How did I lose my passion for my business? Over a period of time (four years) and then all at once!
I tried to explain in my previous post that I’d stopped working on a business that I’d previously loved – and I didn’t know why.
Back in 2018, because I’d created many digital assets and had passive income, I could stop working and live off the business’s income quite easily. But, what was I going to do when the money dried up? I’d think of something, I told myself.
Now, four years later, I’m still out of ideas! Life is good though. I’m living in Thailand, I’ve got loads of friends, the living is easy …
But it seems like I’ve lost my mojo, I’ve lost my purpose in life, I’ve lost something that I didn’t even know I had but I miss it now it’s gone.
I’ve got to do something because things aren’t going to get better by themselves.
This article is about the things I’ve done, the things I’m doing, and the things I will keep doing to rediscover my passion. And I’ll keep you updated as to my progress, if any.
Accepting that things change
I got some amazing replies to my video entitled Why I’ve Stopped Working On My Business. One of the best ones said:
“Chaos, change and uncertainty are normal. And it’s OK!”Anon.
I really love that. The universe is impermanent by nature. So if, one day, you wake up and notice that you’ve changed, don’t be surprised and it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
I fully expected to continue creating content, making video courses, selling books and other products online, etc., for decades into the future. I loved it and it was making me money.
But, I stopped. And, it’s no big deal.
Doing something … anything!
You’re going through a dodgy patch. The important thing is that you do something about it.
When you encounter a crisis, a breakdown, or a burnout, it can be a very disorientating. I was like a rabbit in headlights for months and months. I didn’t know which way to turn. And I was embarrassed to talk to anyone about it.
A friend of mine recommended a book, Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender by David R. Hawkins (that’s an affiliate link). I thought, this is interesting, I’ve never heard of this guy. Let’s give it a go!
I hadn’t read a personal development book in ages. And, to be honest, I found it heavy going at first. However, just the action of sitting down and reading a book made me feel better. At least I was doing something.
If you find yourself with your head in your hands, not knowing what to do. Take your head out of your hands. Get up. Walk around. It’s not the ultimate answer to your problems, but it’s a start.
I didn’t give up on Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender by David R. Hawkins straightaway, and I’m glad I didn’t. After a while, despite my confused state of mind, the book started to make sense. It was talking about letting feelings rise up, releasing their energy, and letting them fade away. This is very similar to what I know about Vipassana meditation.
Funnily enough, as soon as I’d read the last page of the 300-page book, I turned back to the beginning of the book and I started to read it again. I may do a video completely about this book alone!
I’m not saying that personal development / self help books are great. I’m saying that it’s great to read books. Self help books, for all their faults, are not negative or polarising. It’s great to sit down and be aware of the words of another human being for a few minutes. It’s relaxing to read. It feels as though something has been accomplished. And it’s fucking TEN TIMES BETTER than doom-scrolling on a phone!
Last thing at night before you go to bed and after you’ve turned off all devices, reading is particularly good. It’ll help you sleep.
Talking to people / asking for help
My malaise/burnout/breakdown/menopause, call it what you will, started years ago. But, embarrassed by what was happening to me, I pretended to all my friends that everything was OK.
“How’s business, Rob?” “Great!” I didn’t know what to say. Then the pandemic happened and everyone asked even more questions and I doubled down and said, “Better than ever!” That was a lie. By the time 2020 rolled around my business was bringing in noticeably less than previous years. I knew this was going to happen. And it did.
Now I tell the truth.
“How’s business, Rob?” “To be honest, I haven’t done anything this year because I’m taking some time to figure out what I want to do.”
And, you know what? I have much better conversations as a result of telling the truth.
I also asked for help for a therapist. For me, that’s a big deal.
Whether or not you’re like me and find it hard to ask for help or admit you have problems, it is an important first step. And sometimes, it’s the only step you need take.
I’ve been experimenting with journaling for the last two months. It’s really new to me.
I’m doing afternoon journaling. So I tend to write in the afternoon about the preceding day. I’m not sure if that’s the optimal way of doing it. I do this on a Google Drive document.
The action of writing down your thoughts and feelings helps you “let go” of negative baggage – similar to vipassana meditation or any sort of meditation. It develops self-awareness. It can show you how what seemed so important a few days ago has now been forgotten. So journaling helps to show the impermanence of our moods and perceptions.
This is what I do. I sit down on a chair. I try to keep my back straight and let my head rest centrally upon it. Both feet are flat on the ground. My hands are in a comfortable resting position on my lap. I make sure my body is relaxed and I gently close my eyes.
I put my awareness on my breathing. The sensation of the air going through my nostrils is where my attention is focussed. Try it! It’s easier said than done.
You don’t think about your breathing; you feel the sensation of your breathing.
If a thought comes to mind, you witness it and you go back to the sensation of your breathing. And, that’s it, the thought has passed away. Don’t judge the thought. Don’t beat yourself up for having the thought. But go back to the breath.
