The other day, I stood up from my office chair, walked outside, and kept walking. My brain felt like it was underwater, with everything muffled and blurred. I had projects to do, but nothing with a looming deadline, and I found my inspiration and motivation had deserted me completely.
So I walked.
As my mind relaxed, starting to unwind from the competing demands that had tied it up in knots, I felt my body start to relax as well. I checked in with the horses and greeted the goats. I smelled the sweet scent of our blossoming trees and let the cool, wet breezes of spring send a welcome shiver down my spine.
Then, with a new sense of purpose – my mind flexible, the tight muscles of my shoulders settled, fresh air in my lungs – I got back to work.
It’s one of the great privileges of working in a creative position: that ability to get up from a dead end and reset. Sometimes the reset is as simple as a new cup of coffee or a snack to get my blood sugar back up. Sometimes it’s leaving the notifications behind to spend uninterrupted time with my family. No matter what it takes, though, I’ve learned from long experience that beating my head against a wall is just never going to move me forward.
Of course, I don’t just sit around all day waiting for inspiration to fall into my lap, either. I think it’s pretty common among small business owners to start a business because of a passion – only to find later that some of the nuts and bolts of managing it aren’t so much a passion. So many of my clients love what they do and love their customers, but can’t stand the constant attention required to run a social media account, or get stuck when it comes to hiring team members with complementary skills.
I’m here to give you some good news and some bad news. The good news is: feeling that way is normal. We don’t all love every aspect of what we do. There are things every single one of us is going to try to avoid, or postpone until they can’t be postponed any further.
The bad news? If what you’re postponing is an essential thing, it’s got to get done anyway. If you wait for inspiration, you’ll be waiting a long time.
I wish I could say that running your business is all about fun, and you’ll enjoy what you’re doing all the time. The reality, though, is that there are things we have to do no matter what. When I come up against one of them, I take walks and check on the horses, refueling my mind and spirit – but then I get down to work.
Here’s my challenge to you: find what refuels you. Find what you can do in ten minutes, in a half-hour, that will recharge quickly emptying batteries. It’ll get you through the challenge of whatever it is you’ve been hoping will just disappear. And even better, it’ll give you energy to devote to what’s really important: building from your passion, building something that you can look at and embrace every part.