Reinvention

I’ve had a little over a week now of not reporting to the job.

How did I spend it?

I spent a lot of the time not feeling well, actually. It’s probably similar to what used to happen to me in school. Vacation would start, and I’d come down with a cold.

That did manage to force me to give my body what it wanted by sleeping more.

After about four days of that, I was ready to get moving, but my body wasn’t. Rather frustrating.

It’s still too soon to draw any conclusions, but I spent a lot of time thinking about what this change will mean for me. You know, once I’ve had a bit more recovery time.

The biggest thing I’m aware of is that it will mean a lot of redefining.

Redefining my relationship to Time

For the last 15+ years of working full-time, the way I spent the majority of my days was dictated by my employers. From 8am-ish to 5pm-ish, Monday thru Friday, I was expected to be “at work.” Often, in that kind of environment, it was more important that my butt was in my seat than it was for me to be productive.

Now, I have nobody telling me when to be working. There will be nothing stopping me from turning on the TV, or meeting a friend for coffee. I can choose not to work with clients on Tuesdays, if that’s how I want to schedule my appointments.

There will also be nothing stopping me from working 12 hours a day.

When is the best time to wake up and go to bed? When is my best writing time? When should I have offline time?

There will be lots of experimentation to learn what works the best for me.

Awakening my creative muscles

Between having a mostly left-brained job, and having some lots of perfectionist tendencies, I haven’t done a whole lot to keep my creativity tuned up.

Thanks to Charlie Gilkey, I’m doing some things to try to reawaken my creative flow. Things like mind-mapping and finding metaphors that describe this transition. And I’m trying to incorporate something artistic into my days. Mostly that’s meant drawing. Well, perhaps doodling (scribbling?) would be more accurate.

The other big thing will be to learn about my patterns around creativity and productivity. Before, so much of my time was spoken for, I didn’t have the luxury of figuring out when my most creative times were.

Figuring out what sovereignty means for my life

Another thing I’m noticing is that working for the Man has not helped me develop my sense of sovereignty.

To me, sovereignty means giving myself what I need. And it also means not ignoring my needs because I’m afraid they will affect someone else negatively.

I doubt I’m alone, but have you ever felt so busy and so pressured to get your work done that you won’t even allow yourself a trip to the bathroom or to refill your water glass? Or said yes to meetings or projects, without even considering that you could say no?

Just me? I didn’t think so.

It becomes a pattern.

Just as you can become disconnected from your heart, you can become disconnected from your sense of Self. You know, that essential part of you that gives you your you-ness.

I imagine changing that pattern will take a while. It’s closely related to the time issue, but it’s more than that.

It’s about reinventing my life in ways that serve me best, and not diminishing my creative power to meet the needs of others.

Oh, I want to take a class in the middle of the day? No problem.

I need a new sweater? I can go shopping during the week instead of waiting for the weekend, if that’s what works better for me.

This is really about developing a whole new mindset.

The hardest part

Giving myself permission to flail around for a while. Permission to feel clueless about what I should be doing with my time. Permission to be overwhelmed.

It’s not reasonable to expect to go seamlessly from having your working hours dictated to you to having 100% autonomy. Yet I do feel a certain amount of pressure to do just that.

Years and years of go-go-go don’t disappear overnight.

For now I’m going to keep focusing on giving my body what it needs, doing Dance of Shiva and spending time with the soul of my business. As much as possible, I’m going to trust that I have the answers within me, and I’ll know what I need to know when I need to know it.

One newsy bit

Right now I only have three slots available for one-on-one coaching. If you’re one of my Right People and have been thinking about it for a while, now’s the time to get in touch!

11 thoughts on “Reinvention

  1. JoVE

    In the homeschooling world, we talk about the transition from taking kids out of school to unschooling (that sort of unstructured learning that is equivalent to your new self-employment). The process even has a name: de-schooling.

    It is recognized that in the transition period, there might be a lot of stuff that looks like laziness, lack of productivity, and omg what have we decided to do. But that eventually, new patterns form and kids do stuff from a place of self-motivation.

    The generally accepted wisdom is that it takes 1 month for every year in the system to deschool.

    Given that you have had school, and then a really structured work environment, you might find that it takes quite a while to find that new rhythm. Hopefully, knowing that others experience this and have even come up with a rough formula might help give you the permission you need to take a while to really get into that sovereign place.

    But however you look at it, the first week was always going to be a write-off. Relax. allow yourself some real transition time.
    .-= JoVE´s last blog ..Why is it so hard to write a 30-word summary of my book? =-.

  2. Mark Silver

    You are so dead-on with this- it really brings it back. I’ve been unemployed by anyone else since 2001, and I remember it took me a couple of years to really get used to setting my own schedule, making my own choices, etc…

    I’m also not terribly surprised that you didn’t feel well- not only is it the season, but I bet you just relaxed into the spaciousness, and your body was all like, “Cool! Nap time!”

