10 January 2011

Rabbit Holes & Roller Coasters

One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.
~ Tony Robbins

Already, I am having trouble focusing.

I mean, I just selected that word right before the end of the year and already I am having trouble Following One Course Until Successful. That is how it is with the Word of the Year concept. Whatever you decide to proclaim and put out into the world will manifest itself, but sometimes in the negative instead of the positive.

I have so many different projects going on and I have been diving down all sorts of rabbit holes. You know the ones... you go down one path only to be duped into following another path until you get so lost that you don't know what you were doing there in the first place. For instance...
...I got an email to send in some pieces for consideration to summer magazine issues and I find myself trying to recall where each and every component came from and finding similar online for those things I have had forever.
...I need to draft an order form for a potentially huge semi-custom order for my daughter's dance studio and I find myself ordering supplies for pieces that haven't even been ordered yet.
...I am continuing to  develop the line of jewelry I keep threatening but I find myself buried under what could be instead of working on what is right in front of me.
...I have plans to update my Etsy shop that is rather sad and neglected after the holidays but I find myself seeking out new beads to lust after and new artwork to favorite instead.
...I am staring at the pile o' paper that is threatening to topple onto the floor very soon because I lacked the discipline to actually file any of it away last year when I should be finding some ways to enforce simple organizational strategies on my paperwork (I am hoping a small file cabinet and some hanging files might do the trick this year).
...I applied to my first juried art show and in so doing had to totally scrap my booth space in favor of something new (pictures soon, I promise!).
...Realizing that I am on my last pack of checks and then spending all night online trying to find the ones that speak to me the most rather than just ordering blue safety and be done with it!

This is but a fraction of what I have been doing during the 9p-midnight hours in the past week or two. And I feel like I have nothing to show for it but the bags under my eyes... and that doesn't include all the things that have to be done to keep the family afloat. I feel like I am missing out on my family, my husband, my own health, my piece of mind. I know you are all with me on this. I have felt your angst, too, through the world of the blogdom.

You know how it is when you are on a roller coaster ride and you look off to the side... what do you see? All is a blur going by you. You can't see anything but a melange of colors and shapes because it is rushing right by you faster than you can pay attention to it. And that is the problem. There are so many tantalizing tidbits rushing by you that you want to reach out and grab hold of. But those are the cars on someone else's roller coaster. It may look great, but it is not meant for you and it is going in a completely different direction than the track that you have laid. Can you really focus on your direction when the world is whooshing right by you at lightning fast speeds? It is not possible to slow the ride down and hop off. It might be possible to switch tracks, but then you are stuck learning a different route. And those new twists and turns might be more than you bargained for.

{Awesome photo from rongleeakqzed on Etsy}
 Maybe instead of looking sideways at all that is rushing by me, I need to stop and take stock of the direction that my toes are pointed, which track my ride is on. A wise friend had some truly insightful things to say recently that had me perk up and take notice. So much so that I printed them off and hung them next to my computer. So many nuggets of wisdom to choose from, but this one is standing out to me today:

You will not fall behind everyone else,
you are doing exactly what you should be
at this moment.

I do need to give myself time to play and explore and dream, I realize that. I am very driven to succeed, but not at the risk of others. In fact, I am an encourager at heart and I want to help everyone else realize their dreams, often at the expense of my own. But I think that I have been so focused on inspiring others that I have lost a little bit of that spark of inspiration for myself. I need to get back on track and enjoy my own ride rather than worry about how screamingly awesome someone else's ride looks. I need to reconnect to myself and realize that I am only one and can only do so much, but that I also need to get some focused momentum going if I am going to have any fun with this ride and see where it takes me.

I need to stop the rabbit holing and FOCUS on enjoying my own ride with my head facing forward and my harness buckled tight. Because it is going to be wild.

And I am totally going to wave my arms and scream as I careen around the corners. ;-)

What about you?
Are you veering down rabbit holes that are leading you astray?

Is there a magic method for taming paperwork that you would like to share with me?
When you look at all the rides going on around you, are you missing out on your own fantastic voyage?
Would you rather be on a roller coaster with unpredictability... or a merry-go-round?
Do tell!

Enjoy the day!


Unknown said...

My word of the year is GROWTH, but I think I could use some focus, it is so easy for me to get lost in reading blogs and checking out Esty and other favorite bead sites that sometimes my days get away from me and this touches on my other word ORGANIZATION, my house looks in shabbles some days and I feel like I let myself and my family down because I wasn't as productive as I could have been. So I am trying to buckle down and just tackle things and try to find some time to dedicate to all of the things I want to do in a day. I also realize that sometimes I need to give myself and break and say it is okay if the house is in shabbles as long as everyone is happy. Thanks for your wonderful insights, looking in from the outside you appear to have great focus.

Unknown said...

I also find tasks like finding new checks online and spending way too long to make a decision in a not-always-so-intentional way of avoiding everything else I'm supposed to be doing. Down with being overwhelmed by so many items on the To Do list.

Judy said...

I find January to be a month that I have a hard time focusing...It comes with such newness and I jump right in doing too many things at once that nothing gets done properly. I am not a list person, but in January maybe I need one to stay focused.

Dawn Doucette said...

Focus has always been a challenge for me, because when the little voices in my head talk, I have a tendency to listen. Often that leads to playing for hours at something that wasn't even on the same planet as my 'To Do' list. But sometimes, those little voices have really good ideas... and then I'm all happy dancing and thanking those voices for talking to me.

So while FOCUS is good, I think it needs to be paired up with Balance. At least in my world!

