We all need a purpose in life. Feeling loved, needed and useful to other people is a huge part of what makes us human. When that pot runs dry, you can easily sink into a lull (or funk, as the American's call it).
Twice a year I work through my life plan and set my goals and objectives for the following year. I usually complete this in December and June, however in 2018 I ended up revisiting my life plan in August as I was desperately looking for answers. I remember sitting in the departure lounge in Santiago airport after walking the Camino trail, checking my 1000+ emails realising that it was all a load of trollop and that no-one really needed me in the business. In the three weeks that I had been away from work, I had not received one phone call or a single text message. I returned back to the office on Monday expecting to have a long list of things that had happened whilst I was away but there was nothing to report.
That's a good thing, isn't it?
Being successful in business can make you feel empty
All the business coaches and guru's out there constantly talk about “you haven't got a business until it can survive without you”, but no-one ever talks about the feeling of emptiness when that business no longer needs you to survive. I felt redundant in my own business! I expect it is a similar feeling to those parents whose children have grown up and then eventually left the nest. They no longer need mum and dad, and now my business no longer needed me. My issue was that it was me that was growing up and I was beginning to feel ready to leave the comfort of the business nest.
During the working day, I found myself sneakily surfing the internet, purchasing crap on Amazon, watching hiking YouTube videos with my computer at an angle so that my colleagues wouldn't know what I was doing. I declared that I was going to work part-time, but I felt guilty when I arrived at the office for 10 am rather than being the first one in. This wasn't me! I was a leader, a hard worker and my management style was to always lead by example. The next four or five months went by slowly, and soon I found myself making excuses to not be in the business at all, reducing my hours to three days a week after Christmas. I had made the decision to simply spend time at work doing the elements of the business that I loved, but over the next few months, I realised that my heart was not in it. Having worked in the world of the forever changing industry of social media I found it exhausting to create more videos, podcasts, writing blogs and generally keeping up with the industry news. I fell out of love with social media as algorithms made it more and more difficult to get the results that so many smaller businesses need. I was craving something new to get my teeth into. I needed to feel alive again and I needed a purpose.
Adventure Geek was not meant to be a business, it was simply a website where I could write about my travels for friends and family to follow. The walking club was not meant to be a club, it was simply friends joining me on a few training hikes in preparation for the Camino. When strangers started turning up to the walks, I realised that I finally had a purpose. The teacher in me was born again as I educated people on walking boots, treating blisters, hiking gear and the benefits of walking in nature. I had a new lease on life and my energy levels soared. I loved discovering new local trails and places of interest. I had a love for technology and I quickly learned new skills such as mapping and navigation. I felt called to do this, I just needed to figure out how I could make it into a business.
I eventually sold my social media / digital marketing agency and I have no regrets. As I type, I am nearly five months into the venture and I am loving every minute. Financially, I am not earning near as much as I would like, but hey, life is not all about money. I have lived in the big house, had posh cars and expensive holidays and it really doesn't make you any happier. You think it will, but it doesn't. What matters is that feeling of being valued, loved and having a purpose in life.
If you are at a crossroads in your life then I would highly recommend taking some time out and walking the Camino. Whether you are walking with a group or walking on your own, it will give you the clarity and the confidence to make some important decisions in your life.