What a month.
Actually, the last five months have been, well, how do I put this?
A bit crap.
Out of the ordinary.
All of the above.
Or perhaps most of all, completely out of my comfort zone.
Every now and then, you realise that time away gives you the space for reflection and coming home gives you a very tangible cue to ‘start again’.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
It was five months ago that I left my highly successful, well paid, very sociable position at the world’s biggest record company to set up my own PR business. I’ve worked for myself before, so it’s not been entirely scary, but it’s been a big adjustment.
During this time, here are some of the awesome bits;
- having the headspace to figure out how I want work to fit in with the rest of my life
- choosing the clients I work with
- working my own hours
- making great money
- getting to build something from scratch
- employing my first staff member
- touring with fun artists
- going on an incredible month-long working holiday taking in three countries and six cities
- coming home and being head-over-heels excited to dive back into work and grow the business even more
- learning some valuable lessons*
And here are the bad bits;
- being sick for eight weeks with a head cold, the flu, bronchitis and back to a head cold again
- the novelty of working from my own office wearing off and feeling professionally isolated and a little lonely
- a longterm sporting injury becoming unbearable and having to accept that the last ditch treatment before giving in to surgery involves intense physio that means no gym, no yoga, no swimming and no upper-body exercises at all. For at least three – six months. Yuck
*But here are those valuable lessons that I was talking about earlier;
1. Resilience. You can be strong and determined, but you also need to be resilient
2. We need each other – people need people
3. Letting go – not everything in your life has to be perfect all the time
4. The futility of worrying. When “your worst nightmare happens” it’s probably not as bad as you thought it’d be. If no one dies or it can be fixed with money, it’s actually not a problem
and my favourite lesson of all?
5. Starting over
I thought I already had considerable skill at starting over – each Spring, the start of the month, every Monday, or as I slither out of bed and into my sneakers each morning.
But when you bring a mindfulness and intention to ’starting over’ throughout each and every day, it really helps to steer you (and keep you) on the course that you want most.
It’s very simple really.
This month’s issue of Yoga Journal has a great ‘how to’ article on starting over. This paragraph sums it up nicely:
You shift your attention away from controlling the outcome, and you abandon your usual reactions to getting off track (criticising, judging, complaining, lamenting). You don’t deny your thoughts and feelings, and you don’t try to make them go away. Instead, you acknowledge them without making any judgements and say to yourself:
”Yes, I just got lost AND NOW… I’ll just start over”.
Here, I’ll show you what I mean:
- “Yes, I’m worrying repeatedly about how much money I just spent on frivolity when I was overseas AND NOW… I’ll just start over”
- “Yes, I’m spriralling into OCD making sure this promo schedule and guest list are totally perfect AND NOW… I’ll just start over”
- “Yes, I felt stressed and ate an entire packet of turkish delight tim tams when a) I’m injured and can’t run it off and b) I gave up sugar 18 months ago because it makes me feel sick AND NOW… I’ll just start over”
- “Yes, I’m feeling anxious about turning down and upsetting this lucrative client because their product isn’t up to scratch which means I don’t believe in it so can’t work on it AND NOW… I’ll just start over”
- “Yes, I was just distracted from writing this post and wasted 20 minutes of my precious Saturday scrolling through Instagram, when I know I have a ton of work to do today and all I really want to do is go to the beach and lay in the sun AND NOW… I’ll just start over”
So when things are difficult or when you’ve stuffed up, you can stop in that very instance and just say to yourself “so this has happened… and now I’m starting over”.
Sure, there may be things that you need to process and learn from the situation, and you can do that at some point. But beating yourself up over it won’t help you right now, so just make the conscious decision right here and now to start over, and everything is just so much simpler.
PS – and if you’re in the best phase of your life, things are going really smoothly, you’re on track and life is grand, you may want to use the phrase “start over” as a motivator to do better. Give yourself a pat on the back but don’t let the best that you’ve ever done be the best you’ll ever do.