Taking a 12-day break from the freelance slog to relax in Madrid, Salamanca and Porto finally allowed the chance to reflect on the four months which have passed since returning to Berlin with a mission.
It’s not all been easy and something that’s helped on tougher days is an idea I’ve discussed with a buddy in NZ.
There are also days where you feel like you’re on a roll. You’re unstoppable.
They’re often triggered by one particular event, a little kernel of success that switches your mind into ‘Can-Do’ mode, priming you to succeed.
So, whenever you recognise one of these little nuggets, write it down to create your personal Book of Little Wins.
And then, whenever you need this mindset the most, whip out your book, look for a little win and take action.
Sounds simple, right?
But be careful of the inspiration trap.
Especially if you’re a list person and like writing tiny tasks like ‘Brush your teeth’ just so that you can cross it off.
The same goes for inspirational quotes, which make people feel good and positive that they can achieve something, but, counter-intuitively, reduce the chance that they will actually take action on the inspiration since they already feel like they’ve accomplished something.
I love this rant from Paul Jarvis on the topic of inspiration that disables.
Mental strength and creative progress only happen through the experience and constant practice of putting our skills to work. I don’t want to look at mountain-tops because that’s not going to get me in the shape I need to be in to actually climb mountains.
So, the best way to use the little wins you’ve collected?
Implement one, get excited and use the momentum to actually do the work.
But since this may seem rather theoretical I’ll end with a handful of my own little wins — and photos from Spain & Portugal.
Little Win No.1) Go out of your way to go somewhere you’ve never been, do something you’ve never done or to talk to someone you’ve never met. Turn the inspiration into action.
2. Look back at how far you’ve come (in a week, month, year, etc.) and use this keep on going.
3. Take a compliment at face value and take a moment to be proud of the work that led up to it.
4. Look back at previous successes and realise that, with most, you had no guarantee or clue that it was about to eventuate when it finally did — so keep on pushing until that point.
5. When you’re stressing out over something, take even just one minute to meditate and notice the difference.
6. After giving it some time and space to simply be, bring a new perspective to a situation you previously thought to be unsavable.
7. And finally, recognise when you just need to down tools, stop and either eat something, take a nap, or boost your energy and clear your head with some exercise.
Although many of these may seem quite specific to a flexible freelance or entrepreneurial situation, I believe it’s not just freelancers that could benefit from more little wins in their life. And if you have any similar ideas or little habits to boost your day, please share it with us all in the comments section below!