I was not posting any new articles here for quite some time already. I guess it was nearly a month since my last blog post and it feels like an eternity. A lot of stuff happened and some of it forced me to lose my momentum and I got out of my routines. Now I try to get back into it and I can tell you, getting back into your flow is the hardest thing you can imagine, once you fall of this narrow road you were walking! Unless you have a clear action plan and some effective processes to get back into the game, you are pretty much screwed!
Here is what happened.
First, I quit my job.
This might be the most important thing that happened in the last month. Heck, I would even say it was the best decision I made so far in 2014, and also probably the dumbest one too. It was definitely the one which will have the biggest impact on my future life, since I will now start to run my app business full-time and finally taking the leap into totally relying on my freedom business to pay for my lifestyle.
After quitting my job I felt liberated. Not because the job was so cruel or devastating, but furthermore because following through on this decision, I felt totally aligned with my inner purpose. It felt “right”, you could say. And I somehow had the gut feeling that I will look back at this moment quite often years from now, smiling and being proud of myself taking this little leap of faith!:)
The first thing I did after quitting my job was booking a flight to Barcelona. I mean, you have to celebrate such big events, right?:)
Well, again a “stupid” decision, since I have little to no money left and all the money I make from my income sources, I immediately reinvest back into my businesses and new projects. I love to invest into my own stuff quite a lot and actually I do this with nearly all the money I earn (except lifestyle costs).
So booking a flight and going for a holiday was another bad idea to begin with, since I could have really needed the little money I saved, for the upcoming months, in which I might be sitting at home “unemployed”, working on my app business. A little money buffer in my stash could have been helpful here, but yet I decided to go for a holiday first. Sometimes you have to recharge first, to come back stronger!
Screw you, “smart decisions”! I am going a different route!
It was only when I arrived at Barcelona when I realised how far off a “balanced” life I actually was. Arriving at the hostel I felt alienated and alone. It was a lovely little hostel with loads of international people coming from all over the world visiting this beautiful city. Yet, I felt alone and wanted to go home and do the stuff I am used to do: sitting in front of my laptop and work.
It’s funny that you book a trip to a nice city and go for a holiday and somehow you can’t manage to calm down and enjoy it. The moment I realised this thought I somehow had to smile in a rather ironic way.
But this is just how momentum, flow and habits work. You train yourself to get very good at being in a very specific kind of routine. Whatever you decide this routine to be. In my case it was working long working hours each day. Little to no sleep and a very focused and strict work ethic. Everything else was not important for this period of my life. It was nothing I valued because I had other priorities.
I have no idea how to relax!
Now, being on holiday, I had to switch my routines. I had to allow myself to relax, calm down and just enjoy the fact that there is NOTHING to do. I guess when you have not yet been in a similar situation, you might not be able to relate to this weird situation, where you feel unable to relax. I mean everybody can be on holiday, right? Well, it was hard for me at this very moment. It is actually PRETTY difficult to calm down, when all you did for several months was just work and use your brain in a logical and effective way.
Well, actually, it is not the “calming down” that is so difficult, furthermore it is the switching gears. It’s just like that you are moving like a train going in one direction full speed. In the beginning it is fucking tough to get it going, but once you are at your maximum speed you are just winning all over the place. You are going and you don’t even need much energy to sustain it. You are rolling and everything is cool. The speed is high but the acceleration is nearly to zero, because you are not changing your speed anymore. You are moving on a super highway without any efforts from your part.
But when you want to stop (or even go the other direction like I was going from “full work mode” to “let’s relax!”), there might be some “work” to do. You have to not only slow down, which in itself needs a HUGE amount of energy and efforts, you also have to use a lot of power to get moving in the other direction again.
I think THIS is why it is so difficult for me to switch from work-mode to leisure-mode. Momentum works in your favour as long as it is aligned with your (current) purpose, but when you want to change, it is your biggest obstacle to overcome. It is working against you, until you get it back onto your team!
What it takes to get into momentum:
Getting yourself into an extreme momentum just takes a lot of effort from your part. For example when you want to get fit or jacked it takes a huge amount of small steps to get there. You need extremely strict routines and you have to stick with them day in day out. You might have to change your diet and pre-cook meals, you have to always think about which food you can eat and where you get it. You have to always resist the temptation of the easy and fast food being right around the corner. You have to watch your body fat and you have to workout, you actually work out a lot. You have to create free time periods to put all these workouts in, even if you think your day is already fully packed. You have to manage your sleep schedule and you have to optimise your sleeping conditions. You create training plans and workout schedules. You plan regeneration phases and you have to keep everything in mind. It just takes a lot of personal commitment and motivation.
