Posted by: faultlessfinish | April 25, 2011

Don’t Bring Me Down

Even if you love what you do, it’s almost impossible to maintain a positive attitude about your work 24/7. However, it is so easy to get bogged down in negativity and stress, which are totally counterproductive to an effective, successful business (and life). Since I’ve started freelancing, I’ve developed several ways to keep momentum going and maintain a positive attitude. I’m not saying I don’t complain or get discouraged from time to time, but I’ve found the following methods to be very useful when dealing with a negative situation or person:

1. Vent, but not to your entire network – I was very guilty of this in the past. You encounter a setback in your work, deal with a difficult or rude client, or lose a job you were bidding on. You are frustrated, angry, and hurt. In this case, it is natural to want to vent to your friends, peers, and significant other. However, the more people you share your experience with, the more times you are forced to relive it, making it easier to become consumed with the issue. Venting anger is healthy, but get it out once and be done with it. Thank the person for listening and then decide on the next course of action. The less you dwell on the experience, the easier it will be to let it go and focus your energy on the tasks at hand. 

2. Write It Out – Scribble all your negative thoughts in a journal, write a letter to a friend, or draft an angry e-mail to the offending client (but don’t send it! For safety purposes, don’t put an address in the subject line). You don’t have to be a writer to benefit from getting your anger out on paper. Seeing your experience in written form can also give you a new perspective. Once you’ve calmed down, go back to that e-mail, take a deep breath, and revise accordingly. Never try to deal with a negative situation in the heat of anger.

3. Get the Blood Pumping – I was mad at a friend the other day, and my first instinct was to send an angry text message (ah, isn’t instant communication wonderful…). Instead, knowing my tendency to overreact when angry, I went for a long run with loud rock music. When I got home, my head was clear and my anger had disappeared. Getting some exercise helped me see the bigger picture, and my friend and I, after a brief, calm chat about what had happened, enjoyed a fun evening together. It can be easy to get bogged down in your own negative thoughts when sitting at a desk alone all day, as the majority of freelancers do. So go for a walk, box with your pillow, or head to the gym. Then come back to work with a clear head and deal with the situation appropriately.

4. Choose Your Clients (and Friends) Wisely – Many people choose to go freelance so that they can choose their own clients and projects. So why would you work with someone who makes you miserable? Sometimes it’s too late when you realize and you just need to ride the project out and then never work with that person again; to avoid this problem, just as you wouldn’t jump into a relationship with someone you barely know, don’t begin work blindly with a new client. Do your research and get a feel for the project and the person. And sometimes, though we may love them dearly, friends can bring us down. Recognize when someone else’s negativity is affecting you and remove yourself from the situation.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Finally, if all else fails, plaster a big fake smile on your face and try not to concentrate on whatever is bringing you down. If you pretend to be not upset for long enough, you just may end up feeling a whole lot better.

Here’s to a happy week! 🙂


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