3 Steps to breaking the cycle of being Stuck
Have you ever been stuck in your business? On the road but not going anywhere?
There’s a trap out there for business owners and professionals that many of us will fall into at some point or another. It’s a sneaky sort of trap because it starts when things are going well – you’re busy, you’re making money, you’re getting by so you consciously or unconsciously lay off the gas – just a little…and then you get stuck. Here are some telltale signs:
- You look at a calendar and realize that several months have passed by this year and you haven’t accomplished anything new
- Last month was crazy busy…and it’s exactly like this month
- You’ve been running hard but you’re not getting anywhere (and there’s no clear end in sight)
If any of those things are happening to you, then you’re stuck (that’s the official technical term…). Once you realize it, it’s a frustrating place to be and if you can’t work your way out of being stuck it will start impacting your business and your life in a lot of negative ways. You’re either getting better or you’re getting worse – and when you’re stuck, you’re definitely getting worse.
3 Steps to Break the Cycle of Stuck
When you started your business you had a dream. Maybe you wrote it down, laid out a 10 year plan and mapped out all the steps you were going to take. Or maybe you didn’t document anything – but you still had a dream.
Maybe your dream centered around money. Nothing wrong with that – most business owners are at least partly driven by the desire to make more money or to even reach financial independence. In fact the essence of all businesses has to center around making money…specifically a profit, otherwise it’s a hobby, a charity or a job…not a business.
Maybe your dream was about being your own boss, or making an impact on others (employees, customers, etc.). Maybe it’s something else or a combination of all of the above. Whatever your dream was – now’s a great time to take it off the shelf and revisit it.
Can you remember the feeling of hope that you had? The sense that you could make some really cool things happen? You still can – but that feeling gets lost when you get stuck – and it’s critical to find your motivation if you want to get unstuck.
When’s the last time you read a business book? Or even just a book for fun? According to recent research – 1 out of 4 US adults didn’t read a single book in the last year. The average number of books read in the US is 5…less than one every two months.
I know you’re crazy busy and that you legitimately believe that you don’t have time to read – but if you want to be successful in the long run, you’ve got to be learning new things…all the time. The good news is that you have options – if you’re in the car a lot, check out Audible.com for a huge selection of books that you can listen to (I’ve been listening to books at the gym recently and it’s been a great addition to my routine).
You could also check out a Business Book Review – you’ll learn the key ideas from a great business book and get to talk it over with other business owners…and get breakfast all in 90 minutes without having to first read the book.
There are also tons of great podcasts, training sites and other places where you can learn new things. The trick is to make it a habit…part of your lifestyle that just happens.
Finally the last step in breaking the cycle of being stuck is to take action. It’s a stupidly simple idea – but it’s one that a lot of people get stuck on:
If you want a different outcome, then you have to take different actions.
Dreaming and learning are critical in the process – they will both help you figure out what’s important and how it all works. But without taking action, without DOING something, then nothing is going to change.
The best way to take meaningful action is to narrow down your focus and pick out the one thing that’s going to make the biggest difference in your business in the next 3 months. Obviously you’ll still have to deal with business as usual – all the day to day stuff and putting out fires, but if carve out even just a little bit of extra time…or start saying ‘no’ to some things that really aren’t helping you, then you’ll be able to work on whatever is most important to you – whatever will start making a positive impact. Start small, be consistent and you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish even in a short period of time.
Dream, Learn, Do. That’s how you get unstuck.
What do you think? When’s the last time you felt stuck? Are you stuck now? Would this process work for you? What else works? Share your thoughts in the comments below – we’d love to hear them.
Shawn Kinkade Kansas City Business Coach