100 Days of Commuting

After having week off – away from London and away from work. I was full of renewed energy and lots of ideas.  My ideas were mainly for the creativity project I am working on at work.  Unfortunately, the energy quickly drained upon entering the office.  This week has been a complete drag.  I feel incredibly demotivated.

Rush_hour_LondonWaterloo
Rush hour in London Waterloo station

My commute is long and unyielding. London is busy – full of rude people, all in a rush to get somewhere.  Every week I spend at least 15 hours commuting; most weeks (especially when school is in term) it’s closer to 17.5 hours.  This equates to at least 60 hours per month and a whopping 660 hours per year (based on 11 months – I’ve kindly given myself a month off, aren’t I lucky?).  Scarily this works out as 94 working days! 94! This might as well be 100!

100 Days of Commuting

What could I spend 100 days doing? There are a lot of things I could be doing: pursuing my interests for a start.  I used to do a lot of photography but it took over my life, well truth be told Instagram took over my life. I was also faced with internal conflict about whether photography should be edited and whether I should be digitally enhancing my photos.  The result was I stopped.  I’ve had some time to settle the internal argument and I am ok with the editing – I see my photography as an art now so the editing process is about creating a particular look.   I want to make a return to it but not on Instagram.   I just need to find the time.  I think I may undertake an iphonography project first – take a photo everyday.  See where this takes me.

I enjoy water sports but my current lifestyle does not cater for it.  I could be out kayaking and enjoying the river. Last week I went canoeing on the Norfolk Broads, it was so peaceful and hundreds of miles away from the hustle and bustle of this crazy city.  Even the coastal resort of Great Yarmouth was an amazing break.  I love being close to the sea and would love to live on the coast.

It’s so important to take time out to reconnect, however this makes returning to work incredibly hard.

On Monday, my first day back at work, my bus got caught in traffic, I therefore missed my train and thus I arrived at work later than I’d planned. To top things off, it was pouring down with rain.  My renewed energy had probably drained out of me before I even arrived at work.

Reconnect and Remember

It was a combination of all these things that reminded me why I am planning my big escape.  I need a change in lifestyle. I need to reclaim my time. I need to stop commuting. Reminders are important otherwise we easily lose track of what we are doing and why, and the motivation evaporates.

I am planning to escape because I want to live my life on my terms.  Thankfully there is a long weekend approaching, time to invest in Project Escape.

Is it a case of the ‘what ifs’ or something else?

I’ve discovered that developing new products for an employer is a completely different ball game to starting my own business.  I have a business idea, in fact I have several, but why am I struggling to make progress? I know what I need to do but I am I really struggling to get anything done.

I’ve come to the conclusion that fear is my barrier.

In order to get started, I need to gather my supporting insights. I need to:

  • validate assumptions about my users
  • build my user profiles
  • research and understand the competitors – direct and indirect

Avoidance

fear_ahead_sign
fear ahead

Rather than just get on with it, I’m sitting here writing a blog about it.  It’s clearly an avoidance technique.  Is it fear that is holding me back? What if no one wants to use the service I am offering? What if the market doesn’t exist? What if there are already lots of competitors? What if, what if, what if?

I am overwhelmed by the ‘what ifs’ and it is starting to drive me a little bit crazy.  If I am really honest about it, I truly believe there is a market for the service I want to deliver and there are few UK suppliers, if any (I have already done a bit of research) so what’s the real problem?

Do I fear failure?  Well no, because I have already said that this is very much my first project and I need to do it to learn from it.  So what exactly is my problem?

A lot of my anxiety is around starting an online business and the legalities and technicalities behind it. I did some research into starting an online business but I don’t feel the information is sufficient and I am not confident with what I have read. I think this is what I am truly avoiding. I need to speak to someone who has done this before, who can provide the advice I need to crack on, as this avoidance technique is hampering my progress.

Reaching out and asking for help

Some people have no problem asking for help, in fact a colleague of mine drives me insane as her first thought is always to ask someone else rather than to turn to her own internal ability. I, on the other hand, am used to being self-reliant.  I rarely rely on others for anything and this can hamper.  I recognise this as a weakness and is one I need to face head on if I am going to make progress faster.

There are so many different levels of fear, but fear is a good thing.  If I wasn’t aware of it, I wouldn’t know how to really challenge myself. I am therefore going to set myself a task of identifying potential mentors by mid September as I am going to require assistance in quite a few areas.  Asking for help is not a weakness but a necessity in growth and development.

Destination: Unknown

So I’ve finally got round to starting the blog.  In my head, I have already written at least three posts but time has been scarce and I’ve had a lot of things to do.

I’ve decided 2016 will be a year of massive change for me career wise.  I have felt stuck for a while, but after returning from a holiday to North Sulawesi, Indonesia earlier this year, and suffering from some terrible post holiday blues, I felt I really needed to act.

It’s not that I hate my job, it’s just I feel underwhelmed by it. I feel constricted in my current organisation and I feel like I am wasting my life there. Over the past year I have done a lot of self study on innovation in order to help me in my role but I feel like I am developing at a pace that is too fast for my employer and I feel like I have outgrown the organisation.

I work for a charity and ultimately I am a fundraiser. Although over the last year I have been working on designing and developing fundraising products as opposed to actually delivering campaigns. I enjoy the type of role I do, but I feel I am in the wrong place for it. Besides, I no longer want to be a fundraiser.  I want to help people and communities and actually seeing the direct impact of the work I do.

Being a goal oriented person, I’ve always found that I am at my happiest when I am striving to achieve something.  I don’t operate well when I am drifting; I feel completely lost and without purpose. Making the decision to change my career has provided me with a renewed focus, but it’s a huge step and I can’t say I’m not scared.

There are a lot of unknowns.  The biggest being I don’t really know where I am heading. I have a few ideas but nothing concrete and that is frightening.  How can I possibly quit a job to chase an unknown?

Thankfully for me, I have already taken some steps to validate I’m making the correct decision.  I’ll write more about this soon but for now, I have made a choice and I’m focused on sticking to it.  I want to live a life that I will find more fulfilling. One that I can be proud of. I know myself well enough to trust that I will make it work.

Onwards and upwards to destination: unknown.  Anyone fancy coming along for the ride?