Wow, I hadn't realised it had been so long since I last blogged. Where have the weeks gone? It is incredible how the time seems to fly and I feel no further forward. It is a real surprise to be in September, edging towards October.....hmmm what a few months it has been.
It's difficult to know what people want to read about, what is going to engage with an audience or be interesting enough for people to want to read. My starting point is always my heart, trying to write honestly and openly. In the interests of continuing in that vein I wanted to share with you something that I experienced recently that has been a turning point for me.
For those of you who are already self-employed you will no doubt know some of the struggles that we face. When I started my journey, I had it all figured out in my head, it was going to be great, I was going to have the time and the flexibility to make my life my own, no-one to answer to and no-one breathing down my neck making me justify my existence. What I didn't think about was how incredible lonely working from home could be. At no point did I consider how down it would get me, being stuck in the house, most days, with little or no social interaction with people, only the cat and the dog for company whilst my other half is out working. I didn't consider how important it is to my wellbeing to be out in the world with three dimensional people, or how lost I would become in the process.
I will admit, the last few months have been really tough, personally and professionally, financially and emotionally, with a whole heap of other stuff going on in my life to add to the burden of being self-employed. And I refer to it as a burden as it has been. That is however, until I found myself affected by a few thinks I saw and read online last week.
Across social media there are always motivational quotes flying around that people post, there are videos and snippets of advice you seem to be bombarded with everywhere. However, there have been two things that have really made the different to me in the last fortnight.
Flicking through Facebook one day, I came across a video shared by someone, of Oprah talking to a group of students about how there are no mistakes. I watched this video with cynicism, wondering what snippets of wisdom were going to be imparted, but much to my surprise what she said made perfect sense.
"There are no mistakes"
How ridiculous, I hear you say, but wait.....
"There are no failures, just a supreme moment of destiny trying to move you in another direction"
"Failure is the way of telling you that you are on the wrong path"
"Your life is bigger than any one experience" and "There are no wrong paths"
I have watched this video over and over, and it made me realise I have been so hung up on all the things going on around me and the negative thought process that surrounds that, I haven't been at ease with myself, I have been focussing on the wrong thing. There is a path that we all take, whether you believe in fate or destiny or anything of that sort. We are all on a path to where we are meant to be. All of our decisions in life will take us along that path and when we do make an error, or something doesn't work it, it is part of that journey, a lesson to be learned to allow us to make the next step.
I also saw the same meme, posted a few times in a week, that if you focus on money, it will never come, focus on the journey and what you are trying to do and the money will take care of itself. Combine those two things and there you have it, the lightbulb moment.
I have spent the last few months, so stressed about surviving on the money I have been earning, (or not earning as the case may be) on the hours I have been putting in doing something to just bring in the money to survive and I have completely lost sight of what I am doing and why I am doing it. At no point was deciding to continue with being self-employed, about the money. It was about the freedom to choose what I wanted to do, about the flexibility to work whenever I felt like it, the flexibility to be able to paint more, walk the dog when the sun is shining (very important in Scotland as we get the sun so rarely) and to be able to build a future for me and my family, doing something that I enjoy.
Why am I sharing this? It has been one of the toughest years I have had in a long time, I have been tested emotionally, physically, we have had some terrible moments and some wonderful ones, but ultimately it has been a part of the journey, to get me to where I am meant to be. I am not sure where that journey will take me but I have to have faith that with focus and determination, hard work and perseverance, I will get there.
So to all of you who are working from home, struggling with the loneliness, the isolation and the weight of what it means to be self-employed. My advice is, slow down, take a minute to relax, sit down with a latte and remember why you made the decision to do this in the first place.
There are no mistakes, only opportunities to learn and grow and continue on the path that you are already on. Have faith it will work out in the end and it will.
Stay focused on the goal and you will get where you want to be. And remember to walk in the sunshine whenever you get the chance.