How to get un-stuck when things suck
I’m going to sing you a little ditty. I’m pretty sure it’s one you know so join in when you can.
Dee-deee-dee-dah I should have done this by now.
Ba-ba-ba Why am I so tired all the time?
Neneh-neneh I’m not excited about…anything.
Ooh-baby There’s a sucking void at the very centre of my being.
[Repeat and repeat]
Yeah, that’s a classic. They don’t make them like that anymore.
Now, I suspect you may have had this particular tune stuck in your head at one time or another.
Maybe it’s stuck there right now. It is very catchy.
Maybe it’s been rolling around and around in your brain for days, or weeks. Maybe you’re so busy listening that everything in your business has ground to a halt.
And maybe you’ve got a whole set of feelings to go with this song.
Perhaps you feel listless or apathetic. Or frustrated because there’s so much to do and yet you don’t feel like doing any of it.
You get angry because you know opportunities are waiting if only you could get your shit together.
Then you get sad because you know this isn’t you.
You’re confident, optimistic and passionate about your work. You’re motivated and resourceful. You can roll with the punches.
You’re an artist, dammit!
You’ve got things to do in the world.
Yet here you are, bundled up in a corner, mindlessly humming a tune that no-one else can hear.
Well, I’m going to let you in on something. Don’t tell anyone, right?
No, seriously. Look, this is my serious face.
Totally don’t, okay?
There’s another verse to that song.
I swear on this bottle of cough syrup. The first verse is just so catchy that hardly anyone listens to the rest.
This is how it goes:
Dadah-dadah Sometimes you’re strong and stuff is easy.
Bee-ba-bee Sometimes it’s hard. Oh yeah.
La-la-la It’s what you do when things are hard that matters.
Yeah-yeah-baby Do one thing. Do one thing.
Not many people know that part. Most get stuck in the first verse.
You can’t blame them, really.
In the first verse everything is certain. There’s no doubt.
Sure, things suck, but at least there’s a routine.
Things are going to suck just as much tomorrow as they did today. You’re still going to feel tired, bored, frustrated and empty, but at least you know what to expect. That’s a kind of safety.
And yep, being stuck in the first verse is hard, but you’re in good company.
After all, most people don’t do what they love. They don’t follow the little glimmer that showed up in their primary school drawings, or at art college, or the first time they saw a lump of clay.
They certainly don’t try and build a business around it.
So if everyone else is settling, maybe it’s okay for you to settle too.
If making it work is this hard, maybe it’s just not meant to be, right?
And the void at the centre of your being? Well, you get used to it.
Some days you can hardly hear it roaring at all.
Such a shame. Pass me a throat sweet, would you?
You see, here’s what those poor first-versers don’t realise.
Everyone has a sucking void at the centre of their being, whether they realise it or not.
You know what fills that void up?
Art. Work. Love. Adventures.
A packet of low-fat prawn cocktail crisps eaten furtively in your cubicle while you’re supposed to be double-checking form FR-723 for the boss probably won’t do it.
Creating a business from your talent isn’t really about making money.
Well, it is, but it’s not just about that.
It’s a chance to find out who you really are.
To find out what you’re really made of.
To see what you’ve really got.
To be yourself, as hard as you damn well can AND make it pay.
It’s a long process. There’s no certainty. You have to try stuff and hope it turns out the way you want.
Sometimes things suck beyond belief.
But you know what also happens?
Art. Work. Love. Adventures.
Now, this might be the fever talking, but I think that’s what the second verse is about.
It’s what you do when things are hard that matters. The tiny things you do declare your intention.
So send an email to a potential stockist or switch on Pointless.
Listen to some blog posts or decide the cat needs a bath.
Take care of yourself until you feel better or tell yourself that you were never that good in the first place.
Do one thing.
[Repeat to fade]