I’ve been away from home for 5 months now. The majority of that time was spent in one place, but in the last 6 weeks I’ve been ping-ponging around a fair bit and clocking up a few air miles.
Now I LOVE to travel…. I’ve been a sucker to wanderlust since I was 18 and went off on my first big surf adventure. But there’s a feeling that shows up sometimes when you’re on the road, that I really want to delve into. Not just because I think it helps to be vulnerable & share our own stuff, but also because I know that very same feeling can show up in business. Especially for entrepreneurs.
So what is it? Well, as I was walking on the beach this morning I was trying to figure out the best way to explain it. Here goes:
Imagine a kite flying high in the sky… it feels rad and independent and free. The big blue sky feels full of possibility & opportunity. It feels like there are no limits, no boundaries. When the kite looks down, at the world below, it does so with a full heart, feeling grateful for this freedom but also knowing that someone is holding onto their string and keeping them connected to that beautiful world beneath them.
Sounds pretty good huh?
So here’s the tricky part. Every now and then, it feels like whoever is holding the string, loosens their grip a little. Suddenly the freedom turns into fear. The kite knows that without that string, without that feeling of groundedness, the sky can suddenly feel like a pretty scary place.
So let’s bring it back to business, shall we? You see, as an entrepreneur (you’ve already figured out that you were the kite, right ?), you know that you wouldn’t, and quite possibly couldn’t, have it any other way. You thrive on that freedom and that independence. But it seems that the very thing that drives you forward can also scare the hell out of you.
In the last couple of days… as I’ve been tiki-touring my way around Indo, I’ve felt like the string has unravelled a little. I’ve had moments when I’ve felt like shouting down to whoever it is flying the kite ‘Hey!!!! Don’t let go, dude!!! Reel me in a bit!’
And then I realised. It’s up to me. I had to figure out what, in my crazy head of metaphors, the string of my kite represents.
And I’m pretty sure it represents feeling grounded. Feeling like I have some sort of plan. That I’m not just going to float off into space.
Let me tell you what it feels like to be up there on a scary day…. and maybe you’ll resonate:
What the hell am I doing up here? Everything down there is so secure and comforting. I feel like I don’t belong anywhere… maybe I’ll just be floating up here forever ?! There are so many options and so many possibilities that trying to make a decision on which way to go feels insanely overwhelming. Am I the only one up here freaking out? Does everyone else have their shit together except me ??
Ahhh even writing that makes my heart beat a little faster…. and not in a good way. As entrepreneurs, we go through different stages. There are times when everything is flowing and synchronised and rad. And then there are these panicky, oh-my-god-what-am-I-doing moments.
So what to do when these crazy moments arrive?
1. Relax ! Remember that it’s totally normal. Thankfully I’ve gone through enough of them, and spoken to enough entrepreneurs to know that, unfortunately, it’s just part of the process.
2. Learn to recognise the signs of your entrepreneurial freakouts. That way you may be able to prevent them from turning into major events or at least be mindful enough to walk through them gracefully.
3. Try to get some perspective on what exactly is causing it. Knowing what triggered you, and why, can be insanely useful. For me (as explained in my little kite story haha) it was brought to life on the road and a lack of feeling grounded.
3. Once you know what’s at the root of your freak out, come up with a strategy (with really tangible things that you can do — not just stuff like ‘change my mindset’) to shift the mood. So for me, if I know that I want to feel more grounded, I’ll plan a bunch of stuff that makes me feel that way : Some time on the yoga mat, a surf or a SUP or a stomp on the beach (or all 3 ha ha), then grab my Moleskine and sit somewhere quiet and make a list of what I want to work on next (planning makes me happy haha).
So I’m off for a surf….. with the knowledge that my little kite is securely tied up & not about to float off into space ;)