You always pass failure on the way to success.
– Mickey Rooney
When your office eats a stack of books, it’s crying out for help. And mine was screamin’ for a scrubbin’.
So I got down to it. And in the process, I had one of those infamous “ah-hah” moments.
When you go from being a corporate copywriter to a freelance copywriter, you might still be carrying some physical and emotional baggage that you don’t know about.
It’s no secret that I’ve been laid off, on average, every 12-18 months over the course of my career. And in excavating my office, I found that I was still hanging on to too much stuff (and in some cases, emotion) from my previous professional lives.
Tucked away in nooks and crannies, I found:
- 37 versions—not including copies—of my resume, starting with my post-college job hunt
(am keeping one from each job hunt for posterity/comparison; recycling the rest)
- A binder stuffed with unemployment job search logs—from 6 years and 5 moves ago
(I was in Texas then y’all. I now live near Seattle. These logs get recycled.)
- 20+ pens from vendors
(am donating these to the local humane society)
- Three folders of funny cartoons that had made the cubicle rounds
(am recycling these)
- The “Bye-Bye” folder from a layoff almost four years ago
(jeez, that long? recycling this)
- Two wireless mouse devices from three or four years ago
(am keeping these; handy for onsite visits)
- A frayed, old power cord from a work laptop I no longer have
(am recycling with other old electronics)
- Five spiral bound journals with work notes
(not sure yet; I usually keep all of my journals)
- Over a dozen toys, tchotchkes, SWAG, mugs and other assorted “stuff”
(am donating them all to Goodwill)
My two-day total of baggage filled two moving boxes and three garbage bags.
Here’s where I make my point…
Just like old workplace whatnots can turn your office into a dysfunctional storage bin (that eats books), the emotions associated with those whatnots can stunt your new professional growth.
Those emotions help form the roots of your self-doubt, uncertainty and fear. When what you need the most as a freelancer is self-confidence, purposefulness and determination.
Now that I’ve cleaned the junk out of my office, I feel like I’ve also cleaned out some emotional cobwebs I didn’t realize were still lingering.
By letting go of what wasn’t necessary, I simply started letting go.
And in the week since, I’ve felt physically lighter, more capable and more productive. I’ve taken several marketing strides for my freelancing business, including asking a designer to turn my hand-drawn rubber ducky into a computer-friendly rubber ducky. (Isn’t she cute? I think she’s cute.) I’d been dragging my feet on that task alone for months.
The result? I’ve gotten three new leads for solid clients. Just this past week alone.
I still haven’t found my lost stack of books. A sad story made sadder by the fact that my office is only 8’ x 6’. But, I did find over a dozen blank sketchbooks and two king-size chocolate bars in a half-empty box of resume paper. Still unopened and still good.
What might still be lurking in your office?