My pulse racing, I sit fidgeting on the chair. I turn over the paper and stare unseeing at the questions in front of me. “Oh God, where do I begin.” I scan the page. Then I look around the room. “They’re all writing already. Oh God! What am I going to do. I’m so not prepared for this. I don’t know where to begin.”
Have you ever been in a similar situation? Have you ever had writers block and a deadline? Well, maybe you can imagine how I am feeling right now. You see, in recent days I saw the wall coming and earlier today, I hit it.
When I sat down to try and write this post, I suddenly had a complete lack of confidence and self belief. Trying to write for thirty days straight sounded tough enough. You want to know what has made the challenge that much harder?
I have been watching the graph in Google Analytics showing me the daily stats for the blog. At the beginning, the story was awesome. Every day for the first few days, the traffic to the blog climbed and climbed. We aren’t talking huge numbers, but it was a BIG boost to my confidence to see this steep, climbing line. And then it tanked. Well, tailed off more like… But the trajectory over the past few days hasn’t been in the direction I wanted.
So I started to question whether it was worth the effort. And here’s the thing, I’m not for giving up. I told myself to ‘just keep going’. You might recall, back on Day 7, I mentioned my competitive streak and the fact I don’t like to lose. Well, this episode got me to examine a few things.
Here are 5 steps I went through to remove the block on my self-belief and enable me to move forward once again.
1 – take stock
Start by examining the situation. Try to put your emotions to one side and look at what is actually going on. How bad is this thing? What has happened that has stopped you in your tracks. Is it one thing or a pattern, a trend? A pattern needs looking at. A one-off needs to be seen in context and perhaps put to one side.
Here is what I did. I jumped onto Google Docs, took the spreadsheet I’m using to track this 30-day writing challenge and I added some more columns. I plugged additional bits of information into the sheet to see what patterns I could see. And you know what jumped out?
The posts I write that are more related to self development have proved to be more popular than the ones about business. So, in the spirit of good customer experience, I am going to ‘listen’ and ‘respond’. I am going to look again at the list of topics I have ahead of me for the rest of the 30 days and change some.
2 – remind yourself why
What was the purpose of doing the task in the first place? That’s the next most important question to ask yourself. Are you getting the benefit from doing the exercise that you hoped for? Is it still worth it? Or, are you perhaps going off topic?
My reason for setting myself this challenge was based on the fact I want deep inside, to help people. I LOVE helping people. Whether it is training, mentoring or coaching. My personality is strong and my opinions can be direct.
At the heart of why I am doing this is a deep seated desire to help people. I want you to be the best you can possibly be. I want you to succeed in pursuing your passion, especially if that involves running a business. I have a lot of experience to share and many ways I can help you solve problems and remove the things that are stopping you from moving forward.
3 – seek inspiration
Next I found myself seeking some inspiration. On the radio there was some story about how Mo Farah had taken both the 5,000m and 10,000m titles at the World Championships 2015 in Beijing.
In an instant I recalled 2013. That’s the year the amazing Richard Whitehead ran 40 marathons in 40 days. He went from John O’Groats in Scotland to Land’s End. Did he give up? No. Why not? Because Richard is a “a strong believer in living a life without limits.” As a Paralympic Gold Medal winner who runs on prosthetic legs, Richard is an awesome and totally inspiring man. He had a personal ambition to complete that run. He was inspired by the late Terry Fox – a Canadian who died trying to run across Canada.
I got to spend quite a bit of time with Richard during 2013. You see, I was working for Virgin Media at the time and we were one of the primary sponsors of his run. Richard helped me, my friend and colleague Katie and our small band of merry men and women throughout the company, to change attitudes towards disability in the company. With 17,000 people dotted around the UK, it was really important to find an appropriate ambassador to help us with our work. Richard was that person. And then some! Everyone loved him. Hundreds flocked to see him and run with him.
During my short 10km run with him that Autumn, I remember the tough hills. Running (some way) behind Richard up one such hill, I remember thinking how bloody hard it must be for him to fit his prosthetics and summon up the energy and will-power to go do yet another marathon every single day. My point is this. Someone-else is ALWAYS having a worse day than you. Your problems are not insurmountable. If you have the right motivation and inspiration – you can do anything!
4 – renew your focus
What I realised during the past hour or so, when I started looking at this whole situation is this. I am a story teller. I am trying to perfect my art. Writing a blog is a way to excercise the creative muscle and start to share my story. As I have written before, it’s about giving back. It’s about reaching out and making connections and helping people.
Once I reminded myself of that, I realised I could make it. As someone who likes to plan ahead and make lists, I’m of course going to have to revise the list of posts I made for myself. But that’s OK. You see, I am REALLY enjoying this challenge. It is hard, as I think this post shows. However, where there is a will, there is a way!
5 – move forward
Common sense dictates that sometimes it makes sense for you to stop digging if you want to get out of the hole. This is not one of those times. I need to just keep going. No matter what.
It is important to realise it’s not what happens to you that matters, but how you deal with it. Thanks to these five steps, I realise it’s time to pick myself up, dust myself off, return to my core values and the reason for doing this in the first place and just keep going.
Are you finding this series of any use? Please leave a comment below and do join the discussion on Twitter. Remember to use the hashtag: #CHA30DayChallenge
Thanks for stopping by and see you for more tomorrow friends!
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