Feeling stuck? Here's how to get back on track!

I don't' know about you, but I haven't achieved everything I set out to achieve this year.

That realization brings up all of those gross, yet familiar, feelings: guilt, frustration, disappointment, shame.

And I'm OK openly admitting that. Why? Because I can't don't let those feelings get the better of me (not for too long).

Before sharing ways to get unstuck, let's figure out what's going on and why we get stuck in the first place.

The Great Disconnect

Negativity. It's what happens when we spend too much time looking outside ourselves.

Like when we…

  • Compare ourselves (to others);
  • Set unrealistic goals;
  • Attempt to live up to someone else's expectations;
  • Serve outside our strengths;
  • Try to improve our weaknesses;
  • Follow someone else's path instead of finding our own.

This kind of extrospection (yes, that's a real word!) makes us feel deflated, resentful and not enough.

But it's more than just observations and feelings that get us down.

Negativity comes about when we spend too much time looking outside ourselves. Click To Tweet

The Grind

Running your business indie-style means there's a constant barrage of “stuff” popping up, which YOU need to deal with.

Taxes. Payment processors. Broken links. Windows updates. Backups. Cancellations. Connection issues. Refunds.

Getting systems, processes and funnels set up right and to your standards consistently takes up far more time than you had planned.

Necessary evils keep forcing you to work in your business versus working on your business.

Overwhelmed, you compensate by:

  • Pushing that launch date further and further.
  • Putting off writing that blog post.
  • Burying that half-done ebook somewhere in DropBox.

It all gets sucked into the I'll-get-to-it-later vortex.

The vicious cycle (or Someday Syndrome as my buddy Alex calls it) sets in, and you slip into auto-pilot mode, going through the motions.

Q4 rolls around and you're jolted by the realization that you've accomplished very little, while everyone around you seems to have their stuff together.

Left unchecked, negativity and overwhelm can be crippling. We feel stuck, and stay stuck.

The good news: It's your responsibility to change the situation.

The bad news: It's your responsibility to change the situation.

So how do you take responsibility, break the cycle and get unstuck?

The good news/bad news about negativity: It's your responsibility to change the situation. Click To Tweet

I'll Show You Mine

I can't tell you what to do, but I can tell you what helps me. Maybe it'll give you fresh ideas to use the next time you're feeling stuck.

The best way I've found to counteract and manage stuckness is to take a step back, and go “back to basics.”

To be clear, “back to basics” does NOT mean “simplistic” or “regression.” It means going back to my roots and reminding myself why I'm doing this thing.

Here are four ways I go “back to basics.”

Going back to basics helps to counteract and manage stuckness. Click To Tweet

1. Strengths

When I need an immediate boost, I pull out my StrengthsFinder 2.0 book.

Looking at the cover, this is what I see:

My Top 5 Strengths

When I need an immediate boost, I pull out my StrengthsFinder 2.0 book. Click To Tweet

In another post, I discussed how figuring out my strengths was life-changing and how it can help you figure out your entrepreneur super power. (Just reading that post lifts me up!)

Seeing my list of top 5 strengths quickly gets me out of comparisitis mode. Strengths #1, #3 and #4 in particular make me feel empowered.

It reminds me how my combination of strengths is unique to me, thus different than whomever I'm comparing myself to.

How do you use your strengths to get unstuck?

2. Values

To me, values are words to describe what is intrinsically important to a person.

I've always known that defining and sticking to my values was an important part of attracting my tribe, and guides me on my quest to becoming a better person.

But I was having trouble coming up with a “short list.” I kept googling “list + values” then noting all the words I resonated with. As you can imagine, that list got pretty long. I just didn't know how to boil it down to a handful of core, fundamental values and how to apply them in my business.

Finally, in July 2015, I did a values exercise with Lisa Cherry Beaumont. Her super power is nothing short of astounding. I can't quite explain her process, but she has perfected it and it's pure genius.

Basically she asked me a bunch of questions (seemingly unrelated). My answers would lead her to probe deeper in different directions until she honed in on my personal “short list” of values.

This is what came of our session:

  • My top four idealistic values (these make me feel happy)
    1. Connections
    2. Validation
    3. Autonomy
    4. Imagination (SUPERPOWER!)
  • My top four operational values (these make me stick at something)
    1. Learning
    2. Being Trusted
    3. Integrity
    4. Honesty

I put my idealistic values in action when I feel down, and tap into my operational values when I feel like quitting (yes, it happens folks).

If I'm in a funk, it's either because I've deviated from these values or because I've not put them in action.

If I'm in a funk, it's either because I've deviated from my values or because I've not put them in action. Click To Tweet

How do your values motivate you to take action?

3. Big Why

Another method I use to get fired up is to recall my “big why.”

To be completely honest, it's something I've struggled with. I mean, I've always known my raison d'être could be boiled down to one word —Independence. But really, isn't that what all entrepreneurs crave?

And “independence?” Pretty vague, right? And, oh so cliché!

Last week, during Tepsii‘s awesome vulnerability challenge, I felt inspired to revisit this element in a new light.

I'm still refining it, but here's what I've discovered about my “big why”:

  • I will serve, guide, support and facilitate you on your journey.
  • I will help you fall in love with your business (again) and with marketing.
  • There is only one right way to do this online product launch thing: Your way!
  • Embrace, use and share your unique gifts. Your people need you.
  • Focus your efforts on what makes you awesome, then go out and do more of that. And for the love of all things sacred, quit trying to get better at things you suck at!

Just typing those statements and re-reading them puts a fire in my belly.

It's impossible to remain complacent when I see there's still a place for me in the world of online business.

It's impossible to remain complacent when I see there's still a place for me in the world of online business. Click To Tweet

How does your “big why” fire you up?

4. Connection

Whether you like it or not, you need to connect with people to grow your business.

Fortunately, it's my favorite strategy, and is my go-to method to quickly get unstuck. As a social introvert, I have a deep desire to connect with people (social) in a neutral, non-invasive setting (introvert).

When I start second guessing everything and getting lost in analysis paralysis, I'll (eventually) realize that what's been lacking are meaningful connections.

It's as if the act of communicating gets things flowing again.

The phone is my favorite communication tool, but I know I can't just pick up the phone and start calling people unexpectedly.

So I turn to social media and email to get the ball rolling. I'll usually…

  • send private messages via social media
  • reply/react to social media posts
  • share resources and tag on social media
  • engage in carefully selected social groups
  • send personal emails

That's usually all it takes to set up a quick phone call or Skype meeting.

When I'm feeling really stuck and/or I need to discuss something specific, I have a small network of colleagues whom I trust to give me support, confidentiality, acceptance and practical feedback (and I for them).

So yeah, you could say this one's a biggy. Probably because it ties my strengths, values and “big why” all into one activity.

Whether you like it or not, you need to connect with people to grow your business. Click To Tweet

How does making meaningful connections get you back in “flow”?

Let's Recap

There you have it —four techniques I use to get unstuck when I'm feeling the indiepreneur blues:

  1. Strengths
  2. Values
  3. Big Why
  4. Connections

I use other ways, too, like music, coaching, self-care, therapy, etc.

Remember, slumps are a normal part of being human. Having a plan of attack is key to getting out quickly so you don't lose too much momentum.

Create a plan that works for you, with a good variety of techniques.

Need a bit of extra incentive? Here's one of my all-time fave quotes encapsulating this entire post:

“Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.”

—Will Rogers

So don't just sit there. DO something!!

Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there. -Will Rogers Click To Tweet

Please share in the comments. What things get you stuck? What actions do you take to  change the situation?

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