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.

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Comments

  1. says

    This article hit home with me. Being a younger designer I still find myself searching for my true place among this enormous field, constantly jumping on articles that give advice for ‘finding your passion’ or ‘being successful doing what you love’ and so on.

    Only problem is, these vast numbers of articles and advice available have been throwing me in different directions every other day! So recently I’ve learned to settled down on the research and try to find what I personally feel is my passion and my own steps to success.

    Good read, and a great reminder of what’s important.

  2. says

    In my opinion, reading tips and advices from so called experts on various blogs can be a good thing but you seriously don’t need to follow each of them.

    I enjoy reading these articles a lot myself but just try to get the essence out of them in order to see if one or two suggestions might improve my workflow or enrich my lifestyle in some way.

    After all, anybody got to gain experiences on their own anyway.

  3. says

    Great Post Laura!
    Advice from “experts” or anyone else should never change your passion, nor your pursuit of that passion in a fundamental way. Advice can change small things, a process, a way of doing a system, but in the end, you are responsible for what you are truly doing in your field.

  4. says

    I think a lot of people are easily influenced by what others say …. including myself. I really have to tell myself every now and then: this is not me, I do what I do in my own way. Off course I do learn somethings from all those articles out there but I suppose its more a matter of the message that you read between the lines.

  5. says

    With so many experts, guru’s, and coaches it can be difficult. I have learned to completely ignore my inner voice. It keeps me up at night and fills my mind with doubt.

    For me, being annoyingly persistent with programming logic to find a solution has worked best in many situations. The best advice I could give, trial by fire.

  6. says

    This is a good reminder post.

    Nobody knows you better than you and as a freelancer, it’s important that you stay happy. Freelancing can be just as trapping as a 9-to-5 job otherwise.

    If you’re unhappy doing what you’re doing, work your way into another area of the field or another field completely. If that inner voice is saying to move more into illustration or whatever, move that way. It’s okay to follow advice of experts (fake or not) to see if you enjoy doing what they recommend. If you don’t though, there’s no reason to stick to it. And there’s no point in following them in the first place if you feel it’s not right for you.

  7. says

    Thanks to everyone who chimed in with their opinion. It’s important to review advice carefully to make sure that it really fits your situation.

    Keep the comments and experiences coming. :-)

  8. says

    This is a thought-provoking piece Laura. How often do we allow our ego to drown out our intuition? I’ve learned to listen the small still voice.

    The biggest challenge is to do what you love doing, AND enjoy it while others tell you that you should be doing something else.

    Realize that we each have inner Guidance which is Perfect. The intuition always knows which way to take you. How do you tune into it? Be quiet. Learn to meditate. Trust your feelings. When you feel bad you’re heading in the wrong direction. When your work feels like work it’s not meant to be your work.

    Each act should be light, effortless, and enjoyable. Impossible? Not really when you learn to listen to your intuition and ignore everything else. This takes practice but the rewards are limitless.

    I’m not at the point of following my intuition 24-7…..yet…..but the more I tune in and block out life becomes easier and I know what I’m doing is what God put me here for.

  9. says

    A cool article. i must admit that sometime listening your inner voice helps you out in achieving waht you want and i have achieved a lot and recently by accepting the offer i got the job of seo consultant and that’s a thing which i wanted from last couple of days

  10. says

    As a young freelancer, I’m always on the lookout for articles and entries with helpful information that’ll improve the way I work and that’ll help me succeed. I always tell myself to never be too proud to learn from the “experts” and that I’ll become a better freelancer if I apply their tips/advice/suggestions to the way I work.

    This article made me stop and think if maybe I should sit back on my chair and ask myself if I’m happy with the way things are going at the moment. Thank you so much Laura.

  11. says

    Hi,

    For people with low self esteem, their inner voice will be their own worst enemy, their saboteur and critic, constantly belittling their efforts, punishing their mistakes and criticizing.

    If we are struggling with doing what we really want to in life check out what our inner voice is saying to us. Ultimately, this is your voice, it’s in your head, so you have complete control over it and that’s the thing you need to remember.

    Give ourselves time to really immerse ourselves in positive statements and to make them a natural part of your life. This is a journey, not a quick fix and need the patience to keep affirming when our inner voice decides to do otherwise.

  12. says

    A very good article. I always stuck to my gut feel, no matter what others said. I like to explore other genres just to get a feel of it. Otherwise, I’m good at doing my own stuff.
    The inner voice is what propels me further on. Sometimes, the inner voice too does throw some doubts about our strengths… but we need to sit down and feed it that you want to do it, no matter what the outcome. That is exactly what I’m doing now, in a new city with practically no contacts, but only dreams.
    Thanks for the good article.

  13. says

    So many people lose track of listening to their inner voice (including myself), but not listening to it ends with such devastating consequences.

    Thanks for the reminder!

  14. says

    This is great advice, listening to your inner voice is extremely important. Being happy in your work means you’ll be happy in the other areas of your life, and you’ll ultimately produce higher quality results for your clients.

    Do what you love, the money will come!

    http://werkadoo.com

  15. says

    As a young freelancer, I’m always on the lookout for articles and entries with helpful information that’ll improve the way I work and that’ll help me succeed. I always tell myself to never be too proud to learn from the “experts” and that I’ll become a better freelancer if I apply their tips/advice/suggestions to the way I work.

    This article made me stop and think if maybe I should sit back on my chair and ask myself if I’m happy with the way things are going at the moment. Thank you so much Laura.

  16. says

    As a young freelancer, I’m always on the lookout for articles and entries with helpful information that’ll improve the way I work and that’ll help me succeed. I always tell myself to never be too proud to learn from the “experts” and that I’ll become a better freelancer if I apply their tips/advice/suggestions to the way I work.

    This article made me stop and think if maybe I should sit back on my chair and ask myself if I’m happy with the way things are going at the moment. Thank you so much Laura.

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