Living a freelance or self employed life requires a lot of self talk and motivation. For 6 years now
I have talked myself into keeping motivated for work, to come up with ideas, and I am the one
who needs to give myself a pat on the back if something goes well.
I am a very social creature and love working in a studio. I have co-working spaces which I
tap into and the very fact of being around other humans to banter and interact makes such
a difference to the way I work; I thrive on being sociable, I love being surrounded by creative
people and the buzz from working together on projects.
One of the biggest things about working alone versus a team is that the self talk we give
ourselves can so often be negative. I am sure many of you reading this will know what I mean.
A colleague might encourage and say “Wow, that was a great brainstorm, well run”, or “Jo is
great at editorial layouts, let’s get her to have a look”. The cumulative result is that you believe
in what your colleague says. They say you can do it, so you can.
In contrast, negative self talk can be equally as damaging. “I can’t do that, they will think I am
silly”, or “I don’t have very good ideas, I’d better let someone else do that”. How would you feel
if a colleague followed you around all day saying how bad you are at your work? Wouldn’t you
be upset, feel down, under confident?
I was back in London this weekend, and the weather, sights, sounds and smells took me right
back to my first job in the city some 14 years ago when I was a junior designer at Toni&Guy – a
role I absolutely loved. Not only did I never once think that I couldn’t do it, but I also used to ring
Art Editors of magazines in my spare time and do illustration portfolio drop off’s in my lunch hour
for freelance work (as we used to do in the old days), and I would never, EVER have thought
twice about my ability to be used for work. SO the work came, I went from strength to strength
and had a very well paid, respected senior role at a young age as I moved up the ladder.
The older we get the easier it is to doubt ourselves, but why, why put yourself through that?
Mike Sullivan is a brilliant confidence coach who works with corporates and individuals (ahem,
me…) to get their mojo back. He says:
“I tell all my clients that they are in charge of their confidence, not somebody else; they can
set it high or low; so why chose low? Because you’re “just you”, “nothing special” “little Miss
Average”. That’s such a waste of time and opportunity. Chose a higher setting, silence the inner
demon that reduces you, and go for “I’m amazing” “I’m unique” “I’m one of a kind”. Positive self
image starts from what you say to yourself in the silence of your own head. Take control. Drive
it. Set it to Maximum. Confidence begins at home”
I keep a note on my iPhone and Mac from am email one of my best friends Emma sent me. Emma is an incredibly smart, very successful lady and I have a lot of respect for her professionally as well, of course, as loving her dearly as a buddy. We worked together and studied our MA together, and I treasure her words which I keep for whenever I feel a bit low or doubt myself.
“You have inspired and delighted me the moment we met. Not only are you such fun to be round you have really made me think. I have always loved how open and honest you are about things. You would talk freely about stuff that I would always keep to myself. You made me realise how refreshing and fun it is to be honest about how you feel, to embrace the fact that you feel grumpy and fed up as much as you would being happy or excited.
Without you I would never be where I am today. It was you that inspired me and highlighted the MA. It was also you that helped give me confidence and support through the course which I initially found way out of my depth.
I love your idea generation and your smartness. Your mind is 100mph and you are tapped into everything. I LOVE our conversations. They leave me refreshed and inspired.
Another thing that I inspires me is how you still run your business and are a mummy to twins. Jeeezzzzzz that is an amazing super action hero feat. The challenges you have over come for those ladies is incredible and you should be very proud of yourself.
Another thing is how well you deal with your endo. You never moan or complain and are so positive about any hard times you are going through.
You are also an amazing friend.
I love you Jo, you inspire me and bring so much fun and laughter. I also know you would be there in the bad times too. Amazing. Believe it.”
As you can imagine this always makes me smile. Why not ask a friend how they view you? Keep the list somewhere safe for when those demons come to nibble.
So, how can you believe in yourself more today? What would you say differently? Tell me something you are GREAT at. Oh, and if you didn’t already know it? You rock.
(follow Mike on Twitter @121_coaching)