I was for the longest time and it is still a habit I am trying to unlearn. It is so easy believe that you have to do a certain thing because you think or have been told that it is the way to do it, that it is guaranteed to bring you success.   And such an approach is very alluring for the creative professional trying to pave their way in the business world. But following this path of the ‘right way to do’ also happens to be, in my opinion, the fast track to making your work life feel hard.

It’s one thing to try new things and see what works for you, it is quite another to employ a method or approach to business and keep doing it even if the process itself makes you miserable.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately as I have a few clients who are approaching the time in their creative business where they are deciding whether or not they would like to wholesale or take on a more commercial approach to selling their work on a bigger scale, or keep it smaller and more boutique, perhaps not bringing in the big bucks, but maintaining a smaller profile and their role as a maker.

Neither approach is innately right or wrong. But I believe the most important question is not “how can I make more money?” but “Will the daily tasks that this approach to business brings be enjoyable to me or will they feel super-hard?”

There is a subtle but huge difference between putting yourself out of your comfort zone and trying things on for size, and keeping on doing something because you think you should. One denotes the spirit of exploration, the other addiction to process. And it is very easy to start out with ‘trying stuff’ and end up sticking to a process that works but makes you miserable. My big question is, ‘is it worth it?”

This year I made a commitment to myself to stop blindly doing things that I think I have to do, that lock me into daily processes that make me miserable. It is, after all, the total sum of a series of processes, that makes up your life! Example: I regularly seemed to end up on my computer for nearly my whole workday so there was not a lot of other creativity and balance going on in my life.  A lot of this was born of me chasing my tail trying to ‘do all the things that I must do to have a successful business’.

Stopping helped me realise ‘who says I have to do all these things’? Stopping helped me relax and find my own flow again. Stopping helped me see very clearly which were the processes I wanted to keep because they come naturally and seem to work for me (Eg. writing a blog). I also helped me to see where I was pushing the river and forcing myself to do something that I neither enjoyed, nor genuinely engaged with, (I don’t think I will ever understand or particularly like twitter, despite its attested marketing effectiveness!).

This all seems very obvious, but stop and think, what are you doing that you don’t genuinely like and see value in for yourself or your business? What processes are you addicted to that you would dearly love to be free of? It will be something that ‘feels’ hard. I bet there are a couple of things. Now, ask yourself, do I really need to do them? It’s time to relax and find your business flow. Stop making it so hard, it really doesn’t have to be.

If you liked this post, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below! Ta 🙂