Today I wanted to touch upon the subject of mindset.
You see, in the creative space it is very easy to get burned out, if you don’t get in a good mindset - and even with one, some say that burnout is inevitable.
I can’t say if it is or not but personally, I haven’t felt much burnout in the past 1,5 years that I’ve been doing it full time. So, I thought I would share my mindset with you and perhaps it can help you out as well!
First of all, the most important part is figuring out WHY you are doing, what you are doing. Simon Sinek, a well-known author, wrote about this topic and while I heard about it in a podcast episode, I think his books are great as well if you’re into reading. Anyway, the point is that you need to figure out why you are doing your creative work.
Why? Because if you don’t know why you are doing it, it’s easy to lose your motivation when things are not going in the right direction or as you’d hoped.
The “WHY” I’ve heard the most is “I want to build a following on X platform”. My question to that is; why do you want a following?
You see, wanting to build a following isn’t exactly a why or while you could say that it is, it’s not a strong one. To give an example of a different why, let me tell you mine:
“I want to build a strong personal brand and business around storytelling and the things I love so that I can make an independent living of choosing who I work with and where in the world I want to be”.
With my WHY, I’ve been able to battle the demotivation that comes when doing a lot of work and seeing little to no results. It’s the bigger reason why I’m doing this and while building a following can be part of it, it’s not an exclusive goal and it’s not necessary to achieve my dream.
This doesn’t mean I didn’t almost give up a few times, in fact, I did almost. Twice. In 2022. First time I ran out of savings and had to leave Asia to go back to Denmark and stay with my parents. The second time I just gained more than 50.000 followers on Instagram but felt lost with how I could use that for anything and was drowning in sending emails, trying to reach out to brands and getting no responses.
Both times my wish to choose my own life and build my own business won over the unknown and fear of not making it. Both times I decided to push on and believe in the fact that pushing on and practising would lead to success, somehow, someday.
Now, I’m not making 10.000 EUR a month and I still have months filled with insecurity business-wise but after 1,5 years of trial and error, I have a strong belief in myself and my skills. Strong enough that I dare offer my skills in return for payment and know that I can return a great product for the client or for myself.
So, when I’m saying it’s the mindset to avoid burnout, it’s not directly a recipe to not burn out. But it’s a driver to keep going when things are on the low.
Other ingredients are to not overwork yourself, spend time with family and friends, and do things that are not related to your business. These things will recharge your focus and energy for pushing on and while sometimes the motivation burns strong and you can work for 16 hours and feel unstoppable, you shouldn’t apply that mindset or pressure to yourself when that motivation burns less strong.
We can use the analogy from one of the first e-mails I sent you. Climbing the mountain. If you keep climbing for 16 hours a day to try and reach the top you'll most likely not succeed. What's required is of course to keep pushing and keep going but not attempting to sprint up or not sleep at all. We all need rest to recharge. Without rest, burning out is inevitable.
Getting to know yourself and your needs is the strongest way of progressing. If you power through when you are out of energy, you won’t be going anywhere but rather you’ll be tearing yourself apart.
An electric car doesn’t go anywhere when the battery is completely dead and it takes time to recharge. Yes, you can supercharge sometimes to keep going but that’s probably not good for the battery in the long run (a.k.a. your health).
Enough analogies, I'm sure you get my point.
So here’s my recommendation for you:
- Find a strong why by digging deep into yourself and figuring out why you want to make videos or whatever else it might be.
- Get to know yourself on a deep level and LISTEN to your own needs and signals.
- Spend time with family and friends, doing things that are not related to your creative space.
- Keep learning and watch other creatives to spark new ideas.
The above are all great ingredients to make your motivation and energy run for a long time without getting burned out. If you don’t take yourself and your “why” seriously, it’s going to be an uphill battle when things get hard and trust me, it’s not always fun. Any job and endeavour come with its downs and lows.
Without those, you wouldn’t be able to feel the ups and highs.
I’ll leave you with that and hope I have given you a bit of thought. I would love to hear your WHY, so don’t hesitate to let me know, if you feel like it!
I’ll catch you in the next post!