For the past 11 months, two things have been occurring simultaneously for me: I have been experiencing chronic (non-life threatening) health issues and I have been building a business.
Mostly, they are completely unrelated. But also, they are deeply intertwined.
I’m not really a patient person. I want instant gratification. I like action. I hate feeling lazy.
Constantly feeling unwell is incredibly exhausting and I’ve been frustrated with my limitations, particularly around my business idea. I kept setting goals that I was unable to meet. I kept wanting to be at a place that just didn’t work for me. I was convinced that I would always feel sick, that I’m not cut out for the entrepreneurial life and that I should just focus on my day job and give up on my dreams.
*enter a bit of a spiral*
So in August, I took 24 days in a row off work. I didn’t really have a plan, but I knew I had to do something. I was tired and miserable.
Here’s what I found: creative living = joyful energy
I confined myself to my back deck and spent about 10 hours a day writing and planning and creating. (and eating and drinking and snuggling Lucy. There was also an island camping trip involved.)
I met with friends and creators to discuss my vision.
I explored all kinds of ideas, limits and joy.
Most importantly, I remembered why I started this business idea… I really like it. Rather than obsess over not being where I want to be, I took inventory of where I am and discovered that I’m actually in this sweet spot of full blown creativity where anything is possible.
Suddenly, I didn’t feel like I was failing.
I removed all (self-imposed) timelines which has given me space to breathe and kept me grounded in my commitment to keep going.
When it gets hard or when I feel yucky, I pause. And the pause button isn’t even close to stopping. In fact, it’s much more in line with play. I’m not stopping, I’m breathing. When I take breaks, I expand. Besides, I don’t think I could stop thinking about my business if I tried. I’m (more than) a little obsessed.
Obviously I will still work my day job. I like working. I’m good at my job. And let’s face it, my business is miles away from launching, let alone sustaining me and my family.
But at the end of my work day, I am left with a pocketful of energy and time. Being unwell has helped me determine where I draw energy as opposed to what draws energy from me.
I say no. A LOT. Without discrimination or alliances. I devour alone time. I sleep. I breathe. I’ve abandoned the appeal of life as a tortured artist; I much prefer joyful artistic living.
Against most current entrepreneurial advice columns, I’m not hustling. I’m working at my own pace. Nor do I have any desire to crush anything. I will succeed. On my own terms. Softer. Gentler. And full of joy.
This will be a long journey and there will continue to be times when I am ready to quit. When I think it all sucks and I’m not creative and this is all a stupid waste of time.
But that’s okay. It’s part of the process. (remind me, k?)
And in terms of my business idea… stay tuned. I promise to share something.. soon.