You Are More Than What You Make | Internetly Vol. 10
On skydiving, how to see obstacles as opportunities, and not taking client critique personally.
Last Monday I jumped out of a plane in Florida at 13,500 feet.
That sentence makes me sound way cooler than I actually am. In reality, I was strapped to this Navy Seal guy named Pablito, who mercifully tolerated me as I shouted “Holy F*CK” on the top of my lungs as we scooted to the edge of the plane.
I was so close to never let any of it happen. I was terrified by the idea of it, by the vastness of the open skies and blaring rumble of the airplane’s engine.
The morning of, I woke up at 5:30 AM and couldn’t stop replaying my fate over and over. Who would voluntarily throw themselves out of an airplane? Why would you subject yourself to that?
But when we got to the Drop Zone at 11 AM, the fear evolved into a red hot ball of excitement. I climbed the plane enthusiastically, not a drip of dread in my bloodstream.
We started climbing the skies. There were about 8 of us in this tiny airplane, so they opened the plane doors “for AC.” I just want you to picture being in a tiny airplane climbing 13,000 feet with the door OPEN. Lunacy.
I feel Pablito tightening the straps. The light buzzes green, and the air rushes into the airplane. It’s freezing cold and the wind is loud. Before I knew it, I was pushed into the sky and my gut was somersaulting in the air.
It’s hard to find the words to explain something so foreign. You’re falling at 120 MPH but it doesn’t feel like falling, you’re hovering. Time is slowed down and you’re not sure if you’re breathing quite right because your cheeks are flapping in the wind. But even though you should be horrified…there’s not a single bit of fear. It’s amazing.
Pablito eventually pulled the parachute. We sliced through the sky, spinning over Floridian lakes and green pastures. After we finally landed, the massive adrenaline dump turned into pure elatement. I felt borderline super-human.
With that being said, anyone want to go skydiving with me? Let me know. 🙃
🖼 On Becoming a Prolific Creator
This Week: You Don’t Need to Be the Best at What You Do
Earlier this week I helped guide a Q&A with some new writers as part of The Phoenix Programme.
“Do you think they’ll be successful?” my friend asked me after the talk wrapped up. “Yeah,” I replied. “But only if they actually try.”
Here’s what I mean by this.
If you’re trying to become a freelance writer, congratulations. This is a golden age to pursue a writing career. The need for content is exploding and new jobs keep sprouting up. If you want this as a job, it’s there.
So that’s the first half. Great news, right? But we’re not there quite yet.
You won’t make it unless you actually go for it. What does “going for it” entail?
If you want to be a freelance writer (or any type of creator), you’ll have to publish on public platforms relatively consistently. It’ll help you hone your craft, increase your serendipity, and demonstrate relevant experience.
With this comes the need for courage. You cannot be afraid to put yourself out there and show the world what you’ve got. And you must be brave enough to network and ask people for what you want.
All of this sounds a bit intimidating, doesn’t it? But chew on this: it means you don’t “have to be good” at what you do. You just need to be consistent and brave. And anyone can practice those traits.
For instance, you can be the best writer in the world. You have fascinating stories, an eclectic range of delicious vocabulary, a smooth tone. But if you don’t take action, it’s all for nothing.
On the other hand, you can feel like you objectively aren’t good at your craft but try anyway. If you keep trying, you’ll make it.
Not so bad now, right?
Being good at something isn’t contingent on success. Consistency and courage are. 🐅
🥒 Content Diet
Some weird new resources to get your brain whirring. Woo!
I. Reinventing Yourself: Obstacles are Opportunities in Disguise - The Futr
I can’t remember the last time I binge-watched someone’s content.
But Chris Do’s stuff is that good.
He’s the founder of the online education platform ‘The Futr’ where they release content to help creatives build better design skills and build creative businesses.
In this Oscar-worthy YouTube video, Chris explains how you can overcome obstacles and interpret them as advantageous.
f you’re a TL;DR kind of person, then here’s the biggest takeaway:
We’re quick to place our worth into the deliverables we generate for our jobs. You know, the stuff we can point at and say, “I made that.”
But this is a dangerous mode of thinking. It’s not about the tangible. It’s about the mission statement behind it - why you even bothered to make it in the first place.
For instance, Blockbuster should’ve been Netflix. But they focused on the fact they were a rental media service, rather than a place for movie-lovers to get together and watch the best entertainment. Tape World should’ve been Spotify, but they defined themselves by cassette tapes, instead of their value of housing music.
Don’t fixate on the fact that you’re a writer, designer, coder, singer, author, whatever. Focus on the why behind it. The value statement that leads you there. This will allow you to reinvent yourself.
It’s not about what you do. It’s about the reason behind it. 🤲🏼
✍🏼 Freelancing Journey
This Week: Separating Your Personal Work From the Claws of Critique
I remember flinching with embarrassment. “Your voice is in the right place, but this just isn’t what we’re looking for.”
I had just submitted my first deliverable for a brand-new client. And it didn’t go over well.
The immediate reaction was shame and humiliation. My words - my voice - weren’t good enough.
I lamented to my freelance writing coach at the time, Eva. She offered a refreshing perspective that taught me how to not take writing critique from a client personally.
“Image it’s like a painting. You want to ask your client exactly how they want the painting of a beach to look. If the sun is in the upper left-hand corner. If there are palm trees. You’re writing with them in mind. If your vision isn’t what they asked for, that’s okay. You’re painting for them. It’s your strokes, but their image.”
This perspective has proved useful. Instead of thinking “unhappy client equals = I’m a bad writer” I can look at it objectively. I respond with, “Okay, no problem. Tell me where I went wrong. And let’s try again.”
Not to mention, nothing is ever personal. It’s rare a person will do something with the explicit intention of spiting you.
In reality, it’s more likely that you’re just a helpless passerby in someone’s route to happiness.
Your client is envisioning an “X” piece so they can feel proud of their product/service. They don’t care about hurting your feelings. They just want it to look good.
If a client isn’t satisfied with your work, it’s not personal. They care more about producing a stellar piece than hurting your feelings. 🏄🏼♀️
Hooray! That’s all for this week.
If you liked this newsletter, why don’t you share it with a pal? It would make me *almost* as happy as I did when jumping out of the sky.
Have a wonderful week, whoever you are.