As most of you are aware, I took last week off from blogging. I felt lost, directionless, lacking in purpose.
The example I gave to several people is I felt as if I were placed in the center of a foreign room. The room was pitch black and there were hazards all around me. I was scared to move because without knowing where the hazards laid, I didn’t know if my first action would cause me to collide face first with one or not. Not only did the fear of not knowing what was around me paralyze me, but I had no clue in what direction the exit was or how I was supposed to get there.
From the people I’ve talked to, this isn’t a unique occurrence for me. It’s fairly common for many people who are starting their own business to go through times of disorientation (however, I’m putting this out here for all to see and hopefully learn and grow by). I tell you this, because I was under the assumption that everyone else has or had their act together and that I’m alone in having these fears and feelings. That is not the case! And if that is currently you, have hope. You’re not alone either. Others have gone through this and are more than willing to help you get through it to!
For complete disclosure, I need you to know the disoriented feeling didn’t just hit the previous week or weekend. It’s been here for several weeks, if not a month, ever since I discovered the disconnect between the content in my blog and what I was actually telling people through spoken words that I was trying to accomplish here at A Better Way of Business. The disorientation really started then, but has progressively gotten worse each week, if not each day, until the weekend prior to last weeks time off it was completely debilitating to me.
After The Headache, the disorientation became significantly worse! On the 1st of December the magnitude of importance of my health issues finally hit home to me. Although I made a significant (and needed) change by leaving my day job to become full time self employed, that’s not enough of a change to ensure I’m healthy enough to be able to live the life I want to live going forward. I need to alter my diet and put in serious time and effort in terms of exercising.
By the weekend of the 3rd and 4th of December I was ready to throw the towel in. The mental negativity was at an all time high. The confidence in myself and the future was at an all time low. The fear planted in me regarding my health was … soul shaking to me.
That’s when I decided I would take one week off from “the grind” and assess the situation. My plan was to separate myself from the daily routines I had established and do some soul searching. I was going to do this by:
- Internally analyzing what’s on my heart and mind. What do I intend to accomplish here and why am I doing it? Can I actually add value to people’s lives through what I want to do here?
- I wanted to spend considerable time reading my Bible and praying, asking God for direction and confirmation as to whether or not I should continue down the path I’m going.
- Seek wisdom and guidance from those close to me and who love me, but not necessarily have “a dog in this fight”.
And that is exactly what I did. I spent a lot of time “doing nothing”, but really going through my head and heart. I tried to pray continually (my prayers are typically internal conversations with God… it’s as if I’m talking to my best friend) through out my days (some days were better than others). I listened to several sermons and spent time each day reading parts of the Bible. I sent emails, had Skype conversations, and phone calls with many friends talking about what I was going through. I had coffee with several people to get even more insight, support, and encouragement from others.
I can tell you that Monday and Tuesday were rough and I was convinced that I should pull the plug on any self employment efforts and go get a full time job. I had a lot of feedback from others through those two days, but the overwhelming sense of disorientation was winning the day. However, Wednesday I started feeling a little more grounded… well not as badly disoriented (how about that?). And Thursday and Friday I felt more and more confident and grounded each day. With Friday almost seeing me at the confidence levels of when I first started down the path of self employed-dom (I say almost, because I have learned a thing or two in my first month and a half of being self employed and my initial confidence was not grounded in reality, but in hopes, dreams, and ideals… this is a more realistic confidence).
Here are the take aways from my week of soul searching:
I’m heading in the right direction. Prior to taking the week off I was wondering if I was marching down the road of creating a successful business or if I was just spouting non-sense that had no hope of ever becoming a legitimate business. Now, I am convinced I’m going in the right direction. However, I need to put a concrete plan of action into place (and then follow it) to help me get from where I am to where I want to be.
I’m going to keep blogging at ALifeNotWasted.com. Over the last few weeks I started another blog projected centered around diet, exercise, and not wasting life. I started this blog once the magnitude of my health issues started hitting home. For a few days, I was actually considering putting all my efforts in that project so I could whole heartedly confront my health issues and stopping all efforts at A Better Way of Business. However, ALifeNotWasted will only have two days of posts each week, one devoted to diet and one devoted to exercise. This will help me keep those two topics a focus in my life and I believe help others that need to make similar changes in their lives. Also, I will only be talking diet and exercise there. The subject of not wasting life will still fall under A Better Way of Business.
I’m overwhelming myself with information and I need to clear out the clutter. This is actually happening in many places in my life, but I’m going to cover two here.
