I have quoted Seth a number of times before and strongly recommend that you subscribe to his free daily website.

I particularly liked this one as portfolio workers we are primarily responsible for our own personal and professional development and one of the best ways of accomplishing this is by asking people how they do things. I really like his final paragraph on this blog:

” Every time you hear an expert use a word or concept you don’t understand, stop her and ask to be taught.  Every time. After just a few interactions, you’ll have a huge advantage over those who didn’t ask.”


I have noticed a recent trend in that many people are linking to the assessment tool on this site that will give you an idea as to whether or not a portfolio career is right for you. In the results we make it clear that if you are a perfecionist then a portfolio career is perhaps not for you. I have been interested in recent research from Leeds University by Professor Danyl O’Connor on this topic and he states clearly that his research links perfectionism to a tendency to experience stress, depression, anorexia and suicide. “For a perfectionist, a stressful encounter is typically seen as an opportunity to fail”.

Perfectionism is a trait many of us say, maybe even a little proudly. (“I’m a perfectionist” being the classic response you say in a job interview when asked to name your biggest flaw — one that you think isn’t really a flaw — for example.)  Gordon Flett, a psychologist at York University, Canada, who has spent decades researching the potentially ruinous psychological impact of perfectionism says, “Other than those people who have suffered greatly because of their perfectionism or the perfectionism of a loved one, the average person has very little understanding or awareness of how destructive perfectionism can be.”

It is easy to see what might drive a perfectionist to self-harm. The all-or-nothing, impossibly high standards perfectionists set for themselves often mean that they’re not happy even when they’ve achieved success. Research has suggested that anxiety over making mistakes may ultimately be holding some perfectionists back from ever achieving success in the first place. “Wouldn’t it be good if your surgeon, or your lawyer or financial advisor, is a perfectionist?” said Thomas S. Greenspon, a psychologist and author of a recent paper  on an “antidote to perfectionism,” published in Psychology in the Schools. “Actually, no. The research confirms that the most successful people in any given field are less likely to be perfectionistic, because the anxiety about making mistakes gets in your way,” he continued. “Waiting for the surgeon to be absolutely sure the correct decision is being made could allow me to bleed to death.”

There’s a distinction between perfectionism and the pursuit of excellence, Greenspon said. Perfectionism is more than pushing yourself to do your best to achieve a goal; it’s a reflection of an inner self mired in anxiety. “Perfectionistic people typically believe that they can never be good enough, that mistakes are signs of personal flaws, and that the only route to acceptability as a person is to be perfect,” he said. Because the one thing these people are decidedly not-perfect at is self-compassion.

If you have perfectionistic tendencies, Flett advises aiming the trait outside yourself. “There is much to be said for feeling better about yourself  by volunteering and making a difference in the lives of others,” he said. If you’re a perfectionist who also happens to be a parent, then the research suggests that perfectionism is a trait that you can pass down to your kids. One simple way to help your kids, he suggests, is storytelling. “Kids love to hear a parent or teacher talk about mistakes they have made or failures that have had to overcome,” he said. “This can reinforce the ‘nobody is perfect and you don’t have to be either’ theme.”

It’s important to address as early as possible, because the link between perfectionism and suicide attempts is a particularly dangerous one. In a sad twist of irony, once a perfectionist has made up his mind to end his own life, his conscientious nature may make him more likely to succeed. Perfectionists act deliberately, not impulsively, and this means their plans for taking their own lives tend to be very well thought-out and researched, Flett and colleagues write.

You can easily see why a perfectionist could find a portfolio career  a nightmare. On the other hand rather than just dismissing the idea it maybe you should be making it  a priority to conscioulsy rid yourself of this characteristic which will reinforce a fixed mindset, discourage you from risk taking and minimising your chances of having fun and a rewarding life.


Working in a startup is a ‘dream job’ for two-thirds of people

16 December 2014

The widescale move towards a new model for work continues to develop. People increasingly want a portfolio career or to be running their own business. Large, corporate employers are struggling to compete with start-ups in the “war for talent”, claims research just published.  A study of more than 1,000 people working in companies with over [...]

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Unpaid work in your portfolio career

15 December 2014

  I have always liked to have at least one unpaid job in my portfolio career – sometimes more than one. My latest one for the past 12 months has been one of the most fulfilling pieces of unpaid work that I have ever had the fortune to participate in. I was invited to become [...]

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More and more people are starting their own businesses

7 December 2014

Not every portfolio worker is an entrepreneur but many are. As such some of the latest findings on entrepreneurship in the UK are fascinating. According to new data from information services firm Experian, more first-time entrepreneurs are starting businesses than ever before, and these debut directors tend to come from less affluent backgrounds than the [...]

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How to build an alumni network

27 November 2014

If this makes you grimace then maybe you should think again. I get increasingly bombarded from the 2 universities from which I gained degrees for attending events, giving money, meet ups, etc. Except that as portfolio workers most of us have to network in ways that we probably did not think necessary when we had [...]

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Portfolio workers working from home

23 October 2014

There are more and more people setting up businesses from home as this excellent research report from Enterprise Nation shows. A big plus is that the G’ment are actively encouraging this and ensuring that people can do this without having to pay business rates, seek planning permission and giving guidelines for a model tenancy agreement [...]

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81% of entrepreneurs said they are happier now in self employment than when they were employed

6 October 2014

… is the conclusion of a new report from Barclay’s Bank. You don’t need to read the whole report. Instead look at my good friend Steve Preston’s summary of it along with his insights as to what it takes to become successfully self employed.

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Portfolio careers continues to become the new ‘norm’

29 July 2014

We have posted a lot over the past year in particular with data that clearly shows the increasing popularity of portfolio careers, self employment, freelancing and flexible working. The latest study is from PcW.  Only around one in seven workers wants to work in a ‘traditional’ nine-to-five office environment in the future, according to their [...]

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How do we keep fit as portfolio workers?

10 July 2014

Yes – this is an issue that I hear about a lot. You would think that with a portfolio lifestyle that keeping fit and good nutrition would be easy to achieve! Quite! The fact is that we are often  so busy juggling our portfolio roles around that is exactly what we fail to do. I [...]

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