I sat on the plane next to a friend who was trying to help me make a job decision, and she asked a simple question, “What is your vision for the future? What do you want to do?”
My mind reeled as I knew I should have an answer readily available, but as seconds ticked by, all I came up with was, “I have no idea.”
I am NOT one of those ladies who will tell you to never let your children see you at the computer. Quite the contrary. This is my career. My job. How I provide additional income for my family. If I don’t work, we will have a home and a car but probably will not eat. So, my children see me working feverishly at all hours, mixing in rotations of laundry and homeschool lessons.
My life moves at the speed of about 36 Mbps (megabytes per second) and I rarely take time to consider the next step. Ideas are conceived during the night and birthed with the dawn. Thinking twice about what I should do next is not necessary because I just keep rolling from idea to idea, making it happen.
But in that moment when she was waiting for an answer and I realized that I didn’t have one, I seriously wondered for what all this work was gaining me. I spent the rest of the weekend and the following two weeks praying and trying to discern the most important parts of my life while focusing on which aspects of my career I loved versus those I tolerated. At the end, I came away with a renewed vision.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, perhaps these five ways to renew your vision will help you clear away the junk, find your passion again, and walk away with defined purpose.
Take some time off
When you are a work from home parent and your family depends on your income, the idea of taking time off from work is scary. Crazy. Insane. Right? But if we are working from home in order to attain freedom from a 9 to 5 job, what kind of liberty is it when we work 60 hours a week?
Stop. Take time off and just rest.
I took two weeks off from blogging and asked my virtual assistant to do the same. If she was continuing to work, I would be drawn back in. So, we both just walked away for two weeks and let the blog sit. The result was not a cataclysmic drop in web traffic or income. Instead, it was a time of mental decluttering and rest.
Create a vision board
When Toni Anderson of The Happy Housewife and Digital CoLab told me about creating a vision board from magazine clippings, I thought it was the hokiest idea I had ever heard. (Sorry Toni!) I am not a scrapbooking kind of girl. I don’t have time for that. But I found myself with a pile of magazines, not sure for what I was searching, and clipping images and words out randomly. Imagine my surprise when I saw my goals for the future materialize through this exercise. Now, I have a poster board to frame as a reminder of my intentions and I can weigh every project against those goals.
Talk to the people in your life
If your career is thriving but your family is dying, what is the success truly worth? Be willing to accept the harsh truth and talk to those in your family and the friends you trust for an honest assessment of what they see. Even your children can provide feedback on what they notice and what they need. And sometimes, their words can hurt.
My oldest son said recently, “Mommy, when I get older, I want a job where I can be lazy like you.” I have to admit that my heart fell to my feet. Is this how he sees my job? Someone sitting on the sofa with the computer in her lap, being LAZY?! Is my balance so misshapen that my children do not understand what I do?
I gained tremendous clarity by seeing my job through his eyes. I realized that I needed a defined workspace and needed to keep the work hours I had set long ago. Then, with clearly defined boundaries, the children will know that when they see me in my “work space,” I am not being lazy but doing my job.
Seek a mentor or coach
So often we see consultants offering to access our blogs for navigation, SEO, and monetization, but what we really need is someone to look at our goals and test to see if our website is a reflection of that vision. This is more than just making sure the advertisements are in the right place. I am thinking of finding a business coach in whom you share your goals and he or she looks at your blog to help you improve your focus and reach into the audience where your passion resides.
Yes, this will take a financial investment, but think of all the time you are wasting by wading through “God knows what” as you are trying to work so hard. And what if all of your efforts are a big waste of time? What if you are going left when you should be going right? What if a coach could illuminate your befuddled brain and give you direction?
As you evaluate your career, ask yourself some difficult questions: What are your goals? Why is that project important? Does it match your vision for your business? Where do you hope it will take you? How will it impact your future? Is this worth your time investment away from your family? Will it bring you closer to your goals?
And the BIG question…
When Pat Flynn spoke at Digital CoLab, he said, “Sometimes the easiest way to find direction is to ask, ‘Why do I do what I do?'” I think this is the ultimate sieve through which we should pass every task we place on our desk.
In the busyness of business, I often lose sight of the very reason why I do everything I am doing. MY FAMILY. Even though I never intended to be a professional blogger, I knew I wanted to help supplement our income so my husband would have more time to do what he loves and to see our children have everything they needed and some of what they wanted. But what if they really want more time with me? Ouch!
Am I saying you should never let your children see you on your computer? No. We have an obligation to teach our children to be entrepreneurs and that success does not come without hard work and dedication. However, if the time comes when we are sacrificing so much that we lose focus, our passion grows weak, and our vision for the future blurs, we must make the effort to deliberately step back for time to re-access, reimagine, and renew.