Igniting Inspiration: Small Wins Amidst Life’s Challenges

Fuelling the Flame: The Transformative Power of Positive Moments

Sometimes, life throws curve balls at you from the most unanticipated directions. Recently, a loved family member has been diagnosed with cancer, and breaking into the market for my business seems to be going nowhere. On top of all that, we have ordered a new kitchen to be delivered within a few weeks. So, all the preparatory work has to be completed before then. Perhaps it is not surprising that motivation takes a hit.

Disclosure. I use Generative AI tools to help me when writing. From outline suggestions to topics or subtleties, I had yet to think of.

This image depicts a path leading through challenging terrain with small glowing orbs, amidst an environment of shadows and light. The hopeful and inspirational atmosphere is highlighted by a sunrise in the background.
Igniting Inspiration Generated by DALL E 3

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The Unpredictable Tapestry of Life

Then, in the last weeks, a few minor events in my life helped to renew my motivation towards my goals. That is, building a sustainable business, expanding my blog post subscriber base, and finally finishing that book. The first was gaining my first paying subscriber, followed closely by a first recommendation from another publication.

I’ve also had a positive and productive conversation about my business goals. I was starting to doubt the specific services I felt passionate about. It was energising to find that I was not alone in my concerns. Almost as if my thoughts were validated as correct. The result is that motivation is now fully operational once more.

Navigating Through Life’s Storms

When I heard about the cancer diagnosis, I dealt with it in my usual fashion, which was to internalise my feelings. This was, after all, in the early days, and there had not been any discussions over possible treatments. My reaction is always to think only about what is known, and I refuse to engage in all the potential what-if scenarios.

There is little point in anticipating what might happen; it is better to wait and see. The only effect of endless speculation over possible outcomes is negative. Either building up the hopes of a positive resolution or worrying that it may not be achievable. Or you are imagining the worst-case scenario that the cancer may prove to be untreatable and terminal. So, what is the point?

As you may be aware, I’m an introvert, and I internalise my emotions, which means that my outside persona may appear cold and indifferent; inside is another story. I worry as much as the next person, but I have learned to compartmentalise these thoughts into their sandbox within my mind. Leaving my conscious mind free to focus on what matters at the moment.

Overwork: The Stealthy Assassin of Creativity

After several years of searching, we finally ordered a new kitchen just a few weeks before we were aware of the possibility of cancer. We were committed to getting everything prepared in time for the new kitchen delivery and installation; it was only after the kitchen was ordered that we began to realise the enormity of the work required.

Firstly, the old kitchen had to be demolished and a temporary kitchen set up. Next, the electricians and the plumbers had to be organised and planned. Once done, the plasterers must rework the walls and repair the damage from the new wiring and plumbing. The week before Christmas, the new floor tiles will be laid. Yes, you read that right. There is no proper kitchen in our house for Christmas this year.

Finally, in early January, the kitchen company will come to take the final measurements to make any small adjustments to the new kitchen cabinets. They will also check that the electrics and the plumbing are located according to their requirement, within a certain margin of error. This will give us two weeks to resolve any insurmountable problems; normally, there should be none.

Bear in mind that while this happened, I still had to service my commitments. My daily work as a consultant, my business, and my creative life. Something had to give.

Treading the Rocky Path of Solopreneurship

You can read about my experiences, concerns, and passions on my company website (link at the bottom of this post) and in several other articles posted during this last year. In short, I can’t remember a single project I have been involved with that could be considered 100% successful. There was always some unforeseen surprise waiting to be revealed, and almost always, the issues could be traced to the original, client-provided project specification.

From Grey to Clear: A Boring but Necessary Post

Getting this message across to potential client companies and other organisations is a marketing nightmare. Especially for one such as myself, who has zero experience with marketing. At least from the marketer’s side. I’ve tried online surveys, cold email campaigns (doomed to failure, but I tried it anyway), direct messaging via LinkedIn, and several other approaches. Nothing seems to work.

You can imagine that confidence can take a severe hit when so much effort results in zero leads. And, of course, it doesn’t help being a solopreneur with nobody else to talk to or brainstorm with. The doubts and insecurities overwhelm even my sandboxing and compartmentalising mind, eventually leaking into consciousness.

