The worst thing you can do when challenges pop up in your career is have no plan in place for dealing with them.
One thing no one ever stresses when a discussion of freelance or small business work comes up are the challenges inherent in the decision. Challenges abound for any career, and whether you’ve chosen to be a translation professional in an office or to launch your own business, you’re going to quickly come up against a wide variety of challenges. Some of these challenges will be purely practical – like how to find clients, how to set your rates, or how to advertise effectively. Other challenges are more internal: How to handle stress, how to manage your time, and how to deal with difficult clients or bosses – or, for that matter, co-workers.
Meeting challenges is all about preparation, though. Here’s the secret: You can’t always predict the challenges you meet in life. And just like the armies of Europe in the 20th Century, we all have a tendency to prepare for the last war instead of the war coming for us. Since you can’t know exactly what’s coming down the pike to challenge you, the best thing you can ever do is to be prepared in a general way.
Prepare Mentally and Emotionally
The most vital thing you can do to prepare yourself for challenges to come is to admit that challenges will come. Too many people have a tendency to assume that their current comfortable state will never change, that everything will remain as it is for as long as you wish it to do so. Unfortunately, surprises are always coming. If you pretend otherwise, you’ll be knocked off balance and paralysed by the shock.
Preparing mentally and emotionally is easy, really, and very effective. It involves admitting that challenges will come, and then imagining how you might deal with them. Even if you make no practical plans whatsoever, simply playing this sort of mental game with yourself will help you to be prepared, because at least you will have worked your way through the scenario before.
Of course, while being mentally ready to meet challenges gives you the ability to act, a little nuts-and-bolts prep work can’t hurt either. Here are a few things you can do right now to be ready for the challenges to come:
Save Money. Some challenges go beyond the mental and emotional and reach into your pocket. Unexpected expenses, unexpected client loss, or other financial challenges are a lot easier to meet if you set aside a sum on a regular basis not necessarily for retirement, but for emergencies.
Know Who You Can Rely On. Think ahead of time about who you would call upon for help in a variety of situations. Who is your emergency contact in every situation? Knowing ahead of time will save you time and worry when things happen.
Network. Whether you’re a translation professional or in some other industry, having professional contacts to reach out to is vital. Join organisations and groups and meet others in your field – they can provide priceless advice and assistance when things go haywire.
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