This is How I Come out from Feeling Stuck and Unmotivated (and You Can Too)
The life of an entrepreneur is one of a roller coaster. You and I, we both know it too well. When I wrote this blog post when I was digital nomad-ing in Bali, I had went from that creative, flowing energy to feeling completely stuck and unmotivated in a matter of a week. Here’s what I wrote, unedited:
Last week I was flowing with my business:
I had planned my strategy for the whole year
I had brainstormed over 30 ideas for blog posts
I had more (exciting) ideas on how I could bring more value to female entrepreneurs like you
I had empowering time off, excursions to the waterfalls, and got to meet a bunch of new people
I had a great balance of ‘me time’, business time and social time. I was feeling empowered, I was fulfilling my needs, having fun and expanding my life.
And then, the following week hit hard. On Sunday I felt extremely tired -- so I went for the perfect ‘refuelling plan for introverts’: I had a foot massage (#BaliLife), spent the afternoon reading on a hammock and had a relaxing dip in the pool. I was hoping to start Monday fully motivated and empowered!
But, it didn’t happen.
Work was extremely hard to get through, I had a headache -- nothing was flowing. And then Tuesday came -- and again. I was in such a creative mental block that everything took x100 more time than it used to. Creating a Word Template was taking me hours, I didn’t know what I was doing.
Then something shifted.
I sent a voice note on Whatsapp to a friend, sharing how frustrated and stuck I was feeling. Tears rolling down. I was being raw and honest and really connecting how I was feeling without trying to find an answer or a reason for it. After I shared this message, I went and had a coffee (and a green smoothie bowl, of course). I don’t usually drink coffee, for me it’s like a once-in-a-month event (edit: I have decaffeinated coffee daily now, Yummy!) . I was starting to feel good, I went back to my laptop and things were starting to flow. Yeeeeess!!
And I thought: good on you Angels, you found ‘The way out of my creative block!’: COFFEE. Yep, I just need to switch on to this drug and I will feel like a fricking superwoman!
Truthfully, we both know the ‘cure’ wasn’t that coffee. It was what came before that. I had let my feelings out, the ones I didn’t even know I had stuck in my body, even when I was enquiring myself. I voiced them out loud, to a supportive soul, someone who would just listen with no judgement and without trying to say anything or give any advice. I got my shitty feeling out with honesty and rawness.
The best thing about this experience is that I became aware of it, of what made me switch, and this is empowering. I wanted to capture it for the next time it would happen, because IT WILL. This is the life of a business owner (or at least the one I’m experiencing). Although next time it may not work, and the chill-out time that I did on that Sunday is what will take me back to my flow (as it has before). Or I will just hop onto a yoga class, or get that piece of chocolate cake (which I also did, obviously) - and I’ll be back to my flow.
It’s so interesting as I’m revisiting this blog post, I just came out of the exact same situation. A week with joyful creative flow, followed by times of stubborn unmotivation. And without remembering my words, I went through the same actions. First, I did some self-loving activities (reading, cookie-baking, candle-making) but it wasn’t until I poured those raw, stuck emotions, I didn’t move and find a bit of flow and drive again.
We’re all different, but here are my invitations if you’re feeling in a creative block:
Don’t put meaning to it, just stay with it knowing that it will go and don’t freak out with the thoughts: ‘I should be working, I’m not going to get to that deadline, etc.’ You will. You will once you flow -- if you’re stuck, it’s going to take you so much more time. And if you’re seeing your creativity getting affected, consider reaching out to your client and letting them know you’ll take an extra day to deliver. Don’t do it often. But honesty with the client and respect for the work you do should be prioritised.
Take some time OFF. And when I mean off, I mean OFF. Don’t plan it. Don’t set yourself a certain amount of time (but don’t indulge either). Don’t think what you want to do. Ask you heart. If it’s to binge netflix, do it. Don’t judge it, just get it all out and really empower it. Get popcorn. And something with chocolate (mmm, well, serotonin, right?).
Journal or voice it out. It doesn’t always have to be the same, sometimes I love journaling, sometimes it bores me. Lately I’m finding that voicing it out works best for me, the power of voice! Call a friend, or record a voice note talking to you. You don’t need to listen it back (I know, it’s not very pleasant to listen to one’s own recorded voice).
If you’re on a strict deadline, focus on what’s easy first. I know that some would say it’s better to address the difficult or most challenging tasks first, but when you feel stuck and unmotivated, you know there’s no fricking way you’ll get through something difficult. Focus on what comes easier or what’s more automated, something you can do without having to involve all of your brain. It may be sending an invoice or tackling your systems. You’ll see how little by little, you’ll move to the most complex tasks. I like to do it without music, just plan silence, as I love finding peace when there’s too much going on inside me.
When (business) life feels like such a humongous effort and we struggle to make up our minds even with the simplest things -- I find it really important to remember to make decisions for ourselves, and not just go with the flow or with other people think. I believe it’s important to pause and connect with ourselves, so we can be aware of your true feelings, and are able to unlock them and understand them. We all want to focus on growing our businesses -- but our personal lives and our growth are as (or even more) important.
Also, remember this: don’t use this (unmotivated) time to make decisions or overthink your whole business, what you’re doing in life, or how difficult a task seems to be (which makes you decide that your level of dumbness has reached a new peak). You know how easy you’re able to flow with things, because you’ve been there before -- and you will again. Sometimes, even though you LOVE what you do, you can still have crappy days.
So, what now? Because I want this to be empowering and useful for you, I suggest you close your laptop (after finishing to read this) and ask yourself:
When was the last time that you had a creative block?
Do you remember how you overcame it? If you don’t, just try to remember the actions and steps, what you did from feeling blocked towards feeling that you were flowing again. Does something strike a chord now?
Once you find it, write it down, or jot it on your Notes app, or whatever note system you use. So you have it at hand. Consider sharing it with someone close to you, so they can remind you.
If all this sounds Chinese to you and you’re always on a roll, good on you! You may or may not have been aware, but somehow you allow for your blocks to melt away easily. It would be a great idea to become aware of what it is that you do to bounce back so quickly, so you can empower it, or share it with others.
You can also write down my own process if that works for you. You never know.
I really, deeply wish that we’re all able to experience you create in your flowing state -- and remember that you’re not alone in the lower areas of this roller coaster that is (business) life!