On 4th January this year, armed with bags of enthusiasm and lots of ideas bubbling round in my head I ventured into the world of those who have left a secure job behind in search of creating their own enterprises.
Very quickly my enthusiasm suffered as I struggled to adjust to the lack of structure and clear direction my life had. I began each day with the best intentions but whilst aiming to figure out my plan, I quickly became swamped with the mass of information and ideas about what I could do that lay ahead of me. I tried to divide my focus as best I could between making money, following my passions and capitalising on my skills. The same goals that many people share at the outset of a new chapter of their life.
Each day my mind was expanding, assimilating the information that I was reading. Articles about successful entrepreneurs, about motivation, social enterprise, cool ideas that are changing the world… But none of this was helping me figure out a way through my maze.
Over the past 4 weeks I have felt lost, confused and directionless. I have of course had very happy times and have never let go of my underlying confidence that it will all work out. And it will. It has to and I will make it. Not just work out, but be a decision I will never look back on.
One of the biggest factors I have had to overcome is to re-address my concept of progress. Over the last 6 years of my career I was so used to having an extensive list of tasks, projects and meetings to be getting on with, that each day I was ticking things off the list and re-writing it. Every day, I knew what I had to do. Each day I made progress.
Suddenly there was no list, no objectives, no plan and no structure. That took some adjustment.
My motivation took a blow – not feeling like I was making enough progress meant I didn’t feel proud of what I was achieving and this affected my motivation and energy levels. My exercise plans suffered (which always has a huge impact on my general outlook), my social life changed as I wasn’t earning any money and I found myself in a world that I was completely un-accustomed to.
Finding the silver Lining
As testing as these last few weeks might have felt to me at the time, the reason I chose this path was to take my life into my own hands and be in control of my future. This was never going to be easy and it’s through the experience of finding my feet in a big world, dealing with uncertainty and carving my way forward that pushes me to achieve my best. Making the most of situations and creating new opportunities without the team and infrastructure behind me that I was used to – are all part of the learning curve. It’s because I wanted to learn more and challenge myself that I made my decision to take this on in the first place.
At first, if I tried to do something and failed, I had to actively pick myself up – I let obstacles affect me, I was struggling to find my motivation, focus and direction. This had to change and instead I focused on finding the silver lining of every cloud, the positive in each situation, the one thing I could learn from every day that would help me move forward.
Today, 6 weeks after I began this journey, I am in a better position than day 1. I have 2 business ventures that I’m currently working on and one social enterprise on the back burner, the latter is based on the concept of sharing my love of challenges and getting people out on physical, adventurous challenges. I’m part of a founding team for a new online advertising technology company called ‘AdSugar’. I’m loving being part of Bathtub2Boardroom and running my own timetable, creating my opportunities and yes, it finally feels like I am making progress. I’m learning every day and I’m living in a world full of promise. I’m exercising 5 days a week and feeling energized and motivated again. I’m learning to enjoy uncertainty and remind myself daily that nothing lasts forever. Every up and every down should never be taken too seriously as they will quickly be replaced by something else, most likely the opposite.
Getting my blood pumping!
I’ve spent 5 weeks, feeling like I was not making enough progress and not knowing where I am going. I still don’t know where I will end up but in the last week it has started coming together and that has got my blood pumping!