Freelancers – Do you give yourself time to sit back and think?

Sitting by a lake and thinkingAs freelancers we like to keep busy.

In fact, if we’re not busy we start to feel nervous. After all, “empty” time is unbillable time.

Beyond that, sitting around and doing nothing is something we have always been told is bad.

Staring out of the window and daydreaming at school was bad.

Failing to keep your head down and looking busy as an employee was bad.

From an early age we have been conditioned to believe that during our work hours we should always keep busy. To do otherwise brands us as slackers.

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Monday Spark: Why taking on a CHALLENGE may be more powerful than setting a GOAL.

goals and challengesIn many ways challenges and goals are similar.

Both are about achieving something important at some point in the future. Both can give us a sense of purpose and direction in our lives, and in our work. Both set the bar a little higher and drive us to perform at our best.

But I think there is an important difference in how we perceive challenges and goals.

First, let’s look at goals.

A goal often takes the form of a written description, with a deadline. “I will publish my first ebook by the end of this year.”

There is nothing wrong with setting a goal like that. Apply a little self-discipline, set a schedule and you’ll get that ebook written and published.

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Aim – more or less – then Fire, and then get Ready.

ready aim fire confusionWhen freelancers are starting out and preparing to launch their new businesses, they generally take forever to get ready.

Me: I thought you were going to start calling some prospects last week.

Them: I know, but I’m not quite ready.

I get the same answer one week later, and then the week after that.

(If you think I’m talking about you in particular as you read this, I’m not. I’m thinking of dozens of freelancers I have spoken with or coached.)

What’s happening here?

Two things, I think.

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Monday Spark: Stretch Yourself.

Here is a story from when I was about 11 years old.

At my school, in England, we used to put on a full-length play by Shakespeare once a year.

I was a hopelessly timid kid, but somehow landed the part of Cassius in the play, Julius Caesar. I didn’t think I could learn hundreds of lines for the play, and I didn’t think I could get up on the stage in front of an audience.

But I did. And playing that part changed my life.

My teacher gave me the opportunity to really stretch myself, and to discover what I was truly capable of.

Now we fast-forward a generation to when my children were at school at about the same age. When I went to see their school “plays”, my kids were asked to learn maybe ten lines.

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