Sunday, 28 September 2014

Maintaining the right mindset

I've just read a blog post by Jo Gifford, Dexterous Diva, about the challenges of maintaining the mindset a successful entrepreneur or creative business owner and this really made me think about my own journey over the past three years and how I've struggled at times with my mindset. Some of Jo' top tips and points really resonated with me and helped me to put into words how I came out of my creative dip and what I'd do that helped.

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Jo Gifford - Dexterous Diva
 
I don't know about you but I love the buzz of running my own business, the fact I can decide what kind of work I do, what time to get out of bed in a morning, what yo wear, how to fit my dog walk into my day, when to book my meeting and appointments and just generally how to be my own boss. So what do we do when the days that don't go as well as we would have liked or when doubt start to creep in and make us question our own ability and vision?
 
I got to this point late in 2013. In 2012 things went so well for me I couldn't really have wished for anything more. 2013 started well but then things started to go down hill. A disastrous trade fair experience and a few selling fairs which didn't go as planned. Add into this the beginning of the most stressful twelve months in my other job and all that entailed and I was ready for throwing in the creative towel. I felt like it was all just too much effort for the returns I was seeing and this was making me question why I was even attempting this chosen path. I just couldn't be bothered to haul my work to selling fairs anymore, couldn't face the thought of working on my new website and getting it ready for the public to see, my blogging suffered and dropped off to a handful of halfhearted blog posts, pondering the reasons why I was feeling the way I was, and mulling over my future course.

So what led to my change of heart and what have I learned so I can reduce the chances of this happening again in the future? I've really struggled with how to put into words and understand how I came back but Jo has really helped me to see what has worked for me. In her blog post she mentions a few things you should do when you are feeling low and can't recapture the lost feelings  of positivity:

  • Look back and see how far you have come - this always works for me. I am an avid list maker so it's always great to look back at my achievements which have been recorded in my todo lists. Doing this gives me a very realistic interpretation of where I was at any given time, things I was dealing with and going through, and things achieved as tasks were crossed of my list.
  • Rediscover your flow and reconnect with yourself - through enrolling on an Ecourse and a couple of workshops run by other artists helped me to reconnect with myself, looking at what inspired me and helping me to make sense of my own journey. It made me pick up a pen, pencil, charcoal and get back to basics and get something down on paper again. This felt good.
  • Stepping out and getting away - my creative sabbatical was a conscious decision to step away from my business. I knew it was something I needed to do. I was starting to really fall out with my work and everything I had previously loved to do. I took time to go away in the caravan, didn't take a sketchbook with me, I started reading more, the escape of fiction giving me valuable headspace and distance from the business. There is a wonderful quote which jo mentions in her posts which is all about the miracle happening when you are gone. This is so true.
I slowly started to feel my old self return, the embers of my enthusiasm were once again stoked and glowing and I started to swap my choice of fiction to creative business books and those old feeling I had so enjoyed throughout 2012 returned. As you've probably gathered I'm now feeling back to my old self and I'm loving the way I'm feeling about my business. I'm ready for new challenges and opportunities and ready to embrace a life with less of my old job in it and more creativity!

If you'd like to read Jo's other top tips for things to do when you are feeling crappy and useless you can read her full post here. Her website nad blog is jam packed full with other gems such as this, and if anyone is able to inspire you to maintain your mindset it is Jo.

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