The Bottom of the Well

I don’t think I’m alone in saying I feel like I am constantly running on the Hamster Wheel of life and getting absolutely nowhere.  Just like the poor little Hamster.  Fortunately for the Hamster he doesn’t have a business to run, a fiance, teenagers to worry about, a dog and a household to manage!

I know we all feel this way.  The lovely Jayne from Sunny Days most recent blog is all about balance.  The gorgeous Ms Dovic also posted about this recently here.  It seems we are all feeling the pressures of being pulled in too many directions.

I have spoken before about my procrastination habits here, here and here.  I also spoke about my loss of mojo here.  Sadly, since those posts, it has all been down hill.   My productivity has blown out to an all time low.  I’ve been in a constant state of disorganisation.  My finances are, well, not in the best of shape.  Actually my finances match the current state of my body right now.  Not pretty.  I’m tired, uninspired, bored and in a constant state of apathy.  I’m not happy with this.  I’m not happy with me.

Last week I caught a revolting flu and have been feeling very sorry for myself.  This could be called wallowing.  Perhaps I’m even having a little pity party?  What I’d really like to call it though, is reflection time whilst sitting at the bottom of the well.  You know that well don’t you?  The well of despair.  Men have a cave.  I think women have a well.   I do believe we have to reach the bottom before we can actually do something to really turn things around.

I’ve been hovering up and down in the well for most of this year.  I go down a bit then up a bit – never hitting the bottom and never climbing out.  To be honest I’d much rather go straight down to the bottom and then begin the climb out.  At least I’d be moving forward.   Hovering around in the middle of the well achieves nothing.  It’s like being stuck.  That’s exactly what I’ve been.  Stuck.  Last week though, I did hit the bottom.  Feeling very ill, lacking all form of motivation and finances (or lack thereof) giving me a bit of a scare.

For the past few weeks I had been thinking about seeing a Life Coach.  I really need someone to give me a good kick along.  Last Tuesday I was chatting on MSN with my lovely friend Paige, who, wait for it, is a Life Coach.  She is one of the members of our Awesome Women’s Group.  I asked Paige to help me.  She said yes!!!  She’s beautiful.

Yesterday we met at a coffee shop and started.  We talked about my schedule.  We talked about the things that really pull me down.  We talked about what “lights my fire” and we talked about my business.

Working from home can be great, but it can also be all consuming.  For me it is both.  It is great.  I can choose my own timetable.  I have a beautiful office with a view.  I am home for the boys when they need me.  Whilst I complain about how “boring” the work is, to be honest it really isn’t and I am good at what I do.  Lately I’ve taken my eye off the ball and have convinced myself that I hate it.  Yesterday I discovered I don’t really hate it.   That was a breakthrough.   It’s not what I ultimately “want” to do.  However, if I have to do something, this job is perfect for me right now.  I have plenty of clients and plenty of work.  I am in an enviable position that I don’t have to market myself or worry about lack of work.

My biggest problem has been planning my day.  I am not a natural planner.  I’m a Gemini.  I’m spontaneous.  I like to flitter from one thing to another.  I get bored easily.  I need to have “carrots” to inspire me to complete the boring things.  I know this.   I struggle to manage it effectively.

The biggest thing I realised yesterday was that I spend every waking hour feeling guilty that I’m not working.  I have reached a point where nothing gives me pleasure or peace because everytime I take any time out, it comes with a side serve of guilt.  Of course I deserve time out.  We all do.  However, if I’m not really working in the first place then I don’t really deserve time out.  That’s where I’m at.  I’ve been spinning my wheels for months and getting absolutely nowhere. 

As a result of our meeting we decided I would change my expectations and start living my life again – without the side serve of guilt.   I have been avoiding work because it doesn’t soothe my soul.  It doesn’t light my fire.  It doesn’t stir me.  It pays the bills.  That is all.  I’ve been searching for the stuff that will soothe my soul and I’m close to finding it.  However I have let this search consume me and I’ve been avoiding the actual work that fills my pockets so I can then enjoy the things that I want to do, guilt free.  Which brings me to where I am now.  The bottom of the well.

Today was the first day of a new schedule.  It felt a bit unnatural and it was hard not feeling like I should be working constantly.  I now start work at 9.30 am every day.  From the time I get up in the morning until 9.30 is family time and my time.  I like to get my family off to work.  Feed them, talk to them, love them.  When they are gone I can do whatever I like until 9.30 am.  Today I tidied up, got dressed, tweeted, wrote half a blog post.  By the time 9.30 arrived I was actually ready for work.  I had a really productive day until 2.00 pm.  I only had 1 tweet break (we have allowed a tweet break every 1.5 hours of chargeable work).  Unfortunately at 2.00 pm my friend Jill, who is leaving tomorrow (you can read about that here) stopped in to say goodbye.  I was a mess from that time onwards and work was a no go zone.  I didn’t feel guilty.  I had already accomplished a day’s work.   I liked how this made me feel.

