We all have those days, especially if we work freelance or run our own business. The days when you question yourself, your skills, that you’re charging too much or too little, that you might just be going a little loopy working away on your own. I’m not saying that every day is like this, not even close. But if you say you don’t have those days EVER, I don’t believe you (either that or you’re more than a little scary).
Right, now we’ve insulted and got rid of the scary people, what do we do about those days? Because we all know it’s no good just sitting there and wallowing. You need to find, build or become your own cheerleading squad.
Friends and family
You’ll know the best people to approach here. You can’t go fishing for compliments to just anyone, or too often, but once in a while, when you really need it, it’s OK to let those who love you know that you need a bit of a boost. The chances are they’ll come back with the words you need to buoy you up, and they might even point out positives you just hadn’t seen. Just remember that, if like me your friends have lives that pull them in a million directions already, they might not all respond as you’d want, when you’d want. Don’t give up (on yourself or on them), just take anything you do get back, and move on to 2, 3 and 4.
Testimonials and ‘thank you’ emails
I keep a couple of files of these, an email one and a paper one, where I can drop any positive feedback I get (after reading it and basking in its glow of course). I also keep leaving cards in there from previous jobs, old annual reviews – anything that reminds me of my achievements. I don’t often look back at them but they’re invaluable for those difficult days or when I’m putting together a bid for a new piece of work. It’s good to have a little ego boost from time to time (just don’t look at it daily!).
I know, I know. This is dangerous ground, but hear me out. Used well, social media can help you realise you’re doing just fine thank you very much. Find professional groups with like-minded people, in similar situations, and you’ll see that we’re all going through the same stuff, the same ups and downs, unsure about the same things. Discussion often comes back around to the same old topics time and again, showing that not everyone knows everything. I even won a quick competition in one of the groups last week – not something I’d had to put more than a few minutes thought into but the winning entry was voted for by members of the group so seeing that I’d won that was a big pat on the back on a day when I needed it.
Take a break
Sometimes it helps to get perspective. Even if you have deadlines that you need to keep, the chances are that taking a break away from those deadlines will mean you work better and more efficiently when you come back. Get out of the house. Do something different, even if it’s just for 20 minutes. It’ll help shift your brain on from its downward slump and let you see things with fresh eyes. Also, eat something and take a nap, if you’re someone who gets grumpy when they’re tired and hungry! Sometimes that’s all it takes…
So, if you’re in need of a cheer today know you’re not alone. I’m cheering for you right now, and with a little work, you’ll be cheering for yourself again in no time.