Freelancing can be a lonely road, you’re left on some occasions to fight for yourself.
So, if you’re working on your own, it’s a good idea to schedule in some time for self-care. No, I don’t mean just sticking a load of laundry on and then back to it, actual time in your working week for you to have your own back. In one of my University modules, we’ve been talking about this and building up a ‘Best Self’ file. I’m going to talk about here because I think we all need this in our lives somewhere.
Not more filing…
Don’t worry, I’m not expecting you to whack out a four-tab Excel spreadsheet on your psyche – not at all, a Best Self file is just a collection of things to remind yourself just what you are good (and not so good) at, it’s to help you when times are rough and you need a bit of a realistic pep talk so that you can go into that next pitch meeting or interview or whatever it is, confident.
So what can you do?
You have to be your own champion. You start by compiling a list of your best qualities and/or skills.
If you are actively freelancing now why not ask your trusted clients for a testimonial about your work, what skills keep showing up? Keep these somewhere accessible or note the key things that people have complimented you on.
If you’re new to freelancing you can ask trusted friends and colleagues, it doesn’t have to be in the same field as what you’re doing now, people who know you will pick up through experience what qualities and skills shine through.
If you’re not brave enough to seek outside help just yet, you could also start with some personality type tests. If answered honestly, they can provide a basic pattern for you to recognise – some qualities or traits that you know ring true. [see my post on personality tests here]
So why is this useful?
We are very quick to find faults and pick holes in our own work, that sometimes we forget to be kind to ourselves – compliment ourselves and pick ourselves up because we’re fearful we’ll start to come across as braggy or narcissistic. As freelancers, we also often find ourselves alone facing rejection or criticism. The problem with this is is that if you go too humble, start to dwindle your own confidence and belief, who else is going to sell for you? How are you going to convince a new client to believe and trust in you and your work if you don’t? Some people call it developing a ‘thick skin’, to be able to get back on track after a setback.
This, this is why having a Best Self to rely upon is so crucial. You can use all those testimonials, test results, skills and common traits that you’ve worked so hard to collect to give you a boost when you most need it.
I’d also recommend keeping a collection of work that you enjoyed creating too – not just the stuff that got published, it can be anything. Look back over these things every now and then and remember what you enjoyed about them and use those good vibes to take you through to your next challenge.
What’s your Best Self?
Are you a great editor?
Do you pick up on mistakes others have missed?
Are you confident to speak up when needed?
Whatever it is – I hope you find your Best Self useful and if you want, comment below what your Best Self looks like.