One morning I woke up and just didn't want to. It felt like a chore and responsibility. It wasn't fun anymore. So I simply decided not to.
So as you may have noticed I've been a little MIA for a while now and I do apologize for the disappearing act. I woke up one morning and "the plan" was to work on the blog before heading to my full-time job, but then I was hit with intense feelings of disdain and resistance.
For one I wasn't enjoying it. I'm the kind of person who generally will want to do the "right-thing" or the responsible thing whether I'm enjoying it or not for the simple reason that I said I would. When I make a commitment I put a lot of pressure on myself to keep to it - that is until I hit my breaking point and then I'm done.
Is this just me?
Now please don't misunderstand, I was by no means done with my goal of creating an amazing blog that helps other women reach their passions. Neither was I done with the goal of eventually launching my own business. Rather I was done with feeling lost and lacking clarity. Done with feeling like a chicken running around with her head cut off and that posting on my blog was yet another responsibility and something I "should do" rather than something I enjoyed creating.
To add to all of this I wasn't enjoying the content I was creating. Ladies this was not a good feeling. This made me realize: if I'm forcing myself to write and post instead of wanting to do it then those feelings are going to show up in my content and that's was not what I want for my readers or associated with my blog or brand or me. So I decided that very morning to stop. I was taking a break.
The point of the break you may ask? Initially it was just to stop feeling as if my blog was a chore and start remembering what it really is to me - a passion and dream that I've turned into a goal that I am absolutely determined to achieve. The truth is that I hadn't planned to take a break. It kind of happened by accident. Ironic isn't it - the person who’s known by her friends for her planning skills didn't plan lol. But the reality is, we all have our breaking points and I had hit mine.
I've been feeling unaccomplished when it came to how my blog was advancing, and my progress on a project that I've been trying to get going for several months now. I kept going through these highs and lows. Mostly because I have a vision in my mind of how my life and schedule would go when I launched this blog and it didn't end up being the reality.
I was also scared, actually petrified, that my dream to create this life for myself that I know is possible because I'm watching other bloggers like Alisha, Alexis and Alex (and yes it is just a coincidence that their names all start with A lol) create businesses that they love, and allow them to live a life of location independence . And don't get me wrong, I realize that not every single day is sunshine and roses for them but they're doing it. They've made it a reality despite the fact that it may not be the "norm".
I'm a smart cookie, not a genius by any means but I recognize that if I really set my mind to it I could accomplish a life I love (aka the high). But then thoughts such as these creep in: what if I try and I fail at it? And I'm so tired and drained recently after a few tough years, so how do I find the energy? How will I feel about myself if I try and end up still working at a job I don't love? (aka the low).
Plus there's also my perfectionist tendencies - where I picture how things should go in my mind and then I start working on it and the result is far from how I envisioned it.
So how does any of this benefit you?
Well during my time away from the blog, I had a few "AHA" moments and one of them is that there is no way I'm the only one out there feeling this in-balance. So I thought that by sharing my experience and journey, others can learn to be inspired and motivated to take action. So here are three "AHA" moments that got my butt back in gear.
"Optimist: Someone who figures that taking a step backward after taking a step
forward is not a disaster, it's a cha-cha." - Robert Brault
First "AHA" Moment:
Sometimes changing something when it isn't broken is the first step
After reading Melyssa's post announcing how she would be retiring her weekly wishes link-up that she had been hosting for over two years I was in awe. It struck me how even though her weekly wishes link-up was popular and generating visits to her site, she had made the decision to take her business in a different direction and that meant not using her energy towards something that wasn't going to advance that new vision, even if it was popular.
She was willing to make changes. Just because she started something that was successful, didn't mean it had to stay that way forever. She even recently announced in her first webinar that she's changing her business focus from graphic design (her primary source of income) to offering e-courses to teach other women how to create their own businesses. Talk about change!
Now when it came to my blog ideas or concepts, I was self-imposing strict guidelines and subconsciously feeling as if I had to stay with my original plan as it was the logical thing to do and nothing was wrong with it. Somewhere along the lines of 'if it isn’t broken don't fix it'. But that clearly isn't the case. I was slowly losing sight of the fun and inspiration I was supposed to be finding in writing this blog. It was becoming a chore, and I desperately didn't want that.
Second "AHA" Moment:
Sometimes you just need to OWN IT
Two words, so simple to say yet sometimes it can be so hard to apply.
