Stuck to Unstuck

Ever feel stuck?  You know what you need to do but just can’t get yourself to do it.  You want to do it but there seems to be an invisible force holding you back.  I’ve been there… very recently.  Here’s a few tips that have helped me:

Tell someone 

When you tell someone you trust that you’re stuck it’s like using a lever to move a large boulder.  It’s still work but it becomes easier.  Accountability and empathy loosen the bonds of stuck-ness.

Write down The Why

Get a piece of paper and write down “why” you need to do what you’re not doing.  It convinces your brain that it’s time to act.  It solidifies your willingness to act.  Then show it to the person you’ve told that you’re stuck and talk to them about it.

Write down The What

If writing down the “why” didn’t do the trick, try writing down the “what”.  Break down the bigger thing down into its individual tasks… and if possible break those tasks into smaller tasks.  This makes me feel like I’ve started doing something and gives me the momentum I need to actually do what I need to do.

Consequences – Fear and Benefits

This doesn’t always work for me but for some the pressure of considering what will happen negatively if they don’t do what they need to do becomes greater than the inertia of their stuck-ness.  I think this is called “Fear.”

On the other hand considering the positive consequences of getting the thing done has often moved me to action.  Especially if I share these benefits with someone who supports and encourages.   There are the rational and the emotional benefits to any action.  However, as a motivator, the emotional benefits win every time.

These are only a few ways to get unstuck.  Let me know what works for you.

Be Better!

Unique: Good or Bad?

At a recent luncheon for my alma mater, Hampden-Sydney College, a statement was made by the speaker that should be taught in every university, every management class, every marketing class and heralded by every politician or leader.  The speaker was one of my heroes – John Adams, Chairman of the Martin Agency – a legend in advertising.  He said the school had for years been diluting or even hiding its most unique attribute – the fact that Hampden-Sydney is one of only two all male private colleges in the United States.  He then pounded the podium and said something to the effect of, “Not anymore!  We will be known as the school that is the expert in educating men!

We will take our uniqueness and make it our strength!

All male is who we are.  It’s essential to the experience of attending Hampden-Sydney!”  He then explained how the school was going to deepen that experience and clarify its purpose and benefits.

I find that there are multitudes of organizations that hide their uniqueness in a quest to fit in with the competition.  “Me too!” can be heard echoing through the halls of most corporations.  We benchmark, we go to industry conferences and talk to our reflections, we become like teenagers following the latest trends to be different but ending up all the same.  Look inside and find your uniqueness.  Find the benefits of that uniqueness and then tell the story of that uniqueness in a way that attracts your desired audience.



“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

-Antoine de Saint-Exupery

In most organizations (companies, non-profits and governments) improvement is sought by adding complexity.  More rules, more regulations, a more detailed employee handbook, more technology, an added process.  But like most obese Americans’ arteries, adding more has just clogged things up.  Often causing severe health issues.  The problem of complexity is not solved by adding complexity.  It is solved through simplification.  But simplifying is rarely easy to do.  We naturally tend toward more being better.  But better comes from focus. And to focus you must simplify.

Be Better