It is all really simple stuff, but I had lost my way.  I have truly been stuck.  When you are stuck it is really hard to imagine there may be a simple solution to it all.  It is going to take me a while to get “unstuck”, but with the help of Paige and the realisation that I am the only one who can change things, I know I can do it.  I hope.  Don’t tell Paige I said “I hope”. 

Are you stuck right now?   Have you been stuck before?  How did you get unstuck?  I’d really like to hear how you deal with “stuckness”.

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About Annieb25

A mum to 2 teenage boys, would be writer, thirsty for knowledge, Radio Solution solver on Radio 1116 4BC and so much more!!
This entry was posted in Career, Family, Friendship, Motivation, Twitter, Uncategorized, Writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to The Bottom of the Well

  1. Girl Clumsy says:

    Really interesting Annie! I totally understand being stuck in a somewhat Sisiphyian struggle this year. I often feel like I’m never on top of things, even when really, I do a pretty good job of staying on top of things – certainly better than some others would do faced with my various activities.

    I do feel somewhat bad about not being able to keep my house clean, and finding time to exercise. I’m often up late, and therefore don’t want to get up at 6am like my Dad says (“Get up early and you’ll get all your jobs done!”). I also wish I could blog more often, and more effectively.

    For example, I wanted to spend Monday night doing some cleaning. But I had to finish two newsletters for the theatre. By the time I did that, I was happy to just veg on the couch and watch a great TV show.

    I guess you really can’t do everything! Glad you’re making some progress on tackling stuff. Appreciate the tips! 🙂

  2. prospeter says:

    Hmmm, I know how tough this must have been for you to write and even tougher to hit the Publish button. But maybe it felt that little bit ‘liberating’ to ‘come out’?
    You’ve taken a giant leap Kiddo. And Good On You!.. Its a tough gig to put your hand up and say “I need some help here”, but to survive and prosper its absolutely mission critical.

    Let me steal a line from here: http://bit.ly/chVu1C

    Rewind 4 Years and you could just about insert my name into where yours is in this post. I did have a bit of ‘mid life crisis’ thrown in as well (no, I didn’t buy a Harley and I already had a Sexy Blonde – 25 years this year), but I digress.

    In 2006 the Big Fella was a little lost (actually VERY lost). Quite amazing that I felt that way when I have an INCREDIBLE family, an Amazing group of Friends, immediate access to wonderful business associates with multi million dollar businesses, mates that are international speakers, and forgive my lack of modesty, but with a fairly successful 30 year business career and some pretty nice testimonials and a few ‘life trophies’ already tucked into my socks.

    A sane person would have swapped spots with me in a heartbeat I reckon.

    What was the trigger for me to realise I needed a hand?.. and I still get teary at this, but I’ll share. This is powerful and emotional for me. I hope you don’t mind if I wax on.

    In 2007 Michelle and I were going through some pictures of us at various places around the world. On the London Eye, Top of The Eiffel Tower, First Class Lounge at Heathrow, on a Canal boat in the South of France, Dipping our Toes into the Sea at Monte Carlo, Shopping in Tokyo, Skiing in Queenstown… But in EVERY SINGLE photo I didn’t have a smile on my face at any stage. How does that work!… How can you be in such amazing places with an amazing Wife and not manage to muster up a smile? …

    Now I know some people who don’t really know me will just think I’m a spoilt brat or ungrateful. 100% wrong. I’ve been blessed and I really appreciate what I have and what I have created. But how can you be in all these great places and not be Absolutely Beaming??

    I’d managed over a career to forget about ‘Me’. I’d forgotten to make some ‘Me’ time. I’d been running around the country and overseas handing out advice left right and centre to anyone silly enough to listen to me about structure, priorities, goals, and the need for a daily, weekly, monthly and life plan. Yet I was too smart to listen to my own wisdom..

    I’d forgotten to smell some roses.

    So, I see you ask, how did I get out of my ‘stuckness’?. Well, I think there is (or should be) a limit to the length that you can make a Comment on a Blog Post, so I’ll give you the highly abbreviated version here. If you want the long version I’m happy to share elsewhere.

    (Actually, at the request of a Psych and for a modest fee I’m actually about to present to a bunch of highly wound up Execs in Sydney on how they should deal with their “Exec Stuckness”)

    The holiday snaps that Michelle and I looked at were my lightbulb moment.

    I immediately found my own version of your Life Coach ‘Paige’ and started to work on what I really wanted from life:
    Did i really love my career and business or was it just something I was good at and that provided cash flow for expensive toys?
    How could I better use the people I was paying damn good money to so that I could get more ‘Me’ time?
    Would I really be brave enough to sell up a highly successful business and go and sit on a beach at 48 Years of age?
    Would it be possible to start a new career at 48?
    How could I continue to provide for my family?
    Would I be seen as a failure for bailing out of a high profile business in a close knit community?

