First Skill in the Art of Happiness
I’ve got a hefty goal this week, especially in light of the holiday season.
You see, I want to talk to you about the Art of Happiness. Is it something you’ve mastered?
I certainly haven’t, but I’m on my way. And I’m going to tell you how to get there, too.
This is the time when folks look back and wonder if their year was well spent. Maybe you can relate. You find yourself asking:
“Did I do what I wanted?”
“Have I been successful?”
“Am I happy?”
Not too long ago, I had a pretty dark month. Nothing horrible happened, but sometimes it’s the little things. Like struggling with a project you thought would be easy. Or learning a client is unimpressed by your work.
A string of illnesses and home issues demanded my attention. I fell behind in writing projects.
That’s not a great place to be. For me, feeling rushed leads to a fear I can’t do my best. That makes me doubt my abilities even more. Then I have a hard time mustering up the will to see a project through.
One night, I was up late, trying to get back above water. I casually mentioned my frazzled state in an email to a fellow writer. I hadn’t asked for help or advice (though that wouldn’t have been a bad idea). I just mentioned I’d work on something for her once I sorted out the mess I was in.
And bless her heart, she sent an email back almost instantly, telling me to STOP the gloom-and-doom attitude, that I was talented, trusted, and respected.
It floored me in the sweetest possible way. I wrote back my thanks, and she did it again—wrote to point out something I’d done well, and that lots of things were going right.
Those little notes from my fellow writer were enough to pull me out of my hole. We really connected. I plowed forward and tied up loose ends.
The following week, the world was brighter, and my writer’s life was back on track. I was happier.
What made all the difference? Simply having someone to reach out to who understood what I was going through. I met her for the first time at last year’s Web Intensive, along with several other writer friends who have become my lifelines.
It’s crucial that we freelance writers connect with others who “get” what it is we do, why, and what we hope to get out of it.
Connection is an important skill in the Art of Happiness. I’ll tell you about another one tomorrow.
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