A few months ago, a friend introduced me to a physician from California. The doctor wanted to write a holistic health book and my friend thought I could help her. I’ve worked on book projects for various consultants.
I provided writing samples and actually wrote a version of a blog post she published years ago for her practice’s newsletter. I wanted to give her a feel for how I’d treat typical topics and explained that there’d be a learning curve involved in writing in her voice.
I was concerned about her goals and expectations. She didn’t have a good handle on her audience’s interests and was unusually concerned that her ideas might be stolen.
The ultimate warning sign that this was not a good partnership came as an odd text message at around 10:00 PM my time. Like a booty call coming from a friend with benefits, she simply posed the question; “You up?”
I understand that physicians often can’t make ironclad plans because events will take them in unanticipated directions. I have also worked with people that lived on different time zones and never had issues agreeing on a time to talk that worked for both of us. The good doctor made no attempt check in with me earlier in the day.
After receiving a second “You up?” text, I advised that I didn’t think I could help her with the project. As I said “No” to paid work in this case, I felt like I was saying “Yes” to sanity and self-respect.
Last week, I found myself getting sucked into an online scam. I’ve gotten pretty good at spotting common phishing ploys, fake tech support emails and invitations to straighten out purchases I never made, but I was not especially “on guard” when I received a message via LinkedIn asking if I’d be interested in contracting for a writing project.
The organization this man claimed to represent had a website aligned with the writing project he described. He asked that future correspondence be handled by personal email, which was okay by me.
I sent a few questions. He was quick to respond, explaining how I would get paid and asking me to forward a contract. He mentioned that I had to deliver the document as a pdf and provided other details, but he didn’t answer my questions.
I looked up his LinkedIn profile again. It didn’t make sense that a director from a security company was vetting a freelance writer for a white paper on a community health topic. I stopped communicating with him.
Even though no financial information was provided, I felt disheartened. Each day, it seems, there are more and more types of outreach I’m not supposed to trust.
I concluded that I had to give attention to re-developing my intuition — and learning how to trust it.
I realized that, sometimes, I’ve been so focused on getting paying work, I haven’t been evaluating projects in the right light.
While many types of engagements, short of a dream job, might serve me well and having money coming in is desirable, taking on any job just for the money, or fear of lacking it, doesn’t usually work, at least, not for me.
And how should I deal with the increase of fraudsters? How can I be open and trusting but not regretful over being taken over by wishful thinking? How can I avoid feeling stupid?
I journaled about this, a practice I refer to as Talking with God. It’s not all Q&A, but it’s a great reminder to give time and space for guidance to come in its own time.
The part of me that Is not my conscious mind directed my pen over a lined notebook page. I wrote:
“Consider thinking about offers differently, whether or not they could be scams. Ask yourself if you are being offered something that is likely to take you in the direction you want to go or if it just promises you money or connections or something that is supposed to be good, desirable. Unexpected blessings can come to you, but they need to be looked at according to whether they support the life you want to create for yourself. Maybe hold the thought of what you’re being offered for a bit in case you can make a genuine connection with your heart’s desire later. If there’s no resonance, let it go.”
A lot to think about. In our fast-paced world, taking time to sense whether something can be at home in our heart, feels impossible. We’re supposed act NOW, right? Knowing my heart’s desire and taking time to feel into each situation, is a good place to start.
Understanding that saying “no” to something that doesn’t feel right opens the door to saying “yes” to something better is no small thing.