The web is full of people who have succeeded in creating lifestyles, unique to their own personalities. I love to read about the unconventional ones. Success stories are just so encouraging in general, aren’t they? But what about those of us that haven't quite made it?
Those who feel as if success is a distant thing that we have to strive to attain. Maybe strive for 3 to 4 years before seeing results, let alone profits. It's rough to create that unconventional lifestyle. I often think I've swapped a 9 to 5 job for a 24/7 life of working. But if it were easy, everyone would be doing it (I know, that's a common line, isn't it?).
Below I've shared some of my best tips on staying motivated during this rocky period of self doubt and burnout.
1 / Be Kind to Yourself
I don't know what voice can be more unkind than the very one inside my own head. Often things can become too much. You feel like you've taken on an unconquerable task. You feel you aren't enough. Or maybe too much? Too complicated and frazzle to get all those ducks in a row. Whether you’re starting a blog or a brick and mortar store or a shop on Etsy. You name it, it's difficult. And you'll find that it's so much more work than you thought it'd be.
But really, girl. You've got to take it easy on yourself. Give yourself credit that you are actually doing it. You’re further along than most people. And don't begrudge yourself some down time along the way. Lots of down time in fact.
2 / Beware of Burnout
Ooh, what a horrid word "burnout" is! Don't you think so? Down and out. No energy. Why get out of bed?
This my dear is when it's time for pampering. Take the day off. Go get a massage. Curl up with a good book. Call your best friend or your mother. Or video chat. Video chatting is super, in my opinion.
When burnout strikes, be prepared to take it easy on yourself. Have a "comfort plan." My plan involves binge watching shows like Laverne & Shirley or The Mary Tyler Moore Show. And baking cookies. When things become too much, baking is my calming thing. You need to find yours!
It's also good to learn the signs of burnout. That way you don't ever reach the end of your rope unawares, and the blues can’t take you off guard so easily.
3 / Rejoice in the Mini Victories
Are you a list maker? I can't get anything done with out a list. At least it seems that way sometimes. My mom is a great list maker. So I think it's hereditary in my case.
The great things about keeping a list is that wonderful feeling when you mark something off. I like to use brightly colored gel pens, so my notebook always looks like a kid's coloring book gone wild. And I've been coloring outside the lines since I was three. So what else is new?
Sometimes at the end of the day, I'll feel like I didn't do anything. I didn't accomplish one single, solitary, productive thing. I glance at my notebook, approaching it with trepidation. My eyes scan the page. Huh? I mark something off. What? I find another thing accomplished.
When you put a lot of pressure on yourself, you can forget the things you’ve accomplish due to the fact that there is so much left to do. Make a list to keep track of your mini-victories!
And don’t forget to reward yourself. Cookies are a great reward for goals that you accomplish throughout the day. Goodness... do I eat cookies for every occasion in my life? I plead the fifth.
4 / Appreciate the Process
Odds are that you’re a creative. After all, we're talking about creating an unconventional lifestyle. For that you've got to have at least one creative bone in your body (not to mention a bit of a free spirit). Many artists will tell you, whether a person is a painter with a blank canvas or a writer with a blank page, it's that period of time between the beginning & the end that is so important. Meaningful.
There is such meaningfulness in your work, in the process. It's the fervor involved. It's the passion. As a writer I thrive when I'm in the middle of my story, my hands flying at the keyboard. That's when I'm happy.
Of course, life happens. Writer's block, plot holes, etc. But don't forget all the happy moments. The moments that make what you’re doing the thing that you love best. The thing that's the core of your chosen lifestyle.
5 / Find Your Tribe
Don't live in a vacuum. I lived in a vacuum. It sucks. (Yes, I'm so pithy, I know) A year ago I was a newbie blogger, with no connections in the blogging community. Six months later, I started reaching out to other bloggers. I started making connections. Then I took a giant leap and went to my first bloggers conference, one that was specifically for women in my industry.
I was a hot mess. Before the trip, that is. I was a damp-palmed, panicky girl, with a bad case of social anxiety. Why in the word did I choose to leave the comforts of my bedroom to travel halfway across the country to MINGLE? I've loathed mingling ever since I was... Well, forever.
What about my trip though? Was it worth it? Did I have a good time? Well yes, actually I did. I had an incredibly memorable time. And thanks to it, I now have my tribe. I have two dear, blogging friends that share many of the same passions as me, from traveling to artsy stuff. We video chat every few weeks (didn't I tell you video chatting is the cat's meow???), and after those talks, I am so motivated. So motivated it's nearly frightening! I feel like I can conquer the world. I feel... brave.
And, my one-of- a-kind friend (we are friends, aren't we?)... Never forget how brave YOU are!
Hannah Harding is the founder of Hepcat Hannah, a travel & lifestyle blog reflecting her own personality: random, quirky, and vintage. A introverted 21-year-old, Hannah is determined to succeed as an entrepreneur, and loves encouraging others to transform their dreams into real life. She is wild and free in Christ, and always excited about what adventures lie just around the corner. In her spare time, she's hard at work on that "must finish" first novel, reading books on rainy afternoons, and being a committed night owl with a cup of spiked hot chocolate in hand.