Can you ever be too prepared?
You know what they say about failing to prepare
So I know I said last week that I wouldn’t be turning this into a baby-centric newsletter, but when your days are dominated by shuffling around with a bowling ball under your top, it’s hard to think of anything else.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve spent a lot of time studying all things pregnancy, labour and parenting. I want to start out by saying I know that there’s no replacement for the real thing, and you can never truly predict what will happen on the day, no matter how hard you try.
But it’s in my nature to find comfort in information. At one point during our antenatal classes, Craig said “anxiety is fear of the unknown, so really we are just trying to navigate the unknown with as much knowledge as possible.” This is exactly how I feel, and I’m very grateful that he is happy to give up his evenings and weekends to look at photos of baby poop and learn how to coach breathing techniques for when the big day arrives.
However, some of the older people in our lives seem to think we are looking too much into it. Can you over-prepare for a baby? I personally think not, as long as you don’t mistake preparation for inflexible planning, then surely the more you learn, the better equipped you will be?
Going freelance is similar in many ways. It’s a step into the unknown, something most of us have never done before. And since everyone’s experiences are different, there is no one right way to do it. By immersing yourself in other people’s experiences, you can at least get an idea about what to expect - and learn what mistakes to avoid.
It’s that avoidance of mistakes which I think birth prep has helped me with the most. Through a combination of online and in-person antenatal classes, reading books and listening to podcasts, I feel equipped with the knowledge I need to advocate for myself in the moment. And, should I not be able to for whatever reason, Craig is also clued up on what I want.
Fellow freelancer Jen Cottle shared her own birth story in her newsletter (linked below) and this beautifully written piece left me with two lasting wishes:
To feel confident enough to make my own decisions and be my own advocate
To recognise that not everything “goes to plan” but that doesn’t stop it from being a positive experience
Preparation isn’t about setting unrealistic expectations, it’s about creating a flow diagram in your head so you can make the right decisions in the moment - whatever that moment decides to throw your way.
In my first year of freelancing, I made more mistakes than I’d ever like to admit. I accepted work from clients who were walking red flags, allowed people to knock down my rates to the bare minimum and took on projects that were far outside of my own field of interest because I needed the money.
Now, I spend time on Twitter (and writing this newsletter) sharing my own experiences of freelancing. Not least because it’s very cathartic and self-gratifying, but also because I hope it helps another newbie self-employed person avoid making the mistakes that I made, and gives them the confidence to ask for more — or even just say no.
So whether it’s babies or businesses, I don’t think there’s such thing as being too prepared. Even in the worst-case scenario, I’ve learned some relaxing breathing techniques and I won’t panic when the baby’s umbilical cord goes all gross and drops off.
And, in business, preparation means knowing your rate card, deciding ahead of time what your “non-negotiables” are and feeling confident that there will always be more work around the corner, even if you lose a client or two in the process.
What do you think? Are you a prepper? - Oh wait, I think that’s something different…
Let me know over on Twitter @ContentByTheSea or reply to this email for a chat!
📺 The Staircase (NowTV) - Sky has adapted one of the most famous murder investigations in the true crime community into a drama… and it’s amazing. Starring Colin Firth and Toni Colette, the show tells the familiar story of Kathleen Peterson’s death, and her husband Michael’s imprisonment, from an angle we’ve never seen before.
The original documentary (available on Netflix) famously painted Michael as innocent, but this new adaptation shows some fascinating insights into the actual making of the documentary, as well as other information about the case that they excluded from the doc. As expected, Firth and Colette are amazing in their roles. The first four episodes are available to watch on NowTV/Sky Atlantic.
📚10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak - This was my second read by the award-winning Turkish author. It tells the story of Tequila Leila, a sex worker who is the latest victim in a series of murders in Istanbul.
Although it sounds depressing, this book is full of hope. It’s really just a collection of Leila’s memories as her life flashes before her eyes. Another beautifully written book from Shafak, I will probably read some more over the coming months.
See you next Wednesday with more musings on topics that are important to me, including but not limited to: mental health, work/life balance, internet culture, and much more.
Enjoyed this? You might like these past issues:
11 May: Finding the path of least resistance
5th May: Should brands take a stance?
27th April: Social media has always been evil
21st April: Who are we really?
13th April: The ultimate gramma debate
6th April: Has social media killed nuanced debate?
30th March: Finding diamonds in the rough
23rd March: Do brands really care?
16th March: The future of this newsletter
9th March: Don’t shoot the messenger
2nd March: How to stay informed without going mad
23rd February: This is how it’s always been
16 February: You can only do your best
26 January: The way to a person’s heart