Are You Awesome All The Time? What To Do During A Creative Rut.
As creatives, it's very hard to keep the momentum of being awesome rocking all the time. I know that my creativity depends a lot on my mood and if my confidence has been down then my creativity tends to follow right alongside it. So many things can affect confidence ... for me that list includes:
- Not being hired by a new client for a long time
- Feeling down about the other bits and pieces of life ... ie: kids, marriage, the house, finances, etc
- Not getting enough sleep or being sick
I know that list may seem strange, but for me these are the 3 main factors that play into feeling down, having my confidence get rocked, and having my creative flow stop in its tracks. Right now I'm feeling all 3.
Let's talk about #1 >> I don't know if I all of a sudden started 'sucking' at what I do, or if taxes made people feel scared to spend money on their business, or if Mercury Retrograde is to blame - but I haven't had a new client hire me for quite some time ... Heather, stop being a crybaby!! I know!! I wish I could!! I am busy, don't get me wrong, but there is nothing that feeds the confidence and the 'knowhow' that your business isn't dead than a new client contacting you, loving you, and hiring you. Am I right?? When that stops happening I, as a business owner, really start freaking the f*ck out. Questions that start happening:
- Is this over?
- Was I a 'flash in the pan'?
- Does my work suck?
- Do people hate me?
- Is there a rumor flying around that I'm an awful person?
- etc, etc
Is it stupid to feel that way when I'm busy with a project every week that I love?? I don't know ... I just know that the feeling of 'this could have an end date' is terrifying for an entrepreneur and when you see that your calendar of filled projects has a blank space it can feel very uneasy. You may be nodding in agreement with me right now!
Let's talk about #2 >> When I am succeeding in business, being a mom, being a wife, keeping the house clean, and my finances are in order things are amazing ... wait, does that happen?? Can you really have it ALL? If I'm being real: I don't think so. I am a human and to keep that many balls in the air while I wear a thousands hats and keep them all balanced: f*ck that sh*t. Not going to happen!! But, I can do a few of them ... over the last 12 years of running my own business(s) I have been able to make sure at least 2 or 3 things stay going strong at the same time ish ... but sometimes I fail - and when I fail then all the balls drop. Right now I feel like I'm failing a lot ... all over the place .... and while maybe that's not as true as it feels, just feeling it is enough to rock my confidence and put me in a creative rut.
Let's talk about #3 >> My sanity is directly related to how much sleep I am getting and my health. Have you ever been super tired or sick and felt AWESOME!!?? My guess is a big fat NOPE on that. Being super tired or sick when you are a business owner + have a life is the worst feeling and when you're in it you feel that there isn't an end in sight. I know for me right now I am going on day 5 of one of my kids coming into our bed in the middle of the night ... it's too many nights for me in a row of having my sleep disrupted and being up ... then, yesterday I got a stomach flu-bug that put me out for the day. WILL THIS END??? The feeling of 'not being able to get on top of things' is the worst feeling in the world ... and when I get down about being tired or sick and I watch as my world unravels it creates panic ... and if you've ever tried to be creative while you panic then you know that it's impossible.
Heather, we're now starting to lose confidence in you!!! I don't blame you! So here's my point: what do I do to keep it going and make sure I don't implode and run down the street screaming whilst naked ... here's my 'stay awesome during a sh*tfest list':
- Call a friend who is also a business owner: Venting is so important in life ... but choosing the right person to vent to is even more important. If I am having a 'mom crisis' and I vent to someone who doesn't have kids it's probably not going to go anywhere ... and if I vent about running a business to someone who doesn't run a business: same outcome. It may make me feel better that I got it out and cried in my noodle soup, but I probably won't get the advice I really need or the pep talk that whips me into shape. Make sure you have these 'business owner friends' in your life! Very important.
- Have some alone time to reboot: I'm so bad at this, but it's SO important to make time for yourself away from the business stuff, away from the kids, away from the messy house, away from the bill paying, away from your spouse ... being alone to just 'be' is healthy and it gives you time to reflect. You can't just pound the pavement all day every day without taking time to be 'off' ... if you do that then you will reach a point where all of your balls crash down at once and it won't be pretty.
- Say 'no' to things: OMG the dreaded word 'no' ... I hate saying 'no' ... HATE IT. But if things are already feeling scary in life and in business you need to practice saying 'no' to people. It's liberating to say 'no' and it's healthy. If you are a 'yes person' like I am then you know that it's very stressful to say yes and then not be able to fulfill your promises to people ... and that it causes you even more stress and grief to try to commit to the 'yes's' you've put out there in the world. Do yourself a big favor and practice the art of saying NO and see how it feels.
Will things get better for me? For you if you're feeling this way?? I want to say YES and I want to believe in that! Ruts suck ... having your confidence drop sucks ... but if you have that internal voice and people surrounding you that help guide the negative voice to be more positive then you can escape this and find your creative dance again :)