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  • Diana Schneidman

Freelancers and consultants: 2 things that bum us out and what to do about them

Two things are going on out there in the world that are messing with our heads. For both, we need to be aware of them and not let them get us down.

The first is this 1 percent versus the other 99 percent argument which divides the population among the winners—the 1 percent—versus the other 99 percent of us who are losers.

The exact number that divides the population varies depending on the source, but the Tax Policy Center reports that the top 1 percent earned about $506,553 in cash income in 2011, while the Internal Revenue Service says that based on 2009 tax year filing data, the top 1 percent of taxpayers have an adjusted gross income of $343,927 or more. And there’s still more competing numbers out there to define the elite.

Distinguishing between the 1 and the 99 percents is useful in analyzing economic and tax policy, but it’s distressing in terms of considering our personal goals. Each of us chooses our goals based in part on where we stand right now and what seems achievable, but combine this public discussion with lots of Internet talk on money flow and law of attraction, and suddenly even the much praised “6 figure income” looks insufficient.

I believe it’s important to keep in touch with our own life goals rather than buy into an unstated, but easily internalized, definition of financial success that is spectacularly high.

A second downer is all the exposure we have to rejection. As someone who both recommends and practices targeted phoning to build a clientele for freelance and consulting services, I talk to people who dread what is otherwise called “cold calling” because they fear rejection.

Actually, true rejection is very rare when you phone prospects. Though it is not unusual to hear “no,” this in itself is not a heart-breaking ordeal.

Where we do witness a great deal of rejection is on TV competitions, such as Dancing with the Stars, The Voice and American Idol. I enjoy watching new talent achieve fame and I’ve learned something about ballroom dancing by watching these shows.

However, I detest that the focus is more on witnessing the rejection than in enjoying the performances. I hate the way the hosts isolate those who may be eliminated and discuss it with them and build the suspense before sending someone home. I hate the way contestants are forced to beg the public for votes. I hate the way the candidates for elimination are tortured throughout the whole show.

We focus too much on rejection and overly identify with how bad it feels to be rejected and how little it matters that entrants tried their best.

The solution is to turn off these shows or to control how you watch them so as to minimize identification with rejection. I watch these shows occasionally from my desk, turning them off for awhile during the rejection phases. Another approach is to save the whole show and watch it later, forwarding past all the unpleasantness.

There’s no point in identifying with the rejection that others experience. So just say “no” with the remote.

Originally posted 5-17-12

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