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Social Distancing & Mindset | Why It’s Not Just Physical

Social Distancing.

Shouldn’t JUST apply to people in physical proximity due to COVID-19.

But should (& as much as I don’t want to tell people what to do), this applies to what you listen to, who surrounds you, what you read, what you watch on TV/NetFlix/YouTube, or who you follow on IG/FB

All of these opinions influence you whether you realise it or not. 

In the event of COVID-19 or not.

For example. 

(And I’m gonna use COVID-19 just because it’s the thing on everyone’s mind right now.)

You have 2 friends. 

Let’s call friend #1 Kyle. 

Kyle has a thriving product based business, however he constantly talks about challenges and problems he faces which are normal for the size of his business. 

And some of these can be ‘good’ problems to have.  Such as not having enough stock on hand when a retailer re-orders, or when his inbox is full of queries from potential customers or new suppliers.

Kyle loudly and frequently vocalizes his concerns around the pandemic that is COVID-19.  What will happen to his retailers?  Will they still be able to pay him?  Will they cancel their orders?  Will they go out of business? How will he survive?  How will he pay his bills?  How will he support himself?

All really valid questions.   

However, being around Kyle is exhausting.  The conversation leaves you feeling depleted, annoyed and frustrated. 

Let’s call friend #2 Sonya. 

Sonya also has a thriving product based business.  She loves to tackle all the challenges and problems that she faces as an opportunity to learn something new.  She becomes excited when retailers reach out for more stock and if she doesn’t have stock, will suggest another product that is similar and responds to emails with enthusiasm even though her inbox is full.

With COVID-19 becoming more and more of a focal point in her life and in the lives of her customers, Sonya is approaching new ways to connect with existing and potential customers.  She knows that she has a solid business and that she can provide more than just a product to her customers.

Kyle is currently out shopping, stockpiling on toilet paper and rice and beans.

Sonya is curled up on her couch, laptop on her coffee table, responding to emails.

Oh, if only we could all be as chilled as Sonya, but the reality is we’re all a mix of Kyle and Sonya.

And it’s dependent on all of the factors that are happening in our lives at that point in time.

With The Virus that is happening globally, and all of the information that is being churned through newspapers, television, social media and word of mouth, there is a lot to take in.

What I am suggesting, is for you to be mindful of what you take in.

Being mindful of what you watch, what you read and who you follow.

Please inform yourself as best as you can, but please, if the Kyle within wants to get out, pause and think about the effect that your words may have on the people around you.

#belikesonya

And of course, wash your hands, sneeze into your elbow, stay home (except for gathering essentials such as groceries), and keep your physical social distancing at 2metres.

Same Thing, Different Day : My Comparison of Being a 9-to-5’er and an Entrepreneur

Are you a creative that finds the 9-5 a struggle?

Going to the same place, seeing the same people and doing the same thing, day after day?

Do you find that corporate offices can drain your creativity and leave you feeling frustrated, annoyed and just not yourself?

Is structure sometimes more demanding than the actual work itself? 

Once you sit and think and reflect on your career and quality of life, do you hear a whisper that says you can do more? You can have more?

There have been many times over the course of my career when I have thought about this and wondered why I keep going back to the same type of work.

Now, I love what I do as a technical designer.  The fittings, the construction, the process creating and constant improving, the collaboration with colleagues and the satisfaction of looking back at a finished style and smiling, even though it took a lot to get here and feeling proud of what was accomplished. 

I can only speak from my experience and perspective, but this just isn’t enough. 

There are so many decisions that are taken out of my hands and it makes me feel like I am just another cog in the wheel. 

That anyone could do my job. 

And I have never been one that likes being told what to do.  It creates resistance and tension within.

And I look at others and wonder how they find the joy and the will to stay at a company 5, 10, 15 years.

How do they keep their work interesting and how does it motivate them?

This is just one reason why I love working freelance and on my own brand.

In the world of freelance, I can pick and choose who I work with and the projects that I work on. 

Within my own business I am the one that calls all the shots and makes all the decisions, and in my mind there is just so much more ease.

I can take a couple of days mid week, to hang out with friends who visit from out of town, or I can do that lunchtime yoga class and not have to leave early in order to get back to work on time.

Oh, and did I mention the impromptu dance ‘parties’ that occur when a favorite song plays?!

I do tend to work more hours, more days and have less free time though.

