Let me ask you a question. Do you ever feel like you are running and running; you have so much energy you are fuelled and geared up for everything, excited about life, love and work, and then suddenly, you begin to feel tired. Your legs don’t feel like they can keep carrying you, and in the not too distant horizon is this huge wall and you’ve no idea how to climb it? A long winded question I know, but it sounds familiar? Well, about two weeks ago I came face to face with the wall. I mean, Game of Thrones style big freakin’ wall.
Inspiration wasn’t coming, the ideas had stopped and I had a lot going on in my personal life, that I just couldn’t see any light. It’s hard to deal with those situations when you are so used to being enthusiastic all the time. I find I have highs and lows, there seems to be no middle ground for me and I hate that. At this time, I couldn’t see a positive in anything. I just wanted to go to ground and try and work my way out of the funk and figure what kind of James Bond device I needed to surmount the wall. So where did this all come from?
I’m terrible for comparing myself to others. When someone gets a job or a project, I get jealous. I can’t help it. I question why I didn’t get it and what I’ve done wrong that I wasn’t chosen. It’s a toxic way to think about yourself, and of others. I always feel happy for my friends and colleagues when they do well, we have to celebrate our successes and share in our friend’s feats as well as our own. I just wish I could be like that all the time. Instead, I retreat into myself, all the while going through a period of self-questioning that I’d make Mastermind look like a breeze. Special topic: me. I’ve often thought maybe its a sign of selfishness. But I try not to think about that.
But back to the wall. So there’s no Jon Snow to help me get over it. So what do I do? Take a running leap over it, over the problems and my self-criticising? Or, take several steps back and try and go through it head first, hoping to cause no injury to myself? Or do I stop for a bit, think it out, and figure out a solution that helps me climb the wall safely, to the top, and descend the other side in a better attitude? The first way will end up with me falling head first down the other side, where I will get up and forget the funk, all to find I feel no better. The second way I will inflict so many emotional and mental issues on myself by bulling through in anger and envy. The third way, is planned. It’s solution-based to try and understand the causes and determine how to stop them from returning.
It took a long time for me to adopt the third way of climbing the wall. And how I did comes down to a few simple things. I stop and actually write down what’s bothering me. From the projects that I haven’t landed, to why my husband cannot pick up his gym gear off the floor. Everything. Down. On. Paper. Then, I start to add perspective to each thing. I may not have booked Project “XYZ” but why don’t I make a list of brands I’d like to work with and start pitching to one per day. And, maybe by asking husband to just pop his gym gear into the laundry basket please and thank you, would stop me wanting to fire it out the bedroom window.
So, now, at this point, I’ve started to climb the wall. I tick off those irritating things that stop me from being the best version of myself. Because that girl is sitting, legs crossed, cappuccino in hand, waiting for me on the other side of the wall. Slowly, and very surely, I get to the top of the wall, with a mind that maybe restless, but productive. There is a temptation, now that I’m at the top, to just jump down, grab the coffee and motor on. But, being at the top doesn’t mean all is ok. I need to work my way down the other side of the wall, with care and thought. Practical thought.
And this is where actioning comes in. I take the list I made and I add a column called progress. Did I send out a work pitch and get a response? Yes. Do I need to follow that up with ideas to work it out? Absolutely. Progress. Is the gym gear/floor situ solved? Of course it is, because asking nicely is always the best possible approach. So as I descend the wall, I have a plan. And I am executing the plan as I put my toes on the ground. So I pick up the cappuccino from the well organised, calmer, positive version of me and I continue on knowing that if there is even a little wall up ahead, I’ve got a way to get over it.
Things to read to help with motivation
I love a good self-help book and I’ve read so many, but some of my favourites are:
- The Secret, by Ronda Byrne
- You Can Heal Your Life, by Louise Hay
- E-Squared, by Pam Grout
- The Life Changing Magic Of Not Giving A F**k, by Sarah Knight