Often I get emails from people who have found themselves in a rut and ask for tips on how to get out of it. I would reply with inspiring words, motivational quotes and/or encourage them to ‘just start.’
It wasn’t until recently when I found myself deep in my own creative and business rut that I realised how bloody hard it can be to get out.
You see the danger with a rut is, you don’t always see it coming. It can creep up on you like a zombie in one of those haunted house experiences (I hate those things) and before you know it you’re terrified of getting out of bed, opening your emails or writing a basic caption for a social media post.
To be honest, I don’t think enough people talk about this shit and fair enough, no one wants to admit they’re having a hard time and it certainly doesn’t look good on social media. The reality is though, that it happens to the best of us and I’d even say to most, if not all of us.
For me a creative rut feels like being trapped at the bottom of a deep well with no fucking clue how to get out or waking up with a tonne of cement dumped on your chest and pinning you to the ground or a grey haze over your eyes that distorts everything you see, no matter how beautiful it is. The good news is that it does pass, I promise. Footholds miraculously appear in the well for you to climb out, the cement cracks open and suddenly you can breathe again and eventually your eyes will start to sparkle and the world will be it’s bright and colourful self.
But how? Because when you’re there it feels impossible right? Yep, I know those feels. I’m no expert by here are three things that helped me out of my recent one-month business and creative rut.
- Talked about it. My biggest downfall is pretending like I have it all together. The perfectionist in me wants so badly for everything to always be ‘great’, even when it’s not. I find it really hard to ask for help, admit my weaknesses and take advice. Yep, call me stubborn because it really does take breaking point for me to finally admit that ‘I’m not ok.’ The ironic thing is, the moment I do, I begin to feel lighter. I think there is something in sharing your pain with people who love you that helps to lessen the burden. All of a sudden you’re out of your own head where the thoughts have been swirling for days, weeks or months and you get to hear a fresh perspective on your shit. You realise you’re not alone. At the end of the day, the closest people in your life love you for you and no matter what you’re experiencing, they want nothing more than for you to be happy and well. Let them in on your darkness and allow them to be the in times when you’ve forgotten it exists. l
- Spent time with inspiring people. I unexpectedly ended up at a lunch with a very successful fashion designer in Paris who was living his best life. He shared his story of how he arrived in Paris from Australia and lived in a tiny apartment with people who he didn’t like and was earning little to no money. He had one goal, to make his fashion career dreams come to life. Two years later, he met an idol of his at an art show, he approached him, asked him for a job and is now working as his second in charge, living in the most dreamy of Paris apartments (that his work pays for), is earning an incredible wage and travels the world doing what he loves. His story couldn’t have come at a better time. I recognised his passion, drive and laser focus on making his dreams come to life as a quality I used to ooze when I first started my business. Five years in, I feel like I’m in a slump, I’ve kicked certain goals and I live a comfortable life but I feel like I’ve become stagnate and complacent and as a result, my inaction is taking me backward. Spending time with people who are living their life’s purpose, who are driven, passionate and inspiring is one the quickest ways to get your mojo back. That kind of energy can’t not raise your vibration and set you back on track, I know it did for me.
- Called on my future self. One day, when I was deep in the thick of my shit, I sat on a train ride, totally exhausted and filled with loneliness, sadness, and despair for my future. My girlfriend recommended that I listen to a podcast to help me find a gem that could lead me out of my darkness. I turned to Tara Brach and listened to a podcast about hope. It was then that I realised I didn’t have any. No hope for a future, dreams, success or goals. I was hopeless. Tara lead a meditation that had you imagine your future self giving you advice. What if you could time travel to a future version of you and look back and give this version of you, here in this moment some advice. What would they say? For me, this was a powerful key to getting me through. By imagining my future self, I instantly regained hope, because I was able to dream beyond the now. My future self had empathy and compassion for me but also wasn’t afraid to tell it to me straight. She told me to keep moving, to get up and trust that it will get better. She was already in the future so she knew that now wasn’t the time for this to end. She’d already seen what is to come and needed me to shake it off and trust that this too shall pass. It was such a profound experience for me, that I often find myself taking a minute or two in my day to tune into my future self and ask for advice, help or inspiration. It keeps me grounded, hopeful and inspired for what’s to come.
No matter where you are on your journey, know that there is more to come and what you are experiencing right now is just a moment in time. This too shall pass and soon the colours of the world will return. Keep on going, you’ve got this.
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