So last week I had a bit of wobble. For someone who has spent a large part of the last 25 years working from home, alone, this might seem an odd reaction to the current unprecedented situation, but nevertheless I did have a couple of days of wondering just what I was doing, why I was doing it, what the point was and why I wasn’t doing more.
Social media is a noisy place at the best of times, and if you work for yourself you may (as I have) find yourself sucked into a world of other solopreneurs, networking groups, closed FaceBook groups (seriously I have been invited to join about 50,000) and other portals that tell us they want to support us and our businesses at this time, but in reality many just add to the white noise.
At a time when we are clapping for key workers while they risk their lives every single day, and hearing the daily death toll, and listening to the daily briefing and can’t see our families and friends, and when people we know are dying, there really isn’t time for being self indulgent. But for a few hours last week I think I was…a bit anyway.
I wasn’t struggling with being alone and working because I do that anyway and have one son here and my husband, who is a key worker, comes home from work every evening too. I live in a beautiful place, have a lovely home and garden and a well-stocked fridge and pantry. I have access to excellent technology to keep me connected and the chance to walk in glorious countryside every day. I am well, healthy and have time to exercise, garden, bake and read.
I also earn my living from writing so I am not furloughed or redundant, in fact I am writing more than ever.
I am very lucky.
So why did I wobble then?
I think there are a few reasons and having done a bit of surface research I know I am not alone. Quite a few people had a wobbly week last week.
Firstly we have no control over what is happening. This is hard and starts to cultivate a bit of fear, uncertainty and lack of confidence. We have to stay informed but surrender – it’s the only way otherwise we just tie ourselves up in knots of anxiety.
Secondly it’s about contribution. I wrote a book at the end of last year about journalling and how it can help us to overcome all sort of challenges and make new plans for the future. I have been promoting it on social media and have even been interviewed on BBC Radio about it. Thousands of people have read it and yet last week I started to panic because I felt I needed to offer people more. Should I offer Zoom coaching sessions or an online course?
The third reason for my wobble was pressure. I felt under pressure to ‘pivot’ my business, go online, start another FaceBook group and be out there and super visible. This pressure grew because of all the social media activity I was reading about people who are smashing it, nailing it and making six figures a month because lockdown has created a whole new business opportunity for them.
I wish them well.
I am not reading that stuff any more.
Because after a week of following their progress and watching their posts and seeing numerous ‘wow hun well done you’ and ‘you are epic ! #lockdownpivot ‘messages I had a moment of clarity.
I am an author and a journalist. That’s me and that’s what I do. Yes I am also a uni lecturer and a coach but that work can’t happen right now so I plan to park it in my diary for another day and when we come out the other side I will see how things are. Who knows…I may never go back to that work?
Ironically I am an online course creator for other people and I will be doing some of that, but for now I am happy to have written my book because it is still helping lots of people at a very difficult time and will continue to do that. It is making a contribution. I have made a contribution.
I am also a partner in a lovely business called www.oxinabox.co.uk and we are supporting all the food, arts and entertainment businesses that really are having to pivot and find new ways of working. I am immensely proud of that work. I work with my dear friend Katherine – we are both journalists and we love the work we do.
I have released the lockdown business pressure by releasing myself from the white noise and opting out of any social media that makes me feel rubbish.
Yes, we still have no control so why worry about it? All we have to do is stay at home – that’s it. Stay at home. If you can and you are not a key worker then just stay at home. I am looking after my family and checking in on my friends – that’s enough and all we can all do really.
So if you are having a bit of a wobble I would urge you to let it happen. I have started this week with renewed clarity, focus and a plan. I have spoken to good friends, my amazing husband and I am (In Mr A’s words) paddling my own canoe! Staying in my lane and getting on with things that I CAN do that make me HAPPY and that can actually HELP other people. This will all be over soon and the roads will be busy, the shops will be heaving and the brilliant night (and day) skies will be polluted. Let’s make this time count and if that means having a wobble to help you figure stuff out then wobble away.
You can order my book here to help you journal through your wobble…I did this and it worked for me!