    And @JoVE- thanks for that about making the connection to unschooling. Really interesting…
    .-= Mark Silver´s last blog ..Monday Heart Stuff #10 =-.

  3. Andi

    “And it also means not ignoring my needs because I’m afraid they will affect someone else negatively. ”

    This one line hits it so much on the head for me I can’t even begin to thank you enough for putting that into words for me.

    Know that we are all here, cheering you on in the transition!
    .-= Andi´s last blog ..Painting, A Love Story =-.

  4. Mark W. "Extra Crispy" Schumann

    Victoria, I love your heat map link. I’ve found that I have more than one such map depending on whether we’re talking about writing, being around people, or doing nuts/bolts work. My dead time for writing (for example) tends to be a Nova time for the nuts ‘n bolts, so there’s almost always something that’s “hot” for me.
    .-= Mark W. “Extra Crispy” Schumann´s last blog ..When you’re stuck =-.

  5. Victoria Post author

    Wow – thanks for such supportive comments!

    @JoVE – I had never heard of “de-schooling”, but I think it’s so interesting that there is this analagous concept around leaving the school system. And, because I’d never heard about the transition period until I started hanging around people who’ve gone through it, it’s been difficult to really grasp it. It helps to know it’s an “actual thing” even outside of entrepreneurial circles. :)

    @Mark Silver – I keep hearing that it’s going to take time, and I’m grateful for the confirmation. Especially on the schedule stuff – I’ve been staying up later because my husband works in the evenings, and I have to keep reminding myself that it’s okay, because I don’t have to be “in the office” at 8am anymore. Quite a strange feeling!

    @Andi – Thanks so much for the cheers! And yes, the whole my needs vs. their needs thing is a big, big issue that I’ll be working on for a long time (if not forever!).

    @Mark Schumann – Yes! I totally agree – I’ll need to map the different kinds of activities to get the whole picture. Times that are not good for writing could very well be great for something else.

  6. Rebecca Stees

    Fall is my off season. My work changes drastically every season.
    It takes me a few weeks to adjust to the new season.
    I’ve build this into my schedule.

    During the adjustment period, I “research” .
    I scratch around for new ideas avout being and working. I get involved with a new social network, etc. I stretch.

    After a few weeks, I re-evaluate my values, passions and goals.
    It’s a creative life. It requires growing and learning.

    Here’s some inspiration I’ve collected during my stretching.
    http://creativebizwow.tumblr.com/
    .-= Rebecca Stees´s last blog ..Art Every Day Month (Nov 7): Drawing Challenge =-.

  7. Grace

    Victoria,

    How clever of you to notice this so quickly! It took me (ahem…) several years before I was able to thoroughly realize that just because my 25-year corporate career said I was supposed to be at work during the day on weekdays, didn’t mean I had to be quite so rigid about it now I was working for myself.

    So congratulations for already seeing how your relationship to time, your Self, and your business are all in flux, growing, changing, and becoming what YOU need them to be.
    .-= Grace´s last blog ..How to DO the second-hardest thing in networking =-.

  8. Shawna R. B. Atteberry

    After three years of self-employment, I’m still going through this. It really does a take awhile to figure out this whole set up your life around your passion thing. And JoVE is right on with you have to learn to give yourself permission to take the time you need to find that sovereign place. I’m still learning to do that too. It really is a totally different world after 8.5 years of college and grad school and 8 years of the 9-5 thing. But I’m slowly learning what my schedule is.
    .-= Shawna R. B. Atteberry´s last blog ..Let the NaNoWriMo Craziness Begin =-.

  9. Kaushik

    My transition was accidental–I had some sort of a shift and quit a technical career to travel and make sense of it. Then the economy melted and I haven’t been able to or haven’t wanted to go back. Writing happened. That’s what I’d rather do.

    It is, as you say, a transition. From known to unknown.

    I came here from Havi Brook’s blog. I look forward to reading your posts.

    k
    .-= Kaushik´s last blog ..Getting into the flow of Awakening =-.

  10. elizabeth

    It is nice to hear about how the transition goes – and to hear someone give themself permission to flail and be clueless and .. I have a feeling that I will run into all of this when I make the shift – and just hearing about how other people managed is ever so helpful. I am cheering you on!

    I enjoyed JoVE’s comparison to unschooling – fascinating!
    .-= elizabeth´s last blog ..i wonder =-.

  11. Kerry

    Hi Victoria, it was fabulous timing for me to read this as I’m leaving my structured ‘regular’ job at the end of this year and will be pursuing my own thing (Holistic Kinesiology). I’m not exactly sure how it is all going to pan out but I’m predicting some confusion and flailing around as I try to figure out my new schedule and my new relationship to time. So this is a great reminder to remember this will take some time and to be gentle with myself. Thanks :)
    .-= Kerry ´s last blog ..Sprung =-.

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