Fun fact about me - I love feedback. Ok, maybe that’s weird, but I constantly want to know whether or not I’m doing a good job, how I can improve and what I’ve done well.
However, one of the things I don’t miss at all about office life is the tick-box nature of annual reviews. It brings to my mind a set of arbitrary questions that pits you against people who are nothing like you, not accounting for how you work and what you want out of your job. Then the awkward pay rise conversation ensues – it’s the worst.
Self-employment means working to your own targets and I thrive on that basis, but then who’s going to put you in a room for an hour and give you a big ‘well done’ for smashing them? That is now your job, and we, as a nation, seem to struggle to celebrate successes.
We routinely say we ‘only’ did this or it was ‘just’ that., We struggle to accept compliments and even when we do, we instantly put ourselves down. You know how the conversations go; “You like my coat? Thanks, it’s SO OLD and it was SO CHEAP, I should really get a new one.”
Well, I say "enough!"
When people are kind enough to enquire, I find myself playing down how well my new freelance venture is going. I'll say "it's good" or "work is fine", when in actuality it’s going brilliantly. My work is appreciated, my suggestions are being taken on board, I’m being recommended to others... So, if I’m being honest - I’m crushing it!
I will admit, it feels weird even typing that statement. The idea of giving yourself a compliment and not cracking an accompanying self-deprecating joke is still a bit alien. But it can be done and with no sense of arrogance, but rather with pride – in your work and in yourself.
So, take the time to reflect on your achievements. Maybe it’s once a month, maybe it’s once a year but it needs to be done. Speak to your clients, look back at the work you have produced and be brutally honest with yourself about what went well and what didn’t. Take the time to consider your rates, working hours, and all the other things that you are now in control of. I think you’ll be surprised at how great things are.
Bonus freelance points if you take yourself out for a nice lunch when you do it. You've earned it!