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What Martial Arts Taught Me About Freelancing

I spent just shy of 18 years studying Martial Arts (at Fred Villari’s Studios of Self-Defense in Glendale, CA).  While I wasn’t especially surprised that it ended up saving my life once, I was surprised that so much of what I learned transferred over to my freelance writing career…

Armen Heroian and Lauren R. Tharp

Master Armen Heroian and me

Rules of the School

My “system”/school of Martial Arts training has its students live by 5 “Rules”/words:  Effort, Etiquette, Sincerity, Character, and Self-Control.

These Rules continue to influence not only my life, but my professional career.

Effort

Definition: 1.) Strenuous use of energy. 2.) Attempt.

What it Means to Me:  Try.  Really try.  As Wayne Gretsky once said, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.”  Or, as I prefer, “You better work hard or you might as well quit!” as said by the lyrical wordsmith M.C Hammer.  We all know that “the only failure is to not try.”  This applies to your business as well.  No matter how daunting a task may seem, if you accepted to do it, then you should give it all you’ve got!  Make the effort.  Don’t be lazy.

Etiquette

Definition: Rules of correct behavior.

What it Means to Me:  Don’t be a jerk.  Treat others the way you want to be treated.  Manners!  All that good stuff.  Also, the rules of “correct behavior” tend to adapt and change depending on what crowd you’re with.  Learn how to best blend in with those you’re working for/with by socializing with them.

Sincerity

Definition: Without having pretence or deceit.

What it Means to Me:  Be honest.  There have been times that I’ve been described as “painfully honest;” but, trust me, I’d rather be brutal in my honesty than to live my life as a liar.  Living your life and handling your business dealings with honesty and integrity will not only make your life easier (the truth is easier to keep track of than a web of lies!), but it can also save your butt if something goes awry!  I had an incident a few months ago where a client was trying to give me grief.  The main thing that saved me?  The truth.

Character

Definition: 1.) Qualities making a person or thing what he, she, or it is. 2.) Moral strength. 3.) Person in a novel, play, etc. 4.) Letter or sign used in writing, printing, etc. 5.) Noticeable or eccentric person. 6.) Reputation

What it Means to Me:  Be yourself.  Or even “be true” to yourself.  For me, this Rule is very connected to the Rule of Sincerity…  Never compromise your principles or who you are for anyone—not even if they’re paying you!

Self-Control

Definition: Ability to control one’s own behavior.

What it Means to Me:  One time, during a test, I was near-to-tears with frustration because I couldn’t do everything that was expected of me.  It was because of my bad hip—a birth defect I had no control over.  I was making the Effort, but because I couldn’t succeed, I thought it meant nothing.  I thought that I wasn’t exemplifying the 5 Rules of the School.  That’s when Master Dannon told me something I will never forget: “By not doing something that hurts you, you’re showing Self-Control by knowing your own limitations.”  I always try to keep this in mind with my work.  By knowing my own limitations—by exhibiting some Self-Control—I’m able to not get overwhelmed by my projects…which lets me put in the required Effort to do my best work for the clients I do choose to work for.  It all comes full circle.

Master Dannon Moore with Lauren R. Tharp

Master Dannon became a Master on the same day I became a black belt

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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