1. Refer to your favourite inspirational story
Reading or remembering an inspirational story can provide just the spark to lift your spirits again. Your favourite inspirational story doesn’t have to relate to business either, it can relate to a friend’s triumph, your favourite sportsperson’s victory, a scientist’s achievement and so on.
Here’s an interesting post I read on the Humans of New York Facebook page about Barack Obama. Not only is it a raw account of how he felt during some difficult pre-president times, but it’s also a source of useful strategies on how he overcame negative, work-related feelings to eventually achieve the highest office in the land.
“I first ran for Congress in 1999, and I got beat. I just got whooped. I had been in the state legislature for a long time, I was in the minority party, I wasn’t getting a lot done, and I was away from my family and putting a lot of strain on Michelle. Then for me to run and lose that bad, I was thinking maybe this isn’t what I was cut out to do. I was forty years old, and I’d invested a lot of time and effort into something that didn’t seem to be working. But the thing that got me through that moment and any other time that I’ve felt stuck, is to remind myself that it’s about the work. Because if you’re worrying about yourself – if you’re thinking: ‘Am I succeeding? Am I in the right position? Am I being appreciated?’ – then you’re going to end up feeling frustrated and stuck. But if you can keep it about the work, you’ll always have a path. There’s always something to be done.”
2. Disassociate yourself for a while
Although it’s a difficult strategy, the act of walking away and doing something else can immediately lift your spirits.
At the very least, leave your desk or work space and walk through a doorway, studies have shown that it can reset your brain.
3. Imagine the alternative
While it’s true that soloism has its fair share of challenges, some of which seem insurmountable on sucky days, these challenges generally don’t compare to the alternative: working for someone else!
When you feel frustrated, consider the alternative, and you might just break the cycle of sucky-ness for that day. Perhaps the alternative is that you’d be making a long, frustrating commute to a small, joyless office where the only highlight is the steady income and regular pen theft? Perhaps you’d be spending less time with family and friends? Perhaps you’d be drained of motivation and joy, and dreaming of life as a soloist?
4. Read testimonials
If you’re ever doubting your skills or feeling like an imposter: read through your testimonials, watch your video testimonials and/or read emails where clients have sung your praises. These kind words can boost your confidence and transform the face of your day.
5. Be part of a community
A problem shared is a problem halved, so become involved in a community related to your industry. In fact, why not consider being an active part of the Flying Solo community? You can garner encouragement and support in the forums and on social media.
With these five strategies under your belt, you can turn those sucky soloist days back into sparkling, productive ones.
What are your thoughts on these strategies? How do you lift your spirits on sucky, yucky days?