Alisha's post about owning it hit a nerve. Although I definitely have my loud moments, just ask Claudia she's known me my entire life, yet I would more often describe myself as an introvert. I tend to be quiet and I don't necessarily like being the center of attention. This has often prevented me from putting myself out there.
One key point Alisha made is that hesitation in your business or blog, even in everyday life, leads to hesitation in those you’re trying to attract. If you’re hesitating they'll wonder if you’re able to accomplish something. So can I do this? I know I can. The funny thing is that although I may have fear I don't for a moment doubt that I have the capacity or skill set to accomplish my goals.
Rather I struggle with the fact that it's out of my comfort zone. But although staying in your comfort zone may feel good at first, it doesn't provide passion and it definitely doesn't help you to achieve your goals.
If you're craving creating a life where you are able to actually do the things you love, whether it be traveling, starting a business, taking an art class, rather than just dreaming about them, then you can't stay in your comfort zone.
You have to go for it with all your heart.
Ask yourself, what would be worse, looking back on your life wishing you had or looking back on your life and smiling at all the times you tried and when you were able to finally succeed?
Third "AHA" Moment:
You’re a #GirlBoss so Create Your Own Path
Not too long before my blogging hiatus, I had signed up for Alexis' Empire Building program and during one of our session she pointed out that Chrystal Designs is MY blog and MY business and MY adventure and that I'm free to do whatever I want with it.
I know what you’re thinking - Steph that's obvious, and you're right it is.
But after years of writing papers for school, this blog is the first opportunity that I have to write for me, without someone else imposing the structure.
Now please don't misunderstand, this is not to say that I don't want one of my blog and business' primary goals to be about helping others. I'm naturally a person who likes to help and provide support to the people I care about - including you. I mean you’re taking the time from your precious day to check out my blog, Instagram and Twitter and support me. You’re definitely important to me.
My clarity is coming from the fact that if I make this blog a representation of me, it will organically become a place where you can find inspiration, helpful tips and support to help you build a life you adore.
I struggled between making the time, a lack of experience and putting together quality posts worthy of your time :) In a way, I was battling with myself and how things were 'supposed' to go and 'should' be done. But that's not the reality. The reality is that this is my space. I created it and I can make it into whatever I want.
The thing is that this type of creative freedom has never previously been a part of my career. There have always been company policies to follow and reasons behind why things need to be done a certain way, especially coming from my background working with leading and well-known corporations.
What you can expect from Chrystal Designs
So what is the point of these ramblings?
Firstly to explain that I hadn't given up or disappeared and to hopefully help anyone else who is trying to create a life they love and struggling, to realize that feelings like these are normal.
That they are growing pains and it means you’re heading in the right direction. That you’re someone who has the courage, gumption and smarts to become the amazing person you were meant to be.
I also realized that I need to make my blog and my business more reflective of me. Of the kind of person I am, including the fears and strengths, the mistakes and accomplishments that will happen as I choose to go after my goals. I'm taking you on this journey of self-discovery, and hopefully in the process I will inspire you and encourage you to build a life you love.
My original intention was to provide resources and tools to help fellow women entrepreneurs find a balance between life and their passions. But the problem is that I assumed that I should already be providing information as an expert. But guess what? The reality is that, as corny as it may sound, it really is a journey and there is no perfect formula.
Why? Because we’re all different.
What works for one person may not work for someone else but that doesn't mean we can't still learn and grow and encourage each other. The reality is that I haven't found balance nor do I have expertise since I've only recently just started this blogging and entrepreneurial adventure.
I guess if I'm honest I was afraid of coming off as a fraud or a fake. I think my perfectionist tendencies were also standing in my way. I think I was afraid of not being genuine. I never want to provide you with links or information that I haven't actually tried myself - I never want my readers to think I'm not straight up.
But I realized these fears were blocking be from getting things done and led to too much over analyzing and not enough concrete action. So I've decided to slightly shift my approach - rather than feel that I need to provide content and provide advice and counsel, I'm going to focus on taking you with me on my journey of discovery.
I want you to join me in finding out what it takes to be a blogger and an entrepreneur and I'm hoping you will be patient with me as I learn and make mistakes and give you a behind the scenes look at this new adventure.
In the Comments:
What is your biggest struggle?
And what small step are you going to take today to take you in the right direction?