With everything that goes on in private life, motivation was taking a nose-dive into oblivion. At this point, a few small, unrelated events played their hand. Slowly, at first, but picking up the pace quickly, motivation grew once more.

The Everyday Solopreneur: Lost in the Marketing Jungle

Glimmers of Success in a Clouded Sky

Out of the blue, I received a notification email that somebody had subscribed to my newsletter. This might not seem such a big deal, but it felt and still feels like a significant achievement to me. Until this point, I had people following me, but a subscriber is the next step up.

It meant that somebody valued my work enough to put in the small effort to subscribe to the newsletter rather than a quick ‘follow’ or ‘like’. It also incentivised me to keep improving my writing and stick with the plan of regular weekly updates. So, to my subscribers and followers, thank you for your continued support. It is deeply appreciated and, importantly, motivational.

Hot on the heels of that first subscriber came another publication’s surprise recommendation for the newsletter. Both events may seem relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of things. But when motivation was at its lowest ebb, this was precisely the shot in the arm needed.

This article is a good example; it is late due to the aforementioned kitchen renovation. Things had to happen before the various trade people arrived to complete their part of the puzzle. As I started writing this on a Sunday morning, I had little idea what I would write about. So I took the dogs for a long walk and thought about it. Something about renewed motivation, perhaps. Once I sat down and started, everything else came out naturally. Maybe a few of you may find the contents and my writing style interesting enough. I’d love to have a few comments.

Need a Eureka Moment? Take a Hike!

A Dialogue of Hope and Affirmation

The problem with being a one-person company is the lack of internal discussions. This concerns everything from marketing and business goals to the services being offered. But I had become aware in the last few months that perhaps my ideas were just plain wrong. The self-doubts had been growing to the point where I considered packing it all in and concentrating on the daily consulting work, with a bit of writing on the side.

But then, I had a recent conversation with an established company that had independently come to the same conclusions as myself over the considerable imbalance between successful and unsuccessful projects. They were currently developing a strategy to improve or eliminate the issues they had been observing in their industry for the last several years.

We also touched on a particularly clever marketing trick I can use in a cut-down format; it plays on fundamental human nature. Nobody likes to hear that what they have been doing is wrong; people, being people, immediately go on the defensive. A better approach is to give them the tools to recognise areas where things may be improved and optimised. The end effect is the same, but everybody feels good about themselves. Clever.

The conversation left me feeling validated; we both understood and recognised the same issues. They, with their various targeted industries and clients, gave me the renewed ambition to help smaller companies more generally.

Refocusing the Lens: New Goals, Renewed Motivation

Isn’t it odd how these small wins can help to reshape the approach towards business, creative, and personal goals? Individually, they aren’t at all significant, but taken together, they have helped me to reaffirm my self-belief.

So, what is the takeaway from this week’s article? Recognising and celebrating the small successes amidst life’s challenges and setbacks is essential. It is so easy to say “think positively”, but it is more challenging to do so. Just don’t give up, keep pushing and always do your best.

I’m developing a new marketing approach for the business, a bit like a reader magnet, but for companies. Offer something for free and take the hit with the expectation of regaining the investment over time.

Creatively, I love writing these newsletters, so they will continue at least weekly. As my reader base grows, I may expand to produce some specials or something like that. Early days.

Personally, supporting the family in this stressful time as best I can. And get the damn kitchen installed so we can get back to a ‘normal’ home life.

As always, the results of my efforts will always be documented in one way or another every week. This article has been a bit of everything. I’ll not promise this won’t happen again, but I’ll concentrate on more targeted articles for the next few weeks at least. Unless you, the reader, say otherwise.

Remember that no matter what, find the small moments of triumph and focus on these instead of the darker ones. It may or may not change anything materially, but they will help you to push through.

KodifyIT B.V. is an advisory bureau targeting businesses that have either been on the receiving end of a failed project or are aware of the potential pitfalls and wish to mitigate as much risk as possible while developing a project’s client requirements. We aim to side-step any issues before they cost time and money.

I apologise to my readers for some of the spellings you may feel are incorrect. I was born and brought up in the United Kingdom, and this is the spelling I am comfortable with (Grammarly is happy with it anyway).