Christina Glickman – a Chicago mom of four and self-described “Type A hustler” – has a stock reply when her kids complain they cannot do something. “Tell me what you CAN do, not what you can’t.”
It is this philosophy that helped Christina – after 15 years in advertising – to customize a career and life that she is joyful about: author, TED Talker, and solopreneur.
During the October 13 Freelance Austin meeting – “3 Steps to Unapologetic Confidence as a Solopreneur” – Christina shared her tips for creating the life that we want, on our own terms.
Show Up for Yourself – Every Day
As freelancers, we have to be self-directed, and that requires a different mindset than working for someone else. As Christina says, “It takes so much commitment to light your own fire,” but the benefit is that we get to “reinvent ourselves and be open to possibilities.”
One way to do that is to “show up for yourself every day,” she suggests. Christina asks herself on a daily basis what makes her feel good and who she wants to surround herself with. She explains that the pandemic has taught her that she gets to decide what to keep and what to lose – both personally and professionally.
“If you audit your day, you will find that some people are energy suckers and some are energy givers – I want to chase the energy givers, because they lift me up,” she says.
As freelancers, we have the advantage of choosing who we want to work with and what to say “no” to. “I am very intentional about who I spend time with, and I will not show up to do my best work if I give all the best parts of me away – my soul needs to be fed, too,” Christina says.
Tell Me What You CAN Do, Not What You Can’t
Christina chooses to focus on what is possible. When she encounters doubt or negativity, she always responds the same: “Tell me what you CAN do, not what you can’t.”
Like many of us, Christina experienced professional challenges during the pandemic. In 2020, she was ready to go on tour for her book, Xtra: The Art of Being, but the tour was canceled. She chose to launch her book anyway, hosting a virtual book tour and focusing on what she gained through the experience, not lost.
“We all have roadblocks,” she says. The point is to push through and focus on what we are capable and in control of. “Otherwise, we hold ourselves back,” she explains. “If I am open to the opportunity, there is a gift in there somewhere.”
Learning to trust ourselves is a lifelong journey, she says. “If you can listen to the whispers and the nudges and your internal gut, and if you honor your relationships with yourself first, that will always be your true north.”
The Way to More Confidence is to DO
Like many women, Christina has experienced Imposter Syndrome, the feeling that we aren’t capable of what we hold ourselves out to be. She suggests that the only way to gain confidence is to “live it, breathe it and walk it.”
Christina says developing confidence is a “muscle we have to exercise every day.”
Similar to when we experience roadblocks, we have to push through fears and do the things we are afraid of. “It it is only when you DO it, do you feel like you CAN,” she says.
Many of us focus on perfection when that’s simply not attainable. Being our authentic, imperfect selves gives us the energy we need to thrive. “It is exhausting when I try to be someone I am not. When we show up as ourselves authentically is when we can succeed,” she says.
Christina says she often asks other people who fear taking an action, “What is the consequence of you not doing this?” She often finds that the “consequence of NOT acting can be devastating” so it’s worthwhile to do the things we are afraid of.
Serve – Don’t Sell
As freelancers, we have to sell ourselves and our capabilities, but that’s uncomfortable for many people. Culturally, talking about ourselves can be considered bragging or obnoxious.
Christina recommends switching our mindset from “selling” to “serving.” “Remind yourself that you are giving of yourself to someone else who needs your services,” she suggests.
One of Freelance Austin’s members said that she had re-framed her sales pitch to say, “I am known for xyz” as opposed to “I am great at xyz.” Doing so takes the “I” out of the equation and makes it easier to market ourselves and our work.
Respond to Conflict with Your Best Interest in Mind
During the meeting, a Freelance Austin member shared her struggle in being disrespected by a client and was unsure how to respond.
“In any situation in which I don’t know how to respond, I always ask myself how I want to feel at the end of it,” Christina says.
She suggests there are a couple of responses, depending on what ultimately is best for YOU, not the other person. For example, if it’s not an important relationship, you can walk away from it. However, if it’s a client you want to continue working with, Christina says taking the high road is in YOUR best interest.
Christina suggested: “If it’s bothering you and you need to clear the air or set a boundary then, by all means, approach the person. I always say that anything worth saving is worth investing in. Just make sure you’re not doing it just to please them. Ask yourself: are there any outcomes you can’t live with?”
Often other people’s behaviors have nothing to do with us, and we can’t always see their stressors. Christina often asks, “What’s mine, what is yours?” She says she is willing to acknowledge her role in a conflict, but she won’t accept someone else’s. “It’s important not to take on someone else’s baggage,” she explains.
Say No More Often
Every Sunday night, Christina conducts what she calls the “ick” test. She makes a list of all the things she has to do that week and eliminates whenever possible the ones that make her go “ick.” As she says, “Doing this allows me free space to do what I need and want to do. I don’t want to just fill my calendar.”
Through self-reflection, Christina has learned to “flip the script” in her head and say no more often than she used to. As a “yes, yes, yes person,” saying “no” requires her to clarify how she wants to feel and what it will take to get there. “Once I say no to things, it’s powerful and I realize I can say no without sounding like a jerk,” she explains.
To learn more about Christina and the services she offers, go to her Instagram page.
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