In moments of big change, writing is the best activity
It’s been awhile since I have written a post, and this is because I have recently moved to a new country and city to set up my business and life.
So far, I have lived in over ten countries and have travelled to more than 30 countries, and I will tell you, moving and setting up in a new place doesn’t get easier with experience. I am not sure if I can say it gets harder, but I think it is more factual to say it’s always different. And each time I move, there are things I discover about myself that I never realised.
My present situation has been a whirlwind of emotions; starting with excitement of the newness and of all the things I want to do. Then I start to feel frustrated and panic at the same time, wondering how I am going to do it all and wanting it all to happen immediately. When things get all knotted up, I skid to a screeching halt, take a breath and start a bit of self-talk to calm myself down. This creates space for the little light bulbs to have their moments to shine (or flicker). And with this added self-awareness of the situation, I remind myself to take it easy, things need time to be built and as long as I continue working on it, it will happen.
The hard work is not only about the personal side of moving to a new country and city, but it is also compounded by the work that needs to be done in starting a business for the very first time. I believe though, that if it isn’t hard work then you won’t enjoy it, and it’s not going to last. But hard work doesn’t mean suffering in my struggles, but instead the beauty of it is learning and growing. It is also accepting that I do not have superpowers and I am only human, and therefore whatever help I can get is welcome. And sometimes this ‘help’ can be in the form of tricks. There is one that I deem the most important and for many reasons. For me this is writing.
I carry a notebook with me everywhere, so I can write down what passes through my mind, especially when it is not related to what I am doing at that moment. I jot down things that pop into my head (you know those thoughts that are distractive) so that I capture it, and then I am no longer preoccupied with it. The reason I do this is because it gives me a peace of mind, I won’t forget it and I can deal with it when I am ready to.
Another trick I’ve turned to is what I call the ‘questioning’. As I am working on the business by myself, I have to try and think of everything, but this can also lead me into doing things that may not be necessary or not yet necessary.
There are moments when I get stuck or lose momentum in what I am doing. When this happens I stop and ask myself whether what I am doing is relevant to my bigger plan. I ask “if I don’t do this, what will happen? Why am I doing this? Is this going to help me later?” And with these answers I sometimes realise that my energy shouldn’t be used in continuing with what I was doing. I may not completely disregard what I am doing, but I realise that at that very moment it is better I work on something that is more immediately beneficial to the outcomes I need. It also helps remind me why I am doing a task, and can help inject focus and momentum for me continue pushing through.
It happened to me the other day. I had started designing my business card, but slowly I was getting concerned about the time I was spending on it. So I stopped and asked myself whether this was necessary for my business. I realised that it wasn’t necessary at this very moment, and instead what was most important was to start generating revenue. Therefore what I really needed to focus on was advertising the service; getting it out there for people to be aware of it and eventually converting this into sales. A business card isn’t a vital tool at this particular moment. The existence of the business isn’t going to be the result of having a business card, but from actually making sales.
I want to be clear about something in why I write and publish on Medium. My posts are not about lists telling you “what successful people do to blah blah blah”. The purpose of my writing is to share what I am going through as a first time entrepreneur, the trials and errors of how I am handling what it’s like. You take what you want from it.