So, I am, and always have been, involved in a lot of different things at once. It has been a blessing and a curse in my life. A blessing because I can become somewhat defeated, or uninspired, if I stay focused on one project for too long a time. I used to think that was a weakness, but I realized, after talking to other creatives, it’s not totally uncommon to have multiple projects that become outlets for each other and sort of build simultaneously.
It is a curse, because it keeps me so busy that I usually just don’t get sick until I REALLY get sick. Then that downtime I have to take to recover, creates a huge pile of tasks that get backlogged. Those become a big swelling source of anxiety for me to immediately pick up and run with once I am better. This can, at times, make feel pretty bad for feeling bad.
One of the things that I do on a weekly basis is go to a networking group called BNI. Committing to this organization takes some considerable effort and time in order to reap the benefits. You are going to meetings once a week, which last about an hour and a half. If you account travel time and socializing that happens at the meetings, they are around a 3 hr commitment once per week. Outside of that, you are also expected to meet with the members of the group individually on a semi-regular basis, and bring referrals for your colleagues in the group. In total, there’s probably 20-30 hours per month that are devoted to this organization in my life.
However, it has been hugely beneficial to me both personally and professionally. It has helped me hone my skills as a business person, refine my company’s goals and offerings, and given me a place to network with people who are going through similar struggles in business and life.
I explain all of this, because the other day I was lamenting to my friend Robert Matney, who is in my BNI chapter, about how I felt really bad that I had gotten so terribly behind on work and BNI stuff because I had been sick.
As a side note, Robert is a viciously talented actor and web-dev guru who helped found and co-owns Polycot Associates. Read more about the cool stuff they do, and the fact that they are a worker-owned digital cooperative.
He gave me the best piece of advice possible in that situation. He just patted me on the back, smiled, and said, “Austin, don’t feel bad for feeling bad.” Coming from a guy who has helped build a very successful online company, a very successful international theatre company, and successfully beaten cancer twice….those words have some real gravitas and meaning to me.
I hope they help you in the lulls, hiccups, and lows of your own life. It’s fairly easy to get caught up in beating ourselves up for many reasons, but our health shouldn’t be one of them.