EPIC POST: dealing with the post-excitement slump
I’ve spent my life defying the saying 'contain your excitement'. I'm naturally like a puppy on some kind of performance enhancing drug when I get excited or when I hear someone else excited.
But while that's my natural way of being, I know all too well what it's like when your excitement for a new project, idea or thing is met with a damp squid. So this post is written very much in the same light as my post on how to deal with dreamshitters.
As creatives and multi-passionate women, we thrive and survive on our ideas and projects: that feeling when ideas are coming to us faster than we can write? It’s like being on the top of the world.
But shit hits the fan when we experience what I’m going to refer as the post-excitement slump.
You know what I'm talking about. When you're feeling alive, like you're on the cusp of greatness and you just can't deal with the excitement on your own. You've either discovered something new, you have news, or you’ve thought of a new idea - something that's going to change everything - and you need to share it with someone before you burst.
And you do. Your words are tumbling out of your mouth faster than any brain came keep up with, you're jittery and fidgety and your brain is like an idea-firework display.
But as you're sharing, you notice something.
- The other person seems distracted. They've looked elsewhere around the room/checked their phone/clock
- They're really well intentioned, but they just don't 'get it'
They seem interested for a bit but then they open their mouth to tell you about the latest thing going on in their life
They completely make the conversation about them
They remind you of all of the previous ideas/opportunities/thoughts that didn't work out.
Their response is as lukewarm as a roast dinner in the microwave after 30 seconds
They dismiss you completely and continue an earlier conversation
They seem really excited, but it doesn't match YOUR level of excitement
And you can end up feeling a whole mishmash of feelings: pissed off/disappointed/rejected/disrespected/selfish/guilty/sad.
It’s fair to say excitement goes out of the window.
You can't remember why you were so excited and you can't get it back. Sometimes you feel stupid for getting that excited in the first place and sharing it with someone; like someone has knocked the air out of you and you can't remember your point anymore.
You go from feeling on top of the world, to feeling completely miserable and hopeless, in a very short period of time.
It’'s a really shitty feeling.
For a lot of us, our excitement is often the main motivation to keep us going, it can be really hard to get that motivation back after the post excitement slump.
And let’s face it - being excited is a vulnerable feeling. You're putting yourself out on the line and you're not always going to be met with the reaction you want.
It's now that we want the red carpet rolled out and a standing ovation. Honestly, most of us just want to feel listened to, like we have someone on our side and someone we can share our lives with.
And sometimes that can feel like asking for the world
So today I want to share with you what has helped me. The practices I have developed to protect myself against the post excitement slump, without completely shutting down and not letting anyone in (which is often tempting, I know).
PART ONE: HOME TRUTHS
Some people are never going to be as excited about something as you; they're not going to be able to grasp the deep significance of something that you do. Especially if they don't share your values, are prone to either looking down on you or misunderstanding anyway.
And more importantly: just because someone doesn’t get what you do, or align with your values, that doesn't mean that they get to shit all over your parade.
Read that second one again and again and again. Tattoo it to the inside of your eyelids (or if you want the pain-free option, stick it on a post-it somewhere you'll remember it).
PART TWO: PRACTICAL SHIT + STRATEGIES
I've come up against the post-excitement slump more times than I can say, and along the way, I've found there are some simple things you can do to really protect your ideas, your excitement and your enthusiasm.
(I don't mean protect in the sense of having your arms around your exam paper not wanting to be copied; I mean protecting them so they can live on and not be swallowed up by the damp squid.)
So use these as food for thought as you embark on your own journey of sticking up for your ideas and standing up for your creativity. (Fuck yeah!)
1. Write down your ideas in as much detail as possible before you speak to anyone
This has been the biggest one for me, because so many times we forget the details of our ideas when they’re overshadowed by how shitty we’re feeling. Now, before I tell anyone anything, I write everything out, both in free form, you know the who-knows-if-i’ll-get-this-when-I-look-at-it-later scribbling, as well as the basics so I can remind myself at a quick glance.
And when I say the basics, I mean write it so simply that anyone could understand it. So many of the times we write things down swearing that we'll remember what we're on about but then later come to it clueless. I have so many post-it notes that made complete sense at the time, but are now a random string of words that baffle me.
