Re-framing the story

My Self-Employed Life

There’s a story I’d been telling myself about last year: I took on too much client work to the point of burning out. I earned more money than ever and I have nothing to show for it (save a very large tax bill).

That story did me no good. I beat myself up (figuratively) for not getting it “right” last year. But stories are powerful things, and it’s hard to change them after the fact.

At some point, I decided that it was time for a new story. My revised story: The work I did last year laid the groundwork for this year. Because I worked so hard, I was able to walk away from the bulk of my consulting work and have new clients (whose demands are less intense) lined up. Because I took on all that work last year, work now comes to me when I need it. Last year, I was able to upgrade my poky, old computer to a new laptop. I could afford Jake’s large medical bills. I paid a hefty amount to my quarterly estimated taxes.

Re-framing the story doesn’t change everything, but it does help. A lot. I no longer feel guilty about what I didn’t do, and have a greater appreciation for the lessons and gifts of last year.

And you? What stories do you need to re-frame?

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