When The Momentum Goes Away

At best friend's weddingWhen I sat down to write this newsletter, I drew a total blank.  There were crickets chirping in my brain (and you may notice it’s a day late).

I mean, it makes sense. I just spent five days in wedding land (that’s me, my daughter, and my gorgeous best friend in Santa Fe last weekend). My brain has been lingering somewhere in the Southwest with sweet memories.

But I’d been in such a good groove of writing newsletters that came effortlessly! Here’s the reflex that came up. Tell me if this sounds familiar:

I just had the best mojo and now it’s gone. Gone! When will it come back? Waaaaa. I better buckle down and get busy and push through this.”

These are the same types of thoughts I had each time during the 8 years when I was a full-time freelance writer and all of a sudden, it seemed, I had no assignments.  And then I’d stress out about where my next work was coming from and render myself unable to enjoy any of my downtime. Then, a couple weeks later when I all of a sudden, it seemed, had a slew of new deadlines, I’d kick myself for not having relaxed and recharged while I had the chance.

Aaaagh, it’s so frustrating! Even in hindsight. =)

This time around, the thoughts still came up, but I didn’t buy into them. Because here’s what I know now:  You’ve got to respect the spurt.

Momentum is lovely and powerful, but it’s also cyclical. When you’re in the flow of progress, by all means enjoy it and find ways to capitalize on it—planting seeds for the future while the force is strong with you.

And then, when your kid gets sick or you travel, or you just aren’t feeling it, choose to remain calm.  Which is easy enough to say, but how do you do it?

In those instances where you feel the wind that was at your back disappear, focus on the one or two things you know will hold your spot with minimal effort.

For example, if you’re a freelance writer, send out three queries a week. If you’re an entrepreneur, spend 30 minutes a day reaching out to former or potential clients. If you’re a desk jockey, spend one hour a day thoughtfully responding to emails and keep those balls in the air until your productivity spurt comes back. You get the idea.

When you take short but impactful steps even in your off times, you’ll also build your trust muscles—the ones that will help you tune out those voices of panic and actually allow yourself to enjoy the fact that you’re not firing on all cylinders in your professional life.

And now, I’m off to check in with people for 30 minutes… =)

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