“When’s the next blog post coming?”
“What happened to the blog?”
“How’s the blog coming along?”
I haven’t written anything in a long time and every now and again, I’m asked why. Allow me to explain:
I started this back in December 2016. At the time I was 20 (almost 21), working as an Analyst at Goldman Sachs on my Placement Year. I was at an incredible firm, earning more than most of my peers. My family had finally moved into a new, bigger home after over a decade of tough times. Things were looking good, right?
The truth is that things were far from great. I was back in therapy, battling with my mental health. I felt deflated. Things were tough at home, my household was toxic. I wore a mask everyday at work – my personal brand had to be immaculate as an intern. I was in character; I worked hard, I smiled and networked across the firm, selling the dream that I was here to get my graduate offer and build my career long term there. I knew that this wasn’t the case – I dreaded going to work. Sunday nights were hell, that’s when the weekly kick of anxiety hit me every time.
I needed something else to put my mind to so that I could add some colour back into my life. So I started the blog, with the help (and push) of a good friend that was working with me at the time. I enjoyed writing and I thought I could be at least half-good at it. It was meant to be my small way of helping others. What I quickly realised was that it actually even helped me in ways that I could have never predicted.
So I wrote, and wrote, and wrote.
I learned so much, both personally and professionally. It helped me to expand my network, it gave me more self-confidence and it opened up so many opportunities. Don’t get me wrong though, it definitely came with its hurdles. I received negative comments putting me down, racial abuse and I had to deal with online hate at the start especially. In hindsight, this built resiliency. For every racist or hateful comment, I had a hundred other pieces of positive feedback giving me sincere support. I guess that gave it all some perspective, so I kept going. Things were going great.
Then, eventually, I stopped.
Life just got the better of me. I have a bad habit of taking too much on, I know this already. To be honest, stepping away from writing wasn’t a conscious decision nor was it something that I was content with. I was mentally focused elsewhere. In 2018, I graduated from Loughborough University and moved to Dublin to start my career in Tech. Whilst focusing on my career and settling into a new country, I still continued to work on other areas of my life. There have been moments where I’ve been frustrated at myself and I’ve questioned why I have been so out of touch with something that I loved doing. I kept telling myself that I could do more and that I could be better. But I didn’t. I always felt too busy, like I didn’t have enough time. The truth is, we always have time. It’s what we choose to do with it that counts. Sometimes, we lack the discipline. Other times, we no longer have the mental stamina.
All of this is okay, by the way.
That’s what I had to accept in the end – putting pressure on myself to do a million and one things was inevitably going to be counter productive and I was risking other areas of my life. Relax. Stillness is a good thing, as I’ve found out. Sometimes, the best thing to do is actually not to do anything at all.
The reason why I’m explaining this isn’t to justify my absence, or bore you with my life updates, but it’s more so to highlight to you that it’s really okay not to always have to be on top of absolutely everything in your life. We live in such a way whereby we’re always on the go, rushing to that next “thing”. That next job, the next promotion, that next side hustle, that next big purchase and so on. What you have to remind yourself is that, generally, you can do absolutely anything in life but you rarely can do everything.
- Think of the bigger picture – what are you doing and why? How does this fit into your longer term vision? This vision should act as your personal anchor.
- Ruthlessly prioritise – sometimes you can’t do everything you want to (or need to) do and that can be frustrating. You need to be selective here so focus on doing just a few things exceptionally well at any given time.
- Protect yourself – it’s okay to overwork or push yourself to reach a goal, sometimes, but it’s not practical to do so all the time. Maintain your overall wellbeing and aim to build sustainable habits that feed into a positive lifestyle. This will take you far.
There are many more points that I could have included but I just told you to ruthlessly prioritise, so maybe I’ll stop there. The big picture is always critical though – focus on this and the rest will follow. Now, the question that I’m sometimes asked is “what if I don’t know what my long term vision is? What if I don’t know what I want to do?”. That’s a good question to ask. Here’s my short answer:
Having the answer isn’t always necessary, but being able to ask the right questions is what’s most important. When you can ask the right questions, you can head in the right direction and continue to move forward.
Anyway, back to the main point of discussion. Does this mean that I’ll be back to writing something new every other week? No, probably not. I’ll still write, when it’s right for me. Am I okay with this? Completely. To be honest with you, I’m happy with the direction that my life is going in. There’s so much going on behind the scenes that I could tell you about, but let’s leave that for another piece.
See you back here again, sooner rather than later.
“In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.” – Deepak Chopra