Did you know that “I don’t have a choice” is the most disempowering thing you can tell yourself? And do you know what, it isn’t even true. You always, but always, have a choice.
You may not always make good choices and you may feel under pressure (financial, emotional) to make a particular choice but, even then, you are still making a choice.
It’s really not surprising that many translators feel like they don’t have a choice. Just look at the way many translation agencies and even some direct clients communicate with freelance translators. “Please translate this text by Friday, 9am. We will pay a rate of X.” Erm, hello? Am I an employee? I don’t think so. If you are interested in my translation services, I will be more than happy to send you a quote with my earliest delivery date if I decide (choose) that this is a project that I am interested in working on. I’m prepared to hazard a guess that there must be one heck of a lot of freelance translators out there who accept (choose) to be treated by translation agencies and clients in this way. Otherwise, surely they’d have changed the way they try to talk to us by now.
What you need to know
You have a choice about how your business develops.
I’m not talking about being able to control everything single thing that happens in your business. I’m talking about welcoming everything that happens into your business life and making conscious choices in order to steer your business in the direction you want it to develop (your choice). It’s about being proactive and not allowing (choosing) to let other people’s priorities run your business. How many times have you accepted a translation job you didn’t really want to do because the buyer sounded so desperate/was putting on the pressure and you felt like you had to help/had to do it.
Do you aspire to work for more direct clients but you find yourself filling all of your time with work for translation agencies? By accepting (choosing) all of these jobs and not making time (your choice) for marketing and getting out and meeting potential direct clients, you are, in fact, making a choice to move away rather than towards your goals.
Sounds crazy when I put it like that, right?
If you do not make conscious choices, your business will develop a life of its own.
Now I know that when we’re busy and stressed or under financial pressure, we sometimes make snap decisions on the spur of the moment and may come to regret some of them. I’m not for a minute suggesting that we can all be perfect and on the ball every second of every day. However, what I am saying is that by learning to live in and to make choices from the present moment in line with our goals, we will ultimately move our business in our direction of choice. Proactivity is key here but equally important, in my experience, is making time on a regular basis to reflect on the choices we have made recently to determine whether they were in line with our goals and objectives. And when we do make choices which don’t fit with what we really want, it’s a good idea to try to work out why we chose to act in that way so that we can learn from our behaviour and make more positive choices in the future.
Perhaps you have a belief that you can’t say “no” or that you have to please and serve every client who comes your way or perhaps you are a very helpful person. Don’t worry, we are all running programmes of behaviour that go back to childhood in many cases. By taking time out to take conscious stock of why we may have made a choice we later regret or which was simply not in line with what we really want, we can learn from this behaviour, learn to notice these automatic patterns when they start to play out and to make better choices next time round. Our priorities come first, not those of other people.
Your goals should be flexible.
There is a big difference between changing your goals because you are procrastinating (your choice) over taking action towards achieving them (negative motivator) and choosing to change them for a good reason (positive motivator). What I’m talking about here is accepting that right at this moment, you are the person you are today with the knowledge you have at this present moment. On the basis of who you are today and with your current level of knowledge, you can set your goals and start working towards them. However, since we’re all growing every day through experience, it may well be that in six months’ time, you have a different perspective and want (choose) to set different goals. This is ok and it’s another reason why it is necessary to regularly take some time out to consciously reassess our situation and to check whether we want or need (choose) to make any adjustments.
Take away tips
- Get clear about what you want for your Business.
- Check-in with yourself regularly. Ask whether your actions and choices are in line with your goals.
- Make conscious choices.
- Remember that you always but ALWAYS have a choice.
Photo credit: ©Ron Mader, Buzzword Bingo: Conscious Business Flickr