I spent my whole life planning to manage botanical gardens.
I was a 17 year old going on vacation with my parents taking pictures of interpretative signage at Disney World. So when, at age 27 or so I had an abrupt career change, I felt like my whole life went up in flames.
For a minute.
(Ok a day. I got in bed and cried for a day. I really really loved managing botanical gardens but I had just bought a house and you have to more if you want a job at a different garden. So yeah, I had to change careers.)
This was in December 2007 and “gig economy” wasn’t a word. Freelancing was something people did if they couldn’t get a real job. Or it was something that high-flying New York City folk did. It was NOT a “normal” career path.
HAHAHAHAHAH I DID NOT CARE. I was desperate to have a job at a time when the job market was teetering on the edge of a free fall. I googled “working from home,” and somehow managed to avoid MLM schemes. I found Elance (now UpWork) and started writing blog posts for $10 a pop. I talked about that in my last email. I charge more than 20-40 times that now.
That Christmas I had lunch with my friends from college. “Oh, I’m ok,” I told them. “I’m going to do everything that I was doing (writing botanical garden newsletters, emails, creating educational programs, helping with fundraising projects, etc. etc. but I’m doing to do it as a FREELANCER! I’ll be a contractor! I will HELP people who NEED it.”
I said this to everyone. “What are you gonna do?” they asked. “I’m going to be an extra set of hands! It’ll be great!”
How many botanical gardens did I work for? Zero.
How long has it been since I started this? 10 years.
Which industry do I still work in? Gardening.
Did I have to get a “real job?” I did, for two years. I applied all over the place and was offered a few jobs. One would have been doing kinda what I had always been doing, but for half the hourly rate. (Not at a garden, but at the City Club.) The other was to do marketing at a shirt factory. (Also for half my hourly rate but with the chance to learn something totally new.) I took that job. They were a multi-million dollar ecommerce business. It’s where I learned to do email marketing.) I worked at that job for two years while I built up my freelance business and then I left.
So I’m not taking about the drinking bar
I’m talking about the possibility bar.(I learned that term here.)
I’m talking about the limits we set on ourselves for what we can achieve.
Apparently I really liked running because I signed up for my first half marathon one month after I started running. I was 70 pounds overweight. I hadn’t even run a full mile. Actually I think I ran one mile without stopping a couple of days before I signed up. I must have thought, “Welp, I can run a mile, something I never thought I could do. I’m sure I can train to run a half marathon.”
The biggest limitation to what we can earn, do, or become is not external circumstances.
The biggest limitation to what we can earn, do, or become is what we tell ourselves.
I simply decided I’d run a half marathon, so I did what I needed to do to run a half marathon.
I decided I was going to be a freelancer and I DID. NOT. GIVE. UP. EVER. on the way to becoming a successful one.
I told myself I wanted to bill six figures. So I did what I needed to do to reach that point.
I’ve told myself that I want to increase my income so I can build up retirement savings and keep up my house.
Instead of telling myself it’s impossible to do that, I’ve told myself it’s possible.
What story are you telling yourself? Because that’s where you’ve set the bar. That’s the limitation you’ve put on yourself. You might have limited what you can achieve with fitness. With the type of client you want to work with. With the number of vacations you want to go on. You might have told yourself a story about how you can be happy with XXX, even if you aren’t really happy with it.
Do you want to do or be or experience something different? Do you need to edit your story?
Bookmarks of the Week
Expert Tips for Taking Group Photos
My friend & colleague Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp found this link and it is full of helpful tips!
I’m reading this novel about a string quartet. It’s really great! Super if you’re a music buff.
Sheet Pan Stir Fry
I make this a lot because it is so easy. I double the sauce.
Not tons of business links because I’ve been visiting my family this week, so the computer has been on a little less. Mom and I went to the Harry Styles concert and it was fabulous! He invited local charities in to set up in the foyer, one of which was Second Helpings. The ladies running the booth said, “Harry and his mom selected us to be here.” (My heart grew six sizes.) His merchandise says “Treat People with Kindness.” I have one of the shirts. And when I wear it, you guys, I feel more motivated to go the extra mile. I can’t wear that shirt and not embody the message. It becomes part of the story I tell myself. “I am someone who treats people with kindness.”
Hope you’ve had a great week and have a great weekend! I’ll see you on the flip side.