When Your Get Up and Go has Got Up and Gone

I’ve been feeling a little demotivated recently – which shows in the gap since my last blog.  Regular blog readers will know about my online program which has been an on-going project for the past year.  But recently it has changed in nature, or rather the energy around it has changed, for several reasons. 

Earlier in the year we were involved in a couple of funding competitions, so that was pretty exciting, and both those competitions also offered some support in the way of business workshops, mentoring etc.  So I was getting the opportunity to connect and network with other entrepreneurs – social entrepreneurs and digital business entrepreneurs.  That brings its own energy and motivation, getting to tell your story to others, hearing their stories, learning from each other and so on.

During this time I also had support from a mentor through our local County Enterprise Board – a Government sponsored initiative.  Jim was extremely helpful, and the most helpful aspect was that once a month for five months, I had to report in to Jim, and complete a set of tasks that he set at each meeting.  I find I sometimes need the terror of a deadline to apply myself and get things done, so this was also motivating and kept things moving. (Thank you DLR CEB!)

There was of course the whole excitement of seeing my project slowly come to life online – filming, editing, developing the website, all parts of the process that each had its own excitement.  Lots of meetings, phone calls, more meetings… busy, energetic, motivating.

So why have I now ground to a halt?  Well, the website is up and running, although there is still lots of work to do.  To use the jargon, we are a Lean Start Up with a Minimum Viable Product (this means we have very little money and have to do it bit by bit), so work now will stop and start depending on finances.  My mentoring contract has ended, so Jim no longer guides me in what to do and when.  We are still involved in the Social Entrepreneurs network but didn’t win one of the coveted 3 final places so our networking has reduced, and because the website is now substantially completed, the rush and buzz and weekly meetings around that have stopped.  Quite simply, I am, at this moment in time, on my own with the project.  And I guess I’m feeling kind of lonely.

So why am I writing about this today? Well, I was reflecting back on sessions I had with clients this week, and one client in particular stayed with me, because she was also quite stuck and demotivated.  And I wondered how similar my current situation is to someone struggling with recovery?

I am feeling lonely in my work on the online program, yes.  But what I also admitted to myself after about a week of being really quite bratty about it (in my own head) was that it is not the loneliness, it’s the RESPONSIBILITY.  I alone am ultimately responsible for this project succeeding or failing.  I have no business partner, no boss to report to or staff member to blame, it is my brainchild, my project and it will survive or die as a direct result of my actions.  And it was only when I heard myself telling my husband about how I was feeling that I realised I REALLY wanted him to offer to help me because I wanted someone else to take some of the responsibility from me.  But he can’t do that, because he has no expertise or skills in the specific areas I would value support in.  And you know, he works hard enough at his own job anyway and doesn’t need the extra pressure helping me would put on him.

Working as I do almost exclusively with clients struggling with eating distress, I wonder how often they end up in this place – demotivated, tired and lonely, struggling with the knowledge that no counsellor, doctor, nutritionist or support group can do the work for you, ultimately it is down to you to want to change sufficiently badly in order to keep up the fight against your eating disorder.

However, one thing I am pretty excited about is starting my therapy group for eating disorders again in mid-September.  Although I have cut back on accepting new clients whilst I work on the online program, I really wanted to start the group again because it has such a good energy about it, and I really love to see clients helping each other as well as themselves during the 10 weeks we spend together.

I’ve mentioned the word loneliness several times here, and I think that’s one thing the group can do, help alleviate that feeling of being totally alone with your struggle.  Meeting weekly with other people who KNOW how you feel and UNDERSTAND what you are going through is very motivating and supporting.  That’s what I found so great about the Social Entrepreneurs program, everyone there understood the particular problems associated with starting a new business venture with only an idea and some specialist knowledge of a particular area or industry.  It’s a lonely place and being able to talk and share with others in the same situation is incredibly helpful.

So I’ve talked myself out of my funk and will press on.  I recognise that it’s not all plain sailing but I just have to take it one step at a time – exactly what I tell my clients – and if I have a blip (last week for example), it’s just that, a blip.  It hasn’t undone all the hard work I and others have put in up to now.  It’s just time to get up and go again.

Feedback is always welcome.

10 week Therapy Group for Eating Disorders starts Monday 19th September at 7.30pm in Sandyford Wellness Centre, Sandyford Business Estate, Dublin 18.  See www.sandyfordwellness.com for more details.

Online CBT Program for Eating Disorders available at www.turninginstitute.com.