Finding Your WHY…if you NEED to

It’s been awhile since I last wrote.

I seem to say that a lot; I wonder if deep down I’m not really “meant” to be a blogger? How do you actually know for certain what you’re meant to do? I’m having a bit of a challenging time right now, trying to sort out what I’m doing and WHY.

My heart isn’t in the activities I’ve been doing. Oh, don’t get me wrong – I do believe in what I’m promoting, and I have seen improvement in myself and in others from the products I offer. But it’s not what I want to be doing.

As I said to my husband, and to a friend that I chatted with, I spend my entire day sitting in front of my computer and I’m not accomplishing anything because I’m busy doing things that keep my mind OFF the tasks I feel I “should” be doing. I really don’t want to do those things, so I find ANYthing else to do instead. So each night I go to bed feeling that I’ve accomplished nothing on my daily to-do list, but I’ve spent at least 14 hours sitting at my desk (more, most days, according to the report that pops up every day telling me my average daily screen time.)

Let me tell you, that is a truly soul-numbing feeling…

Oh, I know, lots of people spend MANY hours every day sitting at their computers and NOT being productive. I don’t have a monopoly on that! However, I thought it might be useful to someone to hear/see the process that I went through to get myself unstuck when I finally realized what was going on.

The first step is AWARENESS. You have to recognize that you’re IN the downward spiral, headed toward the bottom, before you can do anything to get out of it. The trajectory isn’t always clearcut; you can spend a long time in the spiral before realizing what’s going on. Watch for signs: increased mental fatigue, general disinterest in the routine activities of your business day, tasks building up because you’re not accomplishing them, discovery of new pastimes that pull you from the to-do list (such as a new game on your iPad…just one more level before you get back to work!)

Personally, I’ve been trudging along in this phase for a long time. Each day, I’d log into whatever site I decided I was going to work on first – it could be my main website, the jumping off point for all my programs and products, or maybe one of my programs themselves that I felt needed attention. Or perhaps I felt that it was time to work on another solo episode for my podcast, since I have all the interviews completed and ready to air. Then I’d sit and stare at the screen for awhile, thinking about all the activities I should be doing for that particular site or program. While I thought, I’d invariably pick up my iPad and start playing a game because if I didn’t login to the game each day, I’d lose my streak and all the points that come with maintaining it! Now THAT was something worth accomplishing each day.

After a few puzzles were completed, or a few rounds of some game were lost (or won, if I was lucky that day) I’d put the iPad down and stare at the screen again. I’d check my email, pop over to Facebook to see what’s going on there, even login to Instagram, even though I rarely use it, to see if there might be some inspiration to be had. Inspiration for WHAT, I’m not sure, because all the resources I needed for the work to be done were already in my files.

Finally, a couple of days ago, I realized that I was in that downward spiral and if I didn’t do something about it, I was going to hit the bottom. Or maybe I DID hit the bottom and that’s what saved me… who knows? I spent a few emotional hours trying to sort myself out and finally reached for help.

The next step is SELF-EVALUATION. This is the time to really be honest with yourself. Sit down somewhere quiet and answer these questions:

  1. Why did you start the activity you’re involved in? (what was the desired outcome, what did you hope to get from it)
  2. Have you achieved what you hoped to?
    • If yes, do you need to keep doing the activity?
      • If continuing the activity -> Find a related NEW goal to move toward
      • If not continuing the activity -> Stop & find a NEW activity (don’t flog a dead horse)
    • If no, is the activity bringing you closer to your goal?
      • If yes -> Continue the activity (make sure you’re moving forward)
      • If no -> Stop & find a NEW activity (again: don’t flog that dead horse)
Breaking Out of the Downward Spiral

Step three is TAKING ACTION. This is the step that actually sees you moving out of the funk and into something wonderful! Yes, it might take a bit of time to get to this point, especially if you have to identify a new goal or find a new activity in step two. But it’s worth it to get here! Believe me, once you find the path you’re supposed to be on and begin working toward the goals you’ve put in place, taking action is FUN!

Taking action means searching out the activities that bring you JOY and FULFILLMENT. Take a look at your answer to the first question in step 2. Why did you start your activity in the first place? There really WAS a reason… and it might not be valid anymore. Accepting that fact will set you free – it certainly did for me! The secret to this action step – and my salvation this past week – is that sometimes the path you’re on isn’t the right path and when you figure that out, it’s okay to stop going down that path. You are not “failing” and you’re not “unsuccessful” simply because you’ve decided the activity or business you’re working on isn’t right for you. It takes courage and strength to admit that you’ve made a wrong turn and to turn yourself around and head down another path, knowing full well that it’s going to take time to get to the level you were at in the previous activity.

In the entrepreneurial world, people are forever saying “remember your WHY”. Well, you know what? You may discover that the reason you’re driven toward a certain goal changes over time. And that’s okay! Life is a journey and the most important part of the journey is to do your best to enjoy it. We only get one stab at this particular journey, so don’t let someone else tell you what you’re looking for.


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A New Leaf