Let's Apply Some CPR to Our Freelance Careers and Living
by Chris King

This is always a good time of year in which to reflect on where we've been and where we are going. It is also the perfect opportunity to plan ways to infuse our careers as free agents, independent professionals, and freelancers with extra "life." So, let's give them some CPR. C stands for Consistency; P stands for Patience; and R stands for Responsibility. What do I mean? Read the article to find out.

C stands for Consistency. How consistent are you in pursuing the areas important for your future? Free agents, independent consultants, and freelancers tend to fall into the class known as "Creatives." Creative people often jump from one task to another, which keeps us enthusiastic, always thinking and busy. But, the downside is that we don't add the consistency needed for success to our marketing, our setting and pursuing the necessary goals, our life-long learning, our networking, and to the overall strategy of our business.

I will compare this to physical fitness. I teach ten to eleven group fitness classes a week. There are students who attend classes on a regular basis and schedule. These are the ones who see progress, get fit and stay fit. There are others who start out attending with enthusiasm (often in January after making New Year's resolutions), even to the point of overdoing, and before long are no longer with us. In a few months, they show up again this time to "definitely lose those extra pounds (which have crept up during the interim)" and very often overdo to the point of injury or repeating the same cycle again and again.

Consistency pays off!
It is not easy to set a particular schedule for all of the tasks we have to perform as independent professionals - I know. My greatest challenge it to keep my life on track. How consistently do you market, even when you have more projects than you can handle? How consistently do you take time to set written goals and review them? How consistently do you take classes and read the latest books and magazines in your areas of interest and career aspirations? How consistently do you take the time to attend networking events and meetings and/or stay in touch with people you can help or can help you in the future? Have you taken the time to form a business strategy and do you follow it consistently? Lot's of questions to ask yourself!

P stands for Patience. How patient are you about waiting for the results? As creative people, we are always generating new and exciting ideas. The problem is that we may pursue the new idea for a short time. Then when nothing happens quickly, we abandon that idea or practice and try something else. I am not suggesting that you stick with one and only one idea. I am suggesting, however, that I have found that if I pursue a good idea consistently, and remain patient, I reap the rewards and benefits eventually. Lack of patience and belief that an idea will work with time are the enemies!

Let's return to my fitness metaphor. Many who start attending my classes are in a hurry to see results. When they tell me they are disappointed, "I have dieted and worked out on a consistent schedule for three weeks and haven't noticed a drop in pounds," I try to assure them that they are making progress and need to be patient. Over the years, I have learned that if I keep plugging away and have faith that it will pay off - and I am not a patient person at heart - it does. At the risk of sounding trite, I have discovered that it is true that the seeds we plant today will grow and help us reap the rewards of tomorrow - but only if we are patient!

R stands for Responsibility. We are the ones who are responsible for ourselves and our lives. Even though I know that bad things can happen to good people, I also know that we are responsible for how we react to those "bad things." Yes, even when life isn't fair (and it often isn't), even when we suffer rejection (and a lot abounds for free agents, independent professionals and freelancers), and even when we are out of work and out of money (I've been there, and it isn't fun), I still know that I am responsible for my life and my situation.

I can sit around (or lie down), moan, groan and complain about the problems and vicissitudes of my life, or I can take responsibility and move forward. I may sound like a Pollyanna, but if there is one lesson I've learned it is that Earl Nightingale was correct when he said that the World's Greatest Secret is, "We become what we think about all day long." If we believe that no matter how hard our life's position appears to be at the time, if we take responsibility for our thoughts and our future, apply our ideas on a consistent basis and remain patient, we will succeed. It may not happen immediately, and we may have to change direction several times, but we - and you - will "make it."

So, apply CPR to your life and career, and 2006 will be your best year yet! CPR is my gift to all of you, my wonderful readers. Keep in touch!

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