Currently I’m in the midst of a month long ban from my most-used social media outlet, Facebook. I began this abstinence as an experiment in minimalism. The minimalist queries that often run through my head as I’m considering a purchase or deciding if I need to re-home something:
Do I really need this? Does this add value to my life? Does it align with my core values or where I want to be in life?
If the answers are no, for the most part I pass on whatever it is and go on with my life. With Facebook, it was more an unconscious obsession that slipped through. Before I knew it, hours of my life were spent mindlessly scrolling through my newsfeed in the name of keeping up with trends for work and the lives of “friends”. Thankfully my girlfriend called me out on it.
This break has provided the pause I needed to realize this mindless scrolling is the antithesis of some of my primary life goals: being conscious/fully present in the moment and making authentic connections with people.
Fast forward to the last couple days, I’m listening to a podcast with Brené Brown, whose talks and research I adore and the show’s host, Jonathan Fields. In their conversation they discuss how each act of courage begins by putting yourself in a vulnerable position. Taking risks are an essential piece to living this wholehearted life Brené speaks of.
Many of us, myself included, are guilty of living life or making decisions that seem safe to us. The early projects of my freelancing career were filled with safe decisions like gingerly asking for meager pay, catering to the client’s abundant and aesthetically awful change requests, and shamelessly working for whoever would have me within reason (no thanks, McDonalds and Walmart). Yet working in this way does not lead to anything of worth. The client, while seemingly happy with their project bedazzled with glittery unicorn gifs, is left with something that does not serve their business well. I, as the designer, am left with barely enough funds for dinner and the feeling that I’m nothing more than a character from one of Matthew Inman’s comics.
Nowadays, each proposal I write, I put myself in a place of vulnerability. I sit with a proposal for a day prior to sending it out to allow the self-doubt to run it’s full course. Questions plague my consciousness during that time: Did I quote too high or too low? How will the client react to my contract? Am I a good fit for this client? Is this client a good fit for me? Do I have the technical ability to complete this project? and so they proceed ad infinitum.
Yet with each proposal I send whether it’s accepted or not, each difficult e-mail I carefully craft, and each technical problem I Google my way out of, my confidence grows.
After all, if a client doesn’t want to pay me what I’m worth, would a relationship where I constantly have to defend the value of my services be worthwhile?
If a client recognizes the value of my services, but has a product or service that is against my core values, will I be able to in good conscience promote it? The resounding answer is no.
This is where daring greatly comes in. In order to get to a place where all my identities (work me, home me, spiritual me) align, every decision I make has to come from a conscious place of authenticity and integrity, including my choice to limit my use of social media. To factually do that, I have to dare greatly. I must fearlessly craft those proposals and hard to write e-mails, go against societal norms/life goals, advocate for what is ethically, environmentally, aesthetically and functionally right, be conscious of how I’m spending my time and who I’m choosing to invest it in, and have faith that the universe will provide me with what I need when I need it.
That said, I invite you all to give it a go. Dare greatly in all you do and see for yourself the amazing results.