Stuck and Going Nowhere
Have you done an evaluation of your situation lately? When you think about where you are and were last year, are you gaining ground, losing ground, or standing still?
A small company client was hit hard by the changes that came out of September 11, 2001. Since that time, their business has been stalled or declining. Even they described their situation as “stuck and going nowhere.”
When I started asking about the problem, the answers formed a curious pattern. Reasons they offered included:
- Their customer base had dwindled.
- The “no call” law on telemarketers had hurt their sales.
- Direct mail no longer worked.
- They couldn’t get funding because they didn’t have connections.
Do you see the pattern? Every cause — every wall, pothole, and barrier — they offered was something outside of them. Other companies had faced the same things and found solutions, but this company was focused on the causes — they only saw what they couldn’t control.
A fine company and some great managers were stuck for 6 years because they got thinking in the wrong direction. They had painted themselves into a losing situation. Their view was that they were unable to fix their problems.
How to Think a Way Out of a Losing Situation
Not a person, not a business, can get to success without a few failures and losses. It’s the downs that build the skills to keep us climbing upward. At the center of winning is the ability to look at a losing situation and think a way out. Here’s how to do that.
- Think back to when you were last winning. How long has it been? What about you or your business was different then? Look for the differences between the you or your business then and now.
- Think about the hidden payoffs of losing. If you’re truly stuck and can’t see a way out, you must be getting a hidden reward for being where you are. Is that you’re able to lay down responsibility? Is it that people give you attention? Is it that you don’t have to try winning again? Whatever put you in the situation, you’re the reason that you’re still there.
- Think away from the center. Get some perspective. You’re not the first or the only to have been there. Thinking you are keeps you focused on the wrong things.
- Think yourself out of the fairy tale you’ve bought into. Are you waiting for a knight, a mentor, a patron to fix it? Needing help and waiting for someone to rescue you won’t change where you are. Knights, mentors, and patrons are attracted to people who show signs of winning.
- Think about a far off future unchanged. If that doesn’t motivate you to find a new answer, maybe you like where you are.
- Think up one small positive action. Then MAKE IT HAPPEN.
Walls, barriers, and potholes don’t stand a chance of holding back a winner.
Can you think your way out of a losing situation?