Refocus. Rebuild. Renew.

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The past few months alone have inspired quite a few thoughts, that if given time would fill volumes. It’s been a whirlwind of craziness between client projects, failed partnerships, and parenthood. At moments it felt downright overwhelming. Some moments, imposter syndrome felt as if it paralyze me from moving forward.

One of the things I wanted to do more of this year was release more content. Yet, with the demands of my day to day even posting on Instagram felt like an accomplishment. No amount of content planning or scheduling could help. At some moments it felt as if I’d be better off resorting to being a hermit or a groundhog.

For awhile, I allowed the opinions of others to affect my own possibilities. External doubt turned to internal doubt. After awhile, creating things for myself felt less and less important.

My creativity, went from a source of fulfillment and joy to a set of skills to pay the bills. It was as if I went on autopilot.  What I didn’t realize was that I was starving myself of a creative outlet. My ability to be of value became clouded by the failures of the past. A lack of confidence in my experience, and the natural human nature of not wanting to risk anything else.

Unfortunately, there were things that I allowed myself to believe, people I allowed myself to give a benefit of a doubt towards that in hindsight should have been avoided.

I wasn’t taking my own medicine.

Long story short, I hit a creative wall. I was suffocating on a creative level and something needed to change. The choice came down to continue to suffocate and give up or make a change for the sake of the survival of my emotional health.

I decided to choose the latter, even though it was the option that was the most terrifying. So, I kept things simple with three total words. I needed it to be something easy to remember and didn’t want to recreate the wheel.

Refocus. Where my energy was going?
Rebuild. What was/is working and what needs to be better?
Renew. How to move forward with the best foot forward?

These were the three things I decided to focus on. Everything else, put into a backlog unless it was important to my life functions on a whole. Yet, this wasn’t and couldn’t be enough. Having three words as a mantra or motto wouldn’t do much. Neither does making a list of what’s immediately important vs what isn’t. This all falls into the category of whining.

And that isn’t me.

So, on a personal level, I made a hard pivot. I made a vow with myself. Whether it was lines of code, designs translated to pixels or print. Whether it was words on a screen/page, I was going to keep on writing.

What sense would it make to put in all this work to be a creative over the span over 16+ years to give up now? Did I come this far to only come this far?

Refocus. Where my energy was going?

This was the first question I needed to answer if this pivot was going to be successful. I needed to know where every single minute of my time was going. Who it was being spent on, but more importantly what it was being spent on. Without this key piece of information, everything else would be busywork.

Being stretched thin is something that sneaks up on you, then buries you under the weight of it all.

Unlike money, time is something we can never get back once that moment has passed. The unique set of emotions and circumstances within that moment can’t be replicated, no matter how hard we try.

This is why we try to capture the moments we deem precious. Whether it’s through pictures, video, or physical keepsakes; we go through life adding on to our shoulders an unnecessary weight.

Without realizing it we’ve become a society of digital hoarders.

You aren’t obligated to like every picture in your social feed. You aren’t obligated to click here; to buy this product, or that course. You aren’t obligated to; listen to that webinar or to take that phone call.

You aren’t obligated to be anything other than yourself.

If for any reason you think waking up in the morning with anxiety is ok, then it’s time to rethink where you’re headed and what you’re doing. Yes, life is short but do you want to be filling it with busywork? Or do you want to be filling your time with meaningful work?

Once I had the answers in hand, it was time to move on to the next step.

Rebuild. What was/is working and what needs to be better?

In short, what needed to go. What was I hoarding both mentally and emotionally? What was being a hinderance where there should progress?

In 1666, a fire so great destroyed the city of London. Shortly after the Rebuilding of London Act was passed to rebuild. An effort that gave way to a new form of Architectural expression. As well as a foundation for the British Empire at that time.

The point is this. No matter what point in history you jump back to, there is always a point in which there is a need to rebuild.

The comfort zone will kill more of your dreams than any other outside force will. It isn’t a matter of it it will, its a matter of when.

Unfortunately, we’re always so focused on what’s gone. What we had. Who we were back in the day. Walking eulogies lacking the awareness to the possibilities gained by letting go.

Now isn’t the time to be acting daft towards what you can do to be better. That’s how people stagnate as individuals. Keep improving, aim to be better than yesterday, this morning, or even an hour ago. Don’t blame your passion as to why you failed. Passion drives you to be better and unleash your creativity.

When you realize that not everything is about you, you’ll find more room to improve.

Renew. How to move forward with the best foot forward?

You have to be true to yourself, before you can be true to anyone else. It’s that simple.

We’re all broken in one way or another. We’ve been led to believe that this is a defect instead of an attribute. It’s because of our ‘missing’ pieces that we’re able to connect with others. But first, we have to learn how to love ourselves before we can express that to others.

It’s impossible to hate yourself and say you love others. That hate gets in the way of your creative good and the possibilities that are on the other side of the door.

Now, loving yourself isn’t about being selfish. If anything, it’s the complete opposite. To show yourself love, is to fall head over heels towards who you are as an individual. Working daily to improve, to forgive, and to heal.

It’s about appreciating both the good and the bad about who you are. It’s also about being aware of the areas that need improvement. Then and only then, can we treat others as we would like to be treated.

Despite the pain there is a purpose. Finding that purpose has a lot less to do with others than it has to do with you. It requires a commitment to yourself and focusing on how you can be better than yesterday.

Growth isn’t easy but it’s necessary if you want to achieve those great dreams and hopes you have. There will be people who will doubt, discourage, and try to hinder you. Rise above them, aim above them.

Because at the end of the day, they’ll still be the ones stuck on the level of selfishness and unhappiness. Meanwhile, you’ll be out winning.

It all comes down to choice. We choose to either love or hate. We choose whether to uplift or tear down. Consciously and unconsciously. Whatever we feed our souls with, will manifest itself in our thoughts and then actions.

Respect starts with you. It doesn’t matter what your past may be. It’s what you’re doing now that matters. Are you improving or trying to remain comfortable? It’s easy to hide behind excuses, but not one great person has ever achieved a worthwhile legacy with that approach.

Adulting is about being able to have difficult conversations with yourself and others. It’s also about implementing the knowledge that may be discovered along the way. Knowledge that helps improve the quality of life vs hindering it. But again, only if we choose to follow the path and make the choices that will take us always upward.

So despite the fact that this article took nearly 4 months to write, I’m not going to beat myself up about it at all. Instead, I’m just going to keep pushing onward and upward and I hope you’ll choose to do the same.

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