A few weeks ago, I was talking to a friend who has a great talent and a dream to make that talent she has, into a business for herself. But I have watched her lose a bit of ‘sparkle’ lately, losing confidence in her (amazing) ability and losing motivation. There was not enough smiling going on in her day for my liking. Then she said something to me that sealed the deal for me that she needed some help. She said “I just need to get out of my rut”. She called it ‘my rut’. She was owning that rut and once you name a rut it’s sticking with you like superglue. So rule 1, right here, before I go any further, is do not call it YOUR rut. It’s ‘A’ rut, it’s not YOURS. You name it, you keep it. Not something you want to do.
Let me explain my thinking here, once you name something like that, you accept it. You attach it to yourself. I know if you were admitting to alcoholism, admitting you have a problem and accepting it is an important step, but in the case of getting stuck in a rut, I personally think that once you attach yourself to the rut by calling it your own, you find it even harder to get out of. It’s just a thought process, the fact remains, there is you, and a rut, and you are in that rut. This is all about directing your thoughts and positivity somewhere that will be helpful for you to move towards your goals.
So what is a rut exactly? Well, it’s when you are stuck in a routine that does not make you happy, does not work for you, but you find it hard to get out of that routine. It might be you are stuck in a job you don’t like, or stuck in a situation where you are doing things in your business that do not make you money, fit your values, or work in with your life. It might be that you are always behind the proverbial eight-ball, always in responding-to-crisis mode, and never in ‘proactive’ mode. The one commonality is that you feel stuck, that you can’t get out of the situation you are in.
But you can. It is possible. But you need to really WANT to get out of it! In my last blog (click to check it out), I talked about no-one coming with a magic fairy wand to fix things for you, sorry to report, same applies here, there is no magic fairy wand here either. In fact, a rut can be very hard to get out of without a little effort on your part. You know that saying ‘If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got’, that is probably one of the most important things you need to bear in mind here. You will need to make some changes to get out of the rut you are in.
When you are stuck in a rut it is often the case that you feel like there is just no way out. It’s a sickening, desperate feeling, that often starts in the pit of your stomach. Well that’s how I remember it from a time I was stuck in a rut a long time ago, whilst riding a corporate merry-go-round, that from the outside, probably appeared to be an awesome career with a hell of a lot of very fancy perks, but for me, it felt like a prison. It’s that feeling of ‘this must be as good as life gets’ and ‘this is my lot in life’ and ‘other people are so lucky to do a job they love’. It’s that feeling of you don’t get to do what you want because you have to be doing something else.
But there is always a way out. Always.
Getting out of a rut is 50% mindset and 50% hard work.
First up you need to tackle your mindset. Negative self talk wont do you any good at this point, so cut the ‘I can’t’, the ‘it’s too hard’, the ‘I have a problem’ and bring in the ‘I will’, ‘I can’ and ‘I have an opportunity to find a solution’. I don’t even want to hear any excuses why you still need to talk like that. Make a decision, do you want to get out of this rut or not? Putting my mean pants on now, I’m telling you that you, and only you are in control of the way you feel. Sorry, a few years of uni studying both communication and philosophy, and I have the ability to argue and reason fluently… I could go off and rant about people that say ‘he made me feel like a loser’ or ‘she makes me feel like a failure’. No. You control your feelings. Others can say and do whatever they like but deep inside of you, the feeling thermostat is yours, not theirs. Take responsibility for your thoughts and feelings and make them become what you want them to be. A very good friend of mine would describe this paragraph as ‘a slap with a wet stinky fish’ and perhaps it is, but its highly possible it’s just what you need to get out of your rut!
The being responsible for your own thoughts and feelings might be a whole another blog one day but I will try and stay on track to give you relevant and useful business advice, because that is what I am all about here.
So anyway, whilst you are at eliminating the negative self talk, surround yourself with people that make you feel good. You need people around you that speak in positive language, that don’t enable your ‘I can’t’ mindset. People that are positive, doing what they want to be doing, supportive and at the risk of sounding a little weird, the ones that can see the rainbows and unicorns in life. Those people will support you whilst you drag yourself out of a rut and into a great situation. Find yourself a support network, a mentor and/or a group of like minded people that want the same kind of things that you want.
Then comes the hard work. You need to work out what it is you need to change in order to get out of this rut. The chances are, deep down, you know what you need to do. Whether you allow yourself to admit and acknowledge it is another thing. You may have all the ‘tools’ you need to do to make the change. You might need some help. Either way, figure out a bit of a plan and start to take the action you need. It may not be easy, and you will probably find you need to put in some serious hours to get some changes made, so prioritise your time so that you spent time working towards your goal (which will be to escape the rut). I am not saying that salvation lays in putting in a gazillion hours, not the case, but realistically, making big changes can take some big time to sort out. You may need to create a set of systems in your business so you can keep in better touch with your clients, revamp your website so it is more user friendly so you spend less time answering questions, learn some great time management skills, deal with your overwhelm, whatever it may be, chances are it will take some time. Keep your eye on the prize so far as knowing that the hard work now will help you achieve your goal and get you out of your rut.
Here are some easy ways to stop yourself from heading down the same path tomorrow that you followed today. I’ve talked about the big stuff, but small things can also have a great impact on your day-to-day feeling of being stuck in a rut.
– Read a new motivational book or listen to a CD. Talking books are great if you go driving in the car in your regular day. Try listening to something that inspires you every now and then.
– Exercise more. Even 15 minutes of exercise in your day is great for giving you the motivation to change your routine into what you want it to be. I’m no PT expert so I will let you figure out the whole blood flow, endorphins thing for yourself.
– Talk to a friend or mentor. Sometimes others who are a little removed from the situation can see solutions better than those close to the situation. Talking to someone about where you feel you are getting stuck might help you find a solution with their input.
– De-clutter your work area / life. Aside from the fact we never want to end up like that man who has to sleep sitting up on a couch because there is so much clutter in his house, his bed is buried deep in it never to be seen again, clutter gets in the way of us really getting things done effectively. You spend too much time looking for things, moving things around to make space for something else, and once you start counting how many times you touch each piece of paper in your office you might realise just how much time you are wasting on things that are not useful.
– Get enough sleep. If you are absolutely exhausted all the time, it might seem like any change is going to require energy you simply don’t have. Rest when you need it. Hey, if that means you have a 15 minute nap on the couch with your feet up in the middle of the day, do that. You are not going to be any use to anyone in your life including yourself if you burn yourself out with exhaustion.
– Don’t wait until everything is perfect to act. The moons do not align often, so when they are generally close to lining up, act. There is never a perfect time to make a big change, the batman symbol will not light up in Gotham City to tell you today is the day. You choose the moment, and really, why can’t it be today?
If you feel like you need some help getting out of a rut, send me an email me by clicking here and I will send you back some free, no-strings-attached ideas to help you out.
Yes. You can.