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My year of doing nothing

What I learnt from a year off.

2018 has been a really interesting year for me; it has been a whole year since I have done any real work on my own business. I’ve dealt with the stuff that has come in, but in essence I’ve really closed shop, changed my website and taken away all of the services I used to offer.

Now I haven’t sat here doing nothing, far from it, but I have learnt a few things about myself and about taking a break, which I thought I would share.

Girl drinking cocktail

1. It doesn’t matter how much time you give yourself, sometimes the answer only comes from doing. I have been trying for over a year to figure out what I want to do next and while I managed to work out what I want to call myself and what I don’t want to do, I’m still finding it really hard to figure out what I want to do. I’ve realised that I am someone who learns only through doing, so I’ve looked back at all I have done in the past and realised what I really don’t want but I’ve come to the conclusion that perhaps I won’t know until I start doing it.

2. In the big scheme of things, you don’t really matter. I remember a time when I used to think I was changing the world and people really cared about what I did and who I was. In the whole year of taking the time off, no one has asked me how I am or what I am doing, so in essence, everyone is replaceable and no one really cares. It’s a very humbling experience and one I probably needed. So, out of sight out of mind is really a thing and if you are running a business you really do need to be in front of people as much as you can.

3. Things I thought I loved and strived for now make my skin crawl. I remember a time when all I wanted was to be on TV, in the paper and making a splash everywhere. Now honestly it makes me cringe, in fact, I have said no to a few very high-profile things because of this. That fame and fortune I thought I wanted has with time and distance felt fake and empty and is no longer something I will ever chase.

4. I actually like being a plus one; I wrote about this a while ago but I think what I have learnt most about this is how easily we can get sucked into how other people think we should be and what we should do. I fell for it all, thinking I needed to build myself up as the expert. I’ve left it and I don’t miss it one bit, but I do love helping my daughter build this up for herself. My love for achievement and young people got lost in having to be the expert and “the one”.

5. Time and distance allow you to see things as they are. As I’ve stepped away and just watched others I can see how grabby, fear-based and really annoying online marketing is. Everyone is saying the same, everyone is promising the same and I just get the feeling they are all lying. I’m not sure why I fell for it before but honestly, internet marketing makes me feel sick and I’m not sure how I ever fell into it.

6. People only want to know you if they think you can help them. While I was out there doing my thing, talking everywhere, writing for newspapers and appearing on TV, everyone wanted to know me. Now I’m dumped and no one thinks I am important and I absolutely love it but it just reminds me how fake a lot of people are and how people really only want to know you if they think you can do something for them.

7. Creativity and the space to be creative are vital for me. Helping my daughter create content has allowed me to realise that my creativity is something that before was well hidden. While I was too busy, focused and going in one direction I lost parts of myself, I became someone who got up and pushed on with no time to rest, think or even relax. This year I’ve had fun.

8. Everyone looks the same; when you take a step back you see how everyone else looks so similar. Innovation and creativity is really void from society as a whole. It’s like watching a hoard of people all doing the same thing and I tell you what, it’s very boring.

9. The universe has your back. While I haven’t gone out to find work I’ve always had enough money, things have come in just at the right time. I’ve learnt to trust the process more, the universe more and I’ve learnt that somewhere someone always has my back.

10. Sometimes when you take a step back things take care of themselves. I have been trying for years to do a project with someone I adore and care about a lot. We have tried many times but things just never worked out. So I forgot all about it, decided perhaps it might not happen and you know what? Bingo! In January we start a project together. It has taught me a lot about letting go and not holding on to things so tightly.

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