Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Present and Protect

One of the trickiest parts of a freelance world (or, perhaps, any work world that changes) is the need to be both eager in the face of opportunity and self-protective in the face of disappointment. Do you want (or even just need) whatever is being offered? If you don't appear as though you do--really do--you are unlikely to get it. You research, you prepare, you practice, you anticipate. You are ready--in appearance, in attitude, in availability. Yet, odds being what they are in the job market, all of your top-notch preparation and unbridled enthusiasm may be met with no result at all. And, while rejection is rarely a good thing, the fall you take from that high limb you put yourself out on can be a long one, its impact literally crushing.

So, how do we present our best selves while protecting our best selves from the blow?

We commit to the possibility of life change, but don't change our lives until someone commits to us.

We do our homework, but we don't allow our well-being to depend on the grade.

We smile when we go in, and we stay smiling when we come out. Because smiling isn't just about how we present ourselves to others, it's about how we live with ourselves when there's no one to present to.

And we don't change ourselves for real until there's really something to change for.

Between presentation and protection, there is a best self that we can live with. And in a world in which we are regularly called upon to choose one or the other, we can be far more content when we opt for both.

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