Three Concrete Steps to Getting Unstuck

Yesterday, I laid out three of the reasons why it’s not your fault that you’re stuck, stymied in your effort to make changes.

Which is not to say that you have to stay stuck. There are several ways you can take the reins in making change:

Figuring out what or how to change.

First, you have to shift out of your current mode of thinking, to step outside your usual way of thinking and see your world through a different lens.

In other words, you need to stretch the usual boundaries of your mind and open it to new possibilities.

Here’s where you call on your friend Curiosity (sounds very Dickensian, doesn’t it!?). Let it loose on the wealth of information about how our minds work and why we behave the way we do. Whether you want to “get things done,” become a “highly effective person” or awaken your inner giant, there are plenty of personal development blogs, self-help books, YouTube interviews and audio programs with information on how to do it.

Next, you need to come up with a strategy and figure out what action(s) to incorporate in your routine. Instead of hopping around, trying one thing and another, decide on a plan and stick to it – consistency is your ally.

Being more objective and identifying your blind spots.

Pretty much anything you do can be broken down into improvable skills. Writing reports, for example, involves research, analyzing information and presenting it – each an improvable skill. Leading a board meeting requires nuanced understanding of the company’s strategy, synthesizing a coherent view of coming market changes and facilitating different viewpoints for a productive discussion.

How do you shine a neutral spotlight – i.e. strip away ego and emotion — on what needs to be improved?

Let’s say you’re in sales and want to improve your cold-calling technique. To get a more objective viewpoint, you could ask a friend or colleague to listen in on a few calls (or record them), give you constructive feedback on what worked and what didn’t, and rate you on various criteria (e.g. pacing, questions, ability to build rapport, etc.).

If there’s a specific point where you sound tentative, you can practice conveying more authority. If you thought you were bursting with enthusiasm and, in fact, you came across more like Morticia Addams, you’ll know to pump it up.

This deliberate focus on your weakest areas will translate into concrete results.

Getting motivated and staying accountable.

“I’ll start tomorrow.” We all know that excuse — it’s hard to break through inertia and start a new habit when you’re the only who knows whether you did it or not.

The solution: don’t keep it a secret.

Share your goals privately with a friend or colleague you trust. Or go one step further and announce them on Facebook. Posting regular, honest updates and asking for friends’ support will boost your motivation and keep you on track.

Using any of these ideas will help you move forward. There is another solution, however, that encompasses all of these approaches and then some. I’ll be sharing that tomorrow, so stay tuned.

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