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Getting Stuck

When you get stuck, ask yourself these five questions to avoid a real messFotolia_38274417_XS(2)

Being stuck, perplexed or bamboozled by challenges is a normal part of being in business. But if one stays stuck, discomfort rises.

Business people call me and say, “I don’t know what to do.  I’m stuck. Can you help me?”  What does it mean to be stuck or bogged down?  More importantly, what are you to do about it?

Being stuck, perplexed or bamboozled by challenges is a normal part of being in business. But if one stays stuck, discomfort rises.  Then the discomfort leads to a downward spiral of helplessness, which makes finding a way out unlikely.  The way to avoid becoming completely stuck is to take action.  But how do you do this when you feel buried up to your knees in “I can’ts” and “I don’t knows”? 

Recently, I uncovered a note I had written to myself entitled.” What to do when you’re losing it”.  The note consisted of a list of five questions I had written to be used in my stuck moments to help me get a new perspective and ultimately become unstuck.     

1)  What is working?  Wow, what an odd place to start.  When bogged down, the last thing we naturally do is assess what is going well.  However, taking an inventory of what is working regarding the current dilemma provides two outcomes; it helps you 1) see that most likely you are not as hopelessly mired as you thought and 2) get a glimpse at what is possible. 

2)    Why is that working? Another odd question.  After you identify something that IS working, ask “Why is that working?”  This is a different twist because most often when we ask “why” we are looking for what is not working.  Asking the positive why helps you learn more about the conditions of your success.  It further helps you identify the strengths which prevent you from completely going under!

3)    What is ideal?  Now is the time to describe what you want.  What do you wish existed? What results do you want?  How do you want the process to unfold?  While you don’t always need to know where we are going, when you are entangled in a problem it is crucial to know what you would like to happen.  Being able to “see” and describe your desired outcome can make all of the difference. 

4)    What is not quite right yet?   This question, worded precisely this way, reminds us that the solution is on the way.  It also minimizes the perceived severity of the problem.  And this less dramatic take on the typical question “What is wrong?” sets us up to find solutions.

5)    So, what am I willing to do and what resources do I need?  Ah…willing.  Another deliberate word.  Being stuck is only part of the problem.  Some folks look for someone to come along and dig them out.  The truth is solutions to our problems, personally or in business, come when we take deliberate action.  No amount of whining really changed anything (Believe me, I’ve tried.)  It is only in the action that shifting happens. 

Secondly, asking yourself what or who you need to make these shifts get you thinking outside yourself.  Getting help shaking things up may allow you to become unstuck quicker.  It is natural and even beneficial at times to get the aid of someone else to help dig you out. 

Being bogged down by challenges is a reality of being in business.  Recognizing when you are mired in a mess then taking action can be the difference between walking through sand up to your ankles or being buried in sand up to your neck.  Asking yourself these 5 questions may just prevent you from being buzzard food. 

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