We are in the second month of 2021 – most of us looking back with trepidation and anxiety at the miserable year gone by. While 2020 hammered away at earnings, self-confidence, and health of most folk, technology seemed to take further control of the world. Digital communication has become the go-to means of interacting and enables organizations and professionals to engage consistently. Given the comfort levels with remote working – the trend of appointing expert freelancers will accelerate, according to a report by Intuit. Expert freelancers score since employing their services means a variable cost for companies, while affording a serious boost to the efficiency and professional levels for the company. Expert and experienced freelancers are already equipped with the discipline and focus that remote and unsupervised work demands. Contrary to belief – freelancers work longer hours and face a rather unique set of challenges – it is not all easy going and hunky dory! Let’s take a look at why they are making a positive impact:
Bridge the Skills Gap
Futuristic and critical skill sets, such as proficiency in verbal and written communication and ability to work without supervision are some of the hard to find skills. Companies are looking outward to avail specialized competences and competencies. This set of professionals, supplements existing and are the perfect addition to the missing talent at the right time. A company is only as strong and successful as its workforce – both permanent and outsourced.
Greater Flexibility to Companies
A team of freelancers/contingent workers ensures that your company would be able to respond rapidly to changing demands of the market. The slightest delay in adapting to the market or client demands could be difference between success and failure. Additionally, expert and experienced freelancers do not add to the company’s headcount. This means no extra expenditure on – seating space, equipment and meals, benefits and perks, and other such expenses associated with full-time employees.
Experienced Freelancers ‘Hit the Ground Running’
When your company is hit with a big project or a sudden spike in work, experienced and expert freelancers can prove to be the ‘silver bullet’ to end the woes of being under-staffed or having inexperienced persons to deal with the issues. Even if they come with a higher cost, such contingent workers can be hired immediately without the onerous formalities associated with employee onboarding and future ongoing costs. Organizations do not need to worry about vacation pay or medical benefits or sick leave. They end up saving on costs for training and skill development as well. Most importantly, expert freelancers fit right in and ‘hit the ground running’.
Bring in Fresh and Even Disruptive Perspectives
A ‘fresh pair of eyes’ with an experienced and insightful perspective can prove to be highly beneficial for any company. An expert freelancer can bring in novel views, often over and above the scope of their current field of operation.
Are You Still Thinking?
Hiring these expert folks gives you instant access to some of the best talent available. Facilitate speedy adjustments, help your business to scale, and acquire short supply skills – just some of the many advantages for a company that will keep it ahead of its competitors!
Does this sound familiar? Are there times when life seems to fall apart? It is at these times, more than usual, that we try to wrestle some sense in the situation, but nothing makes sense. We ask ourselves, why, but in vain. Things seem to happen randomly, especially the ‘bad’ things, and this lack of order and predictability throws us off completely. There are things we believed would always remain the same – a job we thought we would always keep, a loved one but who died without warning, a serious illness we never expected to contract – we try to understand why, but nothing makes sense.
This is when, it is easiest to fall prey to depression, easy to give up – all your efforts seem to be in vain – seem to be nothing. You replay events in your mind, obsessing over them, driving yourself insane – yes, this happens.
When this happens and nothing makes sense, believing is the hardest thing to do. Life seems to be a collection of nothing makes sense occurrences, which become a reality making us abandon every kind of belief. When we face these ‘nothing makes sense’ realities, we feel most vulnerable and bare. We feel incredibly ignorant, helpless, and stupid, but yet when we see others faced with similar ‘nothing makes sense’ realities, we are tempted to ‘guide them’ with the clichéd spirituality and pious modes.
Make no mistake, that in these tough times, the typical pious statements make no sense, offer no encouragement or comfort, and are at best judgmental and a show of being ‘superior’. You or a loved one or someone you know, may be going through the ‘nothing makes sense’ phase, please refrain from making these pious statements, and instead reflect on the ‘reality’ of the ‘senseless phase’.
We have and will continue to find ourselves sucked into the ‘nothing makes sense’ phase, and for me, asking ‘why I am unable to find some semblance of sense in the situation’ seems to help. Of course, the answers do not just start pouring in, but it encourages me to gather information to understand why nothing is making sense. Sometimes no one has any information – for instance, why did I lose the love of my life of 24 years, in a matter of seconds?
