I sat here thinking about the topic I would address this week on LinkedIn, trying to identify techniques, trends or cases from the digital universe that could be relevant to you. But it occurred to me that it is useless for us to get informed, study and commit to our professional life if nothing is going well in the emotional sphere.
I am not a psychologist nor a life coach ; I have no intention of making this text an abstract treatise on mental health or emotional intelligence. But I would like to share some thoughts and experiences I had that helped me a lot in dealing with life as a freelancer, and all the insecurities and uncertainties that this brings.
A few times along this journey I found myself questioning my choices and lifestyle. When work prevents me from attending important family events, or when the money doesn’t have what it should be at the end of the month. Sometimes we tend to blame ourselves in an almost paralyzing way, not realizing that if there’s something wrong with our route, it’s okay to take a detour. Or a thousand!
If things aren’t the way you’d like them today, try not to get downcast, but frankly analyze how you’d like them to be and what you can do to change. The part of analyzing what you want (to be, to have) is important, because many times we end up going so much in the flow of life that we forget what the goal was when we started.
For me, it helps a lot to always stop at the beginning of the month to reflect on my short-term and long-term goals and action plans. And look, what an opportune time for this article, on the first Monday in February! Planning really has to be something constant, so you don’t forget the main objective and rethink if you discover that some pre-established goal is not that important to you.
I do this exercise even when I feel happy and fulfilled with my projects (this status, as you may know, fluctuates with absurd frequency). That’s what I said in the highlight: failure is not permanent, but neither is success. Standing in the same place is like walking backwards, as the world – especially the digital world – doesn’t stop!
Another advantage of constantly reviewing goals and action plans is that it injects a good deal of optimism in us! I don’t know about you, but I get especially excited when I write plans on paper and think of ways to achieve them. I feel empowered, creative, able to accomplish anything! If I don’t give myself that credit, no one will take it for me, right? The first person who needs to believe in you is yourself. And there’s nothing more seductive than a healthy dose of confidence!
And then I carry out the plan. It usually involves contacting potential customers or partners, developing products that can bring me revenue or getting closer to my audience, learning skills that will greatly improve my business.
Could it be that everything goes wrong, and no matter how hard you try, your company won’t move? It can be yes. It happens. But you’ll end the month knowing you’ve done your best and gone for it. At the very least, you will have some sense of what is worth persisting in or what you need to study and master better to move forward.
And one thing I guarantee: if you persist and focus on your goals month by month, you will be out of place. The mere feeling of productivity and learning gives an injection of energy that I can’t even explain! Knowing that you are capable and willing to work hard for your goals will give you a new look at the obstacles on the way.
Then comes that self-help advice that makes you angry when you read it (hahaha), but which is actually true. The way we face obstacles already interferes a lot in the solution, a lot. When we get pissed off, or insecure, or look for the culprits, or swear a lot on Twitter (do you still say that on the internet?), we don’t solve anything. At most, we cook the problem so much that it takes on even greater proportions.
Change the entire complaint to action plans. When that unexpected bill arrives, or that scolding from the customer, or the laptop breaks, or whatever the problem is in your entrepreneurial life: think of ways to solve it. Be proactive, creative. If it’s extra income that will do the trick, search YouTube for “extra income” and see if anything might apply to you. If it’s knowledge you lack, study. If it’s something you can’t solve on your own, ask for help. Or hire someone. Just solve.
Problems and troubles everyone has. Of course, those who work as a freelancer and fight month after month for each job tend to have problems like this more often. But it also has many more opportunities than most people with a steady job. So keep your head up and your problem solver posture and everything will work out!
Finally, after all this get-your-ass-and-go-back talk, a sweet moment: take care of yourself. Take care of your health, your well-being, prioritize a few moments of rest and fit into your routine activities that are good for you. With your head on straight, you’ll be able to work better and in less time, so don’t get the idea that you need to work 24/7 to be someone in life. It doesn’t work like that.
I understand that, when we undertake, it is difficult to detach ourselves from the demands and problems of the company. Especially in the beginning, when everything depends on you. But that’s exactly why you need to prioritize your health and happiness – to give you all the power to focus on the most demanding activities.
Everyone has their “escape” activities. It could be gym, therapy, meditation… It could even be a few family nights without cell phones or interruptions. I have a few, like the habit of reading for an hour early in the morning over a fresh mug of coffee. It’s all I need to start the day well and inspired. Even if you don’t have a morning self-care habit, I recommend you give it a try! It can change life!
Well, that’s it. I wrote this article from the heart, without a lot of planning, but I think it sums up many of the ideas that have made me more productive and fulfilled in my daily life – the best medicine for anxiety. Hope it helps you too! If you liked the article, follow my work on LinkedIn , where I post articles related to entrepreneurship and personal development on Mondays.