There is probably an infinite variety of reasons why freelance writers and copywriters approach coaches. In other words, everyone has their own reasons.
But my experience so far suggests that most of these reasons fall within one of three broad categories.
I recognize each of these only too well, because I have been there myself.
1. You seem to be doing fine, but aren’t really getting anywhere.
This one is a killer. I was “doing fine but not really getting anywhere” for almost 20 years. Of course, “doing fine” is relative. I was doing fine at a fairly high level. But I really wasn’t getting anywhere.
I was simply repeating what was working for me.
What I was doing worked just fine, so I had very little incentive to change. You might wonder why I would complain about that. If you find a formula for making a living that works consistently, why change it?
The simple answer to that is that even if you don’t change, change will happen. It will come at you from the outside.
What happened to me was that I was doing just fine, year after year. And as I was comfortable, I didn’t notice when my business started to plateau. Worse still, I didn’t notice when it started to decline.
How come? Because I never looked up. I never even looked ahead to see where I was going, let alone whether or not I was moving in the right direction.
In a stable economy, where nothing much is changing, the “doing fine but not really getting anywhere” approach can work. If your niche is growing fast and your competition isn’t, this approach can even make you feel you are being super smart. You’re on a rising tide.
The trouble comes when change hits you from the outside, in the form of an economic downturn or a sudden increase in competition.
As you can imagine, right now is a bad time to depend on this way of working.
2. You know you could be doing a whole lot better, but don’t know which direction to take.
In this scenario, at least you have your head up and are aware that you can’t just stick with the status quo. You have a strong sense that you could be doing better, maybe much better. You’re just not sure what that actually means.
You have both feet firmly planted in “what you’re doing now”, but you keep raising one foot to step out and do something bigger and better. But in which direction should you step?
For me it took some outside help to figure this out. I engaged a coach and he helped me see a few different options as long-term goals. It is curious how an outsider can see clearly, when all we see is a swirling fog.
Funnily enough, one of the suggestions my coach made was that I should do some coaching work myself. My first reaction was to say, “I don’t think I’d be good at that. I don’t think I would care enough about other people’s success.” “Yes, you would.” He replied. And he was right. I do. But it took an outsider to help me see that.
So yes, sometimes it makes sense to enlist a third party to help you see which direction you should take.
3. You know where you want to get to, and how to get there, but need a nudge from someone to get you moving.
This comes under the umbrella of “self-limiting beliefs”.
Most of us have these. Self-limiting beliefs hold us back from the success we could achieve. “I’m just not that good.” “I couldn’t do that.” “I don’t have the skills or experience to do that.” “I’m not sure I’m ready.”
Very often, when you can see where you want to get to, and your ambitions are large, you need someone to give you that push and get you started. You need someone to remind you that you CAN do it, and to stand at your side and give you a prod when you lose momentum.
That said, the inability to get started isn’t always about self-limiting beliefs. Sometimes it means that a little voice in your mind is trying to tell you that your choice of destination is not the right one.
Again, it often takes the help of a third party to help you figure out 1) Whether the direction you are heading in really is right for you, and 2) To give you the extra boost you need to launch yourself forward.
One thing I do know is that as freelancers we don’t have the choice to stand still. If we don’t make changes, then we just set ourselves up to having change come at us from the outside.
To excel and fulfil our potential, we need to have a direction and look forward, we have to draw on our strengths and we have to believe in ourselves.
If it takes some coaching to help us fit all these elements together and launch ourselves forward, that’s fine.
There is nothing wrong with asking for help.
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