some reason, you feel the need to overcompensate. 


You feel obliged to work extra hours (unpaid) to show that you’re working hard. That you’re not just lazing around. 


But you know what shows that you’re working hard? 


Freddie’s performance that he absolutely rocks. His parents are proud. His friends are jealous that he can play 7 Nation Army on the piano and sound really cool.


And he did that because of you. 


Meg’s confidence with her new piece has skyrocketed because you helped her figure out the tricky rhythm. She’s like a new girl, skipping out of her lesson and telling her mum how much she loves piano.


That’s because of you.


There’s your evidence that you’re working hard.


TIMES HAVE CHANGED


Plus, things have changed. 


I bet you can think of at least 10 jobs where the person isn’t chained to a desk all day. Jobs that have freedom. 


Maybe you know someone who’s a freelance photographer. A journalist. A wildlife expert. A mobile stylist. 


None of these jobs are typical 9-5 jobs. 


Do you think these workers need to prove themselves? 


No. Of course not. So why should you?


Change your perspective and that feeling of always having to work will fade. 


Celebrate all your wins, and you’ll start to see that you deserve a rest. 


Maybe you’ll listen to a true crime podcast instead on your walk around the park. So what? You deserve some downtime!


Maybe you’ll go out for brunch because you feel like it before you have a busy afternoon and evening of teaching.

So what? You deserve a treat! 


THIS IS YOUR REMINDER


You’ve worked hard to get where you are. 


People don’t just fall into teaching. You put in the hours and effort to be able to do it. 


You work hard to prepare for your lessons.


Showing up and winging it works for some jobs, but not teaching. 


If you’re not prepared, things won’t go well. 


This is your reminder to take time for yourself. 


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1 Comment


Krissie Reardon
Krissie Reardon
May 01

This is a great post! I do hear "must be nice to just play the piano for work!" and honestly that's just rude LOL. We don't "just play," we have put years or decades into our craft, and years or decades into our teaching, so that we can teach others how to "just play"

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