Life Goes On

I was talking with a colleague earlier today, lamenting about how I really wasn’t “in the mood” to write my column for this newsletter. I was having a bad day, trying to recover from the holiday stress, feeling nostalgic after the recent loss of my sister and yet needing to be upbeat and positive as I put my thoughts into this article. It felt like an internal tug-of-war.

Being self-employed presents some unique challenges. Many of us are in charge of accounting, marketing, promotion, creative development AND presentation of our product. Often we don’t have time for our personal lives to “intrude.” Then, all of a sudden, we feel overwhelmed. Have any of the rest of you had this challenge? Or is it just me!

So I asked my colleague, “How do you keep up the happy face even when you don’t feel like it?” And he replied, “You know, sometimes you don’t.” THAT was what I needed to hear. It was ok to be “down” occasionally, but then we need to remember to get back “up.” So I began talking with others about how they renew themselves so they can bring a better attitude to their work. Here’s what some of us do:

  • When traveling on a plane, don’t network or talk with others (strange for ME to say). Instead, take a book and start reading as soon as you sit down. Immerse yourself into being alone for the trip. TIP: take along different types of reading like serious, inspirational, light and even trashy. You don’t know what you’ll be in the mood for.
  • Throughout the year set aside some personal time, alone, to allow yourself to recharge and reflect. I’m heading to a 3-day conference right here in Denver and I’m going down the evening before and check in early. Then I’ll put pajamas on, pour a glass of wine and curl up in bed to watch TV. Sometimes you have to MAKE your alone time.
  • Journal. Buy yourself a nice one to record your thoughts and let your creativity flow.
  • Keep a “feel good file” with all the notes, cards and letters where people have told you how great you are. When you’re down, spend 5 minutes with this file and you’ll rediscover what a gift you are to others.

Finally, never forget the unique opportunity that being self-employed provides. It’s FREEDOM. You have the freedom to share appropriate experiences and feelings with your peers and customers. The result is that they will learn from you and use your experiences to improve their lives. It’s the freedom of “giving away” some of yourself.

Now THAT’S a gift!

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