A month ago, I decided that it was finally time to start writing this blog. In hopes of putting my best foot forward, I spent some time coming up with the title, tagline and theme before launching into my first post. Two weeks in, I was happy with my progress. I wrote two actual posts — and then I stopped. Why? Well, I believe it went something like this:
After that second post, a well-intentioned friend asked me to articulate the purpose of the blog and all I remember from the conversation is that I didn’t explain myself in the way I’d hoped. I didn’t know exactly what the focus of each of my posts was going to be. I didn’t know who my ideal reader was. I didn’t know specifically what area of expertise I was ready to share. And the analysis began. Followed immediately by waves of doubt. Before I knew it, a dark fog of uncertainty clouded my words, my choices, my theme. After re-reading my last post, I felt like I’d edited it to the point where it didn’t sound like me anymore.
Before I’d even found my voice, it was lost.
Upon completion of this first round of self-deprecation, I decided to step back and dig myself into the hole a little deeper. Decided it was best to stop writing until I’d figured everything out. (When in doubt – avoid!) Fortunately, after two weeks of pretending the blog no longer existed, I woke up this morning and it hit me like a brick wall. I had seen this all before. The familiar cunning culprit? None other than ‘Analysis Paralysis’.
Analyzing is good. Over-analyzing is the enemy. So I took a breath, got out of bed and began reminding myself why I started this blog in the first place. I went back to the beginning of the story.
A few months ago, I made the decision to resign from a job I’d held for 5 years. Like anything else, I had a lot of reasons, but ultimately it boiled down to the fact that it was time for a change. Experience has taught me that for better or worse, I live for change, thriving in the new and unpredictable. I enjoy the challenge of trying things I’ve never done before because they ignite my curiosity, motivation and engagement in ways that nothing else can. It was time to be true to myself and figure out what I wanted to be doing with my days instead of feeling like the hamster on the wheel. So I jumped – confident that the net would appear. And it will – this free fall is part of the process – and where the writing comes in. Intuitively, I know that writing is what I need to do to point myself in the right direction.
So, yes, I reminded myself that I’m here writing from a place of ‘reinvention’ – trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I’m here precisely because I don’t have the answers.
And that’s okay.
It’s okay not to know. It’s okay to figure it out as I go along. It’s okay to decide and then change my mind. And then change my mind again – especially if something doesn’t feel right. In fact, if my gut is telling me it isn’t right, it’s better to change my mind again. Life is about learning how to make the right decisions for myself. And I will only know if a decision is right or wrong by acting on it – by taking the risk.
The worst thing I can do to myself right now is stay stuck. And by that I mean comfortably stuck in my own head. Swimming around in circles, analyzing my options to death and coming up with convincing reasons not to move forward with any of them. It’s a bad place to be, especially since I’m motivated by productivity. The more I get done, the more energy I have to keep getting things done. Being stuck sucks the life out of me.
Movement is key.
So, I’m back. And for the moment, I’m back here writing for me and if you can relate to any of this, then maybe I’m here for you as well. If for no other reason than to remind you that you aren’t alone in figuring out what you’re doing with your life. I’m committing, as you can, to a renewed sense of purpose. To not settling for what I know I don’t want. To getting back on the track that I know I’m meant to be on.
To quote one of my favorite Paul Simon songs (sing it!) :
“I’m on my way. I don’t know where I’m goin’. I’m on my way, I’m takin’ my time but I don’t know where…”
When you embrace the ‘not knowing’ – the process is fun because you realize that when you don’t have the answers, anything is possible. When you jump in, you’re willing to risk and learn and grow. Serendipity sends you a wink. The universe delivers a smile. And the path becomes clearer.
And now that I’ve spelled this out for myself, I will try my darndest not to get stuck again!
Flapping my wings until I’m ready to land on both feet.