    Now, I’m going to stop here. I know that’s a bit like getting to the last few pages of a book and finding that some rotten bludger has torn them out.

    If you’d like me to share the rest of the story. Just let me know. I’m very happy to tell anyone that wants some help what happens next…

    There is a happy ending …. and Annie, you are taking absolutely the right steps. Keep talking to Paige, share your feelings, explore your options talk to friends – remember, that’s what they’re for!.. Put your plan in place and see how you go. Tweak the plan from time to time, see how it unfolds and check in on your real feelings to see where you’re going in your heart.

    I promise there is a light at the end of the tunnel! and No, Its not a train coming the other way.

    Sorry for the essay. As you can hopefully tell, I’m a bit passionate about this from my own personal experience. I want to see people standing on the Eiffel Tower with HUGE SMILES.

    ***Annie, I’ll let you decide if you want to approve this comment for publishing. I hope I haven’t taken up too much of your valuable time. I’ve been where I think you are and I just wanted you to know that you’re on the right track by talking to a coach. Go Hard Girl!****

  3. Maxabella says:

    We all get stuck on occasion and it’s sensible and clever that you’re taking responsibility and getting yourself out of the well (I know it as The Well of Despair). When everything seems too much and I’m scared to start, I quickly lose my way. The only way out for me is to take a break from the lot and then begin again. I also find it helps to be a bit more gentle on yourself… most of the time our expectations come from ourselves alone and are unproductive and unnecessary. Take stock of what’s really important. Your new structure will help with that. Go Paige!

  4. Jane says:

    my goodness Annie – your best best friend just departed. No wonder you don’t feel good; you just had the flu; you have been living on ginger tea and dare I say it, real chocolate.
    My Goodness Annie!
    But yes we all feel stuck at sometime, in a rut.
    But the SEEING produces great opportunities: oh look! A life coach.
    AND IT ONLY TOOK YOU 5 PARAGRAPHS TO SAY ‘MOVING FORWARD’.
    *falls off chair laughing*
    Ok having got that observation out of the way; there are things that have to be done and then there is play.
    sometimes they are the same thing; mostly they are not.
    How do you eat an elephant? Yes one teaspoon at a time.
    Ditto the way to dig up out of a rut. Now isn’t that strange we did up out of a rut, the digging doesn’t take us lower.
    The finding control is the key.
    Most of what I want to do in life I cannot.
    I find what I can do.
    I Love what I can do.
    (ps I love what you do – I was blown away when I came to your website.
    that’s so me. I’m hireable. I work virtually. )
    I love life.
    Count what you have Annie, love what you have: starting with you.
    A is for Annie.

  5. Leisa says:

    Boy O Boy, are you the little voice inside my head?? This is exactly what I’m feeling right now – not quite at the bottom of the well but circling round in one place! Man caves and Lady wells, just brilliant!!

    Since taking on Uni I feel so guilty that I’m not enjoying it when everyone around me expects me to be loving it, on top of that I have the family and taking care of the books & day to day drudgery for husband’s business! On top of that, our once perfect baby had turned into a night dweller who doesn’t sleep through the night anymore! I thought dropping down to 2 subject would help me manage things better, but seriously it hasn’t!

    I’m also seeking outside help to stop me from procrastinating and putting everything off until the very last minute in the “hope” of getting on top of it all or to the bottom of whats stopping me anyways!! But, in a nut shell, what I really wanted to say is…… I’m with you all the way sister…

  6. Jenny C @jayjaycee1 says:

    If I understand you right, Annie, is you have work dreams that are not necessarily what you’re doing now, and that because of the guilts, and perhaps other things happening, you have been really struggling on a day to day basis. Feeling stuck, negative about what you’re doing, etc.
    But through talking to Paige and working to a new schedule, and consciously setting aside the guilt factor, you’ve actually come out more peaceful, and feeling like you are moving again and with more authenticity. Did I get that right?

    I really really like this. Because you could easily have come to the conclusion that if you’re feeling so ‘yuck’ right now you must have to make some big changes (perhaps externally). But you didn’t. You you started simple, and it looks like simple was the answer for now. Go you! When we take the guilts out of something, I am discovering that we often take the negatives out of it too. Thanks for reminding me of this! J.

  7. It’s so easy to feel completely overwhelmed and out of control when you’re stuck. Usually for me I have to hit the bottom before I get a reality check and can drag myself back up again.

    Great idea with the life coach! It helps to have someone who can see the light of day.

  8. Annieb25 says:

    Wow. Thank you everyone for the really meaningful comments above. I appreciate them so very much. xx

  9. Liz K says:

    Maybe I could do with a life coach… I think I’ve been hovering in that well too Annie. I’m in a bit of a nowhere place, not divorced & able to move on (even divorced I couldn’t move on really since the kids need to be near their Dad), not likely to reconcile with my ex… I think I need to change some things too.

  10. Pingback: Is it Spring Yet? — Good Goog

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