As a freelancer, there’s one thing that you have full responsibility for – your own happiness and emotional wellbeing. However, it can be easy though to forget why you chose freelancing in the first place as your workload increases and you become more focused on cash flow and your next job or project. It’s also easy to feel isolated and alone, as you don’t have people around you to connect with or bounce ideas off on a daily basis.
Take a few minutes now to recall why you chose to go become a freelancer? Was it because it just excited you or you felt that it was really your passion in life? Did you relish the opportunity to do what you’re great at while enjoying the flexibility of being your own boss?
Now, think back over the past two weeks: how often have you actually felt excited and happy about your chosen career? It’s actually always a good idea to regularly re-align with the key reasons you decided to do what you do and be proactive about making sure it still makes you happy. Do this and you’ll avoid some of the pitfalls of working alone.
The Science of Happiness at Work
Based in the field of positive psychology the phrase “The Science of Happiness” refers to a broad empirical field of research and application worldwide based.
The results of this research showed that there are five core elements, (the 5 C’s), that impact people in terms of having a happiness mindset and also avoid some of the common pitfalls of working alone. These 5 c’s can be incorporated into any field of work whether you are a solopreneur, coach, speaker or owner of a large organisation.
Here are some of my top tips for owning and developing your freelance happiness mindset
1) Contribution – This is what you do every day
- Share your achievements with others so that they can recognise you too. You can celebrate with others even if you work alone!
- Get positive feedback even if you have to go out and seek this. Working as a freelancer can be isolating so make an effort to ensure you get what you need by proactively eliciting it from others
2) Conviction – This is your short term motivation.
- Your motivation is impacted by your feelings of Competence, Connectedness and Choice. Always aim to leverage upon your strengths, the things that energise you and bring you strength, in your work.
- If you need something done which isn’t a strong point, find an outsourcer who can do this for you. You have the power to choose what you do and when you do it – it is your business! (Isn’t this one of the reasons you wanted to freelance anyway?)
3) Culture – This is your feeling of ‘fitting in’
Hopefully, if this is your business your culture should be great!
- Do you relish your job? Great – Do more of it! If not, then take responsibility for changing some aspects. Check in to make sure you are focusing on your strengths and the things which energise you.
- Do you feel in control of your daily activities? You are the author of your own diary so make sure you make great choices for yourself.
- Focus on keeping your network current and nurturing- so it doesn’t feel like you’re operating alone. Choose people who support you and maintain regular contact.
4) Commitment – This is your long term engagement in your business.
- The happiest people, those who achieve their potential, are those who believe they make a difference. Does your work fit in with your purpose? Do you have the feeling that you make a difference? If not, then what needs to change? What do you need to do more / less of?
- This is about having a sense of belief in yourself and in your career.
5) Confidence – this is about
- Getting things done- this is that whole sense of achievement. Focus on getting the right things completed, the important things done that will make a difference to you, your business and your customers.
- Do you believe in yourself and your abilities? Remind yourself of what you have achieved. Get others to remind you too about what you are capable of and what they believe are your strengths.
Really, it doesn’t matter what your chosen career path is. You can choose to make it work for you or against you. Why not spend a few hours this week making sure that you have set you and your business up for success? It can make a huge difference in avoiding professional loneliness.