In this week’s episode of The Freelancers Show the panel discusses the importance of defining success. Jeremy Green explains why this concept of defining what success means to you is so important. Without success behind defined you might put your nose to the grindstone and miss your own success. Inversely you might be grinding away, missing the signs that what you are doing isn’t taking you to success and you need to stop and reevaluate.
The panel considers some of the obvious signs of success like key performance indicators. Are you making enough to pay your bills, save and play? It is easy to think success is making a million dollars. If that is your definition of success, the panel explains that you will all your success along the way. They invite everyone to sit down and really think of what success means to you. How do you want to spend your time? Are you doing something you love? Do you want to spend more time with friends and family?
Jeremy explains why he wanted to talk about this topic. He went to a conference and this seemed to come up a lot during talks at the conference. It can be hard to reconcile how you feel about success when looking at other people and their circumstances. Deciding what success means to you can help guide your life and get rid of some of that uncertainty.
Erik explains the hedonic treadmill, which shows a phenomenon that says highs from successes wear off fasters than the pain of failure. No matter how high you climb there is always someone higher and your success of getting where you are is forgotten as you attempt to catch the person above you. If you set goals then you can more easily see the success as the come along.
Jeremy shares some of his success criteria. He realized at this conference that he was doing well enough in freelancing and consulting that could pull back and focus more on other things he has been wanting to improve. He realized he got sidetracked and started grinding towards saving as much money as he could for retirement. By figuring out his goals, he saw that was actually doing much better than he thought and didn’t need to grind so much.
Erik describes a similar moment of realization for him at the end of 2016. He was feeling pretty burnt out from traveling, so he sat down and quantified all his work for that year and decide what he wanted out of his lifestyle and made goals in his work life to help him reach that lifestyle.
Erik explains that by not having explicit goals, implicit goals be pressed on us by our surroundings. The panel considers how in this world there is never enough money, but by defining our earning goals and deciding what is enough for us, we can find success in more than one way.
The panel considers how easily freelancers can get carried away overworking and pushing themselves. Employees have an employer that won’t let them overwork, employees have gaurd rails that protect them from this sort of abuse. Freelancers constantly feel that pressure to use their time wisely, to do more. By defining success, you give yourself a way to take an objective look and say I am doing well, I can’t take the night off.
Erik shares his approach to this process. He explains that he starts by looking at his life and what will make him happy and work his goals back to work from there. He gives tips on how to quantify qualitative things in your life so you can evaluate your success.
The definition you give to success is very personal and will differ for each person. The panel considers it from a Maslow’s Hierarchy of business standpoint. The survival needs being are you staying afloat and the different needs moving up a pyramid all the way up to self-actualization or success.
Finally, the panel discusses the need to define failure as well as success. It’s important to know when to bail out or reevaluate a situation.
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