It seems a bit strange to be sitting down and just getting my thoughts down on (albeit, digital) paper, but it’s been a much longed-for activity.
Why is it that some tasks seem like such a treat? I always feel the need to have done all the ‘jobs’ before I can get stuck into what I really want to be doing. And most of the time, that just doesn’t happen because as one list of jobs gets ticked off, another is started.
Things seem a little different now though. It’s a strange feeling don’t you think, when the thing - in my case, time - you have been craving is suddenly right there in front you? But you can’t remember what it looks like, so you simply don’t recognise it.
For a long time, I listened and absorbed every piece of advice going on the internet about how to plan, how to schedule, how to get the most from my day. None of it worked for me. It only made me feel like I still wasn’t being successful enough and I was never going to get the growth in my business I so needed - because I just couldn’t stick to it.
Classic example - in order to get high level growth on Instagram you MUST schedule, plan and know precisely what you’re going to post for the next seventy-five weeks. Not only that, but your feed MUST be gorgeous. Gahhhh! I can’t stick to this kind of rigidity and so, the feelings of failure would creep in.
Truth is, I think I’m quite good at Instagram. Most importantly, I’m good at it when it flows and it feels right. When I genuinely feel that I have something to share and can add value to others.
This kind of thing would take up so much of my headspace.
I was using other people’s achievements and successes as a benchmark for my own. I was in a hurry to grow. That when I had an idea, I had to get it out there and just get on with it.
Whatever I did, I had to be moving forward. Getting bigger, getting better and expanding. There was no question in my mind about whether I was capable of taking on more - after all, if others could do it, so could I.
Until I nearly burst. My head was full.
I would tell myself it was all in the name of growth but it [ the business ] was controlling me.
A tumultuous first half of the year had my head (and body) in all sorts of places. I spent many weeks wanting to give it all up. Battling with the heartache of walking away from something I had worked so hard for, against the pain of the thought of carrying on.
Closing the Alresford shop was one thing - as well as the ripple effect of that decision. Having a baby that wasn’t mine was another (I was a surrogate for my brother and sister in law, you can see a little more here).
Not to mention the really difficult retail climate and suddenly I found myself in very stormy waters.
So I stopped thinking ahead. Stopped trying to grow and focussed on just getting through the day.
At this point, I had to be comfortable with the fact that there wasn’t a plan. I was going to see what each day would bring and trust that the decisions I was making were going to work out ok. And that I was ok, with ok.
If anyone would ask me about the future, my answer was always “I have no idea”. I really didn't. Sometimes I would physically feel the tension this would create within the person who asked the question. But I really was ok with not knowing how things were going to turn out.
Now that the waters have calmed, there’s a steady pace and never have I been so happy with ‘steady’.
Giving myself space has been my biggest gift - and if I’m honest, an absolute game changer for me.
Yes, I still have an ambitious list of things I’d like to do and I do have a plan of-sorts and there are still days that I’m frustrated as hell because the shop floor has got in the way of my day of intended blog planning or photo taking, but my best work comes from a place of spontaneous creativity, where I have an idea and run with it. This time, it's on my own schedule and not the agenda of others.
By letting go of the self-imposed deadlines and expectations I seem to have created the space I have so yearned for. It’s just strange when the thing you’ve wanted for so long is right there staring you in the face.
Blog writing is where it all started for me and I have every intention of keeping this blog updated and sharing wonderful insights into what’s going on at Hero but you know what, what will be, will be and for now I’m just happy being back in the game and back in control.
This is me now, acknowledging that I have created the space to create by putting a halt on the over-planning and taking things one day at a time.
How do you find planning works for you? Do you have a definite plan or intentions of what you'd like to do or do you manage to go with the flow?
Thank you so much,
Loved this post so much. I have felt the same for so long and I wasn’t getting anywhere apart from more exhausted.
After reading the book The Surrender Experiment I decided to just let go and see what happens. I take action every single day in my business, but not forced action. I don’t have a timetable for social media or blogging. I just post what feels good at the time.
I’ve stopped buying business books (which I used to consume ferociously) when I realised I was only taking in about 20% (because I always felt like settling down and reading in the middle of the day was a luxury). So instead I was reading about marketing funnels etc when I was dog tired.
Since slowing right down, I have fallen back in love with my business and some amazing things have just happened organically.
