Building Courage at Work
Being freelance can feel isolating and uncertain at the best of times. Put that into the context of a global pandemic, working alone from home while juggling other responsibilities and these feelings can be magnified. The small, human connections we have with customers and our business networks on a daily basis can have a large impact on our sense of confidence and value. So how can we make these small interactions as encouraging and real as possible?
1. Be open about some of the challenges of working in these times (and give others space to do the same)
When people have named some of the difficulties they face or emotions they are feeling I have felt able to do the same. Being appropriately honest and vulnerable gives others permission to be also.
2. Acknowledge the differences that a changed home environment might bring for some
This might be the recognition that you are unfazed by/welcoming of visiting children or pets on Zoom calls. Once it’s been said, it helps others to relax into the human-ness of working in these times. The reality that work and home and emotional wellbeing all intersect.
3. Be generous on social media
Your comment, share or positive reaction to someone else’s post might just open up a new network for them or give them a tiny hit of affirmation on a difficult day. Let’s try to make social media as positive and generous a space as possible.
4. Be descriptive in your feedback to others
So instead of just saying “it’s been great working with you,” try stating the specific reasons (like “I appreciated how you really listened to the message I wanted to get across and asked questions at different stages to clarify the vision”). Specific feedback serves as a great testimonial too.
We may be communicating across large geographical distances, but every small interaction in our day is a chance to encourage someone else and reduce a sense of isolation. When we encourage others, we ‘put courage in.’ We don’t know what the future will bring, but we face it better with increased doses of courage.