Rut: a routine procedure, situation, or way of life that has become uninteresting and tiresome.... And not surprisingly, unprofitable.
They say a rut is a shallow grave with two open ends. The good news (good news?!) is that the ends ARE still open, which means if you act fast, you just might out of it. How do we get into these ruts anyway? Who would voluntarily lie down in that grave, shallow or otherwise?
Dr. Edward Debono suggests that thoughts are pathways literally "etched" in our brain as electrical connections that get strengthened each time we think them -- thus limiting our mental options.
If you want to chart a fresh direction you are going to have to grab the steering wheel and give it a hard, gut-wrenching yank to the right. And so it is with your thoughts and actions. Repeating them a few times all but insures you will comfortably repeat them indefinitely unless you take deliberate - possibly disruptive -- action to do otherwise.
Here are 7 rut busters I use that you can apply immediately to get yourself and your business out of a rut.
1. Shift your mindset from self to client.
Most business people think of themselves first. They craft product and service offers from their own perspective and consider themselves the beneficiaries of their actions. While that's not wrong, to get out of your rut do this: put yourself into the mind of your client. Who are these people anyway? What are they concerned about? What are they trying to accomplish? How would you "protect" them? What new programs would you want to implement immediately? If you were your client, what would you think of that new product, marketing campaign, or mail piece? Are you selling your wonderful "stuff", or are you providing them tangible, meaningful benefits. Ask, "If I were the client, would I care?" And if not, consider, "What WOULD I get excited about?"
Whenever I feel like I'm in a rut I return to my vision and I do 2 things. First, I make sure it still inspires me and that it is pointing me in the direction I want to go. Once sure, I put pen to paper and rewrite it. Not just once, but over and over. And I keep writing until I can't write it anymore because I'm jumping up and down with a new idea I must do something about right away.
If you don't know what to do next, ask your clients. (They are clients, aren't they?) Conduct a survey about anything that interests you. Ask them what's bothering them. Ask them what they're stuck on. Ask them what they like about your company and what they'd like you to do next. Ask them about new features, or new products, or new services. If you're not happy with your current clients, conduct a survey among the kind of people you'd like to have as clients. And, if you can't do that, conduct a survey online. Write an attractive search engine ad, promise something of value, and drive people to a survey page. Ask them anything you like - the answers will almost always provide you with a neat mind-shift.
From the time we are little children we are taught to better ourselves by working on our weaknesses. This is often both frustrating and fruitless, and certainly not as much fun as practicing our strengths. Try this on: What if you focused 100 percent of your energy on being world-class in those few things at which you are already very good, and out-tasked or outsourced those things at which you were mediocre. Imagine if you never had to face any of those things again and could spend all your time doing the good stuff. Would that change the way you felt about your business? Would that bust you out of your rut?
Think of that wild and crazy idea you had recently. The one where you said to yourself, "That would be great, but there's just no way." Well, I know there's no way - you just said so -- but if there was a way, what would it be? Answer that question as if you believed it was possible - probable even -- and then get busy making it real. That's power, you know -- turning your vision into reality. Talk about a breakthrough!
Some important things are more important than other important things, and trying to keep all those plates spinning in the air saps your vigor for the ones that truly matter. Dissipated energy - lethargy -- is one of the reasons we lie down in that rut in the first place, and dropping a few of those plates can really help things break loose.
So let go. Make the sacrifice. Clear your plate and give up some of those precious things you've been holding on to. Focus your vitality on plans which will really rock your world. Ruts? Who needs 'em.
Photography by Geelo
© Paul Lemberg. All rights reserved
Paul Lemberg is the president of Quantum Growth Coaching, the world's only fully systemized business coaching program guaranteed to help entrepreneurs rapidly create More Profits and More Life(tm). To get your copy of our free special report with detailed steps on how to grow your business at least 40% faster, even when you aren't sure what to do next, go to Paul's business coaching website. . Find out more or contact Paul at www.axcelus.com. Paul and the Axcelus team are available for speaking, conferences, and business consulting.