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How to Move Forward When You Feel Like You Are Going Backwards

Last week I had a run of a bad days: Suffice to say that last thing I felt like doing was work, but I had a mountain of it in front of me and a need to bring in revenue to pay business expenses let alone my own wage. There are days when instead of feeling like an “empowered” woman in control of her life and business, I feel out of control and like my business and home life is running me. Sometimes I want to throttle the person who came up with the phrase “empowered’”.

Ever heard of Misère? In the card game 500, instead of winning a certain amount of tricks to win the hand, you have to loose every trick to win the hand. Misère: aka going out backwards. Also happens to look like the word misery, which wasn’t helping my mind set last week. Some days, work can feel like Misère. That you are unintentionally going out backwards because this quarter you owe the ATO, there are not enough hours in the day to get things done, people you trust are being mean and work life balance is a stretch goal. (I’m still relatively new to this whole “running a business’ thing and still have fond memories of when I used to put in tax returns and the ATO would give ME money!)

So how do you move forward and get on with what you have to do when all you feel like doing is curling up in a ball on the couch with a double whiskey, a block of salted caramel chocolate, Netflix and the cat.

When faced with a question I don’t know the answer to, I do what most people do these days and ask Google. My first search was for ‘how to get out when you're in the shit’ and you don’t want me to tell you what Google came up with. Honestly: I should have known better. But when I searched ‘how to move forward’, the glorious Google come up with the following options:

  • 10 things you must give up to move forward

  • 11 behaviours holding you back from moving forward

  • how to get unstuck

  • Get unstuck: how to move forward in life

  • sometimes we need to go backwards before we can move forwards

What this quick second Google search made me realise was that lots of people have been in this situation before; that I’m not the only one who has felt like this. There really is nothing new under the sun (…except technology). The range of advice available via people like me blogging on the net is broad and you could legitimately find the right solution to fit your situation if you look for long enough.

So why am I searching for the answer when I know what it is (What is it that I really want?). What I want right now (apart from couch, TV, whiskey, chocolate, cat) is for someone to tell me that this too shall pass. That while even working for yourself can sometimes suck, it won’t suck forever if you stick at it. Or if it does continue to suck, you’ll have to figure out if it is worth continuing with.

So in a world full of advice already, this is the advice I’m going to give myself.


  • Reach for a water, tea or coffee instead of the whiskey (at least until 6pm).

  • Sit on a couch if it makes you feel better, but bring the laptop and work on something. Often the act of doing something, even if only minor-ly productive, will help to get you through a shitty day.

  • Have some chocolate. Salted caramel chocolate is delicious and we all know chocolate is a mood elevator so if you’re down in the dumps why not a nibble on a few squares to help you find your feet again.

  • Find some work that will keep you busy till the end of the day, but isn’t going to pull you back into the dumps again. Then the day won’t be wasted.

  • Go outside for a brief walk, or go and sit under a tree. Green is good: fresh air and nature is a powerful combination if you’re feeling despondent.

  • Spend 5 minutes looking at something funny. Laughter releases endorphins that make you feel good (just like exercise and nature).

  • Go to bed on time and get a good night’s sleep.

  • Think about one good thing that you did today. Every day will have a highlight, no matter how small. You just have to find it


  • Over dramatise things. You had a shit day, big deal. So does everyone.

  • Find solace in the bottom of a bottle…tomorrow’s headache will only make things worse.

  • Binge on 3 blocks of chocolate instead of 3 squares. You’ll just feel sick.

  • Do nothing. Inactivity won’t solve the problem, it just means the problem will just wait there for you…like a spider in its web.

  • Dwell on mistakes. Find solutions and move on. If you can’t, ask find someone who can find the solution. You don’t have to know the answer to everything yourself.

  • Worry. You’ll learn and do it differently next time.

  • Be too hard on yourself. You are your own harshest critic, nobody else is paying that much attention (they’ve got their own issues to worry about).


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