The same goes with business and making money. You have to read, educate yourself, always learning new things. You have to push yourself and expand your comfort zone. You have to do things you feel frightened of, you have to push yourself further and further, although you have no clue where you are going. You embrace the unknown and learn to make good decisions even tough you are not quite sure of all possible outcomes. You learn to take calculated risks. You have to do stuff you might not want to do. You also have to do a lot of stuff at times where you think it is inconvenient. You are always working. You have to learn how to work more effective and more efficient. You learn how to delegate and how to talk to people. You have to become a leader and learn how to work with people. You are always coming up with new ideas and solutions for day-to-day problems of your surrounding and your customers. You always overdeliver and try to improve the current situation of your clients. You try to help a lot of people. You do more than expected, and it might not be as rewarding as you wish it to be for quite some time. You have to keep your clear vision in mind and your goals. You do a shit load of stuff nobody sees!
Now imagine putting your focus on ALL these aspects of life. Equally on business, money and body and health! It might require some commitment from your part.
How can you live a balanced life and yet use your momentum in your favour?
For you to be able to do all that, your mind brainwashes itself in a certain way. Because you value this kind of behaviour so much, your brain tries to help you and automates as much of it as possible. The funny part about this is, that when you fall out of this behaviour like I did when I went on my holiday, looking back to your old routines might look crazy and stupid. You might not even realise yourself anymore, although it was just two weeks ago. How could you do ALL THAT?!
- So, how do you switch gears and change the drag of your momentum to work in your favour again?
- How can you jump from one opposite direction to the other?
- How can you go from WORK MODE to LEISURE MODE and the other way around without freaking yourself out?
- What if you lose your momentum and you want to get it back (like I have to do now)?
Get yourself a REALISTIC action plan!
What I can tell you is that you need a REALISTIC game plan to get back into your flow state. Because – to be honest – being in such a state where you are just working and working and working, you really have to put yourself in some kind of psycho trance. You are on autopilot and a lot of stuff you are not even aware anymore. It has to be this way, or otherwise you would just question yourself too much and you could not do it. That’s why you need a plan to get back into that trance again. But only if you actually still want to do this; that is why…
1. You have to know your reasons behind doing so. It will take a lot of personal momentum and commitment from you to get back into this kind of trance where everything you do is just clicking and everything you touch just works out. But because it takes so much efforts from your part to get into it in the first place, you have to know WHY you are doing it, or else you might just quit and not do it. Ask yourself what the bigger reason behind all this is. Ask yourself what you get out of it in the long run. How does it benefit your life if you take on all these sacrifices (and there will plenty of them).
2. Realize that you got out of your state and you are fucking hurt. Whatever you did in the time you where in your momentum and in this psychotic trance, you cannot do this anymore. The person who did this is no longer there, once you fall out of it. So don’t freak yourself out. Admit to yourself that you cannot do this being in your current state. And don’t expect yourself to be able to cope with the same level of challenges you did before. You can’t. You have to ease yourself in it again. And you might have to “learn how to walk” again by taking very small and tiny baby steps back into it. Before I left Vienna to go for a holiday in Barcelona for two weeks I was able to do about 50 pullups. And since I did not workout on my holiday (which was one of my steps to allow myself to calm down), I got completely out of shape. Getting back into the workout when I came home, I realized that I was not even able to do 20 pullups anymore. My “workout performance” literally dropped down to 40%. Funny how fast your body tries to save energy by reducing “unnecessary baggage”!:)
3. Get a fine-tuned process to get back into your best performing shape. Whatever it is that you are trying to do (getting back into work mode, or getting out of work mode and calm down and relax) you have to babystep the whole process. It might take you some time but you cannot overwhelm yourself too much in the beginning. Just like with my workout performance, I had to admit to myself that I can no longer do 50 reps and I might have to start at 10-15 again and work my way up again. You cannot freak yourself out about it and be all whiny and bitchy about it. It is just how it works. You are in it for the long run and you must have a GREAT process to get back into it. Easily increase your workout (or anything else you are doing), but start very small. Take the smallest step you can imagine and be proud about it! “That was a good workout!” Again, don’t freak yourself out about not making enough progress!
4. Take more breaks than you usually do! After you have taken the first step, maybe take the next day off. You might think that this is stupid or useless, but I really have to emphasizethe importance of not getting in your own way by talking bullshit about how little progress you make. The next day do another small task. Maybe go even a tiny bit further and do more than you did the first time. Slowly ease yourself into your usual routines again.
5. You cannot stay in momentum forever, so get used to finding your way back in. You will ALWAYS find yourself falling out of your daily routines. Either through sickness, external factors, external events, personal problems, or other situations that might cause you to slow down. It is normal. But yet you can control yourself and how you react to such events. You are always responsible for picking yourself up again. You are in charge of getting back to your best shape after something threw you off. Learn to enjoy the process. Work on your skills of getting back into it after something knocks you down. When you are going the “entrepreneur road”, you might need this skill more often than you want to rely on it!:)