Most business owners get stuck at some point in their journey. It can happen to anyone at any time, especially when things are going well. If you haven’t gotten stuck yet, give it time. You will.
I’ve gotten stuck and lived to come out on the other side of it. In the moment it feels overwhelming and insurmountable. It feels like running through quicksand, giving everything you’ve got and getting nowhere fast.
“Is this how it ends?” you secretly wonder.
“Does it ever get better?” you ask yourself.
Yes, it gets better. In fact, I believe that if you’re willing to do the work to get unstuck, the best days for you and your business are up ahead.
You can break through your stuck season. Once you do you will have a greater understanding of who you are, what you want, and how to move your business forward.
Stick around (no pun intended) because today I’m going to show you my 3 step plan to help you get unstuck, become unstoppable, and grow your business again.
Why You Get Stuck
Okay, so you recognize that you’re stuck. Awesome. Awareness is the first step in the right direction.
However, we can’t help you get unstuck until we first understand WHY you’re stuck in the first place.
You get stuck because something, an obstacle, is standing in your way. Now there are many things that can lead you to get stuck, and only you can know what got you stuck.
However, once you’re stuck, it’s due to at least one of these two things:
- Confusion over what to do next
- Capability lacking to take the next steps
Let’s take a look at each of these obstacles in order to understand how to move past them.
Let’s start with the confusion you’re experiencing. But first we need to acknowledge that this is a different type of confusion.
This isn’t a “lack of information” confusion. That would be easy to overcome. A quick Google search and you find a solution to your problem. No, this confusion is far worse.
You’re suffering from a “lack of insight” confusion. Insight about where to take your business isn’t something you can just search for on the internet.
A lack of insight comes from a lack of vision. If you don’t know where you’re going then you’ll never know how to get there.
When you get stuck, confusion about what to do next is actually confusion about where to go next. It’s a lack of vision.
It reminds me of what the Bible says about vision in the book of Proverbs.
‘Where there is no vision, the people perish…’Proverbs 29:18a
If you’re confused about where to take your company, then you can bet your team members and customers are even more confused, which is why sales suffer and your business gets stuck.
The second obstacle that’s causing your business to get stuck is that you lack the capabilities to take it to the next level.
Before you get too defensive, I’m not saying your company needs a leadership change (although, it’s possible). However, you need to reevaluate and change the recipe and ingredients of your business so it can grow again.
Here are a few ways your company’s capability may be lacking:
- Business strategy doesn’t align with new vision (this is hard to know if the vision is still fuzzy)
- Employee skills aren’t growing
- Company morale is low (usually due to feeling stuck)
- Marketing is fuzzy and just confusing potential customers
And the list could go on…
Oftentimes you don’t realize you have a capability problem until AFTER you’ve done some work on your confusion problem. Start by clarifying the vision of where your business is going. Afterwards you can take an honest look at what’s lacking in your capabilities.
So you feel stuck? Your capabilities are misaligned or lacking.
How do you begin the work of getting unstuck so your business can grow again? Let’s take a look.
3 Steps To Get Unstuck
Getting unstuck likely won’t happen overnight. However, if you clear your calendar for a day or two and turn off all other distractions, you can start taking unstuck action within a week or so.
Be intentional and patient with the process and remember the growth and freedom you’ll experience on the other side of stuck.
1. Clarify your vision
Having a clear vision is the starting point.
To go more in depth on crafting a vision that sticks, I highly recommend you check out “The Vision Driven Leader” by Michael Hyatt. Below are some of his points to guide you forward.
A clear vision:
- Gives you confidence
- Accelerates your momentum
- Differentiates between opportunities and distractions
- Drives execution and reduces overwhelm
- Attract the right teammates and repel the wrong ones
So how do we craft a clear, compelling vision? Hyatt’s Vision Script leads us through the vision-crafting process by answering the following questions:
- What do you want? If you can jump ahead three to five years, where do you want to be? Think in terms of your team, your products, your sales and marketing, and your impact.
- Is it clear? Do you have a good grip on the direction you’re headed, and it is explicit and concrete enough for your team to follow?
- Does it inspire? For a vision to be effective, it must be powerful enough to shake off complacency and replace it with the motivation to take action. Will your vision inspire your team?
- Is it practical? This is where you’ll get into more of the nitty gritty, crafting strategy, setting goals, breaking those goals into meaningful next steps, and hiring for your vision.
