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Why am I stuck?

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU FEEL STUCK?

A month ago my strategic business partner and I both came to our weekly meeting feeling depressed about our businesses plus overwhelmed, overworked, underpaid, and just plain stuck.  We thought it was interesting that we were both feeling the same thing on the same week.  It actually helped us step back and look at our situations from outside the feelings.

Here’s what we decided to do:  We made an agreement that by our next meeting we would both have analyzed our situation and come up with solutions and steps.  By stepping back and defining exactly what was happening we stopped the cycle of just plain being IN the problem, and started looking for ways out.

It worked!  Not only did we feel better immediately, but our energy and enthusiasm about our businesses returned and by the next week we were both moving forward again.  I have to admit that my strategic partner came up with a format for analyzing her situation that was better than mine so let me share it with you:

THE PROBLEM:

Write down the actual problem or problems.  To do this you have to STOP, step back from your life for a few minutes, think, and write.  Is there more than one problem working in combination? Do this process as a list…. not an essay.

Here are some sample problems:  Erratic clash flow.  Money spent before work is done.  Undercharging.   Being busy but not productive. (OR) Too busy to think of and make course corrections.  Not marketing consistently. Doing marketing that brings in more ‘interest’ than actual paying clients.  Falling into black holes like spending too much time each a day on Facebook or your email.  What exactly makes YOU feel stuck inside your business?

Now identify this:  What is it in your situation that virtually assures you are going to stay in this rut?  Write that down too.

All of the above is THE PROBLEM.

THE VISION:

What would it  look like if you were out of this problematic situation? It is important for you to write down what you want your situation to become. I do five hours of marketing per week and that nets me 30 hours of paid work each month.  I have developed a routine where I get the top priority things done each day and then work on things of a lower priority.  When I look at the mental “pie chart” of my business time I see that I want and need to shift the sections.

What’s your vision?  What would your business life look like without “the problem(s)?”

SOLUTIONS:

Now, you need to brainstorm like mad.  Look at your situation as if you are seeing it from the outside. What do you  actually need to do to get out of this rut?  If you have detailed the problem the solutions are going to be pretty obvious.  This is the place to think hard about how to get from where you are now to where you are in your vision.

For example, here is one of my own favorite ruts:  I get so busy working with clients that I don’t have time to work on my strategic goals.  The SOLUTION, obviously, is to use even better time management than I do, and block out some big chunks of time for writing.  I need to do this asap! I need to look at my upcoming calendar and find that time.  Then I need to embrace that writing time as if it is my best friend forever!  Because if I don’t – guess what – problem continues!

THE IMMEDIATE STEPS:

This is a ‘ To Do’ list. Now that you have your  vision and the solutions in mind, you need to make a list of immediate steps you can take to start moving yourself out of “the problem.”

You may have just written something above that is going to take you several months to completely shift.  Still, what are the immediate next steps?  Alternatively, it may take you a week to change your situation.  Great – how will you do that? In either case, what are the steps?  Write them down… and then go out and get started asap!

FINAL COMMENT:  You have probably heard that classic definition of insanity:  “You continue doing the same thing but expect a different outcome.”  By following the steps above you can get out of the debilitating emotional part of being in a rut and move yourself, step-by-step, to the much better place. Yea!

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