Have you found yourself not knowing which next steps to take in your creative or entrepreneurial life? Wondering if your current business is still on the right path?
Are you busy but questioning, ‘where is all this going?’
If so, you are not alone.
I’ve had the same questions in my business and creative life.
Having co-founded three companies with proprietary technology, investors’ money and worldwide sales, I now show business start-up founders how to raise funds. I’ve recently published my second book of poetry, performing it at spoken word events.
And my experience tells me that uncertainties spring up when the decisions you make divorce you from your intended outcomes, and you don’t stop to simply notice what you are doing.
So let’s shine some light on what you do to create doubt.
You’re Not Honest with Yourself
Ask yourself this.
What is the single most significant difference between your successful business or creative project and one that shrivels up and dies?
It’s action in favour of your vision, regardless of your unhelpful emotions and thoughts.
Otherwise, I suggest the Wright brothers would not have been successful with early manned flight. What they had was willingness to take risks and get the job done, in the face of, I’m guessing, having to contend with impending failure, and the stress of an uphill battle.
So it is action in favour of your vision despite unfavourable circumstances that is vital. And that means living at your point of power.
Just like a dolphin lives underwater but remembers to surface for air. If we remember our point of power is in the present, we can take action to bring our vision into being:
- open mind — reliance on the guidance of your internal compass
- open heart — accountable for your interpretations of situations and others’ actions
- open will — investing in action without the need to know in advance of accomplishing results.
It’s a crossroad. You want to know, you want to avoid doubt, but always knowing can be a pathway to mediocrity.
Harvard Business School Professor Howard Stevenson wrote about this,
“entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity beyond resources controlled.”
He is saying living your point of power is action without knowing what will happen.
That implies being willing to fail and taking responsibility for intended and unintended outcomes.
But do you take responsibility?
You say you are responsible, but you assert your problem is “lack of funding or the current war or the wrong team members or sickness.”
Yes, people, or circumstances, may hinder you. There may be internal resistance, social barriers or health issues.
When you tell yourself these are things you don’t control, you are right, but at the same time, your focus is not on your intended outcome.
And you are so deeply in your own rationalisations that you remain stuck.
It won’t occur to you that your perspective is wrongheaded because you don’t see it is the foundation of self-accountability is to ask; “what am I doing to get these results?”
But if you do ask that question, then your attitude shifts. And you see, you do control the decisions you make in response to people and circumstances. That the actions you take remain your responsibility.
That is what Viktor E. Frankl taught us when he wrote:
‘Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.’
He faced starvation and death daily during WW2, and yet prevailed. His book, Man’s Search For Meaning, translated into at least 24 languages with over 12 million copies sold worldwide, is a tribute to the triumph of self accountability over circumstances.
Once you realise being stuck is your choice to sidestep your responsibility, you’ve pinpointed the cause and started on the right track…
But it is not enough.
You must know the way you think.
You’re Thinking is Not Original, It’s Inherited
The desire for guidance and acceptance by authorities in family, society, and religion may have begun at an early age.
It generates thinking that inherits from authority or social pressure.
Thinking where you give over your power to, for example: get into a flow state, do it this way, it’s the way it’s always been done, remember to be grateful.
It’s hard to overstate how much inherited thinking dictates your behaviour.
And the result?
You don’t permit yourself all the options available.
- How do you speak to your team when things do not go according to plan? Maybe you find fault, singling out someone to blame. Deleting the option of restoring the team’s integrity and performance.
- I can be impatient and quick to anger, as a way of dealing with setbacks. But even as I try to explain away that behaviour, I know I’m robbing myself of the option to start on things I want to happen.
The cost of reducing your options is slower progress.
So you have to come to grips with the cost of operating from inherited thinking.
It’s hard for all of us.
So my best starting point is an easy question— “is this an original thought?” And at the same time take a hard look at the progress of your project(s).
Are they stuck?
You Lock Up Your Potential
Do you have an entrepreneurial or creative offering, and would like to have done more?
Has it been a week, one month, or a year since you took action on your potential offering to make it succeed?
You’re talking about it, “I’m going to (xxx yyy zzz)”.
But you are waiting, and it looks like this:
- defer action while trying for perfection
- diffuse your focus by giving reasons for poor outcomes
- delay, as there is always more preparation needed.
In that way, you are imprisoned by your ‘3Ds’ thinking and your idea or project may wither and die.
But as the saying goes,
‘the way out is the way in.’
So how do we go ‘in’ to get ‘out’ of the ‘3Ds’ of stuck thinking?
Let’s see what Carl Gustav Jung said,
‘We cannot change anything unless we accept it.’
Meet it. Accept it.
Which doesn’t mean that you are an emotionless zombie.
It means that you do not fixate on thoughts.
Particularly thoughts such as, ‘letting go’ ‘moving through’ ‘processing’ ‘releasing’ that may seem like a way out of being stuck but in reality merely delay, diffuse and defer and keep you stuck.
However, when you simply accept you’re stuck, you can decide to re-focus on your vision and get into action for your intended outcome.