First, I’ve really been pushing myself to find my calling and purpose (as in what has God called me to do and for what purpose did God put me on this earth). I’ve been telling myself that if I don’t know the answer to these two questions I can’t continue. I now believe I’m trying to force God’s hand here and am telling Him, “Give me answers now, or else…” So I’m going to relax on this point. I now realize this might be a life long pursuit and it might be something that I can only learn in hindsight.
Second, I need to unsubscribe to the vast majority of the blogs I’m subscribed to. I don’t read them. They simply clutter up my inbox everyday and add a layer of stress that is not needed or wanted at this point. If I want to know more about a specific topic, I’ll Google it. But the clutter is messing with me, not helping me.
I need to learn to relax. I’ve been told this ever since I was a kid. I’m high strung by my very nature. Relaxing is not something that comes naturally to me. However, I need to learn and put forth that effort. I need to shut off my brain and veg out a little each day. This will allow me to regenerate and refocus my mind (something I’ve not been doing for months and months, if not years and years).
I need to socialize more in person. Again, I’ve mentioned that I have been shocked a little by my need for actual face to face interaction, but last week confirmed it. It wasn’t until I had sit down coffee discussions with three separate people that I really started feeling myself. That has really shown me that I need to get out of my home office on a very regular basis and just “rub shoulders” with people.
I’m going to really push bookkeeping services for now. As I’ve mentioned to you all several times, there’s been a disconnect in the message here at A Better Way of Business. And due to that discovery, I’m actually planning a complete redesign from A Better Way of Business to Bridging the Void. I believe that the disconnect in message has played a large role in the disconnect from the traffic and attention I’ve been getting (pretty good for a startup) and the lack of conversion into clients (zero clients around what I want to push here).
However, I still have to make money!
In light of the need for money, I’m going begin offering bookkeeping services for small businesses. I’m actually a fairly skilled accountant with lots of experience and education. And thanks to conversations with my good friend Jack Lynady, I realized I don’t want to run from the work, but rather it’s the environments I’ve been working in that I’m really trying to run from.
So for however long it takes I’m going to be offering bookkeeping services for small businesses. So if you need help with your books or know someone who does, let me know! I’d love to help!
In order to help cover our immediate bills, I’m going to find a part time job. If you can’t tell from these last two points, money is tight in our house. And while Skye is completely fine with me sticking with putting all my efforts into getting A Better Way of Business / Bridging the Void up and running, I feel that as a man and as a husband and father I need to contribute something to the household’s income now! So I’m going to look for some sort of part time work. No clue what yet, but I’m going to find something that will let me work 3 days a week and hopefully early morning shifts (as in let me put in 8 hours before noon 3 days a week). Again, not sure at all what this will be, but I want to do something to help contribute to the household income now, that will still allow me to push bookkeeping now and coaching that will be offered by Bridging the Void going forward.
I’m going to stop the 90 Days to a SMASHING Success! Project, for now. Although I have big plans for this project in the future, at present, I’m going to stop posting daily videos in the series. First, with whatever has happened to our internet speed (AT&T swears it’s not of their doing, but our speed has dropped significantly for everything we do with the internet at our house) the daily videos are taking up too much time. Once I make the video and start uploading it, I can’t do anything else with the computer or it bogs even more. It is frequently taking an hour or more to upload a 3 to 5 minute video now. Second, and this is the big one, I don’t feel I’m adding value at all with the series at present. Yes, I was getting up and making a quick video saying I want to accomplish the following things today, but I don’t see how that can add value. So you know my to-do list. How does that help you? I don’t think it does. Third, corresponding to point two I just made, interest in the 90 Days project has significantly declined over the last few weeks. It appears that even some of the die hard individuals who were watching every-single-video the first month have begun to loose interest (and I want to thank each and every one of you for that die hard interest and know the series is being stopped, not completely canned).
I feel the week soul searching was not only necessary, but extremely useful. By getting more grounded and reoriented I will be better positioned to add value to your life and take care of my family going forward.
And for any of you who feel lost and disoriented, either in life or in business, know that you are not alone. These feelings bombard us all. I would like to remind you that feeling these feelings is not bad or wrong. It’s something we all go through. And the only way you’ll be defeated by them is if you let them defeat you and you run back to the place in life you were trying to escape. I almost made that choice, and am grateful that I didn’t. If I can help you in any way, shape, or form please let me know (and if I can’t help you I will do my best to get you in touch with someone who can!)!