For the umpteenth time, we all know that business conditions are less than stellar and competition is fiercer than ever. Everything is in flux (or seems to be), the ground is unsteady and we all have to get comfortable with ambiguity.
But honestly, none of this is new. When has life not been ruled by the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune? When has life ever been safe and predictable? If you chose to get out of bed this morning, then consider yourself a risk taker.
Freelancers expect the earth to quake and shake. We walk the road less traveled and we reach for the stars. We expect to be tested. We know that the only way to become capable, confident and successful leaders is to face down our fears and challenges.
Freelancers don’t make excuses, we can’t afford to stay mired in a rut for years at a time and we know when to color outside of the lines. We assess the big picture of the marketplace and recognize when it’s time to adjust how we fit: when it’s time to rebrand, enter a new market, sharpen our message, boost our skill set with a helpful seminar, or forge a strategic partnership. Freelancers know how to exit our comfort zone to keep what we do fresh, relevant and valuable in the eyes of our clients.
Still, sometimes we need a little inspiration because alas, we are mere mortals and cannot always dwell on Mount Olympus. According to Bill Bartmann, CEO of Bill Bartmann Enterprises in Tulsa, OK, there are three behaviors that we must recognize and modify to keep ourselves in positive thinking mode and break the cycle of second-guessing and inaction that repels success. Be mindful of the influence (for good or ill) that our mindset has on the fortunes of our business and our lives. Remember that the glass is half full.
1. Awareness. Catch yourself in the act of making excuses or resorting to defensive behavior (“But my situation is different…”) as you seek to justify why you haven’t achieved target goals. Avoid becoming mired in negative thinking that sucks you into the self-sabotage vortex. Remember that fear of the unknown is normal. Realize that like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, we must step outside of our comfort zone in order to learn, grow and move forward. The Yellow Brick Road presented many surprises as it wound its way to the Emerald City.
2. Acknowledge challenges. Denial of reality prevents us from overcoming obstacles. Just don’t allow yourself to be handcuffed by them. Inevitably, some possibilities will be closed to you, yet others will be available. You may have to work hard (and smart) to make those possibilities a reality and you might need some help to reel them in. A Freelancer is a leader and according to Linda Hill, professor at the Harvard Business School and co-author (with Kent Lineback) of Being the Boss (January 2011), “Leadership is not about getting things done yourself—it’s about accomplishing things through others.” So if your goal is somewhat beyond your grasp, do not become overwhelmed with despair about the impossibility of it all. Reach out to the right person.
3. “What if…” is the phrase that encourages us to see beyond limitation and all the way to the pot of gold. Say “what if” and put yourself on a positive trajectory that allows you to see or create competitive advantages that will be of great benefit. The “what if” mindset is a powerful magnet for good ideas. The glass half empty mindset is negative. It crushes good ideas and rebuffs those who could help us realize our goals. Instead of thinking “What if I fail”?, imagine “What if I succeed”? and let your mind take it from there.
“It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, but because we do not dare that they are difficult”.
Thanks for reading. I hope you’ve managed to survive and thrive this year and I hope that you’ll stop by in 2011. I value your support. Thanks again to those of you who’ve made comments.