There are moments of ‘stuck’ throughout every business startup and growth stage. Heck, there are moments of stuck most days if you’re an entrepreneur. The Cambridge dictionary defines stuck as “unable to move, or set in a particular position, place, or way of thinking; in a difficult situation, or unable to change or get away from a situation.”
Being stuck can mean you don’t know which decision would be best out of all the viable alternatives. Or it might mean you’re stuck in a rut and can’t see any possibilities. While most of these moments are inevitable at one time or another in an entrepreneur’s life, it’s how you address those moments that will help you forge ahead or fall behind.
Here are six things to keep in mind when you’re feeling stuck:
Tip #1: Stop comparing against others
Are you comparing your business’s success to other businesses (similar or not) or, worse yet, are you comparing today’s self to your past self? Stop focusing on other people’s success: no one’s recipe for success is the same and they’ve likely had to overcome their own moments of stuck.
You can, however, learn from their mistakes. As for yourself, remember that entrepreneurs have to wear many hats; you can’t possibly be an expert in every business domain, so cut yourself some slack. To get unstuck you’ll have to find ways to move forward and focus on what you can do today, not what someone else did that one time two continents away…
Tip #2: Don’t live in the past
Are you blaming yourself for making a bad decision? Don’t dwell on the past; rather, focus on what you can do now to improve or fix the issue and how you can do better in the future. To get unstuck, take what you’ve learned from past mistakes and apply that knowledge moving forward for more informed decisions.
Tip #3: Try something new
Open yourself up to new people, ideas, and opportunities to gain a new perspective and possible solutions. Join an in-person or online networking or business support group; plug your question or challenge into Google and see what insight or answers your research can provide; get advice from an objective business coach; or practice asking yourself questions from a third-party point of view for deeper introspection.
Tip #4 : Slow down
Don’t try to solve all your problems in a day. Getting unstuck can be a lengthy process, but you want to make sure your solution provides clarity (that “a-ha!” moment) and value. It’s worth taking the time to look at the problem from all angles and hypothetically explore possible outcomes to help you choose the best course of action.
Tip #5: Draw on your network
Believe in yourself! You made it this far, you can do it again. Everyone gets stuck once in awhile. You might not be Apple with a team of thousands of brains that can quickly and efficiently figure out how to get out of the rut, but you can pick the brains of thousands of people in your online and real-life networks. Social media can be a great tool for crowdsourcing opinions and solutions.
Tip #6: Be unreasonable
When all else fails, take marketing expert Seth Godin’s advice: “The only way to get out of the spot you’re in is to do something that feels unreasonable…If you truly want to get unstuck, if you want to move to higher ground or do something more worthwhile, the first question to ask is, ‘Am I willing to be unreasonable, at least for a while?’ ”