Sometimes, it's not the lack of vision, goals, money or time that can hold you back in life or business.
It's those not-very-constructive feelings.
Y'know, the ones that start out like little gremlins in your head with their negative self-talk, and if left to run wild, will hold you back and keep you small, safe and firmly in your comfort zone.
So, what are the Big Four?
Omg, we feel guilty for everything - and of course 'daring' to have your own business as well as children is like a breeding ground for it.
I feel guilty because I 'should' be paying more attention to my daughter when I'm in the middle of cracking out a blog post. I feel guilty because I'm 9 months pregnant and too fat and knackered to deal with tantrums sometimes. I feel guilty because I'm not bringing home the bacon or indeed the home-baked brownies when I'm gonna give birth in a few weeks.
One that particularly hit me like a massive smack in the face was the guilt that came with coming off breastfeeding. Man, noone warned me about that one.
As we had a particularly shit and difficult start to it anyway being as the little bubba was in an incubator and I was hooked up to an industrial breast pump most of the day/night, I started to be shafted for bottles once bubba was not putting on weight quick enough at home. Hmm. So we managed nearly 5 months before I came off full time.
Did I for one moment think 'hey, well done me! the circumstances were pretty damn tough and I did pretty damn well considering'?
Nope. I felt guilty as hell and that I was not good enough. On top of being a hormonal wreck.
So why does guilt crop up so much? Because underneath it all, we're scared. We're scared of letting people down, we're scared of failing, we're scared of being thought of as a bad parent. And we know it holds us back, but how do we move forwards when it comes up so easily?
- Bringing it into awareness - once we catch ourselves feeling it or having those kinda thoughts, the first step is to realise it for what it is...fear.
- Looking at it objectively - people saying 'don't feel guilty' is a bit like saying 'don't eat this cake I'm gonna leave at your house for the next 3 days'. So actually, if you need to feel, then feel and acknowledge it's presence. But don't get sucked into Fear's story - would a complete stranger judge you as harshly as you're judging yourself?
- Reframing it - Once you've identified it and begun to question it; try replacing the negative-self-talk with more constructive talk - affirmations such as 'I always do my best' and 'I am enough' are great for this.
And one other thing...if any sentence contains 'should', as in 'I should be working every day of the week until this business takes off' or 'I should be spending more time with the kids'; then really look at those. Anything 'should' usually carries a whole loada guilt. 'Shoulds' can fuck right off.
Take control of your decisions, choose to do or not do, and feel empowered not snared by fear.
Gah! Everyone else's business does way better than mine! And so it goes. We're pushing our content out on social media, and everyone's got a manicured Instagram and earning 6 figures after trading for 6 months and...
...we're frustrated that we're not getting anywhere and everything seems like a slog. But that's cos' we've started comparing ourselves to others' journeys and stories ( some of which might not even be true anyways...)
We're frustrated because all this is constantly thrust in our faces and we think to ourselves ' why can't I have/do it all too?' The reality is that other people's truths are not always apparent in this one dimension.
In this respect, I think Denise Duffield-Thomas is pretty fucking ace for actually being honest about her behind-the-scenes and the help she gets in various aspects of her life and business. There's absolutely no point comparing yourself to the manicured Facebook biz personalities if you've got bog all childcare and cleaning the house is also on your list.
Maybe outsourcing those things is part of your plan, or maybe you'd rather tick along in biz and be sole care-giver for your kids. Neither is wrong. It's all about what your 'having it all' looks like. Which ain't the manicured social media version.
Prescription: social media detox.
Following on from frustration - when we maybe identify a place where we want to be versus where we actually are; can come an overriding sense of overwhelm and also anxiety.
It seems like we have to do/buy/be so much...there are too many things grabbing at our attention and too many items on the never-ending to-do list. This can then make us react out of fear.
So then ironically, although we're running around spinning all the plates and pushing all the action steps we can think of, we're not really getting anywhere.
Some tips for dealing with overwhelm:
- You don't have to do All The Things - Sometimes we get to places we wanna be relatively quickly, and sometimes it takes longer. Most of the time, we just don't know how long it's gonna take. Posting to every social media channel going, blogging several times a week and taking on every single client regardless of whether they're a good fit isn't necessarily going to get you there any quicker, but it may leave you feeling anxious, burnt-out and resentful.
- Break things down - Big hairy tasks can be broken down into smaller chunks. Also make sure you're looking at simplifying and prioritising stuff on a regular basis.
- Rest! - Get out of the way for a bit and rest if you need it. That might be a walk in nature, a weekend break or just getting some naps in. You are hereby allowed to devote some time to Doing Nothing 🙂
Boredom/Lack of Motivation
This is a feeling that particularly comes up for multipassionate mamas - that sudden feeling that maybe you've learned everything you need to learn; or you've tried everything you can think of to try...or just this overriding feeling of boredom and that you're done.
Once you feel boredom set in with your career or business, it's often characterised by a lack of motivation - there doesn't seem much point in marketing, or going to networking meetings!
The first step is working out what the boredom is trying to tell you - it might be an indicator that you've reached a fork in the road and maybe it's time for a new direction; or it may simply be telling you that you need to change things up a bit.
Whilst it's easy to drop a hobby or a leisure project if you've had enough of it, it's maybe not as easy if what you're bored of is what you're doing for a living, or a business you've built up. You're going to need time to really step back, try looking at everything objectively and maybe brainstorm some alternatives.
- Are you completely bored/unmotivated with your career/biz?
- Do you intuitively feel as if you are 'done'? If so brainstorm ways that you could transition out of it.
- What would you replace it with?
- How could you take action steps now to start making that happen?
- If you still essentially enjoy/are interested in what you do but the passion seems to have fizzled out, can you pinpoint what it is exactly that's causing you to feel like this? (eg. difficult clients, not enough pay, too many hours)
- Brainstorm some ways you could maybe change up what you do to solve those problems (eg. charging more and focusing on a different client base, outsourcing some of the tasks that you dislike doing, delivering what you do in a different way)