What I learnt this week… dealing with very hard times

This was probably the hardest roundup I’ve written so far.

My 2018 didn’t start well. After a challenging first week it went straight downhill.

I wasn’t sure if I should put it out there, but I have been radio silent for a while and I struggled to find a way to step back into reality. Sharing honestly what happened seemed like the best way to slowly get back on track. Plus, I’ve been suffering from FOMO a bit, watching a lot of content being produced, but not producing anything myself; so hopefully, this will kickstart my creative juices again a bit.

Hard times

One mid-January morning, I received a phone call from my mum telling me that my dad had passed away unexpectedly. It was a shock. I absolutely wasn’t ready for it!

I don’t think you’ll ever be ready for a close family member or a dear friend passing away, but my dad was young, and even though his health wasn’t 100%, it wasn’t his time yet. In fact, it shouldn’t have been his time for a good while yet.

A few days/weeks later, I tried to slowly get back to a routine, check what’s going on and if I still have a business to return to. My brain loves being busy, having something to plan for, to deal with, to ponder or focus on.

Being back home with just my mum and a bear dog, I found it challenging to sit idle and do nothing and allow my brain run wild. There was nothing to do and I knew that I should focus on my mum and on my family, but I felt that I needed some distraction, something to focus my energy on.

But being in a completely different environment than I’m used to meant that I wasn’t focused. I suffered a lot from procrastination and avoidance. Specifically, I wasn’t able to finish anything. I started lots of new tasks, half-finished multiple blog posts, prepared final reports, but couldn’t force myself to finally proofread them and send them.

Once this blog post goes live, I’ll be able to say, that I’ve finished one thing. Hopefully, this will help me finish others as well. I’ve been looking at a handful of drafts of this roundup for a long time now. It’s time to move on.

My second family

Probably the hardest part (apart from the actual grief) is not being with my family. It must sound weird as being back home means that I am actually with my family, but I mean my chosen family, my tribe. No matter how much I love my real family – they all are amazing, caring and supportive people – they are just too different. Actually, the truth is that I’m the one who’s different from them.

I miss my tribe back in Cambridge, I miss being around people who truly listen to me, respect my opinion and let me be myself. Don’t get me wrong, my family cares about me, but they care about having things their way, seeing the world from their perspective and being right.

I miss being able to live my life the way I believe is the best way to live it, without being judged or questioned upon my choices. I don’t feel free to think, feel and do what I want when I’m back in the Czech Republic. I always have to answer to someone, to explain my decisions and actions and fight for the right to make my own luck.

I really don’t want to marginalise, but I sometimes feel that there are two types of people I meet in the Czech Republic: those who see my decision to move to a different country as running away, as giving up and who see my success as pure luck, and then those who envy me, my lifestyle and they judge me for wanting more from life.

Of course, there are people who work really hard to achieve something and people who are trying to change things for the better. I admire everyone who’s involved in making our republic a more open and progressive place (it’s incredibly hard work, especially recently when it feels that our politics is taking us a few decades back, to communism and Russian dictatorship).

I often said that I don’t like people, that I’m happier on my own. And most of the time it’s true. I like my time for myself without anyone around, but over the past few weeks, I’ve realised how much more social I’ve become over the past two years.

Obviously, networking and attending regular business events is one thing, but simply having people around me each day, someone to talk to, to have a chat over coffee or while having a lunch in the office has become a crucial part of my everyday life.

Dealing with FOMO

Aside from missing my people, I’ve been also struggling with FOMO. I was feeling left behind and afraid that I will miss out on important opportunities. I truly miss all those wonderful people that I have around me every day (in Cambridge and online). Part of my time off with family meant that I was away from my phone and laptop for a while – my only connections to the outside world.

Then, when I got back online, it felt really weird getting back to reality, start talking with people and sharing stuff with them. I must say that I was touched by all the love coming from everyone and it quickly helped me overcome the weird feeling, as I truly felt welcomed and taken care of.

While being in a quiet mode, I spent a lot of time thoughtlessly scrolling through Facebook and Instagram, just to have the feeling that I’m still connected, but it only made me feel more lonely and afraid. I could see all the things that I’m missing, events that I couldn’t attend, blog posts that I haven’t written first, courses and workshop that I wanted to run and conversations that I wanted to be part of.

This might be one of the reasons why I wasn’t able to finish anything. Nothing felt good enough and appropriate. But then again, what is appropriate in a situation like mine right now?

Podcast Corner

While quickly packing my suitcase to catch the first flight home after I heard the bad news, I wasn’t thinking how long I’m going to stay and what other things I might need – other than basic clothes, my phone and my laptop. That’s why I ended up with only one book, but lots of podcasts on my phone.

Yes, I do have lots of audiobooks in my phone as well, but for some reason I wasn’t feeling like reading any of them. My attention span got really shortened and nothing felt engaging enough. That’s why podcasts rock. They are short, fast-paced, engaging, there’s a huge variety of them to choose from and they require less focused attention.

The number one podcast that stands out, is ep. 059 of the FOMOFanz podcast from Brian Fanzo – appropriate podcast title, don’t you think?

This episode is about Why It’s The Worst-Best Time To Be An Entrepreneur and Brian shares really openly his stories of his failures in 2017 and lessons learnt from them. Listening to his struggles and challenges gave me a bit more courage to tell my story and put myself out there again.