It’s always the way isn’t it? ;-)
Good afternoon Laura,
Your recent post has just made me feel so much better! I have followed your journey and loved your store for some time. Reading your post made so much sense to me and I could relate to all your feelings and thoughts.
I was once in a high powered job in London whereby I made a difference to people in the responsible I had. After becoming pregnancy my intention was to commute with my baby though once he arrived the thought of that soon passed! I was always a career girl and never though I would be a stay at home mum. After falling for our second child after 9 months life wasn’t going to allow me to focus on my career so that was put on hold. 4 years on I decided to start my own wedding and events company which I thrived on and loved helping couples create there special day. I was working a lot and juggling 2 small children which is why I believe I had a health scare which lead me to make some life changing decisions! I was very poorly and decided to slow down and take a different career path. I started working as a events manager at a hotel which I really enjoyed and managed to secure new business and increase revenue in events. Again I took on too much and my body decided to let me know which is why I took the decision to leave my job last October.
Since then I have been and full time mummy and wife which I have loved!! So many people said to me you will be bored after a week but no I felt amazing so much better and less stressed!
I am now at the stage of thinking I would like to get my teeth into something but totally not sure what. I’ve given in to feeling quilty for not working and have enjoyed feeling me again which I haven’t for a long time.
Your post has given me huge inspiration so thank you very much xx
Laura, I’ve just read your blog and it resonated with me. Daily schedules and demands on our time can cause us to lose sight of our own lives and what we need as individuals to make the most if it for ourselves.
I have 2 jobs which I love, a grown up family, 2 of my adult children still living at home ( in their early 20’s and saving for houses) which I also love, a wonderful husband and often a house full if friends. I have a blessed life and in a way wouldn’t want to change it , but I find myself spending my time, cooking, cleaning and sorting. I crave time for me but can’t settle to that if I feel I have chores to do. A never ending list if ‘to do’s’ gets in the way of my personal needs.
Life these days demands so much from us and we are constantly trying to juggle so many things that we lose sight if what is really important.
Your blog has inspired me to stop the madness and concentrate on me for a change. I have to learn to step away from the mundane and understand that the chores and tasks can wait until another day. I’m going to find calm and relaxation. I’m going to say no a bit more and I’m going to do the things I want to do.
We live in a mad comparative world, where media and especially social media make us feel inadequate and unsuccessful. Thats changing for me, starting today, inspired by you. Thank you.
Well, I think you are an inspiration! I’m not in a creative job but I have a blog that’s just a bit of fun (and attended a Hero blogging workshop a year ago as a springboard). I think anyone who can make a success of working for themselves – whatever ‘success’ looks like to them, and whatever industry it is – is fortunate indeed.
Loved this post. Your honesty and everything you continue to achieve is so inspiring. I’m excited to see you steadily run your business in a way that works for you xx
Laura this post is moving and motivating – thanks for being so honest and echoing the thoughts I have especially with me being addicted to Instagram.
I am just learning to take a step back and relax and enjoy the ride a little more; I can’t wait to read the next post.
Hi Laura! Reading this fabulous post has been like looking in the mirror! Over-planning, unrealistic self-imposed deadlines and high expectations continuously stifle my productivity and only leave me feeling like I’ve failed. I’m far better at going with the flow (something I’ve only just realised these last few months) and that I’m actually far more productive that way! And, more importantly, feel like I’ve got the space I need! Like you, there is of course, an outline day to day plan, but I’ve become much more relaxed if things don’t turn out quite the way I planned. Such a good feeling isn’t it!?!
Lovely to read your brilliant writing again & hope to see you soon! Jo xxx
Laura Laura Laura… what can I say? This blog post is SO good that you made me write your name three times! I wholeheartedly agree with everything here and its so refreshing to see someone who owns a physical (as well as online) business approach things with this attitude. The most important thing I take from this is to stop watching others quite so much and invest more time in figuring out your own path. Uplifting sentiments with beautiful images – welcome back my friend! xxx
Your blog is raw and vulnerable, you have voiced what so many of us feel. I make sterling silver belt buckles and have been so focused on how to get my brand ‘out there’ using social media that my head exploded and I’ve lost confidence. Where as I should (and will), do it the old fashioned way and hike round Libertys and Harvey Nic’s and take each day as it comes. My fear is being criticised and not being good enough, but I am. Your blog has inspired me and I don’t feel alone. Women don’t really do vulnerable any more. Thank you 💋