• Advice

Feeling behind in your freelance career?

(Art Credit: Karen Fischer)

Hands up if you’ve ever believed your peers are further along/more organized/more successful/generally better than you?

I’m willing to bet nearly all of you have your hand up.  I know I do!

Whether we’re talking about your perception of yourself as a freelancer, entrepreneur, creative, parent, friend, etc. we all have a tendency to believe everyone else has their act together, while we consistently flounder.

This is why when we’re being told we need to set goals so we can finally get it together and become a “new” (read, better) person, can be so hard on us.

We can mistakenly believe that in order to succeed, we need to overhaul every aspect of our lives, shoehorn ourselves into goals, behaviors, and actions that aren’t authentic to us, aligned with what success looks like for us, or that we’re simply not ready for yet.

It’s what drives us to buy yet another online course, to follow the guru promising the 6-step formula to X-outcome, or succumb to compare and despair.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the focus and intentionality that a goal provides me with. But I’ve found that my most expansive, “successful” years were when my goals were driven by what was particularly meaningful and resonant to me. The times I set goals for what I thought I was “supposed” to achieve, were less satisfying or sustainable.

For this exercise, we are going to use the “life map” visual and a few prompts to help orient yourself towards success in your life.

Are you ready?

Life map

creative business coach new york

Using the visual above, reflect on each area in your own life and grade yourself on each section. You may find you feel really strong in love and relationships, but less so in finance. Or you might be on solid financial ground, but realize your relationships or community ties don’t feel as strong as you’d like. This is a judgment free zone. What you learn will give you insights into what areas would be the most meaningful for you to set your goals around.

Because we can’t focus on too many things at once, I recommend you choose 1-2 areas (max) to prioritize this year.

Next up, check out the prompts below and write what comes up for you.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned journaler or a complete skeptic, I invite you to give it a try.  There’s something about the brain/hand connection that helps us tap into our own wisdom, process, and define the next step.


  • What would progress in my chosen areas look like?
  • What would making progress in those areas look like? (get specific)
  • What would making progress in these areas mean to me and my family?
  • What current thoughts, habits, or behaviors are keeping me from making progress?
  • What thoughts, habits, or behaviors would I need to cultivate to make progress?
  • What support do I need?
  • Who or what could help me?

How do you feel?  Maybe you’re experiencing the good feeling rush that comes with a little clarity and a good next step to take. Or perhaps you have mixed emotions and feel a bit overwhelmed by it all.

Wherever you are, I encourage you to bring curiosity rather than judgment to whatever you see, trust the timing of your life, and move forward at your own pace.

I’m here, cheering you on!

Justine Clay is a business coach, speaker, writer & ADHD coach for freelancers & entrepreneurs. Sign up for her free guide: Pricing Creativity: Creative Business Pricing Guide for Freelancers & Small Agencies.

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