Monday Spark: It’s OK not to be the best at what you do.

don't have to be the winnerIn our culture we are under a lot of pressure to be the best. When we sit exams, go to job interviews, have job reviews, come up for promotion…and so on.

We also live in a culture that is obsessed with competition, and seeing who comes out on top.

Who is going to win the Superbowl? Who is the best golfer in the world? Who is the best supermodel? Who has the best garden on your street? Whose kid did best in the school play?

In other words, we are under pressure to be winners. If we are not winners, well, we are losers. And in North American culture, nothing is worse than being a loser.

As a freelancer, you need to distance yourself from this cultural narrative.

If you stress about not being the best, or not being a winner, then you’ll undermine your self-confidence.

It’s OK not to be the best. You don’t have to be the best in order to help your clients with their marketing.

And when you do find yourself thinking about not being the best, or close enough to the best, you need to step back and think about it.

Let me give you an example.

A few months ago I was one of a group of speakers presenting at a conference. I pride myself on my speaking and, once the attendee evaluations come in, I like to be up there within the top two speakers. That makes me feel good. Like a winner.

But at this last event there were a lot of good speakers, and when I looked at the evaluations, I came in about 4th. For about 30 minutes I felt terrible. (One of the downsides of pride.) I felt like a loser.

Fortunately I took the time to think about it. On reflection, it was wonderful that the attendees got to see so many top-notch speakers. And the fact that I came in 4th didn’t in any way diminish the value of what I shared with that audience.

In other words, I had focused on the bright shiny cultural narrative of being a winner, instead of focusing on the true value of what all the attendees got to learn that day.

My job that day was not to be voted #1, my job was to help those freelancers build a better business.

The same goes for whatever work you do as a freelancer.

Don’t measure your success by stressing over whether or not you are the best, or even at your own best.

Measure your success by looking at whether or not you helped your client grow their business.

Related Resources:

My coaching service for freelancers…

My ebook – Affirmations for Freelancers

About the author: Nick Usborne is an online writer, copywriter, author and coach.



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1 thought on “Monday Spark: It’s OK not to be the best at what you do.

  1. I think designers especially are guilty of this. Not believing you’re the absolute best has a way of paralyzing freelancers from taking action. As long as you are helping your customer, does your design really have to win an award? Sure, accolades are nice. But they don’t always translate into what’s best for the client.

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