I said it once, and I’ll say it again, usually starting a blog post off with: “I know I haven’t blogged in a while” is the start of the end. So I’m not going to state the obvious but I will explain my absence.
The birth of the blog
I went through a break up and blogging helped me deal with the sadness. My loneliness and newfound free time inspired me to invest in “Life on a Polkadot” by buying my own domain. It inspired me to do a feature on all my favourite spots on Bree Street, which was essentially a tribute to my relationship that had ended.
I felt on edge, which I coped with by blogging about depression, leaning on my friends and family, binge drinking hard liquor occasionally and seeing a psychologist.
Happiness = death of creativity, or did it?
The moment I stabilised, I stopped blogging because I was happy once again, but something about the hard time I went through has changed me.
1) Therapy helped me put a bandage on my mental health
I watched a Ted Talk by a psychologist who said something that has stuck with me. He said we’ll go to the doctor when we feel flu-ish or a nagging pain, so why don’t we see a health professional when we feel emotional pain: guilt, loss, loneliness. He made a compelling case to practice emotional hygiene – taking care of our minds – with the same diligence we take care of our bodies.
My break up triggered me to see a psychologist (something I’d been threatening to do for a long time). Therapy was a safe space where I could express my true sentiments and has helped me turn a corner on how I see myself.
Various conversations also made me realise that there are certain stigmas that still exist around seeing “a shrink”. There are still people who think that you must be a lunatic or troubled to need therapy – and were puzzled that I would put myself in that category. If you’re one of those people, please watch the Ted Talk I linked to above!
My psychologist asked me to set goals, and kept me accountable… just reflecting on what these are and writing them down has been an important step. This brings me to my next point.
2) Continuous learning is hard work, but I want to keep at it
One of my short-term goals was to read a career-related book every two months, and be selective about the books/courses I choose because there is a lot of content floating around and not all of it is valuable! Currently, I’m reading Seth Godin’s book small is the new big. The one riff or rant is called: A BRIEF HISTORY OF HARD WORK, ADJUSTED FOR RISK. It talks about the meaning of hard work in a manual-labour economy (the past) and how working long hours is no longer a good definition of hard work.
“Hard work requires us to push ourselves, not just punch the clock. It’s hard work to make difficult emotional decisions, such as quitting a job and setting out on your own. It’s hard work to invent a new systems, service or process that’s remarkable. It’s hard work to tell your boss that he (or she) is being intellectually and emotionally lazy. It’s hard work to tell senior management to abandon something that it has been doing for a long time in favour of a new and apparently risky alternative. It’s much easier to stand by and watch a company fade into oblivion. Richard Branson doesn’t work harder than you do. Neither does Steve Ballmer or Carly Fiorina. None of the people who are racking up amazing success stories and creating cool stuff are doing it just by working more hours than you – they’re not smarter than you either. They’re succeeding by doing hard work: taking risks. It begins when you deal with the things you’d rather not deal with: fear of failure, fear of standing out, fear of rejection.”
I was reading that today and it made me realise how easily I settle for the status quo because it’s safe and the antithesis of hard work. I don’t want to push myself because it’s easier not to!
Long hours do not = hard work. I’m tired of settling for mediocrity! I never want to stop learning.
3) Mentorship is all around me
This whole year I’ve complained about mentorship… wanting more of it. Today I realised that I’ve been getting a lot of mentorship from a variety of people in my network. A special mention needs to go to my sister (executive, wife to Robbie the Schmobster and the all-time best), who often plants new ideas in my mind that spur me on to greater heights.
Everyone is complaining that 2016 is the worst, and I was nodding my head in agreement until I stopped and realised that personally, it’s been a year of growth- albeit quite hard at times.
Thank you to everyone who has read my blog and specifically to the people who have reached out to me and told me not to stop! Cheers to 2017, it will be what you make of it.