- Can you sell it? You’ll need to be sure that you can get others on board–from your direct team to your boss or your board, the company more broadly, and those outside the company, if necessary.
Michael Hyatt reminds us in his book, “A vision is not a guarantee. Plenty of visions fail. But having no vision is a guarantee of failure.”
2. Create an action plan
Now that you have created a clear vision for your business, you need a strategic plan to make it happen.
Reflect on where you want your business to go, and what steps it needs to take to get from here to there. Think about it like taking your business on a journey, and your plan is guiding it every step of the way.
A popular method that gets results is to use SMART goals that create a step-by-step plan that moves your business forward. Michael Hyatt builds on this framework with his SMARTER goals.
Hyatt’s SMARTER goals are:
- Specific— your goals must identify exactly what you want to accomplish in as much specificity as you can muster.
- Bad: Write a book.
- Good: Write a book proposal for The Vision Driven Leader.
- Measurable— as the old adage says, “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” If possible, try to quantify the result. You want to know absolutely, positively whether or not you hit the goal.
- Bad: “Earn more this year than last.”
- Good: “Earn $5,000 more this year than last.”
- Actionable— every goal should start with an action verb (e.g., “quit,” “run,” “finish,” “eliminate,” etc.) rather than a to-be verb (e.g., “am,” “be,” “have,” etc.)
- Bad: Be more consistent in blogging.
- Good: Write two blog posts per week.
- Risky— a good goal should stretch you, but not too much. I go right up to the edge of my comfort zone and then step over it. (If I am not out of my comfort zone, I’m not thinking big enough.)
- Bad: Increase sales by 2 percent.
- Good: Increase sales by 10 percent.
- Time-keyed— every goal needs a date associated with it. When do you plan to deliver on that goal. It could be by year-end (December 31) or it could be more near-term (March 31). A goal without a date is just a dream. Make sure that every goal ends with a by when date.
- Bad: Lose 20 pounds.
- Good: Lose 20 pounds by June 30th.
- Exciting— you should be personally excited about achieving the goal. If this isn’t the case, then you likely won’t have the motivation necessary to continue pursuing the goal when you encounter unexpected challenges—which you inevitably will.
- Bad: Take another one-week summer vacation.
- Good: Take a two-week vacation to Italy.
- Relevant— your goal must be relevant—or aligning with—your values, your season in life, and your other goals.
- Bad: Start a new business at the same time you want to get a masters degree.
- Good: Do one or the other.
Write your SMARTER goals down in sequential order to create a SMARTER action plan. Make your plan visible in your workspace and review it frequently to help you stay on track.
3. Courageously move forward
While the first two steps are extremely important, this step is often the most difficult because it feels risky.
You crafted a clear vision.
Then you created a SMARTER action plan.
But now you feel unsure whether or not you will succeed or fail.
There’s no way around the risk. You can limit risk, but it will always be there on some level.
Here are 5 tips to help you courageously move forward:
- Embrace vulnerability— opening up to others, often a scary thing to do, disarms fear and failure by admitting that you’re human.
- Do it scared— Feeling afraid is fine, but you still get to decide your actions even when they don’t align with your feelings.
- Think positively— What you think about repeatedly actually trains your brain for more of the same. Think positively and more positivity will follow.
- Reduce your stress— People sometimes feel fear simply due to exhaustion. Eat healthy, get plenty of rest, and give yourself space to breathe.
- Start small— Don’t try to bite off more than you can chew in the beginning. Do one small act of courage, then build on top of that.
As you start to take small steps of courage to move forward you will gain confidence in yourself, in your vision, and in the future of your business to start growing again.
On The Other Side of Stuck
These steps might seem a little “whoo whoo” for some people but before you move along with your busy, stuck life, imagine what could be on the other side of “stuck” for you.
Imagine clarity in your business, and confidence in moving forward. Imagine waking up every morning full of energy about how you are making an impact through your business.
What if your business is more successful than you could ever imagine? Imagine leveraging your success to help others and make a greater impact on the world.
Imagine what’s possible for you and your business on the other side of “stuck”. Start crossing that bridge today.
Let’s Do This
Okay, now you have everything you need to get unstuck, be unstoppable, and move your business forward. Take action now!
- Leave a comment below about how this post helped you today.
- Follow the steps in this post to move your business forward.
- Get our free training below to accelerate your business even more.