Ok guys, I have a confession to make… I hate everything about the process of starting a business and building a blog. It’s been a really long time since I’ve had any fun in this journey and I’m beginning to wonder why I’ve persisted in pushing myself for as long as I have. For years my days have been spent thinking, plotting, planning, taking notes, reading books, writing content, drawing; all these things leading up to executing ideas that haven’t made me feel content with where I am in life. I’m battling with anxiety on a daily and seeking validation from strangers on the internet to feel reassured of myself. As someone who writes content encouraging others to live their best lives, It feels disingenuous to write about mental health, positivity and chasing your curiosity when you’re simultaneously unable to find joy in the process of your own path.
If there’s one thing every life coach, guru or therapist will tell you about building a sustainable life/career for yourself – they’ll say “it’s all about the process, not the destination.” But what if the process feels painfully difficult and you find it next to impossible to sit patiently for things to slowly unfold? What do you do when you can’t find joy in your journey? I personally don’t know the answers to those questions and I’m currently in the process of figuring this out for myself. It sucks knowing where you want to be but feeling like you’re failing at every attempt to get there. Overall, I refuse to let this mindset be the unraveling of so many years of hard work, dedication, and focus.
Finding Joy In The Process
In order to keep going and prevent burnout, I have to find the sweet spot of joy in this creative journey of mine and make a few changes in the way I go about my work.
1. Focus on things within your control.
The moment I stopped enjoying the process was when I started trying to market myself and my business online. I unknowingly entered into the arena of comparisons and I haven’t been able to get out since then. I’ve been lost in the sauce of the highlight reels of everyone’s picture perfect lives on social media which I’m sure is something you can relate to. I started measuring my worth based on metrics beyond my control and I will be the first to acknowledge how unhealthy this pattern is. In hindsight, I feel like I jumped the gun a bit with trying to market myself and my brand and in the process, I lost sight of the purpose behind what I started. I didn’t give myself the time to nurture my craft and decide if this is something I wanted to do long term. I now feel like I did myself a disservice because it’s opened the gates of being overly critical of myself and demanding perfection. I can’t control if my content reaches people or what the outcome of any of my actions are but I can control the content I write and make sure it is a true representation of life. I can control consistently showing up and creating work that aligns with my values.
2. Create for yourself
This might come to you as a surprise but truth be told is I don’t create artwork for myself. Ever since I started lettering, I’ve primarily only made work for other people or for the consumption of others. Rarely do I make anything for personal reasons which explains why it’s been hard finding the joy in my creative journey and owning my creative voice. Because I haven’t been creating for myself, I don’t have a good sense of what I enjoy doing. Now that my shop is officially open, I can start focusing on passion projects and creating things for myself as opposed to making things for others. I know that may sound a bit counterintuitive but I believe that the purpose behind why you do something should outweigh what you actually do. I can’t build a business if I don’t feel connected to the work I’m creating. I can’t serve others if I don’t know how to serve myself. This will be an opportunity to get out of my shell a bit more and get comfortable putting myself out there. It also means a shift in direction with how I do things moving forward.
3. Get out more
Being alone for as much as I have has not been good for my mental state. I miss being around people who uplift me and having a solid group of friends in my area. I miss having a social life outside of work that involves regularly visiting people or vice-versa. I am in a new city and have not made ties within my community and it’s been difficult coping with spending so much time by myself. To help me deal with my growing social anxiety I decided to start taking my artists dates more seriously and routinely spending time outside at least one day a week. An artist date is a block of time set aside and committed to nurturing your creative consciousness, and your inner artist. It’s essentially a play date that you pre-plan with your inner artist. Most importantly this is dedicated time to get out of the house, explore the city and do things that I enjoy to nurtures my creativity. It’s an opportunity to meet people and start engaging with my community in ways I’ve wanted to.
My goal is that these efforts will help ease the amount of stress and pressure I consistently experience. I have to develop a better way of finding joy in what I do and be present in the process rather than self-defeating. This, in turn, means there will be changes coming along in the next upcoming weeks with the For Tha Masses. Stay tuned for more!