Great insights for recent graduates and job seekers in this COVID economy. There are quotes from me in there as well and, as usual, I take the broader, big picture view of finding resilience over time.
Calling all highly sensitive men! Join us for the 2nd Highly Sensitive Men’s Seminar Dec. 5th from Noon to 5pm CST. In this seminar we will be focusing on how we might begin to think of meaningful work as conducive to greater self-realization, self-fulfillment, and happiness in embodying sensory processing sensitivity in a positive, confident way.
Here, our Emmy Award winning director, Will Harper, very poignantly articulates how his life, like many of ours in 2020, has been challenging but his commitment to raising awareness and acceptance of highly sensitive men is vital and passionate as ever.
This is the first peek inside the 1st highly sensitive men’s seminar held this March 13-15th at 1440 Multiversity. The 2nd seminar will be held virtually via Zoom video conferencing, so we all stay safe from the pandemic.
Further details on how to register for the event may be found at this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/…/the-2nd-highly-sensitive…
Please share widely!
Please share the word about my latest book on highly sensitive men. The more we can couch being highly sensitive as a positive and empowering aspect of one’s life, the more we can help highly sensitive men begin to allow and accept it for themselves.
The 2nd highly sensitive men’s seminar will be held Dec. 5th online via Zoom. Join us for a poignant and life changing experience that asks the fundamental question: how do we find greater self-realization through meaningful work?
We HS men know that truly meaningful work combines the head AND heart in service to others as we navigate this life. Learn with other HS men in convivial community as you are both seen and heard. If this is your first time joining us, being in community with other HS men is a powerful and enriching experience since so many of us have never known another HS man.
Make your plans to join us for this end-of-year event during this year of the highly sensitive man. Highly sensitive men, we need you to step out of the shadows and be seen and heard!
Please share with all of the highly sensitive men in your life!
Freelancing is becoming a significant part of our economy and is projected to increase over the next decade to even higher levels as companies and organizations who were forced to allow everyone to work from home realize the tremendous economy of not having to maintain a physical space for all of their employees. The downside is they will also take advantage of this knowledge to cut hours to avoid paying benefits. This will leave many people, even skilled, educated people, unable to keep up with minimal costs of living. Freelancing is quickly becoming the norm for what people are flocking to in order to earn the other money they need to survive.
Luckily for us technology has made it easier than ever to connect with potential clients worldwide, to work from home sustainably, and to offer skilled work in a wide variety of formats that would otherwise only find application locally. As with anything where people realize there is money to be made, freelancing will have its own downsides and upsides and will require of you significant effort as a businessperson if you expect to sustain your activities. Let’s be clear, freelancing is professional work where the expectations are the same as they would be in an office, only here you are contracting to work for a company, organization, even an individual for a set project duration, at a set rate, and for set deliverables.
The question is how do HSPs get started as freelancers? What barriers will we need to overcome in order to get through the often difficult startup phase? Isn’t it all just too much and too overstimulating? Let’s start by acknowledging that everyone who does freelancing feels stressed, uncertain, and afraid of failure. HSPs will feel it too, but may process it all more deeply. Here’s a tip: use your rational mind to stop the overthinking! At some point, acknowledge that you have thought about an issue long enough and let it go. Realize that you do not need to dwell endlessly on a problem and/or make yourself miserable. Devote enough time to completely address any issue then move on. There’s no time for endless rehashing of what-ifs. As well, there will be times when you need to “sleep on it” and let your mind process overnight. I’m not saying don’t be who you are; rather, be self-aware of your tendencies and adapt accordingly. This will take some practice.
HSPs will similarly encounter walls of fear and anxiety about the what-ifs. What if I don’t get any clients? What if I fail? What if I’m not good enough? What if, what if, what if… Pushing through fear is perhaps one of the hardest things you will do as a freelancer and one where you are presented with the greatest growth potential. For every wall of fear you push through you will find yourself gaining a little bit of confidence and when you face the next wall of fear, it will be a bit less scary each time. Fear will never leave you entirely, nor should it, as it serves to make us focus on what we are about to do. But, be aware that we need to be brave for one more minute past our peak level of fear and that will break us through each wall of anxiety.
Lastly, self-care is extremely important and we need to adapt our lives to become more sustainable long-term. In that sense, do the things you need to to take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. You will not build a freelancing side gig in one day so be prepared for the long haul of sustaining your business over time. Do more than one gig, offer many and diversify so you won’t get too bored, especially if you are a high sensation seeking HSP. In service to you over the near future, I will post more on freelancing, the gig economy, self-employment, and other topics that I know are of great relevance to you at the moment as our world continues to adapt to new norms. In the meantime, check out this great article with 50 tips for freelancers! I agree with most of them but take away what is of value for you.
