Small purposeful actions in hard times.

Dear indie,

You are not alone. I know the journey of getting your brilliance out into the world has many ups and downs. And I want you to know, you can do it. Even when the road is rough, you can keep moving forward.

This isn’t about reading motivational quotes or repeating affirmations (though sometimes they can help.) It’s about letting go of shame.

I want to share an entry from my personal morning pages writing. Why? Because I need you to know, that after years of working as a one person business, I still experience the roller coaster ride of thoughts and emotions.

I won’t lie, this is difficult for me to share. I had to work through it with my own coach to hit the ‘publish’ button. And I know it’s important to share because of all the people I talk with that are ashamed to admit – these ups and downs are rough. I need to share this because it’s real.

So if you’re having a difficult time as a freelancer, indie creative, or one person business – it’s normal. It’s human to experience these existential moments – even if you don’t realize that’s what’s happening. And it’s ok to ask for help.

I woke up today and realized (again) my life has more stories in the past than those I’ll design in the future.

This existential angst like a searchlight from a hovering helicopter. No matter where I move to try and escape it, it finds me.

On some days I’m ok with it. I mean, I recognize the importance, the reality that life is short (shorter every day that passes). On those ok days, I sit down to do important work. Or I immediately go to my family and hug them and appreciate the very ordinary moment.

Other days, it’s not so poetic. Like today. When I’m simply pissed. Angry at the world for being so focused on youth. Angry at the stupid mistakes I’ve made in my life. Angry at the ultimate power – pick a god, any god, I’m angry at them all. Until I’m not angry anymore. Now I’m exhausted. What a waste of energy that was.

I’ve been in this place for days now. I’m in anger, resentment, dread, and finally depression – I oscillate between comforting myself (with nutter butters and netflix) and driving myself to action (sending emails, starting new projects).

And though the emotional hug I get from the nutter butter – netflix treatment feels better in the moment, the driving action always seems more fulfilling.

In the past, I ultimately get to the point where I’m taking the next step in creating my life. And then I take the next one, and the next. Small actions always moving toward something better. Sometimes that’s all I can do are these small actions.

If I’m lucky, there is a moment – just one fleeting moment – where I recognize that I am happy and fulfilled in doing these small actions. That the meaning of life is in finding my own fulfillment day by day.

Those are the moments I need to remember now, when I’m in angst.

I know I’ll experience more low points as I travel this indie journey. I also know I’m working to make sure there are more highs than lows and regardless of the high or low, there is meaning and purpose.

It’s time to put away the nutter butters. And take another small step.

We all experience dips. As indie and remote professionals (as humans) we have the freedom to choose each and every day what we’ll add to our stories.

Life really is lived in the journey. And it’s in the steps, in the small actions, in the very decision to take action (with purpose) that our lives’ meaning is defined.