gut check, lifestyle

Gut Check :: Being Uncomfortable

It’s been far too long since we’ve had one of my personal posts around here, but I’ve had a harder time than usual trying to put life into words lately. It’s now almost June and I can confidently say that this year has been challenging in a whole new way for me.

The past few months have been a series of stops and starts. One moment I’ll be forging ahead, making progress, creating little projects for myself, and the next, I’ll be bored, frustrated, or unfulfilled. The most annoying part of all of this has been trying to figure out why. And how to fix it.

And then, I stumbled upon this quote.

coco+kelley kristin armstrong quote

If you recall, around this time last year, I finally hit the pause button on the amount of crazy I was allowing in my life. For the first time in years I was going to bed at a decent hour. I began blowing off my to-do list to go sailing and my weekends promptly began at noon on Friday.  Whenever I traveled for work, I added days on to the trip to spend more time with friends. I suppose I could even say I found a bit of balance. I mean, didn’t I earn that? That little bit of time off? Sure. But guess what? This whole ‘balance’ thing? Not so sustainable when you’re running your own company.

During that time where I finally gave myself room to breathe… I forgot what it was to be uncomfortable.  To have that fire in your belly (or under your ass). To dream big, and forge ahead. To push back against fear and the unknown. I had checked off my big goals. I had put in my time. I became super comfortable with being comfortable. Little did I know that being comfortable for too long can only lead to one thing. Boredom. Or, what I like to call the paralyzing… “Now What?”

terry o'neill faye dunaway oscar

But back to this quote.

So, I read it… like three months ago. And I let it simmer a bit. And I kept going back to it. Something about it tugged at me. And in the meantime, I struggled with this whole feeling frustrated and unmotivated thing. And then I began to ask myself… what happened? That desire to push a little harder, to take those risks – where’d it all go?

Well, it all fell into the big black hole of ‘Now What?’ is what happened. It’s funny – you work so hard to get out of this place of uncertainty, and then once it’s gone, you realize how much you actually need it. So much so that even when you’re already doing something you love, you still have to ask yourself “What part of this do I love?”  just to figure out what the next steps are. I had been sitting around waiting for inspiration to strike. For the next big thing to show up on my doorstep. I was looking to everyone else to bring back that fire. Everyone but myself.

I started looking around me to see what others were doing – I’m sure you’ve all noticed that bloggers aren’t exactly just blogging anymore. They’re writing books, and teaching classes, styling photo shoots, and coming up with product lines. And in the meantime everyone’s asking “what’s next?” and I’m sitting over here overanalyzing the endless possibilities, frozen by the exhausting potential of it all. After all, I thought I was happy being comfortable – why did I want to start adding more crazy to the list? I spent months just waiting for direction and answers to come my way…

And then – a few days ago – I realized that we’re nearly halfway through the year. And this reminded me that nearly six months ago, I had taken the time to put together some serious New Year’s resolutions. (Eureka!) Ten goals to give me focus for the year. Hello!? How could I have forgotten? It was time to give myself a reality check. Needless to say, a few things hit me over the head.

  • Resolution #5: hire an assistant
  • Resolution #6: take and make an more invested interest in others
  • Resolution #9: give back to my community in a positive, productive way

You’ll notice that nowhere is there a mention of a book or a product line. I had made my priorities for this year clear, and – while all of my resolutions are still a work in progress – these three seemed to wake me up to  my current reality. So, here’s what’s going to happen.

First :: Things are about to become uncomfortable again because I’ve just hired an assistant editor to help me out with the blog so that I have more time to focus on the bigger projects – which will not only light a fire under my ass creatively, but financially too. Yikes.

Second :: Lately I’ve been thinking about some very specific people in my life who inspire and motivate me, and how these are the people I should be making time for. Originally this resolution was aimed at my personal life, but I also think this means nourishing the professional relationships that can help bring new directions and growth.

Third :: I’m so happy to say that in the last week, I’ve added a few projects to my plate that will be benefiting charities nationally and globally. In fact, I’d love to hear if you all have any charities – preferably those that may be lesser known – that are near and dear to your heart that you like to volunteer for or give to. Because there will be much more of this around here. More importantly, I had forgotten something so simple. The best way to bring yourself out of a slump – whether it’s a bad day or a struggling year – is to do more for others.

Here’s the bottom line to all of this – a culmination of the past three months of my internalizing. This is what it comes down to.

In my 20’s it seemed ok to be a little risky with my decision-making. That’s what your 20’s are for, right? I didn’t expect to extend this behavior into my 30’s. In fact, I think I’ve been forcing myself to settle in a bit. To actually think smaller and act responsibly. To put down some roots. But, that’s not the complete answer. What I need to achieve now is a new kind of balance. Not this work/life balance that we all talk about, but the balance between realizing yes, I’m entering a time in my life where I need to think more long term, but I’m still young and there are too many opportunities out there to take advantage of while I can, with all I’ve been given. At some point – if and when I have a husband and a family – I will happily settle down a bit more (I mean, seriously), but that’s not where my life is right now. And if that means bigger risks and decisions ahead again, I’m all in.

So here’s to being uncomfortable. May it bring you to new levels, new loves and new life.

*images :: coco+kelley // terry o’neill via vanity fair