Be your own client

Charlie Munger, billionaire Warren Buffet’s business partner and right hand man, is definitely an extraordinary person and someone to analyze deeply. The following is an excerpt from Warren Buffet’s biography, The Snowball, which describes Charlie Munger’s philosophy on “making himself his most important client” which changed his life:

Charlie, as a very young lawyer, was probably getting $20 an hour. He thought to himself, ‘Who’s my most valuable client?’ And he decided it was himself. So he decided to sell himself an hour each day. He did it early in the morning, working on these construction projects and real estate deals. Everybody should do this, be the client, and then work for other people, too, and sell yourself an hour a day.

I can see how this perspective could change someone’s life. Imagine if you had the opportunity to be mentored by the figure you respect the most – someone you idolize to be, whether it’s a famous movie star or for myself, a tech mogul like Elon Musk. This person hired you for one hour a day to make his life and career better. You would have to use all of your creative thinking abilities to think of ways to add value to this person’s life because they trusted you with this task. This is your most important client. This person is you.

If you were your most important client, you would only expect the best quality of work. If you hired someone to improve your life, and for weeks they didn’t deliver high quality, you would immediately fire them wouldn’t you? Your time is valuable, so it’s time to set higher expectations of yourself. If you wouldn’t expect that of others, why would you expect that of yourself?

Just for one hour a day, I’m going to dedicate time to making myself my most important client and thinking of ways to improve my life. It’s an interesting dichotomy of being both in an employer’s position, and the employee’s. You’re hiring yourself, but also being hired by yourself. The standards have to be extremely high both ways. Circling back to my initial point, if you were hired by the person you respect and idolize the most, wouldn’t you bend over backwards to deliver? Why wouldn’t you do that for yourself? It’s time we start respecting ourselves and expecting a higher standard of excellence.