Learning is hard

As an employee, learning on the job is very easy as you have access to a solid support structure of managers and colleagues to help you on your journey. However, as a freelancer you don’t have any such luxury: it’s just you, your computer and your clients. Whereas managers will give you constructive feedback on work that you do, in a ‘nice’ way, clients won’t always be that friendly – because they’re paying you for a service, they expect what you deliver to be perfect. However, if and when you deliver something that doesn’t meet their expectations – not, necessarily, because it’s of a poor quality – they will tell you exactly what they think of it – and unfortunately sometimes in non-complimentary terms…

I’ve been in this situation many a time before and, in my younger years, I would take this criticism very, very personally – as an attack on myself – as I feel that my work is a part of me – my child – and by criticising my work the client was criticising me. I’ve gotten better, over the years, in terms of separating myself from my work – and clients’ feedback. However, sometimes I still don’t get it right. I recently read something that has helped me view this type of feedback in a different light.

I am privileged to be a partner in the Partners for Possibility programme and part of the reading material we were given is a book called The Art of Possibility by Ros and Ben Stander. The premise of this book is that there are possibilities everywhere – you just need to open your eyes and know where to look for these.
Towards the end of the book, the Standers talk about various ways you can handle challenges that come your way. They say that you need to view them not from the point of view of “Why did this happen to me?” but rather thinking “Why did this state of affairs come into my life?” If you adopt the first state of mind, you’ll always be a victim and will constantly be in a position of powerlessness. However, if you ask why something came into your realm of consciousness, you’ll be in a position of power and will thus be in a better space to deal with the challenge that has befallen you.

People have different ways of dealing with situations that happen to them. What’s yours?