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A reasonable look at affirmations for freelancers and consultants

It seems to me that the topic of Law of Attraction in general and affirmations specifically are not quite so much on everyone’s minds (and in their newsletters) as they were a few years ago. Could be because I’ve unsubscribed to lots of junky, hype-y content or could be that it’s simply not as hot a topic as it was back when The Secret was newly published and featured on Oprah and other media.

I’m writing about affirmations today because I think affirmations have value when we understand what they can and cannot do.

First, what is an affirmation?

Danea Horn of Creative Affirmations defines an affirmation as a statement of an intention you would like to manifest in your life, or a target feeling.

Affirmations are stated in present tense although they may not have actually occurred yet. When we recite or write an affirmation that is not yet true—they call it “manifested”—we know that it is not true. We manage this by not dwelling on how it has not yet manifested and instead let this recognition pass by.

I have found affirmations to be helpful in my life, but they can also be misused to promote craziness.

I believe that affirmations can help us achieve peace of mind and help us calm ourselves when we are stressed or nervous, especially about our work and getting clients. Saying them in a calm, meditative tone promotes more effective planning and implementation of our work and sleep that is more relaxing. Yes, affirmations work.

Because much of the benefit comes from improving our mental outlook and developing a state of mind that quiets frantic or nervous thoughts, it benefits us whether or not we practice a religion. (Prayers are a type of affirmation, I believe.)

Affirmations are not magic. It’s not like repeating “abracadabra” and poof, we have won the lottery or landed the job of our dreams in 24 hours. Working with affirmations does not suddenly allow the impossible to be possible. Affirmations do not bring back the dead or make us millionaires on the spot.

Affirmations are most effective when combined with real-world effort to bring about results. If we want more and/or better freelance and consulting clients, it takes marketing too.

What’s scary to me is when people take absurd actions to “prove to the universe” that they trust in their affirmations. They may schedule their wedding and hire a caterer although they aren’t even dating anyone. They claim this demonstrates faith in their stated belief. To me, this is foolish.

There are people who buy things they can’t afford and use their credit cards to the limits to “manifest” the affirmation to which they have committed. They have adopted a “wealthy mindset” and live their lives to practice this mindset. This is dangerous.

When building our businesses, it may be appropriate to finance training or other expenses with a credit card or loans. However, I don’t recommend charging more than what you can pay the minimum on simply because you are counting on a huge block of new business. Perhaps some people have become rich, but others have gone bankrupt from such practices.

Freelancing, consulting and other styles of self-employment are challenging. We must build our morale without an external structure, such as managerial supervision and assigned objectives, to keep us functioning. It’s as easy to curl up in bed or deaden our emotions in front of junk TV as to build our business.

We each need to find ways to support our own mental well-being and more forward. Affirmations can be very helpful . . . if used wisely.

Originally posted 6-25-13

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