At other times, we lack information since in our ‘nothing makes sense’ phase, there may be someone else who holds the solution that would bring sense to things but the person may be unwilling to share that solution. Seems cruel, mean, and heartless – but this is true. At times, we get the information, but we fail to understand it, making the information useless and taking us back to ‘nothing makes sense’.
Whether we accept it or not, these ‘nothing makes sense’ phases will remain, and we need to make peace with it. Some of you might read this and think “what a load of rubbish”, while others may concur and think about what sense they can make when ‘the phase’ does strike. The idea was not to resolve my own or your ‘nothing makes sense’ phase, because many a time, I find my own musings and resolves rather absurd and utterly ridiculous. However, I do know that several times I am able to gain some degree of peace by ending the relentless pursuit of trying to uncover all the factors that would allow me to make sense of all situations and the mysteries that life continues to throw at me.
The appreciation of the art of writing came early in life. I read countless books, fascinating stories, and tales woven together with exhilarating content. I translated my desire to write superlatively, into my school work – essays, spelling competitions, answers to questions in literature, and more.
Writing is an art form – it sometimes has structure and other times it is free flowing. Sometimes it builds to a conclusion from basic assumptions and premises, while other times it is purely about how one feels. I love the variety.
I know there is a lot to learn – the mechanics of what makes a great piece. Words that click and teach me how we humans make sense of our world – we do not remember arguments but cling on tightly and long to stories. Stories make our lives meaningful – not because they may be technically correct – but rather what they mean to a person. Narratives make for great content – else they are just facts strung together in words.
As a child, I spent a lot of time alone – my life became the stories I told myself during these times I spent with myself. The stories were my internal narratives – my deepest desires and my darkest fears. Every letter somehow coalesces into words, become a fundamental building block and then build a story and– it is how we see and define ourselves, gain some semblance of sense of the world and the people in it.
There are many of us out there for whom death has played the mean separator from the spouse! Well, I am not going to tell you how to grieve for this irreplaceable loss since there is really not ‘A’ particular way to grieve for this particular loss. Yes, I do know however, that this permanent loss brings very definitive barriers, challenges, and even secondary losses. Your life suddenly has several questions – some ugly ones – raising their heads and staring you in the face. There are not even a few days to process what has just hit you, because you need to take care of ‘life’ and work.
When a spouse dies – your world changes in more ways than you ever thought possible. You feel extreme grief, shock, acute fear, and numbness – all at once. There is both physical and emotional pain and trauma – you find yourself crying a lot from both. You feel anger – anger at him / her leaving you, whilst feeling guilty about the anger and regret that you could not keep them alive. These are all feelings – myriad and normal – so there is no right or wrong when it comes to grieving and mourning.
These feelings are burdened further by the anxiety of ‘getting life together’, earning a livelihood, and caring for the children such that they cope better. This is hard work – herculean. This is when most people can either break or emerge – the ones who emerge quickly wear a mask of ‘I am fine’ and a smile (even though their heart might be bleeding and smiling feeling like torture). You feel dead on the inside. Of course, life continues to hit you – the economic hardships become a reality. This is true for both sexes – the other ‘wheel’ is broken, so it’s a lot harder to pull the ‘cart’ – the home. The nucleus of support is gone.
Time passes – you continue to miss your spouse and that ‘sharp’ pain never does quite go away. You will still have bad days amidst days where you seem to feel better. There is an inexplicable guilt that sweeps over when you might laugh, or eat a tasty meal, or even dress up for an important meeting. These are all common with which only those who have lost a spouse would identify.
Then there are the romantic dilemmas. Should one move on and find another partner / lover? Will it be acceptable to continue to be in love with the deceased spouse while feeling love for another? Would the new person adjust to this ‘double love’? Would you be able to adjust with another person? Romantic love is an essential aspect of one’s life – life does seem worthless and without meaning, since romantic love is a strong expression. With the ‘sunshine’ of your life snatched away, it is natural to feel that there is only death, misery, and decay all around.
The death of a spouse is a new situation – it is the end of several aspects, and this is true irrespective of whether the relationship had been extremely happy, or average, or even bad. The ending of such a close personal relationship changes a person, changes the circumstances – it’s akin to starting from scratch.
So if you have gone through this in the past or recently, know that those who have also been torn apart from their beloved, understand how you feel. For those of you who have not experienced this, feel blessed and also be kind and understanding. The feelings of pain and trauma NEVER REALLY GO AWAY!
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” – Dale Carnegie
Have you ever been that person or been with a person, who kind of just asks “How are you”, without any real intention of actually wanting to know more?
