Why You Should Listen to Your Inner Voice

inner-voiceAre you doing what you really want to be doing?

Are you absolutely sure?

If you’re like many freelancers, you’re voraciously reading everything that you can get your hands on so that you can learn to be the best at what you do. Along the way, some of us take that all of that “success” advice too much to heart. We forget why we started freelancing in the first place.

You’ll know it’s happened to you if freelancing starts to feel more like a chore and less like a passion. Whenever this happens, it’s time to listen to your inner voice again and remember why you started freelancing in the first place.

What Is Your Inner Voice Saying?

At one time, I bet you pretty much knew what your inner voice was saying. Depending on your field, It probably went something this:

  • I love design and I’d like to spend most of time designing.
  • Wouldn’t it be neat if I could earn my living as a writer?
  • It would be great if I had all day to do nothing but program.

Of course, if you have another specialty than those listed, then what you heard was slightly different–but the point is the same. Somewhere along the line, you made a decision to follow your passion.

Now, you’ve forgotten that passion and you’re playing follow the leader. The first success “guru” is telling you to do one thing, and the next business “expert” you read tells you to do exactly the opposite thing.

You’re exhausted trying to keep up with everything and you’re confused. Quite frankly, the joy that you once felt when you started out as a freelancer is nearly gone.

How to Listen

Don’t worry. There’s still hope.

You can recapture your freelancing joy and still take advantage of the advice that is right for you.

In fact, that’s the key–right for you

Each time you read a piece advice, ask yourself “is this right for me?” Compare what the advice is telling you to do with what you wanted to do when you started out.

Is the advice compatible, or does it conflict with your core passion? If you find that the advice contradicts your passion (or if it doesn’t make sense), ignore it. Listening to your inner voice is just that simple.

Not every piece of advice that’s out there is right for every freelancer, and it’s okay to ignore some advice. What works for one freelancer may not work for the next. It doesn’t necessarily mean the first freelancer was wrong (or right). What it does mean is that freelancers are different.

Will This Make You Successful?

I’d love to say “yes.” I really would. I’d love for everyone to succeed as a freelancer. But, the truth is that I really don’t know.

First of all, I don’t really know what your definition of success is. Secondly, I don’t know how skilled you are at your passion. Finally, I don’t know how marketable your passion is.

What I do know is that if you pursue something that you love doing it’s going to show. Your attitude will be better. You’ll treat your clients better. You’ll get along with your family better. If you do have a decent amount of skill, it’s likely you’ll do a better job at your work. These are all good things and they can certainly lead to success.

My Story

A few years ago, it happened to me. I started pursuing a type of writing just because most of the “experts” on writing blogs that I read said that this type of writing was what every freelance writer should be pursuing.

I spent a lot of energy learning about this new type of writing and actually became fairly good at it…and then it happened. I started dreading my projects. I felt as though the energy and creativity were being drained from me.

What did I do?

Even though I’d invested a lot of time and energy learning how to do that new type writing, I started turning those projects down. Making the decision not to accept that type of work was like having a huge burden lifted off my back.

What Do You Think?

Do you invest a lot of time and energy trying to follow “expert” advice? Do you enjoy freelancing as much as you once did?

Share your stories and thoughts in the comments.

Image by liberato