How to Break Through When You’re Stuck - Part II

In a previous post, we laid out a number of action steps that can help someone who feels stuck to break through and get things done. Here are some additional steps that can make the difference between languishing behind paralyzing inaction and crushing it with empowering achievement.

  1. Find a mentor who is one chapter ahead of you – When you don’t know what to do next to, find someone who does. Ideally, this should be someone who just walked a mile in your shoes. They will not only be current in their thinking and approaches, but will likely be more willing to share their experiences and help you grow more quickly than you could do alone.
  2. Get a coach – Coaches are trained to ask penetrating, elucidating questions that push aside the clutter and clear a pathway forward. Great coaches help you overcome gremlins and limiting beliefs and forge ahead with greater confidence.
  3. Be prepared to learn – Sometimes, the difference between staying put and moving forward is the ability and willingness to learn new information or skills. Don’t assume that yesterday’s knowledge can always solve today’s problems. Figure out where your gaps are and hit the books, video, course, etc.
  4. Stop the interruptions – So often, getting stuck is simply the product of having too many things vying for your attention and clarity. Put away your phone. Be disciplined in your computer usage and particularly your web surfing. Set timers to keep you focused and limit anything that involves research to ensure that you haven’t veered too far.
  5. Take a break – Just when you think that you are so far behind that you can’t possibly get up from your desk, that may be exactly what the doctor ordered. Remove yourself from the work; don’t worry, it’ll still be there when you return. Go for a walk or to the gym. Meditate. Do some yoga. You will return to your desk feeling refreshed and ready to tackle your to-do list.
  6. Toss caution to the wind – Often, the biggest inhibitor to progress is our fears. Fear of the unknown. Fear of what might happen if we take action (what others will say or think, how the change will impact things, etc.) While I am not suggesting that you be reckless in your decision making, this may very well be the time to move forward boldly and with gusto.  
  7. Imagine the alternative – Think about what life and work will be like if you remain stuck and what possibilities may await you if you break through and get this done. Make the pictures as vivid as possible and add emotion. Use the picture of a better tomorrow to push you forward.
  8. Start early (in the morning) – The best time for action is early on, when your mind is fresh and less cluttered with distractions and competing interests. Plan your breakthrough (or some of its subcomponents) as your first order of business each day and block out enough time to make meaningful progress.
  9. Just get started – Regardless of time of day and circumstance, commit to get started. And start with the greatest impact. Ask yourself: Which one step can I take right now that will have the greatest (or at least some) positive impact in moving you forward?
  10. Celebrate your successes – Identify milestones along the way and celebrate your achievement. You completed another course? Go out for dinner. You scheduled three new clients calls for five consecutive days? Distribute a few high-fives. You submitted your resume ten times and went on a bunch of interviews? Give yourself a pat on the back, knowing that you are doing things to better your life.

Regardless of the tactics that you use, the main thing to remember is that action is the greatest cure for inaction. Do something, whatever works for you, to break free from your morass and get the right stuff done.

Did you like this post? Is there a strategy here that really speaks to you? Is there another one that you'd like to suggest? Share your answers in the comments below.