How to Clean Your Slate

Welcome to Day 6 of my 31 Days of Video Challenge!

This topic is about how to essentially start over in your life. It’s for those of you who need your old world to fall away in order to make the space for figuring out what the heck to do now.

I’m going to share with you steps from the process I went through when I quit my dream of being a filmmaker, walking away from it just as I received a golden ticket degree from a highly prestigious film school and after spending nearly ten years involved in the movie industry.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, it wasn’t just a career I was walking away from but also years of education, the place I lived, my social circle; everything I had built up in preparation for going after the big dream. Deciding to quit was the first step. If you are in a similar position of choosing to start over in your life, here are my suggestions for how to go about hitting the re-set button and finding a new direction.

#1 Stop Doing It

Whatever it is you’re getting out of, stop engaging in it. Decline invitations and opportunities that keep you looped in to whatever it is you are leaving behind. If you must, phase it out gradually. But focus on divesting your time and energy at every chance you get. E.g. I declined an internship offer with an independent producing team and the chance to go to Sundance Film Festival with them. It would have been a glorious opportunity for the me pursuing a career in film, but not for the me that wasn’t.

#2 Stop Talking About It

Once I was sure I’d no longer be pursuing film, I stopped talking about it. Actually do a fault – I refused to discuss movies even for entertainment purposes. I wanted nothing to do with the subject while I was mentally and emotionally detangling myself from it.

#3 Move

When it comes to moving on, few things do the job as effectively as physically moving away from one place and into another. After I stopped pursuing a career in film, I moved away from Los Angeles to a smaller town on the Central Coast of California. The location change did many things to release me from my old life, allowing me to develop a completely different lifestyle, with more time outdoors in nature, new friends, hobbies and interests.

Moving to a new town or city is the ideal, but moving to a new place could also be an option; going to a new living environment can really help you in hitting the reset button.

#4 Purge

If you do move, purging will happen naturally as you pack up your things and make assessments about what to keep and what to leave behind. Remove those things that support and defined the old you. Make room for the new.

If you can’t move anywhere, change up your environment as much as possible. Rearrange furniture, redecorate, do a deep clean, get rid of stuff that represents your old life or self. Before I moved from LA, I had already started separating myself from my old passion by donating all my film books to Goodwill. A small gesture with big impact; it felt powerful to confirm for myself that I really was moving on.

#5 Lay Low

Stay off of social media (completely or partially) in order to get your head clear. Keep a low profile. Spend time resting, reflecting, and recuperating. Making a big change can take a lot out of you. Trying to figure out what to do next can feel overwhelming. Not having a plan for your future can be unsettling. Be patient and kind with yourself.

My last year at university, I deliberately went off the grid; I stopped using social media and d
idn’t out as much with friends. I just kept my head down and focused finishing school, and avoided very much stimuli at first. After I moved, I slept in a lot and didn’t do too much. That time period was really important to let my body and mind reset before I added in anything new.

In addition to quitting my career, I also gave myself permission to put all other ambitions on hold so I didn’t feel pressure to take them up instead. I imagined folding them up nicely in a treasure chest and closing the lid, there for safekeeping, if and when I wanted to bring them back out.

#6 Pursue the New

Once you have had a chance to catch your breath an
d recenter, go ahead try new things to broaden your horizons and help you explore new options. Once finished with school and no longer building my career in film, I took up rock climbing and started running; I made new friends and went with them to trivia nights and out dancing. You might also go back to things you loved a long time ago. I started drawing again, which was something I didn’t have time for when I was going to school and working.

#7 Allow Inspiration to Come

Read and watch material that is meant to inspire. I got my hands on Way of the Peaceful Warrior and it sparked a new kind of vision for who I wanted to be and how I wanted to live. Pay attention to when little things spark a hope and joy inside of you, when ideas pop up and the glimmer of new dreams begin to take shape.

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