This post is part of The Declaration of You’s Blog Lovin’ Tour, which I’m thrilled to participate in alongside over 100 other creative bloggers. The Declaration of You will be published by North Light Craft Books this summer, with readers getting all the permission they’ve craved to step passionately into their lives, discover how they and their gifts are unique and uncover what they are meant to do! Learn more – and join us! – by clicking here.
I had two really low weeks recently. I lost my enthusiasm for all of the things I am passionate about. I wasn’t even procrastinating. I was simply avoiding doing all the things that fill my life with colour.
I’ve spent the last two years consciously creating my own vibrant life, discovering what my values are, creating projects I’m passionate about and a lifestyle that fuels me to be the most amazing, excitable, happy person.
But it’s not rainbows and sunshine every day. Living a life on your own terms, as Liz Seda puts it, is not always what it’s cracked up to be.
Some days I’m overwhelmed. Some days every little thing goes wrong and all I can do is sit watching TV with a pint of ice cream and only feeling worse about myself because I’ve given in. Some days no matter how much you try to focus on the positive and do all the things you know make you a better person that enthusiasm inside you never flares to life.
I’ve learnt to handle a day or two feeling “off”. You love yourself. You let yourself have some downtime. You cut yourself a break and let yourself make mistakes. You write yourself a love letter and a pep talk. You trust the magic of a night’s sleep which will have tomorrow looking like a completely different day.
I managed to get through one week letting myself fall off the wagon, skip the gym, eat chocolate, devour sex-filled romance novels, ignore my emails and social media. But by the time I was a couple days into week two I wanted out. I wanted to feel like myself again. I know what my usual state of enthusiasm and excitement is and it wasn’t coming back of it’s own accord.
Losing Your Enthusiasm Is Not Losing Your Passion
“Enthusiasm… great excitement for or interest in a subject or cause.”
Losing your enthusiasm about what you’re passionate about doesn’t mean that you’re no longer passionate about those things. It can mean that you need a break, need to rebalance, need to change how you’re pursuing your passion or what medium you’re expressing your passion through.
The absolute key to working out what’s doused your enthusiasm fire is to understand exactly WHY you’re passionate about the things you are.
This is where you get to be a two year old asking: why? why? why? why? why? At least five times and maybe more. (Yay!)
But you also get to be the adult digging deep inside yourself to answer those questions in the most honest way possible. (Hard, but with extra enlightening moments of Yay!)
Honestly, get out a pen and paper and…
- Write at the top what you’ve lost enthusiasm for.
- Write the question: WHY am I passion about X.
- Now answer it, quickly (rephrase it as WHY was I passionate about X if you need to to get yourself answers).
- Ask WHY again but replace X with your last answer.
- Repeat and repeat until… epiphany!
When you understand your why you can choose with a clear mind which projects you need to let go, which projects have been poisoned by other things you don’t love and which new projects to begin. Jonathan Fields has a great post about this called It May Be your BABY, But Is It Your THING? We really do have more amazing things to be enthusiastic about that we know and all of them will align with our passions and enrich our lives in the time that we need them.
Trust Your Passions, Trust That This Too Shall Pass
As I existed through my two weeks of lack lustre living it didn’t spiral out of control leaving me in a depressed heap questioning everything about myself and my life because I was grounded in my values.
I trusted my values and I understood my WHY. I understood why I’m building Colour Your Life and why no matter how many times I’ve tried to give it up I still believe in. I understood why I was working my day job and pursuing a healthy, active lifestyle. I trusted that all the pieces of my life were right for right now.
If your lack of enthusiasm is spiralling into those dark and dangerous waters then stop thinking as quickly as you can. You cannot trust your thoughts right now. You need to cling to the truth that you have always done the best you can with the knowledge you had at the time and the situation you found yourself in. You need to repeat the truth that you are not your emotions. You need to know deep down inside that you have the power to change, to let go and to take action. Begin spinning these truths around in your head, finding evidence in your life to support them and see what a difference it makes.
As the only constant in life is change trust that this too shall pass. This is an ebb to your flow and at some point you will feel the turning of the tide.
5 Sparks To Reignite Your Enthusiasm
Sometimes you can wait it out and your enthusiasm will come back on it’s own. When you don’t want to wait any more or at all here are a few things you can do to kick up sparks and reignite your enthusiasm.
- Talk to people who are passionate about your passion in person or in real time. A Skype call with my passionate-biz buddy Meaghan Gallant always leaves me excited about Colour Your Life and a call with my Kiwi Writers VP Catherine Mede always has me reinvigorated with my belief in building a writing community.
- Participate in group activities that support your passion. I could not have made myself run on a treadmill or swim lengths in those dark two weeks but I could force myself to the gym and into a Zumba or Body Combat class. Not only was it encouraging to chat with my friends at the gym but the feel of the music reminded my body how much I love bouncing around even if my mind had forgotten.
- Rock out to your power songs. You know the ones I mean. The songs that you can’t help but tap your foot along with, the ones that get stuck in your head for days and you don’t mind one bit, the songs that inspire you and lift your spirits even if you have to play them on repeat for hours. Music is such a great healer and I certainly don’t listen to it often enough. My two favourite power songs right now are I Gotta Feeling by Black Eyed Peas and Dance With Me Tonight by Olly Murs.
- Do the little things you love. Reading those romance novels, adding nine pieces to a super hard jigsaw puzzle and baking cookies all sparked a little enthusiasm in me. They showed me that my enthusiasm was still there and gave we a welcome reprieve from feeling uninspired if only for a short periods at a time.
- Cleanse your space & clear your mind. Often our enthusiasm gets doused just like any fire can. We smother it with expectation, rules and demands. Work through your day and every time you find some abrasive or irritating take action to fix it or remove it. You’ll soon have cleared the way for a breath of fresh air to fan those flames.
All of these things helped me get through those two long lacklustre weeks and recover my enthusiasm.
It was the belief that this too shall pass that enabled me to push through and keep trying things even when I did feel like it.
If You’re Enthusiastic About It, Shout About It!
Nothing is too little, too silly or too wrong to get excited about.
What ever it is that sparked that light inside you, makes you want to dance a little, squee a little, hang out with all day long and chat about to anyone who will listen. What ever that thing is embrace it, love it and do it often. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about it. In fact, I’ll promise you that there are people out in the world who love it just as much as you do, you just might not have found them yet. Catherine Caine describes this phenomenon perfectly on her new site Mediocre Be Damned.
Nothing is too little, too silly or too wrong to get excited about.
This is me calling bullshit on anyone who thinks that they shouldn’t be excited about something. For starters I hate the word should (Defined as… to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone’s actions – I mean, ick!). You make your own choices and are don’t have an obligation to anyone but yourself and most importantly your own happiness.
I’m going to say it again… Nothing is too little, too silly or too wrong to get excited about.
I’m declaring all the little, silly and AWESOME things that I get excited about because being silly is fun!!
- Newton’s Cradle
- I got my View Master!
- Pop songs
- Wacky Woollies
- Yellow everything
- Nail polish
- Glee, 2 Broke Girls & New Girl
- Cadbury’s Jelly Popping Candy Shells
Make your own declaration of enthusiasm and share in comments one or some of the little, fun-silly things you get excited about.