Saturday 29 December 2018

Realising my own strength in 2018

Realising my own strength in 2018 | Jen Lou Meredith

"Where there is no struggle, there is no strength" - Oprah Winfrey

It's a funny concept, to discover something about yourself. That something was there all along, but was maybe brought to the surface through an event, journey or even another person. It doesn't necessarily mean that you're a different person afterwards, but you've discovered a piece of knowledge about yourself that may change the way you live your life from now on. As we know, knowledge is power, and knowledge about yourself can be the most exciting kind.

In 2018, I discovered something about myself. I went fully freelance in autumn of 2017, but with doubt in my mind that I would succeed. I spent the first year with one foot in and one out, reserving a back up plan in case it all went wrong. Though it's always important to have a back up plan, it's also important to believe in yourself - and that's what I lacked due to past experiences in my career.

When people asked me how my work was going, I would hesitantly answer, 'it's okay,' careful not to jinx myself. I dreaded people prying any further. I dreaded giving people positive news, only to have to have to take it back later on. I'm good at acting, so it wasn't hard for me to conceal my real emotions - stress, worry, sheer exhaustion - but I'm not a liar, so if I was really probed, I would have to spill the beans.

Realising my own strength in 2018 | Jen Lou Meredith

The truth was that I had been working 12 to 16-hour days, almost every day for months, in order to tackle the workload I had deliberately given myself in order to meet this idea of success that I had become obsessed with. If I didn't meet it, I would be a failure. I would have to admit that to myself, and to everyone else. And after that? I don't know what I'd have done.

So with the constant worry that everything could come crashing down around me, I ploughed through my first year, keeping my head down and working through the tiredness. There was always a lingering fear that I was not strong enough to succeed, but when it finally came to a year - my first year working for myself - I breathed the biggest sigh of relief knowing that I had made it work. But that realisation didn't just revolve around the fact that I was stable work-wise, it was also the realisation that I was strong enough to succeed at something I was so worried I would fail at. And to do it on my own (not taking away from all the wonderful people who have been kind enough to recommend my services this year) has been the cherry on top.

In 2018, I have proved to myself that I AM strong enough, despite my own fears and uncertainty. Discovering this about myself means that I can go into 2019 with more confidence, and more belief in myself. I think many freelancers would agree with me when I say that we all need a little more self-worth, as it's so easy for our doubts to affect our work, and our lives. I hope 2019 brings you success, whatever your career. Here's to knowing your worth 🥂.

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