Pep talks for moments of fraudy freelance feelings
Pursuing your creative passions calls for an almost unwavering sense of self. I know from personal experience that if I'm not constantly reassuring myself that it's all going to be ok I can quickly default into panic mode. If you work alone the mind can feel like an echo chamber, the worry amplifies itself until the next thing you know you’re canning the whole freelance pursuit, chucking your lightbox cable in the bin and never talking about it again.
I’ve compiled 3 mini pep talks to help you in moments of fraudy feelings - from me, a friend. Feel free to dip in on the section most applicable to you right now. And don’t forget to message me with suggestions and comments!
For moments of: familial and/or friendship induced career insecurity
Ah the evening meal, the perfect time for your loved ones to brandish opinions on career ventures as if they've just been appointed to Chancellor of the Exchequer. Heavy credence is placed on 'safe' full-time employment, whilst passive comments referring to your work as a ‘hobby’, a ‘waste of time’ and ‘financial suicide’ are littered every other breath. It’s painful, and I get it. Especially when you’re working your booty off. These kind of comments masquerade as care for your wellbeing, but loved ones are meant to be on your side. If they don’t believe in you, it’s so easy for you to not believe in you.
In those moments of frustration please remember that maybe Jerry is talking to you like that not because he doesn’t think you can do it, but rather because you just might do it. To throw yourself into your freelancing work regardless of outside opinion is to challenge Jerry’s entire belief system. Furthermore, to challenge Jerry’s belief about the acquisition of wealth and success is to challenge the very limited world he lives in. Just maybe, Jerry wanted to be a painter many moons ago. He never tried because he was just too damn scared and your committed plight to become a freelance illustrator undermines the story that he's told himself about his own past decisions. Reframe negative comments as merely a reflection of the life lead by the individual.
Jerry is ignorant to think he can predict the future, and if he could I doubt he’d be sat overlording family meals with waves of bad vibes whilst he prods at limp clumps of broccoli on his plate. That’s a sure strange way to spend your time after scooping up millions on the lottery each week. Keep pushing, remember success is no accident, and Jerry is misguided in his mindset. You can do it :-)
For moments when you don’t believe in yourself
First of all, I just want to say your value does not lie in your productivity level. That my friend, is a construct. We’re all going out of this joint the same way and it doesn’t matter what your job is when it happens either - what we do in between is what gives the whole experience value. So, by even pursuing freelancing you’re already tuning in to what makes your heart sing. That is applaudable in itself, you’re doing it! So please give yourself some credit. Have as many lattes as you please!
Quick fire points for when you’re feeling insecure:
✿ Instagram popularity holds absolutely no reflection in the quality of your work. There are too many connected cogs for us to decode how certain posts get exposure, but a low like count sure as heck doesn’t indicate that something is bad. If my dad puts on a Van Gogh show in his garage and no one comes he's still put on a show of Van Gogh paintings. Last time I checked, he was a pretty good painter, no?
✿ Comparing yourself to other people online or otherwise is a waste of your creative energy. Lusting after someone else’s highlight reel will only ever remove precious building blocks. In moments like these, it's essential to seek a momentary mental space away from that environment. Don’t scold yourself, but understand that the sensation of envy you feel can be channelled into creating the work that you want to create.
✿ This one's a little woo-woo, but I like to think what is meant for you won’t go past you. Take some of that load of your shoulders and embrace the ride. Take small consistent steps every day, with integrity. My high school yearbook quote was ‘today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday’ and as cringe as I was (and I clearly still am), I stand by it. I find it helpful to liken the time I spend worrying to pouring my creative energy down the drain. We are like Sims really, we only get so much energy before we run out and end up on fire in the swimming pool, so don't waste yours! :-)
✿What would you do if you actually gave up? Giving up right now has a 110% chance of becoming Jerry.
For moments of evening overwhelm
I don’t know what your deadlines are, but I promise this won't take long and is fully worth it! Stop what you’re doing for at least 10 minutes - its time to centre yourself. I’m not great at meditation, but this helps me create a buffer between myself and the day. The ingredients you will need are: your body, a shower and (optional) notebook of any variety.
Take a warm shower. Don’t be precious about it, let water speckles patter lightly on the top of your head. As the water cascades down your face, imagine each tiny drop as a thought that's been clogging up your mind all day. Acknowledge them, but know those clunky, obtrusive thoughts aren’t always your friends. Let them trickle out of your mind and down into the drain to make space for a new set of thoughts that serve your healing instead of suppressing it. Feel the gentle hum of your shower lull your breathing into a steady stream - close your eyes If you need to. As you shower, allow the thoughts to make themselves known. Hey thoughts! Ok now, as you're breathing and bathing, embrace your mind emptying out, down down down. Let the flurry of worries form an orderly queue, they will all get their moment. Do this for as long as you feel comfortable, then dry off at your own pace.
The next bit is optional, but for my type-A-Virgo brain, it’s somewhat essential. After pruning the tangle of worry in your mind, jot down a few actionable steps to change what's going on. For instance, if you’re worried about not having enough freelance work to pay that looming electricity bill, your aim could be to contact 5 new companies (if you missed it, you can use this free spreadsheet to track your outreach too). If you’re struggling to be creative after a slog at the office, your aim for the next week could be to map out time blocks for a new personal project. You get the gist, the point is to keep moving and don’t underestimate the growth that comes from small steps. You can absolutely do it :-)