When you Think you Don’t Know What You’re Doing: Who Jackie and the Mandalas

August 31, 2021

When you think you don’t know what you’re doing (with your business, with your kids or anything else) I want you to remember “Who Jackie?”
If you’re not familiar this phrase, allow me to indoctrinate you into one of my favourite pop culture references. Prefer to listen? Episode 09 of my new Mum As You Are podcast is a 10 minute listen. 
What goes on behind the scenes of writers’ rooms for songs, movies and TV fascinates me. During the run of the 1990s sitcom, Roseanne, Roseanne Barr was known for her unusual hiring practices. She would apparently hire people instantly without really interviewing them or checking their prior work. Sometimes this worked out – some very prolific TV writers began with being hired on Roseanne (think Buffy and Gilmore Girls). Other times, not so much.
One day a writer named ‘David’ appeared in the writer’s room and suggested a plotline about Roseanne having a long lost sister. When someone else pointed out that Roseanne already has a sister, Jackie, he apparently responded “Who Jackie?”
If someone managed to get hired as a writer for a successful TV show without even being able to keep track of the main characters, well, you need not doubt yourself.
The world needs what you have to offer.
This is what I’ve had to remind myself of this week as it gets more and more difficult to actually get any work done.
I’ve finished writing my book about motherhood, social media and mental health, and, to be honest I’m at the “maybe I should just hide it in a drawer” stage. It’s a very normal stage – deciding that you hate what you’ve created before anyone has even seen it. In fact, this is exactly what I did with the first 3 novels and a bunch of children’s books I’ve written. True story.
Just yesterday, I was watching James Corden interview Lorde. They seemed to speak less about her music and more about the fact that she has quit social media. What she said took me right back to the mission and the message of my book – that the experience of reading about the world all of the time didn’t give her time to really think about how she felt about anything.  That she needed more time – because constant input from other people disrupts the creative process.

Give yourself time to create without the constant stream of wondering what everyone else is thinking or doing. Be cautious about ‘researching’ what other people you look up to are doing. I lost countless hours of my life trying to find the ‘answers’ for why my first child wouldn’t sleep. I lost more hours in the first 3 years of my business ‘researching’ what other successful women were doing. Just be mindful – your pull to research might mean that you’re simply avoiding the discomfort that comes with creating something.
A source of whimsy for me this week
Finally purchasing a set of Grapat to make mandalas with. If I still had a physical office seeing kids and adults, I’d buy this in a heartbeat. The kind of thing I’d buy for my private practice, but really its for me! I actually bought it to nurture my mental health. My kids use it too, of course, and I hope it will be an investment in joy for many, many years to come. Making patterns, running my hands through the basket of loose wooden shapes, then creating categories? It’s absolutely blissful. 
One of my signature strengths on the VIA character strengths is appreciation of beauty. I find that when I return to activities that honour my signature strengths, I feel better which is why I continue to recommended this questionnaire to anyone who will listen. Returning to this signature strength is what got me through working in a windowless office in the basement of a methadone clinic. If you’re out of other ideas for how to nurture yourself during these times of lack lustre exhaustion, maybe give activities which compliment your character strengths a try. 

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