I sat in my home office, papers and various office supplies in piles all around me. Cans of opened Coke Zero, scraps of papers with half formed ideas scribbled in barely legible handwriting, memory cards scattered around my desk and a to do list reading:
In other words: I had no idea what to do next.
Has this ever been you? Or maybe you’ve found yourself with a mile long to do list but no motivation to actually accomplish any of it. You think, “I don’t really need to update my website or post to Instagram and I’ve gone this long without figuring out Pinterest, so… I’ll just let it slide another day.” But then you come to the realization that you’re just treading water. Your uncertainty isn’t propelling you to the next goal, it’s just keeping you stuck.
So how do you get unstuck?
Today I want to provide a framework for you to move past the uncertainty in your business.
1. Believe in your own power.
Okay usually I’m not a fan of things that start out that way, but hear me out. A couple of years ago I had hit a booking drought in my business. I had met with a handful of local couples and all of them had hired someone else, so my confidence was really low. On top of that, I felt like they could sense the desperation in my energy and that energy pushed them away. With each failed consultation, the energy only grew until I was sure I would never book another wedding again.
That Friday, I had a consultation and I decided to wear glasses. When I was in High School and I wanted to look more grown up or smarter or hide behind a safety of some sort, I would wear glasses. They were literally basic, non prescription, black framed glasses and for whatever reason, I felt more confident when I wore them. So I picked them up and wore them to my consultation and I booked it on the spot. Then I booked the next three in a row … because I wore my glasses.
But it wasn’t really the glasses, was it? The glasses weren’t magical. The glasses weren’t all powerful. And the couples certainly didn’t walk in and say, “WOW! Look at those glasses! Let’s book her!” The truth is, it was all me. All of it. From the desperate energy to the failure to book to the elevated energy to the success in my bookings. It was that I didn’t allow myself to feel the same confidence without glasses but with the glasses, I allowed myself to feel confident enough to be a person who booked weddings.
So in the end, it didn’t matter if the glasses were magical or not, it mattered that I was powerful enough to give them the power that they needed to work.
This is an embarrassing example, I know this. But I hope it lands with you. You are powerful and everything starts and ends with your energy.
2. Believe that the universe has no fixed agenda.
There is no right or wrong decision. The universe will work its way around your decision. I recently read Borne, a fiction book and the main character says, “The real reality is something we create every moment of every day. Realities spin off from our decisions in every second we’re alive.” Another quote I saw from Emily Weiss says, ” “If you obsess over whether you are making the right decision, you are basically assuming that the universe will reward you for one thing and punish you for another. The universe has no fixed agenda. Once you make any decision, it works around that decision. There is no right or wrong, only a series of possibilities that shift with each thought, feeling, and action you experience.”
Remember too that this is just one page of your book. Sometimes I think of our days as pages of a book and I’m walking across each giant page. Sometimes there are good pages and sometimes there are bad pages but they’re never permanent; the page always turns. Realizing that this isn’t the first time you’ve been in a rut and it won’t be the last time can empower you to move past it quicker than thinking, “Why is this happening to me?” and all those other things we like to think.
3. Let happiness be your compass.
Not just happiness, but your happiness. For most of my life I thought that living in a massive multi million dollar house would be amazing. Isn’t that what happy, successful people do? They buy a mansion with a million rooms? In reality though, just this morning I walked around the corner into my office from the kitchen and realized I had I forgot my water and had to walk ALLLLL the way back to the kitchen (around the corner) to get my water and bring it back to my office. During this process, I imagined what it would be like if my office was located down three halls, up a flight of stairs and around four corners from my kitchen. Wouldn’t it be awful? To realize that forgetting water meant another lap around your mansion? I also feel like I would always be paranoid someone was in my house if I had a huge house. Like someone could just be living there and I’d never know. So the truth of my own happiness is that having a moderate sized home makes me feel safe and happy. When I start to get down about not having a massive house, I remind myself that I actually don’t even want that. So I can happily move on. This applies to all areas. You don’t have to want what everyone else wants, you just have to know what will and won’t make you happy. Then base your decisions on that and the universe will work it’s way around them.
4. The Next Right Thing.
Did you see Frozen 2?! There was a part where the characters were given the guidance, “When you don’t know what to do, just do the next right thing.” I loved it so much that immediately my heart burst open and a million butterflies flew around the theater. Sometimes your journey will feel like driving in a storm at night. You don’t get to see very far ahead. In fact, the only thing you get to see is just enough to figure out your next move. Your headlights shine a few feet in front of you and you make decisions based on what you’re given and the rest is faith that your headlights will keep leading the way. Don’t worry about seeing far, just worry about seeing the next singular step. Sometimes the perfectly right path won’t be visible until you’ve taken a few smaller steps in a general direction.
5. Make a Move
I am a candy crush player. It’s a big time waster for me, I know, but it’s also how I get my mind to wander. I’m currently on level 2247 and so often while playing, I get these massive realizations about life and business and creativity.
Sometimes when I’m playing and there’s just no viable move to get me what I need, I realize that the move that will make the most disruption on the board is the move that will give me the most options. So I find a spot at the bottom of the board and start hacking away to try to change my game.
When there are no good moves on your board, any move is a good move. Moves are going to lead you around to new and different choices.
6. Serve a Community
Two truths I’ve learned to love are:
1.) One thing leads to another
2.) What you give comes back to you
In Arizona alone, you can join and contribute to Tuesdays Together, Hustle Hunnies, Babes & Brews, Powerhouse Women, Girls Who Grind, the list goes on. Are you a Yoga instructor? See if you can contact a community to teach a free “Yoga at your office desk” class for women who are at a computer often. Are you a nutritionist? Come up with a meal plan for women who work from home and bring copies to hand out at a meetup. Are you a baker? Offer to bring cupcakes to their next meeting!
While you’re there, be on the lookout for signs on your next step! Listen to what people say, what ideas they throw your way, and learn what they do to see if there’s a collaboration in there somewhere.
Finding the next steps in your business is very much like following breadcrumbs. Keep your eyes open and your creative mind awake and you’ll navigate through those uncertain phases knowing the path ahead is a bright one!
|Denise Karis is an Arizona photographer who enjoys musicals, Doctor Who and breakfast burritos. IG @denisekaris|
Hey. Do you mind if I tell you a story? One you might not have heard. All the elements in your body were forged many many millions of years ago in the heart of a faraway star that exploded and died. That explosion scattered those elements across the desolations of deep space. After so, so many millions of years, these elements came together to form new stars and new planets. And on and on it went. The elements came together and burst apart, forming shoes and ships and sealing wax and cabbages and kings. Until, eventually, they came together to make you. You are unique in the universe. There is only one of you. And there will never be another.