Creating boundaries around work and where I work do help, and this is a constant work in progress and another blog post altogether! 

But there is freedom and flexibility in my schedule.  And my soul feels so much better for it.

It’s these days that I crave the structure and the decision making to be out of my hands. 

And yet there are days when I wonder, ‘Why can’t I be like everyone else and work a 9-5 and be happy?’

It can become exhausting when you do ALL the work and make ALL the decisions. 

There are days when I would like to look at my calendar and see that someone else has arranged my meetings and that I know what I have to do that day.

There are weeks when I would just like to turn up to the same place every day, greet the same people, have the same conversations and know that my work starts at 9am and finishes at 5pm (or thereabouts!).

There is comfort and ease in having a 9-5.

There is also a conformity and social pressure to have a job, that provides you with a paycheck every two weeks, to climb the corporate ladder and to ‘Do what everyone else does.’

But these get pushed aside as I remember that my freedom and flexibility out weight these and a whole lot more.

This wondering lasts for about half and hour and then I remember how I felt working in a 9-5 and instantly become appreciative of the opportunities I have, right now.

And maybe one day, I will go back to a 9-5.  But for now, this change is necessary and allows me more freedom while I do what I love.

My state of flow

my state of flow : creating space where inspiration meets reality

Do you know someone who has multiple side gigs on the go?
You know that person who is always coming up with ideas and generates excitement every  time they start talking about it?

Are you one of those people?

And how do you know if your idea will actually pan out? Do you tend to think it through before  starting or are you a jump in, with everything-you’ve-got, kinda person?

Do you find yourself overflowing with ideas, your brain racing along a thought path excitedly,  going a hundred miles a minute, that you can’t keep up with the direction that you are headed and trying to write all those ideas down just seems impossible, like your hand is moving too slow?

These ideas can lead onto something new and into tangents that you never would have otherwise thought of. When you try to back track, you have no idea as to how you arrived at the final idea or, when you have calmed your mind and slowed your thoughts, you know you had some great insights along the way, and would love to revisit them, but unlike your browser history, you have no idea how to back track along that thought path(s). You can’t just recall twists and turns, because you moved so fast.

When you are in that state of flow, everything is smooth and steady.
There are no awkward moments or hesitations. You may pause for a minute, reflect, carefully choose your words, and then you keep going.
When you are in that state of flow, your body is relaxed and is just responding to what is going on in your mind. You instinctively know what to do next, guided by your inner voice, your guide, your intuition. The voices of others are no longer impacting you. This is purely your thoughts. Your words. Your ideas.

If you’ve ever been in this state then you know how easy it is to allow all these ideas to bubble  up. They may have been inspired by something you saw that day, that week, or even last year. It really doesn’t matter.

What does matter is that for whatever reason, they have now popped into your mind and have inspired or influenced you in a brand new direction.

Clouds from airplaneIt’s like magic.

And from these, almost day-dream like states, come ideas. Many, many ideas. And you know that you have to act on them in some way or another. Be it now, or in the future.

From experience, constantly having ideas can be overwhelming. I want to put these all into motion and create a business or tell a friend or change the world.

Recently, these concepts have become calming. Because it means that I am still curious and wanting to learn and am inspired by the world and all it holds.

But I want to do something with them.

And I’ve learnt that I cannot do everything and not every idea will be a business.

And I’ve learnt this the hard way!

At one point, and this wasn’t too long ago, I was working full time, I was starting an apparel brand, I was the costume designer for a local theatre production, and studying part time at a local university.

And to be honest with you, I am not sure how I managed to do everything. I know that what kept me grounded was my daily yoga practise and the knowledge that everything is temporary. That my time wouldn’t always be so crazy and that one day, I would look back and be amazed and proud of myself with what I had accomplished. I also knew that each of these ‘jobs’ were in someway, preparing me for what I wanted my life to look like.

At the end of the day, it’s deciding what you’re most passionate about and what lifestyle you can envision yourself living that drives you to start and accomplish various concepts.

It took me a while to really understand what it was that I wanted to do, and to be honest, I still don’t know what I want 100%, but I do know what I love doing and I love where this journey is taking me. I am constantly learning and maintaining curiosity about the opportunities that are arising and it is a constant process of accepting when things don’t go as I had thought or when they don’t go at all.

JeansWhen I stop and think about how we get into these states, I realise first what prevents me from getting in the flow.

