Something has to change – but it may not be what you think

The problem with running your own business is that you can do anything.  Anything at all.  You can say yes to this job, and no to that one, and “stuff it I’m going to the park” to all of them if you choose to.

And you can change direction.  You can decide you’re bored of providing this service, and that what you’re going to offer now is something completely different.  You can follow every whim.

Yes, I said this was a problem.  It may not look much like one.  Complete autonomy, complete freedom – what’s not to like?

True, this freedom is often absolutely the best thing about living and working from home: not having to ask permission; not having endless strategy meetings about whether the proposed new direction is the right one; not being stuck on one track.  And it’s great being able to take up opportunities that come your way, simply because they seem interesting or fun.

But it leaves you wide open to the Grass is Always Greener Syndrome.  Am I doing everything I should be doing?  Is this really the right business for me?  Oooh, I could start a whole new business doing this new thing that’s popped into my head.  Hey, I’m good at that other thing too – I should be using it.  Ah, look, that’s new and exciting – I want to do it too…

The problem with all of this endless possibility is that if we’re not careful it can become an endless round of what if, and take up an enormous amount of mental and emotional energy.  It can also mean that we end up trying to do far too many different things and not doing any of them well.  (Ask me how I know…)

Sometimes you have to consciously decide what not to do.

And sometimes you have to recommit to that thing you’ve been doing for years.

I’m not saying we should never do anything new.  Absolutely not.  I’m committed to two strands of work and although it may require a bit of a plate-spinning operation sometimes, I can now do both well.  However, when I tried to add a shiny new thing to the mix, using shiny newly-learned skills, all the plates began to wobble.  Not that I saw it at first, of course.  I was off enjoying the new shiny thing and thinking maybe I should ditch the old thing altogether…

And all the time I was thinking, “Something has to change.  Something’s not right.  It’s all too much.  Maybe I need to so something different.  Maybe something even more new.”

Then I had a holiday and did nothing.

After a day back at the ‘old’ work I realised what needed to change: the constant need to change.  I needed to recommit to the old and let go of the new.

Putting my energy back into the established work, the work that I’m good at and enjoy, felt like snapping back into focus.  Suddenly my mind was freed from the endlessly circling thoughts and I even felt I had more time.  It was like letting go of a rope that had been dragging me in all directions, and noticing the space around me.

Something had to change, but it wasn’t my work; it was me.  I had to let go of constantly striving for more, and recommit to what I already had.  I’ll say it again:

Sometimes you have to consciously decide what not to do.

And sometimes you have to recommit to that thing you’ve been doing for years.

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2 thoughts on “Something has to change – but it may not be what you think

  1. I’ve been reluctantly job hunting … and this morning received a call back from a company looking for tech writers. The pay is good – in fact it will double our household income, which has to be welcome. But … ohhhh, it’s hard to think of letting go of the freedom to own my days! Unfortunately I haven’t been making good use of my days lately, so I don’t really have the right to hang onto them. But …. ohhhhh… 😦

    • Oh, I feel for you! But remember, everything is seasonal. Doing this now doesn’t mean you can’t change later on. And sometimes you have to do a thing just to find out what it is you *really* need to be doing right now. Also – and obviously I don’t know your whole situation so I may be speaking out of turn – you don’t *have* to take the first thing that comes along. Or maybe you do, in which case you may want to embrace the change – for now at least.

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