Blog | Dec 3, 2010 | 5 Comments

[falling uphill]

[learning from challenges]

When talking about challenges in our community or our congregation, a former minister of mine used to say that we were “all falling uphill together.” I like that metaphor. In our work lives or our personal lives, we are always falling down—but we are still getting somewhere.

I’ve had some challenges in my professional life lately.

There’s a cardinal rule of blogging for your business: never complain. It leaves a bad impression with present or future clients as well as colleagues (who might be “competitors”). So don’t take this as a complaint. Everyone has challenges. I’m just sayin’.

I tried to find a reference for that saying of our minister’s, but instead I found a book by Scott Stoll, Falling Uphill, about traveling around the world on a bicycle. You can see his cool videos here. In the middle of one, Scott said something that really resonated with me:

“I asked for this. I can’t complain.”

I’ve written occasionally about the ups and downs of freelancing, but I still feel that it’s a privilege to work this way:

(For more of my views on freelancing, check out this blog post.)

I also know this: things are always confusing at a crossroads.

The writing business is changing. On the down side, there seems to be less work and the pay is lower in some cases. On the up side, there are more opportunities in social media, which is just as content-driven as other forms of marketing. Also on the up side, more editing work has come my way–people looking for polish and for continuity between teams of writers. And that’s one of my favorite things to do.

The idea of “falling uphill” is that things aren’t always easy and even when you have a really bad fall, you might stand up and see that you are actually farther along the path than you were before. But only if you stay open to learning from the experience.

In careers, as in the rest of life, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.”

What’s your career journey been like lately? When you hit a snag, what helps you keep going?

Top photo credit: Winding uphill track to Whinney Fell by Rose and Trey Clough. (link to work)  Licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Bonus! A personal photo:

This is me after a long day of climbing uphill in Die Pfaffenstein, in the Sächsische Schweiz area of Germany.

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Author: Claire Wagner

I'm a seasoned freelance writer/editor and an enthusiastic community manager. I'm passionate about developing and sharing good content.


Great points.

One of the first things I learned about public speaking is never draw attention to the negative or your own perceived short comings that may come out when engaging them.

Our own self perception is thankfully, often, not always aligned with how others see us.

In general staying positive seems to be my biggest tool. By reminding myself of what’s going right and being realistic about my own expectations has kept me in good stead.

Semantics is a big thing. I had to switch from ‘Free Lancer’ to ‘Consultant’ in my own head to understand and help me define my boundaries with clients.


Claire Wagner Reply:

Thanks, Justin. I always appreciate your perspective. It’s interesting what you say about labels of freelancer vs. Consultant. I’m going to be pondering that.




I love it when I fall down because it gives me a chance to get back up. I also love your positive attitude because it’s a rare find in this world. Great post!


Claire Wagner Reply:

Thanks, P.S. You know I love your own “can do, don’t try to stop me” attitude as well! Thanks for writing.


P.S. Jones


[…] Claire Wagner knows that if you stay in this business long enough, you’ll face your share of challenges. She writes about the facing those challenges and what they mean in Falling Uphill: Learning from Challenges. […]

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