Freelance: Taking a Break

March 24, 2011

Backyard

When I decided to quit my fast-paced agency job to go freelance I had all these dreams about living a simple life. Dreams about designing beautiful work. Dreams about keeping my home cozy and clean and filled with smells of fresh homemade bread. But then I found that kicking off my new career in freelance was time-consuming and emotional. I felt guilty for not making as much money as I was used to. And work still felt like work.

So then I took a month off to trek in the Himalayas. I found peace in each step and each breath. I came home recharged. I redefined success for myself – and it had little to do with how much money I was bringing in. I decided to measure success not only by the quality of my work but with the quality of my life.

The thing is – it’s very much in my nature to be on edge. To be overly critical and harsh on myself. To be unsatisfied with good enough. So, I put it out there and told the Universe to bring it on – let’s see how much I can handle. And the Universe listened and was all “oh, it’s already been brought.” That’s when you all, my amazing clients, started emailing me and hiring me and filling up my chalkboard wall with project after project. I’ve been avoiding my profit/loss sheet since the beginning of the year but last week when I sneaked a peek I learned that over the past three months I’ve been making as much money as I was at my 9-to-5 job – maybe more. I got this huge boost of confidence – I fist-pumped the air and said “SUCCESS!”

But with that, I managed to forget that even when I’m making lots of money that I still shouldn’t measure my success with it. And when I take a good hard look at my quality of life over the last month or two it’s been suffering. I’ve been buzzing with anxiety and hard feelings.

So this is The Universe telling me to slow down. To take time in the middle of the day to sweat it out and soak up some sun. To take time to design each project I take on with my whole heart. The Universe is telling me to take a good hard look at what it is that I want – which doesn’t involve working into the evenings and weekends to keep up. The Universe is telling me to take afternoon breaks to enjoy a slow cup of tea and bread made from scratch. To not feel so impatient and hurried with every little thing I do.

BradfordPear

The Universe is telling me to stop and smell the Bradford Pears in bloom – which also happen to smell like super-fun-dirty-sexy-times.

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