Have you ever hit a wall with a project that’s important to you? Just can't will yourself to take that next step? Or maybe you can't even remember what the next step is?

Yesterday I found myself in exactly that situation with not one but two important projects. Almost like an out of body experience, I saw myself standing in the middle of my office with NO IDEA what I was going to do to move forward.  And with a lot of angst and judgment about that.

This is what I wrote in my journal this morning:

“Working on a big project. Progress is slow. There are brick walls. You get discouraged. You lose sight of where you are. Start thinking it’s not worth it. Distract yourself with busyness. Don’t even notice your motivation has ebbed away.
Months go by, you run across a file with your ideas, a basket of knitting, or a half completed garden design. It feels like someone else’s project. You don’t even remember why you started it in the first place. You don’t even remember how to do what you started.
But you feel bad that you didn’t finish it and it saps your motivation to finish other things. You don’t throw it out because you invested time and money to get to that point. You hide it in a closet. Only to run across it next time.
What’s the way forward?”

Amazingly enough, what I found when I stared the situation in the face is that it is possible to get unstuck.  And the beauty is that the same tools I use in my teaching and coaching were the tools that helped me:

  • Go back to your original purpose. If you didn’t have a formal purpose statement, write one now. That’s your motivation.
  • Do an inventory of where you stand relative to accomplishing your purpose. Determine what the next action is.
  • Commit to taking that next action this week and find an accountability partner to hold you to it.

Simple, but not easy. I can’t say this will work every time but I’m moving again on both of my stuck projects. Now I have to go back to my 80% completed projects and figure out what to do with them. Looking for a partially knitted sweater, anyone?

What’s your secret weapon for getting unstuck?