Thrive: The Highly Sensitive Person and Career
Empowering The Sensitive Male Soul
Thrill: The High Sensation Seeking Highly Sensitive Person
The year 2020 has accelerated many changes in the workforce that were already on pace to realize massive rearrangements in how we work, why we work, and who we work for. With COVID19, the new reality has arrived within months.
Freelancing was already a large part of the economy and headed towards becoming an even greater share of the overall workplace but now we have some 36% of the workforce that are freelancers! The attached article details more about what that means for workers and for companies but the bigger picture for HSPs is that we need to begin to shift how we think about work, life, and our purposes because, otherwise, we will potentially find ourselves out of work and desperate within a short period of time.
There are some caveats that we should acknowledge. People who are in essential jobs will likely always have security. Those are jobs like healthcare and industry that require physical presence to accomplish the work such as caring for patients, producing products in factories or other workplaces, and many other hands-on jobs that cannot be carried out via the internet at a distance. This does not mean we should all flock to those types of positions because those fields still employ a certain type of person who is able and willing to put up with the negative aspects like noisy environments, demanding supervisors, often uncomfortable physical environments and many other non-negotiable demands of the field. Some HSPs might be fine with any of this, depending on how well they can ignore the negative parts, but others will not be well suited to the long-term grind of showing up to a job they absolutely hate every day for decades.
If you choose to go the freelancing route, and you may or may not have a choice depending on your skills, experience, and networking abilities, you will need to adapt to an entrepreneurial mindset where your skills are for sale and where you become a “brand.” People will seek you out as you gain a reputation and that may lead to more work but the stability and predictability of work will fluctuate at times.
Unpredictable income is an incredibly bad thing in an economy where bills are keyed to a regular and predictable income that does not vary. The costs of houses, cars, and so many other things are skyrocketing each year. For example, cars now regularly cost half as much as a home in many states in the US and lenders now finance them for seven years or more! Housing similarly increases each year along with insurances and costs of upkeep. How will you manage all of this with an unpredictable freelancer income?
The likely answer is you will have to reframe your values and what you attach worth to. Perhaps you do not need that new car and a used vehicle will work just as well. Maybe that home that costs several thousand a month in mortgage or rent is simply out of your league and you will need to be more realistic about what you can afford. In time, rents and mortgages may decline of necessity if enough people cannot afford to keep up, since there will be fewer and fewer people able to follow through on loan commitments.
Many of us will also be familiar with the concept of voluntary simplicity where we intentionally avoid debts and spending large portions of our monthly income on consumer goods we do not actually need. Many of us will have adapted to not living in areas where mortgage costs are incredibly high or the cost of living is exorbitant. The new reality of freelancing, the gig economy, and contract work frees us up to live wherever we wish but that may mean we are limited to what we can afford, which may not align with keeping up with the neighbors, if you are such a person.
My advice to you is to get ahead of this curve of ever-increasing numbers of freelancers, if you think this will affect you, and proactively begin to create a life that is financially and personally sustainable. This may mean massive upheavals in where you live, what you live in, or how you think about work but if it’s already coming you are simply waiting to be hit by it if you do not address it proactively.
Now, obviously, this all depends on your stage of life and what your needs are at any given point but in order to minimize anxiety and grief over a changing economy we need to get out in front of change and foresee how to adapt to changing economic circumstances before we are bowled over by them. If you are older, perhaps you are closer to retirement and have the pieces in place to live well enough in your golden years. Or perhaps you will continue to work at a reduced pace and supplement your earnings long-term. That can be a great strategy and we desperately need skilled older workers to bring their skills and experience to bear as much to get things done as to serve as mentors to the younger generations.
If you are that younger generation, the world seems incredibly uncertain, unwelcoming, and scary but the key will be to embrace change as a continuous force throughout your life. Stability is only an illusion we subscribe to anyway. Embracing the reality of continuous change will position you to be an innovator who stays on the cusp of the new and novel. You will want to avoid the debt traps and learn to live a happy and full life without massive monthly debt but, very frankly, you will be far happier living more simply, closer to nature, and closer to your fellow humans. You will learn to network like a beast and nurture those connections because you truly never know which one will surface an opportunity that will lead you to something good. It is a two way street and you will need to do the same for your network.