Would you change your mindset if you knew that words actually should mean something and choosing better words could change the way people comprehend you and form opinions about you?
“How are you” is way better than the unbearable “what’s up” or “How you doing” – how am I doing what? I mean seriously – if you were really interested and wanted to know the truth about another, you would make the time for it. Social convention might demand that we ask these questions, but the truth is that certain phrases say and mean very different things and in fact they reflect avoidance of actual interest.
The world today is rife with problems of myriad types. Insecurity, the unhealthy yet fervent desire to prove others wrong, a genuine lack of interest in others, and narrow selfishness – seem pervasive. When was the last time we asked someone “how are you” and really meant it – as in actually wanting them to tell us what is actually wrong? Most often the question ‘how are you’ is aimed at making people feel better about themselves – “I always ask another how they are”, kind of scenario!
This article isn’t being penned down to get people to agree, because most won’t since it hurts to think that they may be wrong. Most of the time we don’t ask another person “How are you?” because we want to hear the truth, but instead we want to hear “am good and hope the same for you”, such that we can then move on to spilling out what we actually want to talk about.
Anyone with high emotional intelligence would always follow up the initial “how are you”, with a question that might elicit an honest and I dare say protracted response. Without such ‘intelligence’ most of the time ‘how are you’ comes from self-centeredness – the need to fulfill social convention without being genuinely interested or patient to hear the honest answer. There is so much that we can solve and make better by genuine listening, understanding, care, and substantiation of another’s point of view and or mindset.
Today, with the pandemic and intense economic recession, a genuine ‘how are you’ is rarer. The presumption that the answer to this question could either make a conversation dull and somber with the truth, or elicit answers that would clearly be a lie, beg the question “what should we ask another?” “How are you” is best only when you are genuinely keen to know about the other person, and not if you are already dreading what the other person might say – the capacious truth that you really do not want to hear.
A simple greeting such as good morning or hope things are well with you, would work better – these greetings are positive, not selfish nor are they overly intrusive or beg a response. If you are not interested in knowing more, it is best to avoid ersatz conversation beginners such as “am sure your weekend was good” – do you really know this about someone?
This is not meant to be a critical piece but a reminder that while you must be kind to yourself, remember that others might be fighting uphill battles or might not be in the mood for falsities. Remain genuine, be truly interested and actually care if you want to ask “How are you?”
Image courtesy: www.referenceforbusiness.com
“Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement”. – Brian Tracy, Eat that Frog
The quote amply explains why having and setting goals are so vital not just for companies but from an individual’s perspective too. There are a plethora of tool and methods currently in practice and a number of tools that claim to help with goal setting. For me, I believe that goal setting is all about personal development and each person must follow the method and apply the tools that will help them grow personally through the achievement of their goals.
I have been around long enough and seen a lot professionally and personally to know that goal setting does not need to be a daunting and intimidating exercise and a few pertinent strides will suffice to help one grow in all aspects of life.
Start at the beginning – that is common sense. Analyse the root-cause that has persuaded you to think about this particular goal. Make a list of the things that you consider to be stumbling blocks to the accomplishment of the goal and pit them against the actions required. For instance, when my doctor told me that I needed to lose weight, the first thing I did was to figure out what I did wrong that contributed to the excess weight. My goal was to get fit and stay healthy rather than following mindless diets that would crash the weight but rob my body of essential nutrients.
With a clear goal in mind, it was much simpler to put down a set of methods and practices that would help me achieve my goal. When the goal is clear and the stepping stones are in place, the chances of success are much higher.
Enlist the help of someone who has had a similar problem and overcome it. This not only helps you stick to your plan to achieve your goal, but also provides you with the necessary support and determination required in attaining what you have set out to do. Such a person will serve as an inspiration, a stimulus and an encouragement – call it what you will – it is crucial to the success of your own personal goal.
The reality however is that no plan or support will help, if you lack focus and steadfastness. The determination of making something happen must come from you – from the deep desire to accomplish your goal. Weave the plan in to your everyday life – make it a habit – we all know that habits are hard to break and therefore easier to stick with.
Goal setting for personal development or professional growth means that you are already committed to make changes in your life for the better. I believe that the achievement of anything is a mind-set – positive and resolute. This perseverance and a single-minded focus will be the cornerstones in the achievement of these goals. Take small steps and as you overcome each one, your confidence will steadily build and each subsequent step will become easier and more achievable as you move along. It’s been working for me!