Take running for example. I love to run. I’m not very good at it, but I love the feeling when I am counting my paces and my breathing aligns and there is sweat dripping off my nose and my body just feels like it could run for days.

There are also those days, that are more frequent, where I procrastinate about putting on my shoes. The hardest part is getting myself out the door. There is this block that tells me it will be hard, and that I have to exert a lot of energy, not just physical, but mental energy. That this one run is not going to make a difference, that I could go later in the day, that this time could be spent working on something else.

I remember one run, and I had finished my 45min lap, and I felt so good that my body felt like it could do it all over again. And so I did. The last hill was tough, but my body was just telling me that I could do it all over again. I have yet to have that happen again, but it reminds me that our mind is just so powerful. A lot more powerful than we realise.
And when we vocalize these thoughts, it’s incredible how fast they can come into fruition.

My mind forms all these excuses about not wanting to do this activity, even though it also knows that once I am in this activity or have accomplished this, my day will be infinitely better. I will complete a lot more tasks than if I had procrastinated and that this run is not just a run, but an opportunity to prove to myself that I can do this. My mind becomes a lot clearer and I can make more accurate and decisive decisions.

When we share a state of flow with another, we create connection and our minds are open to other possibilities due to the influence of another.
I’ve just spent a week in NYC with the intention of scoping it out for my apparel brand. As well as a bit of a holiday and a change of scenery. I had an incredible conversation with an ex-colleague and we were talking design and inspiration and the why behind why we thought certain people were wearing certain apparel brands. And how friendly New Yorkers are. To test this theory, we had previously noticed a pair of jeans that had multiple shades of indigo integrated into the design and we were both kinda curious about them and also how this effect
could be achieved through technology. Anyway, to test out this theory on how friendly New Yorkers are, my friend suggested that I ask the owner of the jeans, about her jeans.

With the aid of a few gin cocktails, I made my way over and just explained that I had noticed them and wondered what brand they were etc. Turns out she was kinda friendly. She didn’t look me up and down, and with a tilt of her head and just utter the brand name. After I explained myself, we had a bit of a conversation and a laugh. Point proven. Triumphantly I made my way back to my friend and we laughed over it.

Connection with like-minded people is rare. The conversation I had with this ex-colleague was proceless. When we surround ourselves with those who share similar points of view or who are open to having deep and meaningful discussions, and when you are comfortable with them, then it just happens and before you know it, you’re off. You may not remember every single thing that you talked about, but the bits that stick, are gold.

Meditation, getting quiet or daydreaming are also great ways to just allow yourself that space and time to allow your thoughts to just be. We can never stop our thoughts as our brains are designed to think, but what if we just found that pause between thoughts? That moment where you are relaxed, and you don’t have to be anywhere at a certain time and you can just be?
So now that I have these thoughts and have shared them and I want to action them, how do I keep the momentum going to continually take action.

After you have talked the talk, how do you go about walking the walk? Once you have your clear vision, or that gut feeling that you need to action, how do you take that first step?
Especially when the F-word gets in the way.

How can we push through the Fear and take action?

I’m not gonna lie. It’s hard. It’s so hard. Especially when you hear those voices in your head, you know the ones that create doubt. They could be well intentioned, familiar voices, but they are cautious and they play on the side of safety and negativity.
‘Do you have enough money to do this?’
“But you trained in fashion, how are you going to become a writer?’
“Isn’t it too late to change careers?’
“You left a 6-figure salary, to do start your own business? Say what?!’
Or it could be your own voice saying,
“I’m, not good enough to be able to do this.”
“I’m not the right personality, size, colour, in the right city to be able to achieve this.’
‘I don’t have the time to be able to do this.’

They all start to become excuses as to why you don’t start, or as to why you procrastinate or why you decide to stay at your safe, comfortable, but boring and life-sucking job.

I know I have used every single one of those excuses to not do something. But yet, I have also pushed through all of those excuses to do something.

And what I have learnt is that if I want something bad enough, I will make it happen. And by talking to others, by taking baby steps and by buying that plane ticket, I have started to put things into motion. And things are gathering speed.

Gathering speed is great and gaining momentum is great. And being open to all the possibilities and opportunities that come with it are great.
I find that I am staying in this state of flow for longer and longer periods of time because it just feels so damn good. it’s not easy by any means. But because I am open to receiving everything, planned and not planned, then it all just works out.

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