(Art credit: Andrea Hernandez, "The Perks of Quarenteen")
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As freelancers, we often get so caught up in the busyness of client work that we forget (or run out of time!) to work on ourselves. But self-reflection is an essential step to ensuring you can continue showing up and putting in your best work.
As you head into the new year, take some time to sit with yourself and reflect on where you are right now, both professionally and personally — and where you want to be.
Not sure where to start? Here are seven reflection questions that will help you slow down, recharge, and get inspired for the new year ahead!
1. What Inspires Me to Be Creative?
Sure, creativity sometimes comes like a bolt of lightning. But it can also be manufactured. Think back on the times you’ve felt most inspired to create something. Were there any common factors? Maybe most of those occurrences happened at a particular time of day, or after you completed a particular routine. Maybe you were listening to a certain type of music — or no music at all.
Whatever the case, once you’ve identified your muse (or muses), use that knowledge to set yourself a “getting into the creating zone” ritual. Don’t just sit there waiting for inspiration to show up — discipline it into appearing on command.
2. What Kind of Work Excites Me?
Obviously, we all have to do some work that we just don’t enjoy. Freelancing isn’t always going to be fun and exciting, or even interesting. That’s life. But some kinds of work will light you up even on your worst days, and that’s work you should be pursuing as much as possible.
Just as you shouldn’t expect all of your work to be fun, you also shouldn’t force yourself to only do work that bores you. You have a lot of freedom as a freelancer to pick the kinds of clients you work with and the type of work you focus on, so use it!
3. When Do I Feel My Happiest?
Try approaching this question in a similar way as the creativity one. In general, what kinds of activities or experiences precede most of your happy feelings? Getting things done? Talking to a friend? Kicking back with some Taco Bell and an episode of Parks and Rec? How can you consciously incorporate little moments of happiness throughout your day?
Again, you aren’t going to feel happy 100% of the time. But happiness, like creativity, can sometimes be summoned. You just might have to train yourself how to summon it.
4. What Do I Need to Hear Daily?
If you aren’t used to taking care of your needs first, this one might be a little difficult to answer. But trust us, it’s worth figuring out.
If you’re struggling, try thinking about it backwards. What are some things you’ve heard from people around you that made you feel great? That energized and motivated you to keep going, or helped ease your tension?
Then, once you know what you need to hear, communicate that to the people you need to hear it from.
5. What Do I Do Best?
Chances are you already have your elevator pitch down. You know what services you offer and what kind of people you help. But your skills and talents extend beyond your professional offerings.
Are you a good listener? Do you love making people laugh? Do you have a particular knack for managing your time or finding unique solutions to complex problems? How can you use those specialties to enhance your offerings and make your own life easier and more enjoyable?