How I Can Improve My Thinking
I spent a lot of my professional life as a freelancer. As a freelancer, if there’s work to be done – you do it. If there’s a decision to be made – you make it. If there’s a question to be answered – you answer it. For me there was a sense of isolation and loneliness about it.
I was thirty nine years old when I started my first full time job in a company where I was part of a team and the difference was a revelation to me. If this environment is where you’ve spent most of your career, it may be hard to appreciate how much of a relief it can be to share the workload, questions and decisions across a team. Suddenly you have access to a wealth of knowledge, skills and experience that is greater than your own.
When I work on independent projects I sometimes slip back into the ‘old way’ of thinking.
- That I need to come up with the perfect answer or solution
- That I need to do it on my own
The thing is, while the buck stops with me and I’m the person who is responsible for shipping the project, there is nothing stopping me from assembling a team of collaborators and advisors to help.
I saw a great example of this in the past week in a group where like-minded people have assembled in a community online to discuss questions and ideas about their business.
A good friend of mine shared one of her answers with the group and as I read it I admired how concise and well communicated her response was. As I followed the discussion thread I watched as other generous people shared their thoughts about what she’d written and challenged her to consider her point from different perspectives.
Reading the chain of comments and replies on her post, I could almost visualise my friend taking a step back from her first answer and examine it, prod it from different angles and test how it might stand up when considered from other points of reference.
The result was a re-considered answer that had now been validated by a number of different readers as being clear and effective. By having her thinking encouraged and challenged in generous ways, my friend ended up with a response that was stronger and more indicative to her real intention than the original.
Maybe like me, you sometimes need to step back and remember you don’t need to do everything on your own. Most likely there are lots of people willing to level up and help us if we know where to look for them and how to ask.
Within your current network, who are the people that are good to see for advice? They may not show up literally wearing these badges, but look seek out the colleagues who have trodden this path before you, the friends who encourage and motivate you and the teachers and coaches who help you think more clearly.
You might contact them each independently or you can investigate beginning your own mastermind group. Look around and you may see where other people are congregating (online or in person). People who think about the things you think about, or do the work you seek to do.
Being independent as a solo artist/creative, a freelancer or an entrepreneur doesn’t mean you have to do it all alone and you certainly shouldn’t need to reinvent the wheel every time. Sometimes our creativity wants to do everything differently when in reality, adding our own twist is often more effective than starting from scratch.
If you’ve already formed or found a great group of people who help you think better, or you’re currently looking for something like this, send me a message at [email protected]