Everyday's a gift, take pleasure in the journey!


lunedreams said...

I do take trips down rabbit holes every day. Rabbit holes are a way of resting my mind without actually sleeping. I loathe having every minute scheduled and have always needed a fair amount of padding in my daily schedule so I am not forced to do "have to's" every single minute. Sometimes I piddle around because I just need to (like in the morning), and sometimes I do it because I'm avoiding tackling a project/to-do list. Then, depending on how tired I actually am, I might just hang it up, or I might pick one thing to get done and not worry about the rest. (That's often hard). I have to keep reminding myself that I work full time at a day job, and rarely really rest much anymore, and NOT working when I'm not at work is allowed. Fortunately I don't need to make jewelry to pay the bills. Well, just the bead bills. I would like to be more regular about creating stuff, but I don't feel physically good consistently enough to do that. I do it when I can. Eventually I'll probably have to address that issue.

I find not having any assets cuts down substantially on paperwork, as does not making a profit.

I do feel like my life has become very monotonous. I like making jewelry, but I don't do anything else anymore and one day I will regret that. There's simply no time to have both a life and an artistic life.

It might be interesting to you to explore what it is exactly that you're avoiding when you're in the rabbit hole. I think I'm usually avoiding disappointment--I won't be able to capture what's in my head. Hope you find some "blinders" that work for you!! (Getting older seems to help).

Createology said...

Your post is timely, brilliant and all too true for me as well. 2010 my word was FOCUS and interestingly enough I merely noticed how often I was NOT focused. This year I chose NOW as my word. It is helping me to get things done instead of putting them off however I am not working my creative life I wish! I must be holding myself back but why? How? It just seems all too overwhelming. I would much rather blog and etsy and search as it requires so little of me.

SummersStudio said...

Ah, I think you've said it best when you talk about focussing on the direction your very own toes are pointing. I often find it helpful when trying to focus my attention to do something that is reptitive and mundane. Even if that means scrubbing the grout lines in my bathroom tile. Frees up my mind while I actually accomplish something. You will get there, seriously, you will get there.

Alice said...

Erin, At least you have started on a path. I'm having trouble actually getting started on anything. I have so many unfinished projects from last year, a very, very messy house from the holidays and houseguests, and new projects I want to start this year. My wheels are spinning in place, it seems.

As far as tackling the paper pile (and I'm probably the last person to be giving advice by the looks of my paper stacks) but the thing that works best for me is to set aside one day of the week to work on filing, data entry, bill paying, correspondence, filing, etc. Of course this all went out the window about Thanksgiving and is still haunting me.

Roller Coaster or Merry Go Round----neither since I easily get motion sickness! I'd rather be wandering aimlessly down a lovely little country lane taking in all the scenery.

N Valentine Studio said...

My word is "achieve" and I'm not sure if it's a coincidence or not but I've gotten tons done so far this year! I'll probably take a couple days off since it's snowing! And I live snow, so I'll have to take some time off to play in it!

Mary Harding said...

To put a positive spin on your lack of focus right now, I think it may be your way of unwinding after a very busy, on task Holiday season. I have seen you accomplish a great deal in the last year, and unfocused was not a word that came to mind. Since I have the same tendency,i.e. to be unfocused, I try to have a specific goal, doable one, to accomplish each day and some overall ones as well. I frequently think to myself, what is it I am doing today when I find myself cruising around the internet etc. And sometimes if I am tired this doesn't work at all. So first off I try to make myself get enough sleep, and then I have a specific plan for each day. It can be just trying out something I have wanted to do for awhile, or cleaning the house...(that one gets me really unfocused until I settle in to it.) The short term goals seem to work for me.
I hope this is helpful.

jeanniek said...

We have all been there. We feel like everything is slipping away and we just can't grab onto it. Working circles and nothing gets done. UGH!

Erin just trust the place in your heart that tells you, you can do anything.

This helps me. I make a list either by priority or deadlines. Then I doodle a few bad words in color on it and I feel much better.

Michelle Mach said...

What a thoughtful post! I think I feel like that much of the time, but it doesn't bother me unless I start comparing myself to others on blogs and on Facebook. (Just reading your post, I thought, Erin's applied for a juried show. I should do that!)

The thing that's helped me most with paperwork is do to group like things together and do them as a package. So instead of sending back contracts one at a time as they come in, I hold onto them and do them all at the end of the week in one group. That makes me feel focused!

Brandi Hussey said...

I feel like a dabbler, which sometimes leads me to feel like a fraud, never really great at one thing. But I have so many interests, it's hard to focus. I feel you there, friend, I absolutely get it.

I LOVE color! said...

Oh Erin I love your blog I follow you everyday and I do so much when you comment on my blog I am so encouraged. Be Blessed

Jenners said...

I fall down rabbit holes all the time. Some days, I just stop and say "What do you REALLY need to do today ... let's do that first." (Hence my latest resolution.)

I'm with you on the checks though ... I just can't go with the plain safety checks. It is so silly but it matters to me (it matters a lot).

And I wanted to say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for the amazing package I got in the mail from you!!!! I'm awed once again by your generosity and creativeness and amazingness and thoughtfulness. I actually teared up when I got the package. My son was agog at the Wimpy Kid book; he kept saying "But who is this from ... Santa?????" In a way, I feel like I do have my own personal Santa who is really talented at making jewelry! Thank you, my friend. You rock.

(And by the way, I haven't forgotten about the books I want to give you ... I finally read "Fool" and will work on my review and then I'll start "The Help." I sure hope you didn't buy them yet!!!)


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