Meditation is the non-judgmental awareness of your present moment experience.
You can do it any time, anywhere. It just aids concentration if you sit down in a darkened, quiet room to do it in.
If you’ve never really done it before, I would start with two-minute meditation and then try to extend it everyday. But try to keep it as a daily habit.
Meditating every morning is something you could do, before you’ve looked at your phone or turned on any device. Or every afternoon. Or every night before you go to bed. Or twice a day. Or three times a day.
Whatever, pick a routine and stick to it, whilst trying to extend or deepen the practice.
I’m not an expert when it comes to exercise. I probably do it all wrong. I try to do 20 minutes aerobic exercise (running/jogging) followed by 20 minutes anaerobic exercise (weights, sit-ups, press-ups, etc.) And I try to do that every other day.
I guess it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you do something regularly that causes you to pant and work your body.
Daily self care check-in
If you’re building a business, you measure everything. And it’s the same if you’re trying to improve your emotional well-being. A self care check-in can really help you to monitor your moods, improvements, and physical / mental condition.
What you monitor is up to you. Personally I’m tracking the following everyday:
- Morning physical condition: good, ok, meh, bad?
- Morning emotional condition: good, ok, meh, bad?
- Meditation: how many minutes? good, ok, meh, bad?
- Exercise: yes/no, how many minutes? good, ok, meh, bad?
- Reading: yes/no
- Journaling: yes/no
- Goals: write one or two goals for the day
- Food / drink / intoxicants?: healthy/unhealthy? intoxicants?
- Gratitude: one or two things from the past 24 hours that you are grateful for
We all have good days and bad days. It’s important not to be too hard on yourself when (not if) you fall short whilst tracking these metrics.
I started recording this in exercise books. But it soon got a bit messy.
So I’ve created a PDF to print out. You can download it below if you want. Be sure to pick the correct size. Letter Size for Americans; A4 for everyone else.
I’ve created two of these for you to download from FREE!
One for Americans, is letter size: Weekly Self Care Check-in Sheet, Letter Size (8.5″ x 11″) Re-gain Your Motivation!FREE Letter Size Self Care Check-in Sheet
And, for everyone else, here is a check-in sheet in A4: Weekly Self Care Check-in Sheet A4 (210mm x 297mm) Regain Your Motivation!FREE A4 Size Self Care Check-in Sheet
I’ve recently learned the hard way that making money wasn’t the most important thing about my business. The most important thing was helping people.
When I stopped working on my business, I wasn’t bothered about money, I felt I could figure out a way to make money again. But I really missed helping people.
Gandhi said you can find yourself in the service of others.
I must confess, I’m having issues with philanthropy and volunteering at present. I’ve experienced many non-profits in Chiang Mai and London over the years, and the experience hasn’t always been positive. I sometimes seriously wonder whether $1000 spent in the local economy isn’t just as good as the same amount of money donated to a non-profit.
But, I will continue to try to help those affected by the pandemic. I’m also trying to help people here by writing and making videos about this subject (and one day I might get back to online business!)
As mentioned earlier, I’m seeing a therapist. This was a big step for me.
At first, I tried to find some online therapy. But, in the end, I went with a personal recommendation here in Chiang Mai. It’s not easy to find an English-speaking therapist in Thailand, so I’m lucky to have found someone.
Hobbies – use your hands (not tapping or typing)
Am I strange? I have an urge to use my hands to do something. You remember when we were kids we used to do art at school? We’d get some paper and paints and have endless fun creating a mess.
Many people, especially “creative” people, have told me that they have a kinesthetic nature and need to draw, hold, touch, mould, or create things with their hands.
Maybe it’s because we’ve all spent too long inside with our devices. But now I can’t stay too long in front of a computer screen working away.
I’m lucky I have a hobby. I play the guitar. I like to challenge myself to play certain songs, riffs, solos, or whatever. It takes me away from my reality. I started to play guitar when I was 9 years old. This friend’s been with me for a long time.
Healthy eating and drinking vs. intoxicants
I’ve left this until last because I’m hoping no-one reads this.
Especially over the last two years, I’ve been smoking too much marijuana. So I’m trying to cut that down. And I’m drinking less alcohol.
There’s never going to be a better time to do this. There’s a lockdown here and the bars are all closed! I’m tracking this with my Self Care Check-in.
Putting it all together
Maybe this will help someone. These are the main things I’m doing to get me out of my funk. I’m seeing mixed results so far. I probably had a “false dawn” a month ago when things started to improve but I have since hit “the wall”.
Ups and downs are to be expected when you’re going through any sort of recovery.
It’s important to remember that no one’s perfect. And to keep on keeping on if you have any sort of “relapse”.
I’m interested to hear what you think about what I’m doing to re-gain my passion after my burnout. Is there anything you would add to this?
Let me know in the comments.