The inner monologues of entrepreneurs and the self-employed.
'If you are not willing to risk the usual you will have to settle for the ordinary.' - Jim Rohn
Every morning I get up, and I walk ten feet to my office. And sometimes (well, most times) when I'm exchanging emails with you, I'm in sweatpants. It's the lifestyle of the freelancer and entrepreneur. This blog entry is dedicated to all of us who work more hours than the average 9-5er and who sometimes really long to be done by Friday.
Even though working from home and being your own boss may be seen as a luxury, it is a constant wheel that keeps churning and a daily grind that produces legitimate blood, sweat, and tears. Yes, my friends, the struggle is real. However, I believe the benefits far outweigh the agonizing days.
When I first began freelancing as a stage manager in opera and a production coordinator in television, I couldn't believe that I could pick my projects. When I was just starting out, I did say yes to practically everything (sometimes I still do!). I wanted my resume to speak for itself and my skill set so that I could go practically anywhere and pick up a gig. And saying yes to everything has paid off in many ways. It has made me a well-rounded freelancer with a bag of knowledge and tricks. I made it a goal of mine to make sure I understood every role in every job scenario I was assigned to.
But, I digress.
The part that people don't generally see are the arduous daily tasks that we freelancers, business owners, and entrepreneurs take on as part of the routine. We sometimes have to pound the pavement to find the next project. There are dry spells. There are days when we think to ourselves, 'why the hell did I decide to open this business or go to work for myself? I could just throw in the towel and get a full time job working for someone else.'
But we don't. And with good intention.
We choose this life for a reason: the freedom to do what we want. We are the boss, the head cheese, the product, and the producer. Everything depends on us. We are the visionaries of our careers and businesses, and we don't want to be like everyone else. This lifestyle comes with a price, however. The sacrifices, hours of work outside of normal business hours, and the ups and downs of the daily routine where you feel like you're successful one day and absolutely defeated the next. Perhaps I'm talking about you. I'm absolutely talking about myself.
The daily inner-monologues taunt us. We beat ourselves up, praise our work and the work of those who are with us on the journey, and we also struggle with the hamster wheel of the same, stagnant feeling like we aren't progressing. We show up, do the same thing day after day, and we don't see the results we would like to see. It's how we deal with our rollercoaster of inner monologues that determines how fast we accelerate forward. We have to learn how to shut off the bad part of our brain - the self-defeating part that tells us we're wasting our time and that we're no good.
Your criticism of yourself is far worse than that of any other person.
I created the following tips to help you beat up those bad voices in your head telling you that you should throw in the towel and that you're no good. Even if you don't consider yourself your own boss (which, trust me, is worth it!), please read on. You will find something that is useful:
Write down the things that you love about what you do. If you can't write anything down, then it's probably time to look for a new venture. It can be as simple as a daily task you do at work, or the person that brings a smile to your face on your team. Get it all down on paper.
Write down everything you've accomplished up to this day and read each achievement out-loud. Trust me on this, it works! We so easily forget all of the things we've experienced and all we've accomplished that is good. We need to remind ourselves of our talent and worth.
Count your blessings. The oldest advice is the wisest advice. When you count your blessings, you see all of the good things that you have in your life. Even if you're not where you want to be in your career, or if your business isn't at its profit point, you have a lot to be thankful for.
Reach out to someone. This is so important. I guarantee you that someone is or has been where you are and their support will help you through this period in your life. You can even reach out to me and I'll listen! We need to lean on others, ask for help, get mentors, etc. Being alone in your career and endeavors is not good. Ask for help or a listening ear. You won't regret it.
There is enough success to go around. Keep this one written down at your desk, in your wallet, or in the center console of your car. You cannot focus on what other people are doing. Your business, career path, or goals are yours alone. Even if it looks like someone is doing exactly what you're doing, chances are that they aren't. All too often, we get so distracted by the success of other businesses, people, brands, etc. that we question our progress on a daily basis. I'm not saying we shouldn't look at the competition, but we should glance instead of stare.
People who work for themselves are unique creatures; they are different and never adhere to the 'normal' way of doing life. Being different and unique is a major characteristic of entrepreneurs and the self-employed.
I'm reading a great book that a friend of mine wrote. I recommend that everyone who is reading this blog pick up Being The Unicorn: The Business Guide to Being Magical, Mystical, and Getting Noticed by Gregg J. Herning. It's a great read. (Click HERE to purchase.) Even if you're not a freelancer or entrepreneur, I guarantee you that this book will inspire you to stand out in your field of work. Gregg even integrates some of the ideas that I will be bringing up in entries down the road as you follow this blog. It's good stuff!
Remember that you've chosen your path for a reason. I believe that you'll shine through and rise above the challenges. Keep yourself engaged, stay in the game, and don't let your negative evil twin tell you otherwise!