You're stuck.

The project, personnel issue, client, or whatever has you flummoxed. Sure, you can think about it some more, wait for divine intervention, or let the problem marinate for a bit and hope for the best. But hope is not a strategy.

So, how can you get yourself moving again?

The answer is remarkably simple.

Here's a four-step plan.

1. Know what you want.

What would success look like here? What is the result you are aiming for? It can be more than okay if the objective is vague. Strategy and plans can always change, but the objective should not. You need to know the direction you want to start in. And that brings us to the most important part of the process.

2. Take a small step toward your goal.

This is vital. You have spent enough time thinking. It is time to start doing. Head in the direction of what you think you want to do, by taking a tiny, inexpensive (in terms of time, money, and other resources) step. It may not work, but so what? You aren't investing much, so you are not out much if it doesn't. As Mohnish Pabrai puts it: Heads, you win; tails, you don't lose much.

3. Learn from taking that step.

If your small step didn't work, you are still ahead of the game. You know what not to do next time. If it did work, or even sort of worked, you are on your way.

4. Keep repeating steps 2 and 3.

The simple fact of moving is going to create momentum. And as long as your remain committed to the goal of solving your problem--as opposed to a specific plan which can keep going around in circles and or/contributing to the fact that you are stuck--you are going to be fine. Small false starts along the way are a tiny price to pay compared to sitting there staring out the window wondering what to do.

And that, put slightly differently, is the key takeaway here. When you don't know what to do, action trumps everything.

Thinking is fine, but if you all do is think, at the end of the day all you are going to have is thoughts.

You need to take action. And once you do, you are no longer stuck.

Published on: Aug 11, 2014
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