FLOGGING A DEAD HORSE

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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.

PEOPLE LIKE YOU

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Whilst sunning myself in Tel Aviv the other week I was devouring a pretty awesome book by Daniel Priestly and this quote really hit home for me.

“THE WORLD IS CHANGING AND SO MUST YOU.”

It was after reading this sentence and the paragraphs that followed that the penny dropped.

I realised my constant struggle and frustrations with business and life was down to one simple thing.

My resistance to change.

Sitting in any place of resistance is not only painful but bloody exhausting.

My stubbornness to continue trying to work the same way that I have been for the last 9 years was getting me nowhere and no matter how long I continue the struggle, it never will.

It’s plain and simple – Things are different now and there’s only one thing for it – we need to let go of the way things worked in the past.

Yeah, sure, learning and understand something new is daunting at first, it looks a lot like work, but after we’ve grasped the concept of whatever it is we are learning then it always enhances our lives in some shape or form. 

Because knowledge is power.

Just as 20 or even 10 years ago it seemed a simpler time to run a business, and arguably a simpler time to run your life, what we actually have now is a wealth of shades between the black and white.  Every single one of us – rich or poor, old or young – has a ridiculous amount of opportunity at our fingertips.

Back in 2000, if you did something quirky, arty, cool or a bit different (ie. what pretty much ALL businesses are doing right now!) people would have a tough time finding you. 

You’d still have to somehow fit your business into the categories of the yellow pages.

Until recently you had to work within a structure and there was little freedom.

Today, there are teenagers across the globe KILLING IT online from just their bedroom with nothing more than a phone with a wifi connection and a desire to send out a message.

There are now millions of small, lean enterprises honing in on serving individuals rather than generic markets. 

You can now have unique things that were made for “people just like you.”

The internet has connected so many.

On the internet no one can be too fussy or have strange taste, we are all part of a “tribe” as we have found others out there who think like we think and believe as we believe.

On the flip side though, there are some very stressed out business owners and entrepreneurs out there who haven’t quite grasped social media and/or are still stuck in the dark ages with all things technology.  I had one sitting at my coffee table yesterday at the end of his tether trying to get some advice as to how to continue on with the one thing he is trained to do and has been doing all his life.

These business owners and entrepreneurs are angry, frustrated and struggling to adapt to the way things are now because they think they haven’t got the luxury of a tech or marketing department and don’t even know where or whom to turn to learn all this new stuff for conducting their business online…

BUT they are missing the point.

It is not social media, e-commerce platforms or opt-in web pages that make people rich or popular.

IT’S THEIR MESSAGE.

All social media does is make them louder.

There is ALOT of noise out there, but the one thing that will cut through it all and speak to the people you want to speak to is your message, and this can be neatly tied up in the “brand of you.”

Comparing yourself to others is simply setting yourself up to fail.

If you just try to copy everyone else, imitate what they are doing and speak how they speak, you’ll get lost in the noise and won’t be heard.

Now, maybe you don’t run a business, perhaps you’re struggling on a personal level online with, Oh, I don’t know, say… online dating??

The same principles apply.  You need to be clear about your message and ensure what you are putting out there is “on brand” and that is the wonderful and unique brand of you.

When it comes to conducting your business life or your personal life, if you don’t know what you stand for or really know the message that you are trying to get across, then no amount of marketing or mentoring can help you put it out there with success – You’ll have very little luck getting noticed, and if you do, the chances are you’ll be attracting the wrong thing anyway.

We’re technically in fun times here. 

Anything goes these days – We can play by our own rules and the scope of which we can explore, create and achieve is limitless.

We’re all thinking outside the box more and more to grab people’s attention in this noisy online and offline world and in doing so our creativity is blossoming.

So relax, have fun with it because I’ve got some good news for you…

Success is no longer only reserved for the qualified or elite.  Anyone can grab a slice of the pie!

All you have to do?

Be unapologetically you.