Changing your life’s trajectory is hard work. Countering the status quo is the equivalent of pushing your way through a crowd of people going in the opposite direction. The wave of human bodies tries to pull you into its wake. Instead, you’re desperate to make your way upstream, going against the grain.
No matter how long you’ve been at the game of reinvention, or even if you’re just getting started, at some point, you’ll smash up against your tipping point. By that I mean that your plate will be so full that one mere task, personal request, or rejection will push you over the edge. You’ll flame out, melt down, or be sent reeling for a few days, a week, or worse, spiraling out of control for an extended stretch.
Do you remember the game, The Last Straw, from the 1960s? It’s the one with the camel on wheels, and the plastic straws you could add to baskets on either side. Each player took turns adding a colored straw to the basket until the camel’s back is broken (when the two humps touch). Sometimes things build and you feel just like that camel, trying to keep your humps from touching, from the weight of all the “straws” you’re carrying around, with new ones added daily.
Juggling various projects simultaneously is a quality that experienced consultants and free agents possess. At the same time, there’s a fine line that you’re forced to walk when you’re a free agent. First and foremost, you have to deal with the tasks at hand. You also are working various angles, keeping prospects and future work in the pipeline. Neglect the former and you won’t build the type of reputation that results in repeat work, or strong referrals. Forget about the latter and you’ll be on the sidelines soon, or back at a 9-5 corporate gig, hating it, because you can’t generate consistent income.
Success is a balancing act. Burning the candle at both ends, and grinding continuously, can leave you on the sidelines, burnt out, or even out of the game for good. “Work hard, but play harder,” might be a mantra worth adopting. At least you should consider mixing work with things you enjoy. I think this is essential for long-term success.
I’m working at weeding out those things with little or no value. Learning to play and setting aside time during the week for fun will keep you fresh and in the game.
Self-help Tuesdays, every Tuesday @ the JBE; because we all need a little self-help.