When you’ve fallen out of love with your business
So it finally happened to me, even when I never thought it could. 4 Years ago I set myself out on a journey of big dreams and expectation. Needless to say, I operated on a completely different level! I was hungry for success and the idea of ‘being famous’ (eye-roll). It was a one-woman show until year 3 when I hired Fiona, and we hustled our way into 2017 with all engines going at 150%. I had clients waiting out the door, a booming online shop, a new e-course on the cards after 3 fully booked workshops and things were up-up-up! I couldn’t possibly be happier with the marvellous machine that was WKS, but then…. (enter screeching brakes). I totally and completely lost my grip.
Burnout is a b*tch. She confused the hell out of me and made me question the entire vessel that is my livelihood. One of the things that was most precious to me, my business, became almost worthless in a matter of months. I just felt completely disconnected with what I had build, and the reasons why I was still going.
So let me just be honest with you. At that point I was only in it for the money. I’d lost touch with the people that were my loyal and enthusiastic fans. I stopped giving, and truly believed that I didn’t have anything worthy of giving. I stopped innovating. I couldn’t understand my place anymore in the big bad freelance designer world, and I simply didn’t want to deal with people anymore. I didn’t want to deal with the Internet anymore. I didn’t want to put myself out there and create anymore. I fell out of love with my business, and I had no idea how to reignite the spark. It was a restless, apathetic and dry feeling, and all I wanted was to run away from it all and give up.
So guess what happened next? I did.
I packed my bags, took all the money I’d saved and left for 3 months. It all happened rather quickly and spontaneously, and before I knew it I was floating on the Mediterranean sea, looking up at the sky and slowly-slowly I started to sink back into the world and what really mattered.
Now if you’re wondering how I ended up back here without giving myself up to becoming a hippie selling matcha ice-creams on a beach of Vietnam, then read on…
It all started with a change of scenery
We can get really stuck in one place if we always stay in one place, and changing the scenery was really the first cleansing thing to happen. I got out of the mental confinements of South Africa and the many negative things that surround us every day. I had some time again to immerse myself in the things that make our world interesting and beautiful, instead of just heart breaking. The best thing about our travels is that it forced me to open up my mind and heart again. I realised that our problems are so trivial, and that our level of happiness could expand far wider and deeper than anything that we are used to. I was shaken, and I started to wake up.
I stopped looking at what everybody else was doing
Seriously, the internet can be such a downer. While we were travelling through Italy, I was still pretty much glued to my phone, posting Insta stories of our trip, and scrolling my feed regularly. But with all other distractions gone, I quickly realized that the moment I dove into my phone, was also the moment when my mood changed. I could go from full and happy, to empty and irritated in seconds. Firstly, it made me feel bad to see how I’ve neglected my business image over the last months, and secondly I was constantly feeling shitty about how not-neglected everyone else’s business image was.
I first went on a random unfollow spree, and then I banned myself from all social media for the whole month that we were in Vietnam. It worked wonders! Being unconnected was quite possibly the most connected that I’ve felt in a long time!
The moment I stopped leaking my energy into the wormhole that is social media, was also the moment I started to feel good about things again. I started to fill up with motivation and inspiration, and I realised once and for all that I didn’t need to be like everybody else in order to be liked or respected (check out next week’s blog post for more on this…).
Do one thing at a time, and finish it
And this is the number one realisation I’ve had in 3 months. By July I was trying to juggle 3 different businesses at once, and one person alone simply couldn’t handle it all. I fell out of love by trying to divide my affections and attention between three things, and everything was left feeling lukewarm. I can still have it all, but not right now, and I need to give myself a little more time to figure it all out.
And there you have it. My rise from the slump! I can honestly admit that I’m in love again, and I’m deeply sorry to those of you that I’ve left disappointed or neglected along the way. My trusted industry friends, my loyal followers and fans, my precious clients, I have missed you. I’m so happy to be back in the driver’s seat with both hands on the wheel, and eternally grateful for an incredibly privileged experience. And if you’re feeling like you’ve fallen out of love with your business too, then perhaps it’s time to take a massive step back. Leave, ignore it, ignore everybody else and take the time to investigate your true feelings. In my case, absence really did make the heart grow fonder.