I have spent the afternoon hauled up in my office having a bit of a cleanup – physically and mentally.
Well, if your physical environment is a bit of a mess then that’s no help to your mental one is it now?
Decluttering in the physical world seemed the first step for my current existential crisis – which has been going on for some time as I’m sure you are well aware.
In random plastic bags and folders shoved away in cupboards, I’ve got a lot of history.
Now I used to review and plan all the time. Every month in fact, but personal stuff got in the way in early 2017 and that particular personal stuff resulted in what I now call “life admin” which has been ongoing ever since and therfore meant that I am over a year and a half late to face my monthly review.
I’ve got workbooks I’ve printed out and filled out, little notepads that I used to scribble onto on a daily basis and nicer, more expensive notebooks that I used for business planning and noted on in seminars.
Some of these notepads I’ve used to document my hours of online research on all things from marketing and SEO to branding and PR.
I’ve got A3 sheets of spider diagrams and messy brain dumps. I’ve got word document printouts of my mission statements, business plans, business systems … it’s all there… dating back to 2014.
Today I started with the notepads and notebooks. There were 10 of them.
Over 3 hours I went through them meticulously reading through each and every page. The business research and tips and pointers I left to the side but everything else I read and then I remembered.
I remembered lots.
It was like time travel.
And time travel was definitely needed today.
When I worked from home before I got my office (and before I had my PA to deal with calls and emails) I always kept a notepad to hand so a lot of everyday business life was scrawled onto these notepads. From to-do lists and job quotes to cold call details and accounting scribbles with numbers and figures. Today it read like a memoir and I could remember everything so clearly.
Everything I was trying to do at the time to push my dream forward.
I was so on it. I was so meticulous. I noticed how my handwriting was on point for some parts and I could tell when I was frazzled or was perhaps working with a glass in hand on others.
These notepads I read this afternoon told the whole story.
And while my first reaction was to weep, part of me was so relieved that instead of bursting into tears I felt a sense of peace and I smiled.
I was initially overcome with sadness from seeing just how driven, how hungry, how passionate I was and how much I was pushing for my goals back then in comparison to how I feel now.
But just as the tears were prickling at my eyes I realised something or rather I accepted something. Something I should have accepted a while ago.
My path has changed. And over time my dreams have changed. My passions are not the same as they used to be.
I know full well I’m still that same, driven, hungry and passionate person, I haven’t gone anywhere, but what I set out to do 4 years ago has led me down a different path. And through sheer stubbornness, I have been exhausting myself trying to follow my plan from 5 or 6 years ago which isn’t actually my journey anymore.
I have in no way failed in anything, quite the opposite in fact.
In a nutshell – When I set out to create a niche business alongside my own personal work, one part of what it offered grew so quickly that the entire operation changed direction and instead of going with it, I’ve spent the whole time working against it.
I have simply been flogging a dead horse.
Which is why it has been causing me so much pain these last few years. I’ve been pushing something that I don’t truly believe in, that I never set out to do.
But when I saw a spark of success I chased after it. But it was never what I wanted. I think by the time I semi-realised the above it was too late – I had clients that depended on me, freelancers that counted on me for work, I had more responsibility than I had ever had and I had to continue at it and it’s been dragging me along for some time now as a substantial weight on my shoulders.
Instead of adapting, I was so fixated to still get what I set out to get that I failed to notice the success and ended up resenting it and this resentment has infiltrated across to all my work and my personal life.
You could say this is a classic example of not living in the moment, not being present and not enjoying the everyday. All of which I am extremely guilty of.
The problem with projecting into the future, as I did (and I think we all do) many years ago with my ideas and my “plan” is that I failed to accept that I cannot make the future happen, it will happen on its own accord and there may be something else that the universe has to offer me and I have no choice but to roll with it when it does.
I do not have control over what happens in the future. Just like I have no control over the past. I can only live in the moment, and the current moment I can’t really control either. I can work with it or against it….
And I know which one I’d rather, but it’s not always easy to – as the addiction recovery groups say – accept the things I cannot change, have the courage to change things I can… and the wisdom to know the difference.