I attended an academically rigorous high school, where As were hard to come by. My senior year, I taped a handwritten note above my desk that simply said HONOR ROLL. It was a constant reminder of what I wanted to achieve.
Truth be told, I missed the honor roll by one letter grade in the final term. Still, it was the closest I’d ever come to making it…and I was confident that putting my goal in writing (and in a place I couldn’t ignore) had pushed me psychologically.
Fast forward to life in the working world. During my early career in magazines, the goals weren’t of my choosing, but they were clear: Brainstorm the topics, assign the articles, hound the writers, edit the copy, get it into the art department’s hands, and stay up late gorging on pizza when it was closing week and we had to send everything to the printer. Rinse, repeat.
Putting Your Goals in a Place They Can’t Be Ignored
As freelancers, it’s on us to determine our goals. At least once a year, I’ll sit down at a local coffee shop for a few hours and write down an unedited list of things I want to achieve over the near and long term. But I made a mistake two years ago: I left the list inside a notebook, which I filed and forgot about for months.
If I’m honest with myself, it’s probably because it’s a bit overwhelming—and maybe counterproductive—to look every day at a piece of paper with 50 or more handwritten goals on it. That’s where a vision board comes in. Much like my honor roll reminder way back when, being able to glance at a poster board helps with inspiration. (If you’re interested in some great info about vision boards, I highly recommend Christine Kane’s process.) For me, it’s an extra step toward keeping the big picture, quite literally, right in front of me.
Obviously, a vision board doesn’t solve everything. You also have to create systems for your freelance business, a broader topic for another day. Nonetheless, for a daily reminder of why I’m doing what I’m doing, investing in a poster board, some magazines, and a glue stick pays significant mental dividends—especially since a vision board is far too big to tuck away and forget!
On a business note: I’m truly looking forward to my stint on the NAIWE Board of Experts and talking shop with fellow freelancers. If you have freelance topics you want me to address in my upcoming blog posts, articles, or webinars, please share them in the comments. You can also ping me on Twitter: @DrFreelance
Here’s to a fantastic, prosperous 2019—whatever your vision is!