1. Viral videos of precious tiny animals. Puppies preferred.
2. Stalking your childhood friend’s wedding photos the minute that last name change pops up.
3. And the random mind-blowing, inspirational video that nearly brings you to tears.
You know the kind…
Usually someone’s life-changing story from The Voice or the modern day version of the motivational posters hung on your elementary school classroom’s wall.
It was titled “Everyone needs to hear this.”
Surely it was click-bait central.
Instead, much to my surprise, it was actually incredibly powerful.
It hit on being chained to our desks, never pursuing a passion, and never truly living.
And one line in particular stuck out to me. It’s been resonating in my head.
Decades when nothing happens.
Days when decades happen.
Those days, of course, are ones that change the face of life & business as we know it. They flip everything upside down. They prove that all this work… it’s worth it.
But those decades when nothing happens can be even more powerful than the days when decades happen.
Instead of moping, what if you starting coping?
Instead of watching the opportunities pass you by, spending your time in endless envy, and wishing for something different, what if you stepped up to the plate?
You have the opportunity to harness your unique strengths, grow & learn during the slower moments, and be better than prepared for your moment to shine.
It’s easy to think that the “days” come easy for those overnight success folks. We watch from the sidelines and see decades worth of work flash in one glorious 24 hours.
But, every “overnight success” is the result of decades in the dark.
All to be prepared for that one shining day.
So if you’re in the decades when nothing happens, hear me when I say this:
And sometimes those decades are so quiet they are deafening.
Those decades actually look like a lot of head down, hustling hard, and staying humble… and make you even more grateful for the moments of glory that seem to come out of nowhere.
The ones that are showcased in all their buttoned-up beauty in the little highlight reel of Instagram.
My advice? Don’t believe everything you see on Instagram. There’s a lot more behind the scenes than those little squares show. Yes, her life seems glam, but it doesn’t mean your life isn’t.
But… if you’re in a decade where nothing is happening… if you’re in a season of waiting, be encouraged.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel. The season of waiting will make a shift, a pivot, a change if you let it.
If you keep your head down, hustle hard, and stay humble. And while you bide your time, let’s be productive, shall we?
Networking doesn’t have to be awkward. When you hear the word, do you think of a giant ballroom with terrible drinks and people in stuffy suits? Good news, for the networking I am a proponent of, you hardly even need a business card. Instead of making it your goal to hand out your digits to as many people as possible, build personal, real life relationships. Today, make a list of 4 people you want to connect with in your area – these should be people in similar seasons of business as you, as well as similar industries – someone you could potentially work with down the line (but hear me out: a work relationship is NOT your first goal here!).
For the next month, reach out to one person per week to invite them to get coffee, lunch, or drinks just to get to know each other. Friends first. People buy from & want to work with their friends. Attend events like TuesdaysTogether and get to know the people behind their brands. Spent time networking to cultivate relationships, and you’ll be building your business even during your season of waiting, simply because you’re forming connections with others – being top of mind when an opportunity arises.
Additionally, if you’re looking for a way to uplevel the connection, fill the need of your new friend. Solve a pain point.
She shares about struggling to build a new website & you’re a photographer? Offer to capture a couple headshots for her new launch.
She’s struggling to design her office & you’re basically the next Joanna Gaines? Offer your insights.
You see something in her that aligns exactly with another one of your friends? Connect them.
This truth: “I believe that you can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar
While you’re waiting, create the work you want to be hired for. Produce quality content & showcase your talents. Create an example case study of your ideal client. Plan a styled shoot. Just don’t sit there waiting for the doors to open. Build yourself a new door by showcasing your talents and potential. Slow seasons in business and seasons of waiting can be some of the most valuable times for growth in your creative abilities. If you’ve been dreaming of a passion project, make moves on it.
A season of waiting (and truthfully, no clients!) was when I discovered my passion for food photography. I had no clients & lived in a new city where I knew virtually no one. Instead of moping, I’d pull strawberries and salad out of my fridge, set up shop in my sunroom, and test the light in endless ways to learn about storytelling in food photography, how to harness light, and the importance of a tripod on rainy days. I created for creating’s sake, with the freedom to do what I desired and stretch muscles I didn’t know I had. And those seasons led to much of the “days where decades happened” as a result. Set yourself a creating start date and see where the adventure takes you.
Plus, create systems, procedures, & templates you can use when the time comes, so you’re not scrambling when an opportunity presents itself. You’ll feel more prepared to let your skills shine when you’re not struggling to get your business backend in order.
Creating for creating’s sake leads me to the final bit of advice: learn. During times when you’re waiting, make a list of 3 items you’d like to grow in related to your skill set. For example: if you’re a watercolor artist, perhaps you want to explore watercolor lettering… but when you’re in the thick of doing work there is no time to learn & make mistakes. But taking a course of seeking out education during your waiting season can not only grow your business, but also offer diversified streams of revenue, and more than anything, can rekindle your love for your craft. I find that setting aside time to learn highlights all you already know, and lifts your spirits tenfold when you reflect on how far you have come.
During your season of waiting, find an accountability buddy who is interested in learning alongside you. Set dates to connect to discuss your progress, and if you are able to get in person, learn together! Connecting in person allows you to network WHILE learning… and your creativity will soar when you’re working alongside other likeminded individuals.
Don’t just sit and mourn your lack of “days where decades happen.” You’re worth the effort you invest into your business, and this is your time to ensure you’re properly prepared.
You’ve got this, friend. Cheering you on!