Don’t Believe Everything You Think

Don’t Believe Everything You Think

Four Damaging Thoughts

More people are working independently than ever before. With the rise of the Internet businesses and increasing acceptance of “portfolio careers” flexible working hours, and self-employment are becoming more common than you might think. This is particularly true for people working in creative positions. If you can make the lifestyle work for you, geographical flexibility, (e.g., you like the mountains, you can live in them) and a fine income can be yours.

When did you last give your mindset a health check?

There’s a lot more to working independently and successfully than simply taking the leap of faith, filling out your tax return on time, and applying for jobs on online job boards, and hanging out a shingle. What will establish your success in the long run is your outlook. It doesn’t matter how accomplished or fortunate you are; if you don’t believe in yourself, then you are as vulnerable to early burnout as any business owner.

The following list is one of the common limiting beliefs that you will overcome in the early days of your self-made career if you plan on making your way working independently.

1. “Winning isn’t all-or-nothing.”

Are you a perfectionist who sees success or failure in “yes” or “no” terms? If that’s you, then you better undergo a quick attitude adjustment. Lacking that, it’s easy to feel demoralized. It takes time and energy to build a reputation as a professional freelance anything.

There will be times, months in fact, when you are sure that all is well, that you will be hired in a blink, and other times when you have setbacks and you will be just as sure of failure. The pitfalls are endless and knowing from the beginning that there will be ups and downs keeps you both honest and ready for anything. Try keeping a list of your successes, regardless of how small, to remind yourself on those dark days that success can be just around the corner.

2. “I can’t bear it, rejection hurts.”

Get used to it. As an independent worker, you will be rejected on a regular basis whether it be for an article or a carefully designed program. Just because they have engaged your services previously doesn’t mean they won’t wake up one day and decide you are the flavor of last month. My financial advisor clients have a unique way of looking at rejection. They all know that they will only sell three out of every 10 proposals. The best of them view each rejection as moving one step closer to that sale or contract. When they ask for referrals, they know only 50% will actually refer and thus feel less pressure with the asking. Rejection is inevitable; the sooner you wrap your mind around it, the better your life as an independent agent will become.

3. “I’m overwhelmed, I just can’t do this.”

No way! Feeling overwhelmed isn’t a sign that you should quit. Just the opposite; it means that you should refine your skills, look at your schedule, and get back in the game. Yes, I am sure that you do indeed struggle with the tasks of motivation, organization, and non-linear income. It comes with the territory. That being said, you can become comfortable with it and make the most of your time and abilities. Classes on time and resource management are well worth the time and money. Working, as a freelance person is a skillset of its own and like all skills, it can be learned. Lots of trial and some error is to be expected. Just keep at it.

4. “I will never get paid enough to live on!”

Yes, Virginia, there really are people out there who will pay you for the work that you do. In some cases, you will be paid handsomely. However, it may take some time to find your stable of businesses willing to do just that. In the meantime, have a little patience with yourself and you will find those long-term clients. Focus on improving your networking skills as a first step. In time, you will learn to sniff out promising clients from those kicking tires or worse, looking for the lowest price in town. Avoid the temptation to compete on price. Compete on quality alone. Build a solid book of good business with demonstrable accomplishments and sell the chance to accomplish something for your client. Great work, great ideas, great follow through, and great client service is the path to prosperity…and don’t forget to ask happy and engaged clients for references!

Take it from a life coach; on those days when you are feeling a bit down or like you aren’t making the progress in your new business you would like to see, review this list as sort of a “sanity check.” Learn from my experiences working with clients and also on my own business; it can make you crazy if you aren’t careful. Remember, take a deep cleansing breath, and keep in mind that you don’t have to believe everything you think. Have faith in yourself and your ability to build your career, and new business, one client at a time.


Frank Hopkins is a life coach in Baton Rouge who is certified as a Professional Coach (CPC) by the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC). Frank has helped numerous people to go through emotional change in a way that is positively transformative.