After a few busy, hectic weeks of wedding mania, I’ve now settling back into the mundane routine of my day-to-day.
I prefer keeping a maddeningly Olympic-speed frenzied professional pace. It suits my quasi-Type A personality and affords me the mental stimulation to keep my brain cells from dying off at an exponential rate.
While I’ve never resorted to recreational drug use and drink maybe twice a year (and mostly on Jewish holidays when it’s mandated), I’m still neurotic about my mind slowing down.
I’m sure it’s an age thing – up there with my teeth going yellow in the near future from too much caffeine and the brow lines that have prematurely crept their way unto my face. Getting old happens, but having too much time too think about such uncontrollable circumstances really doesn’t have to. It just means you’re not actively preoccupied enough with stuff that really interests you.
It’s easy to love yourself when you’re too busy to care. It’s another thing to muster enough confidence to feel the same when you’re experiencing a drought.
So while I await all the new professional opportunities that are bound to come my way (even in this slowish economy), I’ve decided to make a list of all the banal, albeit useful ways that I could choose to occupy my time:
- Make an appointment with the dentist. It’s gross to think I’ve gone 4 years without getting a cleaning.
- Order new set of contact lenses and update my lenses for my glasses. Never underestimate the importance of proper lighting and a good pair of respectable, stylish glasses, especially when you spend your days and nights on the computer. Your eyes are your most coveted asset, apart from your growing ass which makes for a good cushion.
- Maybe read the first of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series I’ve heard so many good things about. This one is a more timely to-do as when the Twilight movie comes out, I will never end up reading the book. Why bother?
- Discover and try new recipes from The Book of New Israeli Food, a wonderful cookbook my mother-in-law gave me months ago.
- Use my Best Buy $100 coupon to buy a much-needed vacuum cleaner, but might treat myself to Rafael Nadal Tennis for Wii instead.
- Go see Tropic Thunder with my husband and laugh our asses off. I think we’ve earned it…
The closing ceremonies for the 2008 Beijing Olympics are just around the corner and already I’m experiencing a bit of choked-up nostalgia about the thought of having to say goodbye to all the star athletes whose faces I’ve come to know and respect over the past two weeks (and who will most likely will go on to loftier endorsement deals than they might have dreamed their Olympic feats could ever carry them.)
In her most recent post, Escape from Cubicle Nation blogger Pamela Slim writes about channelling Olympic gold motivation to finish her book and how watching these superstars’ rise to excellence has transformed the way she disciplines herself and her overall work ethic.
It got me thinking to how the 2008 Olympics sharply contrasted all my previous years of watching. This might have something to do with some of the setbacks in my own life over the past year, but for the first time this year I watched athletes fall (a lot) or simply come up short either with their own goals or from the expectations others had of them.
To sum it up, I watched people we all put up on a pedestal take major spills and it took me a while to digest and make sense of all this.
I used to find these athletes infallible – incapable of human error. And while watching superhero Michael Phelps beat another athlete by 1/100th of a second was fascinating (more for technological reasons), watching U.S. gymnast Alicia Sacramone fall from grace off the balance team to dash her team’s chances of finding gold only to have her bounce back a few days later in the womens’ individuals with a stellar performance on the vault to lose to someone who couldn’t even stick the landing was somehow even more awe-inspiring because it proved that while some chapters may end without redemption in sight, the journey will go on and might even lead to better breaks.
In this year’s Olympics for the first time in history we had a 41-year-old mother compete in the highly competitive and youth-favored sport of swimming and while Gold-medal favored Dara Torres had to settle for second best with a silver in her individual race, she extended a gracious smile and a show of enthusiasm for her peer that took gold.
She also showed that getting gold or being #1 isn’t everything. Sometimes just showing up and participating and giving your all really can be enough, even if you still end up feeling less than the best.
And last but not least, pint-sized male gymnast, Jonathan Horton wins silver in the uneven bars after he daringly improvises and adds two difficult high-risk elements to his well-oiled routine at the last minute days before the competition.
His high stakes gambling antics solidifying the notion that even when everything’s in your favor, success is really one big crap shoot in the end.
I’ve been living la freelancing vida loca lately and enjoying the grind quite a bit. Between web copywriting gigs and generating entrepreneurship content, I’ve kept myself busy enough to feel productively sane.
I’ve also benefited from a bit of “trialing.” It’s a term endeared to consultants and employers who’ve taken on enough stringers in their lifetime to know that there’s such a thing as over-promising on a relationship that might not work out.
The same concept applies to us lowly stringers on the opposite end coming from a place where I’ve signed on to work for/with someone only to realize a few weeks into it, that it just wasn’t meant to be.
I liken trialing to boot camp for contractors. It’s like getting a scholarship to go to school and have your education paid for by a benefactor. In this case, it happens to be a potential employer and the trade-off is a week or two of intensely hard work and crunch time which either leads to landing the gig or getting your stomach punched in – figuratively.
So having been put through some trialing recently with some new clients I engaged through virtually networking my little tush off, I’ve come to realize the benefits of trialing far outweigh the cons.
- Commitment-free means fewer facial lines: Being a successful freelancer demands you try your hand at many different jobs before you can pick the ones that are right for you. This also translates to having the time available to do this which means before you commit, do yourself a favor and walk the walk. You’ll be less stressed out for it!
- Choosy freelancers choose the best gigs: Don’t be afraid to turn down something you don’t really want to do. If you can swing it financially and have enough on the backburner (even if it’s on a low flame), then respectfully decline the project, but don’t burn the contact. Your contact will respect that you were self-aware enough of your enthusiasm (or lack thereof) to let this project go, not to mention considerate enough to be upfront with them.
- Juggle freely but don’t lose focus: Be mindful of learning curves while trialing. Most of the time what on average might take you half the time once you’ve mastered the rhythm of a particular project and aren’t reinventing the wheel each time, will take you double or 3X the time in the beginning. Be patient with yourself and factor in the excess time when taking on a lot of trial gigs at once.
- Flat rates work best: I remember feeling so guilty when I charged a client an hourly rate for my first assignment and it took me twice the time it should have. I felt pressured to get it done faster so as not to charge too high while trying to put my best foot forward and make a good impression so I could land more work. Recently, when a new client approached me and suggested a flat rate for copy for the first two sites she commissioned me to work on, I was able to to take my precious time and make sure that I got the copy down pat before sending it off to the “printer.”