If you are in the vast middle of life, you are faced with the twin dilemma of changing a life you already have and probably like versus an ugly new reality of uncertainty and stress. My observations is if you have made it to mid-life you have probably seem some “stuff” in life already and are far more resilient than you know. No one makes it through life without encountering crisis’, tragedy, and dark days. You will reinvent as necessary and you likely know what is truly important to you and what it takes to be sustainable personally and professionally.
Change is here, my dear HSPs, and we need to kick into action with plans that will live up to our deep thinking, observant, and open natures. If it scares you, that’s alright, it scares everyone so you are not alone but there is hope and it is possible to very successfully cobble together several income streams that will even out your monthly income flow.
What has been your experience with the economy? Have you become a freelancer not by your own choice? How have you dealt with it?
Empowering the Sensitive Male Soul
Thrive: The Highly Sensitive Person and Career
Thrill: The High Sensation Seeking Highly Sensitive Person
“Suddenly it’s not just about who talks the most, but rather, who is actually getting stuff done.”
Talking the most may be a winning strategy for in-person situations but the new reality of virtual work may tilt the focus away from the big talkers and on to the big doers. Are highly sensitive people doers?Let’s look at what was described as the most appropriate skill set for virtual leadership: organized, dependable and productive. We know that HSPs prefer for things to be done well, even to a perfectionist level, which comes with its own baggage, of course. HSPs are known to be the most conscientious members of just about any team. It is simply part of their trait, sensory processing sensitivity, to carefully think through the consequences of proposed actions BEFORE taking the actions. Being productive is presumed as part of being both conscientious and organized.
So, are HSPs now in the leadership seat that some may have always desired and knew they could do well at? Possibly, but let’s not discount the sheer bluster and braggadocio of extravert leaders and likely unwillingness and inability to adapt and/or allow quieter people to lead. It’s very likely that online meetings will still be dominated by the big talkers, who simply do not know any other to negotiate reality, other than out loud.
I suggest a strategic leadership style that acknowledges the volume of big talking leaders, while taking advantage of our superior online leadership abilities. Do you really want to be the mouthpiece of the team or would you rather be the planner who actually gets things done by connecting people to needed resources, providing timely and responsive feedback when it is most needed, and showing leadership to be more than talking loudly? I would vote for the latter and have seen this unfold in my life as a virtual leader.
In person, I am quieter and more observant but being online changes the dynamic entirely, especially if the communication loop is emails, texts, and short calls. My superior ability to see the big picture, while attending to the details has made me a valuable part of every team that I find myself on. It is also easier virtually to reach out to others who may be able to help you when you need it.
What may feel threatening and anxiety-producing in person carries no such weight when sending an email or other textual communication. What about the virtual meetings you ask? How do I carry out the role of virtual leader when I am live online? It feels anxiety-producing! It sure does! I feel it myself when I have to do anything live, whether it’s a “simple” phone call, Zoom chat, or live meeting. It’s just as possible to stumble over your words, to appear disorganized, or to feel high anxiety as it is in person.
My observation after having done this for some time? You’ll get better at it the more you do it.HSPs and HSS/HSPs may make very good performers and can “play” a role well enough to appear to be what others expect or need from a live meeting. I’ve done it, so don’t think that you cannot develop your public speaking skills with practice. With virtual meetings, you still have the advantage of being more relaxed in your own home than you would be in a room full of people where you can control very little. Think about it: at home you can control the physical environment almost entirely. Too hot? You can fix that. Too cold? You can fix that too! Too claustrophobic from too many people in one cramped office? No problem, at home, it’s just you!
Set up your home office with what works for you to feel relaxed and balanced. I have lots of plants, books, and lots of light because that makes me feel my best. You may prefer less light or no plants and instead prefer a scent in the air or to work at night. So many of the things that drive HSPs bonkers in office settings are suddenly no longer an issue. There may be new issues as a result of setting up at home but adapt your life to work with that in whatever ways work best for you. Is this a good time for HSP leaders to shine? You betcha!
Empowering The Sensitive Male Soul Thrive: The Highly Sensitive Person and CareerThrill: The High Sensation Seeking Highly Sensitive Person(text and audio book available for all above)
Join us Saturday, Dec. 5th 2020 from Noon to 5pm, CST for an online seminar for highly sensitive men focusing on the theme of career. This is our second seminar for HS men and will take place virtually via Zoom due to the pandemic.
Tentative moderators will be myself, John Hughes, and Will Harper. Dr. Elaine Aron will not be joining us for this one but may for our spring seminar. Additional speakers to be announced in the near future! Tickets to this event are on sale now!
Join us for a powerful learning experience and a gathering of highly sensitive men in community that only we can do for ourselves.