Over the last several months, there have been a number of important shifts happening in my business. Some are perfectly normal and comfortable and leave me wondering why I haven’t always done things this way; others, quite frankly, scare the bejeebus out of me. Through all of it, I’ve found myself caught up in wishing – feeling like I need to overhaul my office, my internal processes, even the way I market the studio. This morning, what I realized I hadn’t been doing at all was taking time to actually appreciate what I’ve spent the last five years building. And I wondered: hokey as the thought may seem, what would it look like if I spent less time constantly wishing things were different, and spent some time simply loving what is?
As independent professionals, we spend a lot of time learning. We read books, articles, blogs, all by people calling themselves experts, all proposing some new way that we need to do things in order to succeed. But how often do we really listen to ourselves? How often do we sit back, really look at where we are, and trust that we know what to do? And frankly, when everyone who owns an independent service business (and trust me, I count among that number) is writing all these articles trying to prove that they’re an “expert” in something, how do we figure out who to listen to and who to ignore?
I’m beginning to think the answer lies in shutting down the noise – at least for a little while – and going back into ourselves. I think we need to start with what we do know, and then worry about what to add to that knowledge. I think that we need to trust that we’re enough.
I’ll admit it: I’m feeling a bit stuck lately. Part of the next stage of business development at my studio involves making room for and landing higher-paying jobs, and instead of moving forward, plan in hand, I’ve spent the last couple of days staring at my computer, hitting “Get Mail” over and over again. That, and feeling incredibly guilty, like I’m somehow sabotaging my business with non-productivity.
What causes this? Is it a fear of failure? Is it fear of success? Is it the fact that spring has been threatening to invade New England for a couple of weeks now, but the temperature doesn’t seem to have caught on to this yet?
A little bit of each, I think. But what to do about it?
Looking back at the times I’ve felt this way, I realize that it’s usually a relatively short, passing thing that always precedes something major – and it usually marks the fact that there’s something I’m missing in the path I’m taking. The worst part of this, as an entrepreneur, is feeling like you’re being unproductive, like you should be out *doing* something. But part of owning your own business is making room for creativity and brainstorming, and sometimes that means having a couple of days off while you sort through something that’s sticking you.
And thinking about it some more, I realize that becoming unstuck generally requires two things:
- telling someone you’re feeling stuck (which I’m doing)
- going somewhere quiet, away from technology and all the things you “need” to do, and contemplating what it is you really want from whatever’s sticking you.
Step two is where I’m at right now; thus, I sign off. But here’s a question: what do you do when you find yourself not moving forward?