Feeling Stuck? Do This Right Now!
We all get stuck at some point. Perhaps halfway through a project or right at the beginning of a venture. Sometimes, we get stuck when we are dealt a setback or something disappointing occurs. I sometimes find myself thinking too much about what to write and I get stuck at a blank page. Other times, something doesn’t go as expected and I get stuck overthinking and overanalyzing what happened.
At the entrepreneurship bootcamps I have taught, this happens to founders when they are thinking too hard about their ideas. The team gets stuck in a loop of conversations they struggle to break out of and sometimes those conversations can happen right in our own head.
How a Team of French Startup Founders Got Unstuck
In 2016, at an entrepreneurship bootcamp in Paris, France, a team approached me to tell me that they were stuck. They were going in circles debating ideas and felt discouraged by a mentor who told them their idea wouldn’t work. This team was stuck.
They worried they weren’t going to have anything to pitch at the end of the bootcamp and considered dropping out. I asked them about the original idea, the one that brought them together as a team early on day 1. Essentially, it was on-demand alcoholic beverage delivery. This was 2016 and a few startups were working on this problem in the US.
I suggested they go to a nearby park where people were picnicking and enjoying drinks. I told them to look around for groups with empty wine bottles and offer to go pick up extra bottles from a local wine shop. If they wanted to step up the challenge, ask for some or all of the money up front. Taking the challenge up another notch, I suggested they add a service fee of 2 or 3 euros.
The team left the event venue and were gone for several hours. I worried they wouldn’t come back. Then I heard some cheering near the venue entrance and saw the team victoriously holding up a celebratory bottle of wine. They were happy to report that they sold a few bottles and made a few euros profit in the process. The team shared that going out and simply doing something felt so much better that sitting around talking about ideas. Through that experience, they saw, first hand, what worked and didn’t work. All of this informed their solution design. We all enjoyed a quick cup of celebratory wine and then I sent them back to work.
When You Are Stuck, Take Action
When you are stuck, take action. Get up and go do something. Often, where I get stuck most is in my head, thinking subjectively and not objectively. However, if I take any action, I can get back to thinking about real and objective results. And sometimes, taking any constructive action, will help you reflect in a more objective way.
As a coach, I help clients get objective about their challenges, opportunities, and goals. When you take constructive action, you have an opportunity to get very real and specific about something. Whereas, when you only think about it, you can only hypothesize about what might or might not be.
Eating My Own Dog Food
Today, this writing is actually inspired by something I got stuck on that started to bother me. It had nothing to do with writing and I could not figure out how to resolve the issue. I was essentially, stuck. The more time I spent being stuck, the more it bothered and discouraged me. Right before I started writing this article, I went to Instagram to simply waste time scrolling since I was stuck in my thinking.
Then it hit me to take some sort of action, so I decided to write. I opened my Notion app and grabbed an idea from the queue. The idea spoke to me because it related to the strategy I was using. Originally the article was supposed to be more centered around lean startup methodology, but because I was stuck, it took a different direction.
What are you stuck on right now?
Think about how you can take an action that will clarify or make real whatever it is you are thinking about. What can you do right away to begin putting your thoughts into action so that you can make a more objective evaluation?