Overcoming Muddiness and Gaining Clarity
Clarity has been my word of the month so far
It’s a lovely word. Even to read, to speak aloud, it’s a lovely world. I realised last week that my middle name “Claire” means “clear”. I like the meaning, and I like that I learnt this on the day when I was absolutely desperate for things in my head to become clearer.
It’s always a weird couple of months I think, between December and February. The lead up to Christmas is always so incredibly busy and for many people a very stressful time. In terms of work, December was a strange month for me. It got really quiet because my clients got really busy. Too busy to think about their social media presence and website updates. So I didn’t get much work coming in. I went to the UK on 20th December for my “Christmas holiday” (I put it in inverted commas because I still took my laptop and I still had things to do here and there), but it was a short working month too. It doesn’t help that the quietest month in terms of work was also the most expensive month in terms of living/buying/gifting. For a couple of days it concerned me a little, and then it dawned on me that all of us, my clients and I, would almost definitely have a shift in energy at the start of January. So I tried to switch off, find the beauty in the chaos of Christmas, and sit tight.
Just as I expected, with a new year (and a new moon, in the first week of the month) came new perspectives, new ideas and new projects. For me, this meant new work. And a lot of it.
January was an equally strange month because it was the complete opposite to December. I had lots of new tasks and projects to get stuck into, almost continuous meetings, a ton of ideas. A bottomless to-do list, endless hours… I knew it would be a better month productively and financially.
And then I got a cold.
And then I got an ear infection.
And I missed out, big time. I was supposed to be filming a big community event, but instead I was up at A&E. I had deadlines for projects that I couldn’t make on time because I was screaming in so much pain it even made Sara cry. I felt like I had all this stuff to do and I couldn’t do it and I wasn’t getting paid to do it because when you work for yourself you don’t get sick pay. I felt awful letting clients down, sad that I was missing out. Honestly, I was in Self Pity City for a good few days. It’s not the best place to be.
When I thought about all that I had to do, it was overwhelming. It wasn’t just the amount of it, and trying to catch up from being ill and working out what to prioritise, but I felt confused too. My head felt muddy. Something just didn’t feel right, and I wasn’t sure what. Was it how I was structuring my day? Was something getting monotonous? Was how I was charging for my services not really working anymore? It felt muddy. Really muddy.
I sat with the feeling for a day or two. One night I had about 10 different dreams and when I woke up I felt I would benefit from writing them all out. I did a quick 10 minute yoga practice (love yoga) and then sat down with a journal and a pen and wrote. For 45 minutes. There goes my plan to sit down to work at 9. But it’s fine Steph, it’s fine.
Although so different (and seemingly random) in what happened in the dreams, there was a very strong underlying theme to each of them. Fear. Writing them all out (something I very rarely do) was so powerful. I could see the fear in each of the dreams and I could relate each of the fears to something that I had been feeling recently. It really surprised me just how much of a reflection they were of my thoughts that week (although it shouldn’t do - our subconscious is such a treasure chest of wisdom and guidance if we take the time and space to listen to it). I released the fear. Just decided to let it go. It’s all going to be okay. It is all okay.
And then February arrived. A new month. And with it another new moon, and another opportunity to start afresh. I wrote my new moon intentions (what do I wish for? What do I intend to do and feel and experience this month?) and most of them were work-related. Start my own new creative project. Work out a better way to charge for my services. Clarity. Clarity. Clarity. The word was gently getting my attention, tapping me on the shoulder. You need clarity Steph, ask for clarity.
The next morning I got up an hour earlier than I usually do and I drove two minutes down the road to the beach (thank you Guernsey). I went for an hour’s walk by the sea, and decided to think (or rather) feel about what to do next. Please give me some clarity, I asked the universe. Something’s not right anymore, and I need to make changes. I don’t know what those changes are, though. Let’s figure out what those changes are.
By the time I got home at 9am, feeling cleansed by the fresh air and flooded with endorphins from the exercise and the sea views, and I sat at my desk, I knew.
The lightbulb moment.
I spent the whole morning not feeling guilty about not doing client work (read: trying everything in me to push that guilt aside), reflecting and calculating and researching and questioning… and within a few hours I had figured out a new pricing structure for my services that would make way more sense for myself and my clients, come up with new ideas for my website and branding and marketing, figured out how to reach my target income each month to pay my living costs and realised what makes me work better and with more enjoyment, and how to remove anything that really made work feel like work (I don’t ever want work to feel like work, that’s my number one working life intention).
Everything had fallen in to place. A breakthrough.
I put Taylor Swift on really loud (sorry neighbours with baby), I actually danced, I FaceTimed my mum, gushing about how happy I was and explaining my new plan. I felt relieved and excited and so clear about how to move my business forward. I’m in my sixth month of full-time self-employment now and I think it has taken me this long to really know what I’m doing, what I want to be doing, what my clients need, what I need, how we can all benefit from each other, together. It’s not surprising that everything felt a bit all over the place. These things take time don’t they?
Nearly two weeks later I still feel inspired and excited and clear. I’m sure it won’t last much longer (hello full moon in two days’ time, you’re bound to make me see some shadows, but I thank you in the long run) but it will return again. Of course it will return again.
So, if you’re feeling muddy (I honestly can’t think of a better word to describe it) about your business/work - or indeed any aspect of your life - too, from my experience the following things may help you:
- Get outside for a walk, or even just sit, breathing in some fresh air. Preferably in the early morning before you start doing your tasks for the day. Preferably in nature. - Write stuff out. All stuff. Any stuff. The stuff that you don’t even recognise is clogging your mind/soul/body/heart until you see it there on paper. You could even burn the paper as an act of letting go (although I’m always too scared to do this for fear of burning my house down. There’s that fear again). - Do some yoga because… well, because it’s a gift. It’ll help on so many levels. Too many to write in a bullet point. - Do some self-reflection. Talk to yourself. Ask yourself questions. Ask the universe/moon/angels/higher power/God/sea/birds/insert-your-preferred-non-human-listener-here questions. Ask them for guidance. Ask yourself for guidance. - Work with the moon cycles (again, a bullet point isn’t a sufficient amount of space to explain this, but if you’re not already acquainted then hopefully I’ve introduced you to the magic of the new moon energy earlier in this post) - Get some sunshine. Spring feels like it’s well and truly on its way and we’re getting some beautiful sunshine this week. I’m currently writing this sat on a beanbag in my garden with hazy sunshine on my face and it feels absolutely wonderful. - Give yourself time to do all this. Non-negotiable time. You can’t move forward if you’re stuck in the mud, and you can’t unstick yourself if you don’t have time. Make time. Gift yourself some time and let go of the guilt thing.
I guess it’s good to get muddy sometimes. It gives us a good reason to wash away what is no longer working and freshen up a bit.