When You Get Derailed, How to Get ‘Railed’, Again.

It happens to us all. We simply derail. We get overwhelmed, undernourished (not underfed), anxiety-ridden about the world and our future in it. Our best marketing efforts and business-building goals just fall by the wayside.  But to make it worse, somehow we feel like we can’t keep up with those we believe are superstars in our chosen profession, that it would be admitting weakness if we acknowledged there are simply (large) blocks of time when we are not chugging full speed ahead with a blazing smile.  And we fight the idea it is a normal part of our personal and professional ebb and flow; instead we feel like we are flailing and failing.

You may wonder why I’m writing a post like this?  After all when you read all the marketing, consulting blogs as a rule, they never have a bad day, or lack inspiration, or feel like maybe they aren’t succeeding in the race.  It’s everyone else. Common sense should tell you that’s not true but seldom will anyone own it.

Well, if you are an entrepreneur in solo practice wouldn’t it be dishonest to say these experiences aren’t normal.  We all know they are.  We can’t always be on 100% of the time.  I know I certainly can’t.  And chances are, neither can you.  I’ve actually had to wrestle myself away from the news stations, twitter feeds and the rabbit hole to stop focusing on world events these past many weeks and get back to the keyboard. It’s been hard because the world events have just been off the charts, emotional and impactful.  In my case, it’s world events. In your case it might be an ailing parent or spouse or child, a move, a luxurious vacation you don’t want to end, or simply summer.  It could be any number of things.  The point is you simply putter out and go off the rails.

So, in a post from long ago and no longer available by link, Wendy Piersall  drove the point home to me because it was so well written and honest.  Could she have also been peeking in my window these last weeks?   Honestly, sometimes it’s just hard to keep shoveling coal in the fire. I really get it. Sometimes you just need to sit back, take a break and appreciate how far you are advancing towards your goals.  But I’ll let Wendy tell her tale:

You know the drill. You put off a task, then feel a little guilty about it. The guilt leads to more procrastination and, suddenly, you have a month-long pile of things to do that are more imposing than ever now that the pile has gotten so huge.

What’s a poor entrepreneur to do?

Get Introspective

My first course of action is always personal. I figure out whether I am letting fears (or exhaustion) or limiting beliefs get in my way. It does happen sometimes, and unless I work on the intellectual and emotional reasons for my rut, I won’t pull myself out of it. Sometimes it’s not an issue; it’s just life happening. But sometimes there is a bigger fear that needs to be addressed.

Wendy goes on to describe her approach to getting out of the rut and back to productivity:

  • Look Out For Number One  – it’s so easy to take care of others first. Even professionally. Bring it back to yourself as you get back on track.
  • Get It Down In Writing – commit to the re-direction.
  • Chunk It Down – create the tasks that need to get done.
  • Prune It – then prioritize the tasks
  • Build in Accountability and Take Action – you’ve got a calendar.  You’ve got those who can keep you on task.  Now get started.

Have you ever had days, weeks, months like this, where you know what you have to do for yourself, for your solo practice but you just can’t seem to get the motivation or energy to do it?  It’s OK. Really.  Welcome to the human race.  The key is to accept your choices and your humanity, giving both their due and then getting back on task one step at a time.


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