Slow Down and Enjoy the Process: a How To
Last night I told my partner he was right about something, and he marveled that this was the first time in our ten month relationship that I’ve ever said that! So what was he right about?! He was right about a suggested mental trick to refocus, slow down, and enjoy the process.
Having recently started a blog site, I started to get bogged down by the minutia and lost sight of the “path.”
Looking back on older blogs and articles I’ve written, I realized that the form, length, voice, and messaging might not be consistent. As I’m just starting a blog page, I want everything to look crisp and clean, and have full functionality. I’m embarrassed to share a final product that might not reflect my best work and so reluctant to move forward until I have a great looking or “perfect” page. In this sense, going live with my site before even implementing a routine to consistently work on it was my way of self-motivating to work harder and get it “polished” faster – and it worked!... But with a downside.
I found myself berating myself subconsciously for not meeting milestones on time and beating myself up for not moving fast enough. I started to delay working on the site because of the associated mental anguish of my brain telling me “I’m too slow!”, “I’m not doing enough!”, “I need to learn more first!”, “How will I ever get on a consistent routine?!” etc. etc. etc. Ultimately, I started to delay working on it and thought about quitting before it ever got off the ground, because I lost sight of the enjoyable parts of the process and was focusing on perceived flaws!
Focusing too rigidly on the details of your work can make you lose sight of the path and the end goal, when you need to remember why you’re on it.
Putting too much pressure on yourself to be perfect can drain the passion and fun out of the process. That trite saying, “life’s about the journey?” Well, I’m living that now and understanding it in an entirely new way! My partner's advice about how and why the path is more important was spot on, and helped me to shift my focus back to the path and stop stressing about the GOal GOal GOal!
Tip 1: Think of your work as moving boulders to build a castle. There are big boulders and little rocks. Creating new product is a big boulder whereas things like tweaking, editing, and adding website bling are small rocks - or pebbles. Focus on the big boulders first, then the little rocks – because you have to learn to accept that there will always be tons of little rocks all over the place, but they’re not going to build your castle.
Tip 2: When you’re creating a product or providing a service, you have to produce. This applies whether you have a headwrap business or you’re an artist; whether you’re an online retailer selling windshield wipers or you’re a chef selling gourmet vegan Indian food. What matters is the NEW product or service you produce – not your past work. As an artist, my partner can relate to that nagging feeling that past work isn’t good enough, reflects mistakes, or doesn’t match your current style. It doesn’t matter. You can’t spend all your time reworking past efforts trying to make them perfect. Perfectionism will trip you up and stop you from producing new work, and yet it’s the new work that’s usually your money maker. In today’s digital age, your customers will usually see your newest work first.
Tip 3: The work your doing now is your best work. If you’re growing and learning, as we all tend to do, your work will improve over time. This means that when you look back in a year, your older work should look imperfect! That’s the nature of being human.
This advice helped me stop stewing about all the things I haven’t done yet by allowing me to accept where I am. Self-acceptance is key to move past anxiety – because, while anxiety may be created by your mind to help motivate you, ultimately it can hurt you and slow you down!
Focus on the castle, ignore the rocks, and get to moving those boulders, ladies xo.