When I used to run training for volunteers at a large children’s charity, one of the things I frequently touched upon was the idea of having an honest dialogue with yourself. I spoke about it in terms of being a good practitioner; learning to be aware of our limitations, when our buttons are pushed, or we feel under pressure how that will impact on our interactions.
Now as a freelancer and running my own company, I realise I need to take my own medicine and apply the idea of “honest dialogue with self” in a broader context. When you work for yourself, there is so much advice out there about how to structure your time, where to focus, what to do to achieve success. We also see this in the self-improvement market too; endless tips on what to eat, where to meditate, how to be a perfect citizen. Many of these suggestions may be excellent, tried and tested, but it comes down to the honest dialogue again: one size doesn’t fit all and even with good intentions we can end up feeling as though we are spinning in circles of conflicting advice and ideals. So the question becomes: What works for you?
I’ll give you a personal example to illustrate. With regards to my company, I keep reading articles about goal setting, forward planning as the keys to success. What do these articles do for me? I become nervous and begin to feel that I will never succeed? Why? Because I am a creative and flexible personality. Whilst they are perfect for others, strict self-rules and fixed plans are counterproductive for me – I instantly want to break them. Instead, I do what I call intention setting – reaching for an ideal without the strict rule. Language is very powerful – if I say, “right I must write to 100 people this week about PACT Creative Training” I instantly procrastinate and find other things that need doing more urgently. If I say “ this week, I will make time to contact organisations who I would like to work with” that appeals to my personality and I will probably end up contacting more than the ideal I decided upon.
So, it comes back to the honest dialogue. It’s great to learn and be inspired by others but as ever, comparison is futile and counter productive. That works for me – what works for you?