Have you ever felt burnt-out and kind of lost?
Success seems to always be in high demand. Perhaps as a result of the constant pressure to one-up yourself, pull a new rabbit out of the proverbial hat or to win at life, in an evil twist of irony, life seems to throw you on your back and take control. And ALWAYS at the most inopportune times!
I've been admiring the growing trend of "full transparency" within organizations. I think the company to kickstart this little entrepreneurial movement was a company called Buffer. They put it all out there - pricing spreadsheets, expenses, revenue... it's all there for your viewing pleasure. Following in their footsteps and putting his own spin on it, is Alex Blumberg from This American Life. He started his own podcast called "Startup" in which he chronicles the process of starting his own podcasting company... meta, I know. In this series he doesn't hold back - the good, bad and ugly all get recorded, produced and published for the world to hear. You get to listen in on tense conversations with business partners and spouses, hear employees talk about burn-out and (my personal favorite) be entertained by Alex's complete failure at pitching his company to his first investor. At first-listen it seems odd - maybe a little taboo - that he would be this vulnerable to the world especially considering he's trying to start a company around this first podcast. But in a very human way, his vulnerability has actually served to embolden his cause because his listeners - and yes, even his multi-million dollar investors - can empathize with the struggles of life. Finally, someone telling it how it is!
I've been, in a weird way, relieved by people like Buffer and Startup revealing the dips of real life along with the highs. And okay, maybe I'm putting this out there because my subconscious is hoping that a multi-million dollar investor will empathize with me and give me money, but for better or worse...
The blog is ten months old - I shouldn't be running out of steam already, should I? I'm not sure what the rules are for this sort of thing. I've tried blogging a few times in the past and it never panned out but this time it's different. That much is seared into my mind: this time is not like the others. I love it! Despite the weight, I'm here to stay because I believe in all of you. I believe that beneath insecurities, fears and face-palms, we have what it takes to live life free of mediocrity and full of meaning. As I learn, I want to share that knowledge with all of you because community and communication is the only way we won't all have to learn the same lessons by trial and error. And maybe, if we all work together, we'll unearth the gems of living.
In the spirit of communication and trial and error, here's a few of my recent struggles:
1. I've lost direction
This is a tough one for me to say because I'm not one to not have a plan. I'm usually the guy with ten lists, a flow chart, a perfectly blocked out planner and a well-crafted vision statement. This time, I have... well, mostly none of it. You see, the blog began as an extension of ARROWS. Since ARROWS has a pretty narrow focus, it was easy to keep my posts relevant and niche. However, as the blog grew, I knew I had more to say about topics that didn't necessarily fall under the same category of posts as I had been writing so I decided to expand the vision just a bit. And a bit more. And a bit more. Until, suddenly, it had grown into this behemoth that I loved but couldn't control! I'm writing posts about passion, grit, adventure, life hacks, faith, entrepreneurship and the best Christmas card you'll ever see. It felt like it all fit, because it all belonged to me - these were lessons that I was learning and couldn't wait to share with everyone. But having found a pace that I can keep up for now, I'm beginning to see that there needs to be a more refined direction. It isn't that the behemoth is too big to control - there are a multitude of successful blogs that deal with many different categories of life. Rather, it's that I don't know which direction to steer it.
So at this point in time, I'm continuing to publish three times per week, but as I do this, I'm working on refining the brand's direction internally. Eventually, this new brand will launch which will help, not only me and the fantastic contributors write better content, but also help y'all, as readers, to give feedback that will act as a compass to help keep us facing north. Thanks for sticking with us so far =)
2. I'm indecisive
This one is not like me at all - I've never been too indecisive. Generally speaking, I know what I want and why I want it. Once I've locked on to my target, I pursue it. However, over the past few months, I've been dreaming in too many directions for the blog that has caused me to spread my efforts too thin. Rather than honing in on a project and giving it all I've got, I've been picking at a bunch of different ideas with no true progress. This isn't due to a lack of good ideas but rather an overload of great ones. Some of my heroes out there are putting on fantastic conferences, some are building blockbuster apps, others are writing books, and a few are dabbling in podcasts. There is such an abundance of cool projects that I can see being a reality some day, that aren't completely in the realm of the impossible, and it's causing my brain to go haywire like putting a magnet under a compass. As a part of the internal rebranding, my goal is to figure out what the next step for TAG is and to put a bunch of my ideas on the back-burner for a while.
3. I'm physically tired
Before sitting down to write this post, I was talking with my Mom about this very thing. I needed to write a post today but it seems that every time I feel inspired to write, I'm in some sort of situation that doesn't provide me that opportunity. And of course, when I'm afforded the opportunity - like at 3:00am - I'm in no mood to write. So the evil cycle continues. I've been at my new job for about a month and a half now. It's beginning to finally dawn on me why adults are so tired all the time (sorry 30+ year olds). Forty plus hours each week of projects that pull a heavy wattage of cognitive processing power (read: insanely fun creative work), despite it being entertaining and inspiring, takes its toll. Each evening, I come home in the perfect mood to watch Netflix not articulate and organize my thoughts. Seriously, the PERFECT mood. Hot tea, sweatpants and Netflix sounds better than just about any other option around 7:30pm. Yet, each week I'm reminded that I need to crank out another 3,000 words, build another newsletter, edit contributors' posts, and schedule articles to publish for the following week. It's like spending a long, hot, fun day at Disney and seeing that final ride - the one you really love - open it's ticket booth right before you're about to leave. Oh, and it's on the other side of the park. You want it. You know you do. But you're just so not in the mood.
That's me right now.
...like for real, I'm tired and I'm going to bed. (More following this post, later)
Goodnight all - I love you. May you have more ups than downs! =)