Over the years, I’ve loved seeing clients get started on the path towards achieving their passions and goals. Fortunately, I’ve learned not to get alarmed when this initial enthusiasm runs into a wall. In fact, I’ve come to see it as an inevitable, even essential, part of a client’s journey. I’ve even come to welcome it (OK, it took a while!) because the sooner it happens, the sooner we can work through it, get them back on track, and see them moving faster than ever towards their vision.
Take Sally, not her real name of course, but it seems to suit her normally sunny nature. Working with her in the early days of her start-up, I’d seen her develop some awesome products, build a loyal customer base and achieve many other great wins. Her challenge, as for many people taking on such ventures, lay in hitting the golden goal of profitability. As a result, she was questioning the sanity of continuing. She was feeling tired and overwhelmed and her mind had started to wander back to her stressful and dull – but well-paid – corporate life.
While sorry to see her feeling this way, I knew we were at an important tipping point.
Whether a client is getting a new business off the ground, taking on a major work project or seeking greater health and fitness, the initial buzz of creating and committing to their goal usually gets them racing out of the starting blocks. However, it soon becomes apparent that those early wins, while exciting, also generate a whole list of other things to think about and to do.
And it’s not just the length of people’s to-do list that increases at this stage – it’s also their awareness of what it’s really going to take – physically and mentally – to get there. As a result, wild enthusiasm starts to evaporate and in its place creeps overwhelm, uncertainty, and self-doubt:
Remind me why I thought this was such a good idea? Tell me why I believed I had the skills and stamina to pull this off? Can I really make this happen? I must have been insane, right?
Sound familiar? I know I’ve been there. Maybe you’re there right now?
So, what can you do?
Well, here’s how Sally and I worked it through:
1. What was your original vision?
I asked her to take a breath, forget about her to-do list for a moment and revisit her original vision: Why did you start this in the first place? What reasons, values or passions drove you to make this change in your life? What picture do you have for you, your business and your life? What do you want to achieve or accomplish?
2. Are you still connected and committed to that vision?
Next, I asked her if the answer to the questions above still resonated as strongly for her as when she first got started. In essence, I wanted to find out if she still felt connected and was still committed to her vision. Her answer to this yes/no question? A resounding yes!
Of course, Sally could have said no, that she no longer felt connected to her original vision and that what she had thought was most important to her had turned out to be something else entirely. This would have been OK and an equally significant turning point. The challenge (and reason for these three critical questions), is in not giving up too early and before giving yourself a chance to get creative about how to keep going and stay sane. Think of all those businesses and social enterprises that would have NEVER got off the ground if their creators had pulled the plug at this initial overwhelm.
Back to Sally.
3. What’s your next step?
Then, I simply asked her to identify her next step.
From my personal experience, and from working with clients, cliched though it is, I’ve learned that keeping things going really is all about taking one step at a time. It’s not just about the movement in itself, but as my grandfather always told us: a path leads to a path. Who knows the potential impact that even one small step might have in terms of opening up new insights and opportunities? So, Sally and I worked out the next thing to do…we kept it small, something that was actually quite fun. Let’s just say she’s not looking back anymore!
When you think about your next step, keep it small and achievable, just to get the momentum going again.
If your goal, like Sally, is about achieving profitability in your business, maybe your next step will be asking for a referral, reviewing expenses or going to a networking event – anything that gets you back in the swing of things. If your focus is on weight-loss or increased fitness, maybe your next step will be swapping the cake for the apple, taking the stairs over the elevator, or going on a 10 minute walk/jog/run – just something that gets you back in the game.
So, how about you?
Are you feeling stuck or overwhelmed? Are doubts creeping in? If so, it’s time for you to answer these 3 key questions to get you unstuck and moving forward again!
1. What was my original vision?
2. Am I still connected and committed to this vision?
3. What’s the next step I need to take to get the momentum going again?
Now take it.
You got this!
As a results-driven, certified coach and consultant, Tracy partners with individuals to help them achieve greater levels of happiness, fulfillment and success – personally and professionally. Visit her website www.tracykennedy.com
How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.