By doing this, if you're met with a damp squid, you can get back into the frame your mind was in, by reading what you were thinking at the time. You can also go back and put your idea into action because you remember the most important things.
2. Capture how you’re feeling
As well as capturing the idea in detail for later, take the time to write down how you feel about the idea. Whether you're met with a damp squid or self-doubt creeps up, sometimes it feels impossible to remember that we really believed in our ideas in the first place, they brought us joy and they really could work.
Give yourself that gift and allow yourself to feel the excitement.
3. Give yourself time to bask in the excitement
Building on the last one, instead of rushing up to tell someone, actually slow down to enjoy the feeling.
I don’t know about you, but I love getting coloured pens out and making new plans, going off on tangents and seeing where my creativity takes me. I wish more of my time was spent that way, so now, when it does happen I give myself to indulge and really get into it.
An invincible feeling comes over to us, because our brain hasn’t given us time to let self doubt or fear kick in, and we dream bigger. So not only will you be getting even more creative, the more time you dedicate to your ideas when you’re in that mood, the more developed and the more out of the box they’re going to be.
4. Celebrate the shit out of your own wins, even if that's only with yourself
If you’ve been around That Hummingbird Life for a while, you’ll know that I’m all about celebrating the shit out of your small wins.
It’s so important for you, especially when you creatively blocked, are put off by what others think that you decide to flip the middle finger and do it anyway.
If you’re looking for a way to celebrate the shit out of your small wins (and get over the fear of celebrating alone), check out my list of 26 ways you can celebrate below!
5. Find your people who listen and notice those who don't
Sometimes, as well meaning as some of the people around us are, they’re just never going to get it. As creatives and dreamers, we look at the world in a way that makes sense to us, and we have the courage to imagine a world that could be different. And not everyone around us gets that.
Sometimes we have to look around ourselves, take a good look at the people we surround ourselves with. Are they supportive? Do they try to understand even if they don’t get it? Because while not everyone in your life is going to get you, you might find that some of the people who might not get it as much actually support you the most because they believe in you.
We all need someone, or some people in our lives that do get what we’re doing and want to help us along the way. and if there’s no one there that just gets it, go out and find that person.
If you're looking for a tribe of women who 'get it', I have a feeling The Couragemakers Podcast may be just the thing for you!
6. Make a decision and stick to it
Too often I've got excited about an idea, shared it with someone, felt shit and never returned to the idea.
And that makes me really sad, and I know I'm not alone.
One of the best ways I've found of countering this is to take the power back into your own hands and make a decision.
Take your idea and find three things that you could do to start bringing it to life. It could be ordering a book on the topic, starting a research notebook or reaching out to someone to find out more.
Make your idea something that is starting to have physical evidence in the world and stick to your decision and don't allow yourself to be swayed by other's opinions.
7. Keep It To Yourself
This one might sound counter-intuitive, but sometimes the only way you can protect your ideas, your enthusiasm and excitement is keeping something to yourself. Maybe you keep it to yourself until it's more developed and you feel more confident about it - that way you'll be less swayed by other's responses. Maybe you keep it to yourself until you complete it?
Remember that you don't have to justify yourself to anyone, and that your ideas are precious and important. They matter and you matter.
Because they're YOURS, you get to be the ultimate decider in what happens to them.
If you're struggling to remember this right now, go check out my post Fuck Dreamshitters: A Manifesto For Couragemakers - I think it might be just what you need to read today.
My hope is that this post gives you some practical tools to keep your ideas alive and keep your excitement and enthusiasm burning.
As creative and multi-passionate women striving to make the world a brighter place, sometimes it can be really hard to keep your own light lit. But you have so much to give the world; so many stories to share, so many things that are uniquely you and the world is so much of a brighter place when you show up as yourself.
I'd love to know what you do when the post-excitement slump hits - let me know in the comments below!
PS. If you're looking for a regular dose of encouragement, enthusiasm and rebel-rousing, I send weekly Pep Talks to my wonderful community of Couragemakers every Sunday To join in the fun and keep your own light lit, click here!