Slow Down + Focus, For Now
I'm one of those people who is constantly thinking about what's next. What's for dinner tonight? Where is my next client coming from? When (and where) am I going to go on a vacation? But recently, the one that's come up the most is probably about my next move as a business owner. I ask myself this question daily, in search of answers or those brilliant AHA moments everyone talks about. But most of the time, my mind goes numb, leaving me frustrated and confused.
I then not-so-lovingly remind myself that I "should" have some sort of plan in place, that I should know what's next. But these days, I don't. My new normal feels unfamiliar and scary, especially for somebody who's thrived on routine and repetition all her life. For example, I used to always ask my mom what was for dinner, right after I had finished my breakfast. She would sigh and say "why do you need to know that right now," to which I explained that I was simply trying to avoid eating the same thing (or similar things) twice in one day. I was planning. And I "needed" that control.
But recently, my planning and constant questioning of "what's next" has felt more like a major task than a friendly check in. And more than ever, I've felt the pull towards being present. To STOP planning for once. To slow down and focus ... for now. And when the question of "what's next" inevitably pops into my head, I give myself permission to plan another day. To wait for the right time. Because sometimes, that's exactly what the mind needs.
Now, I feel a little lopsided sharing all of this with you, simply because I am a strategist at heart and I thrive at connecting the dots between the past, present, and future. Both for myself, and for my clients. But sometimes, it's easy to get sucked into the habit of doing what we believe we SHOULD do, instead of what we actually WANT to do. Comparison truly is the thief of joy, and at the end of the day, doesn't help anyone. You know you best, so listen. Really listen.
Like me, that may mean that you need to give yourself some space. To slow down and focus ... and be okay with not knowing what's next. Of course goals and forward movement feel great, but sometimes what we truly need is time to seek balance and kindness, especially towards ourselves. To not force anything that doesn't feel right. Remember: this is where you are, right now, and that is absolutely okay.
Once you've given yourself some space, sit down and make a list of things that you 100% love doing in life. These things don't have to be entirely work related, but can literally be anything. Do you like to collaborating with others? Write it down. Do you like organizing closets in your home? Cool! Write it down. After awhile, you may start to pick up common threads between different things on your list.
I did this exercise a few weeks ago myself, and one theme that kept coming up was the idea of curation. Design is an obvious choice here, as I love playing around with typography until it feels effortless. But more surprisingly, my love for travel showed up within curation as well. What you may not know about me is that I get just as giddy about planning a vacation, piece by piece, as I do finessing with letters. In both instances, I get to solve a creative puzzle, where figuring things out is just as satisfying (if not more so) as the end result.
I'm not sure what all of this means for me personally quite yet. And I don't know if my love for design and travel will ever interconnect within my career. But I do know that curation, in many forms, is something that I enjoy doing ... and that means something. ;)
Try this exercise yourself and see what comes up! Then, the next time you ask yourself "what's next?", look at your list and think about how you can incorporate more of what you LOVE into your every day. You don't have to do something drastic to achieve this, because that's definitely not for everyone, myself included. Small changes are more manageable, easier to follow through, and have the power to shape your lifestyle into something that truly makes you happy.
So right now, do a little gut check. If you feel like you need to slow down and focus on the here and now, please do. I give you permission! Or if you have a goal in front of you that you'd like to achieve, ask yourself if it's something you'd actually like do to, or if it's something you feel like you SHOULD do. Then, adjust accordingly. You really can get to where you'd like to go, as long as you make sure to listen to yourself along the way. Hippie dippy mic drop, over and out. ♥