Have you ever turned your back on a project? One you loved but eventually hated?
Let me tell you about Project You.
Project You was born from my love of the self-love movement, an opportunity to share my words of wisdom with the world. I wanted to create a platform that people could turn to and find comfort, that women could leave feeling inspired and my story shared.
Initially it was a blog and I set myself on a mission to write uplifting blog posts. It felt like a tough task to accomplish alone so I advertised for writers. I thought a more broader perspective would add a little vibe to the blog. I knew my words were important, but so were the words of others and I wanted to create that opportunity for others. I put together a small paragraph and shared my request for writers in Facebook groups and waited. I had a few enquiries but eventually picked a young woman from Birmingham who I’d met once at a networking event. She was full of energy and had a unique style, so I welcomed her in with both arms and together Project You continued.
I wanted to hold an event but I wasn’t quite brave enough. It was an idea rolling about in my head with no real committment to become reality. I attended a vegan cake tasting event (welcome to my exciting life) and got chatting to some Queens. I spoke about the things I wanted to do with Project You and I was encouraged to hold my event. And that accountability right there was all I needed. A month later I launched a self-love event in the same venue and it was incredible. My Project You team member joined me and we facilitated a fantastic session and left feeling incredible. I knew then that I wanted to do more and more, it gave me such a buzz.
We continued to write regular blog posts, although my depression sometimes got in the way and slowed me down. At this point, I’d welcomed two other writers onto our team. One was from across the seas and based in America, the other in the Midlands. The latter was a friend who had a talent, so I thought the opportunity would be great for her but there were far too many obstacles in making it happen. At what first seemed a nice gesture, turned into a bit a of a stress because there were no boundaries. I was being a supportive friend, a mother figure and still chasing promised blog posts that were never delivered. It was stressful and I began to resent Project You.
I was committed to having regular meetings but they became dominated with voices and opinions as the different personalities clashed. With time, it felt like more energy than it was worth, and I realised I couldn’t make people care about it like I could.
The final straw came when we had our final event. I knew then that it would be the last time and the team as it was would be dispersed. Too much had happened and been said, and it was having a terrible impact on my anxiety. There’s a level of stress I feel that manifests as a weird pain across the back of my head and it was happening too often. I couldn’t have it anymore. And so that event was the last and I turned my back on Project You.
I deleted the website after two years, as well as the Facebook page.
I removed it from my IG bio and stopped including it in my introductions.
I stopped feeling guilty for not seeing it through, for not turning it into the incredible platform it had the potential to be.
I learned so much from that experience, around holding events, to building boundaries, offering new team members an induction, communication and more.
I still have a few keepsakes from the Project You days, still have the Self-Love Ambassador t-shirt and a jar with positive words inside. And I have the lessons learned that I apply to everything I do now.
It gave me the confidence to bring my ideas into reality. It proved to me that people would show up to my events. It gave me experience into promoting my own events and getting feedback. I learned how to prepare for an event and the importance of debrief afterwards. I learned to bring evaluation sheets and how to put goody bags together for my guests. I also eventually learned that I didn’t need to hide behind a brand to share my words, because Annika Spalding is enough. I’ve held a variety of events and workshops, but in the beginning it was Project You.
Sometimes the thing we’re working on right now won’t give us the outcome we want, and that’s okay. Instead, it will lead us to the very thing we need to achieve all we want and more.
So if there’s something you’re considering letting go, the love has gone and the passion dissolved, just know it’s okay to put it aside while you think about your options.
When you’re doing anything creative, it makes sense that it comes from a place of love and excitement. It should give you life and motivate you, not leave you feeling depleted.
You may not have dominated the world with your current creative project, but the skills and knowledge you acquired will make the next thing you do go even further.
So give yourself a break.