4 Ways Founders/Creators Tell me "I'm stuck"
The biggest issues founders and creators face is getting stuck.
If you can keep making progress, you have further control of your own destiny.
And you have the confidence that *you can change things* which is incredibly empowering.
But if your traction slows down, you stop taking risks, you stop feeling in flow, and you get stuck in the weeds of the business.
This is a common trap, and people can go months (even years) sort of just puttering along.
They tolerate the status quo, because urgency calls for them to stay reactive.
What’s needed, in every instance, is some type of personal and professional growth change to grow to the next level, and more importantly into something new.
By definition, you can’t continue doing the same things.
Lack of growth is one of the worst feelings, because it feels like you’re wasting your time and opportunity.
Sometimes it feels worse to be stagnant than to have an explicit failure. At least with the failure you can adjust and find traction again.
Stuckness just persists…
I’ve worked with 25+ founders now of 25+ different businesses. And stuckness is starting to clarify for me as a pattern. My advising/coaching practice is built on addressing and correcting this so that entrepreneurs grow again, or grow faster.
You can accelerate growth by dialing in each of these 4 areas.
Or you can be slowed by any one of them.
The clients I work with who develop these areas find growth and…
- Hire new team members to support them
- Hit new revenue milestones
- Raise additional capital to fuel the next vision
- Redesign their business to support their personal goals and freedom
Here are the 4 Areas of Stuckness.
1. “I lack focus, or don’t know how to prioritize what to work on”
In this area it is prioritization, sequencing, and strategy that is off. You don’t have coherent plan for what is most important to work on next.
You also have lost your compass for how to continually decide what to work on. So instead, you take many different actions on many different areas or projects hoping this will save you some surprise traction.
2. “I am stuck reacting to deadlines, treading water to stay afloat”
Founders get stuck responding and reacting. Each week goes by and you are “getting work done” but it isn’t propelling the business forward, it’s simply responding to its current demands.
This is one of the hardest areas to be in because it feels like you can’t even think about strategy or what else to do. There’s no time or energy.
3. “If I don’t do it myself, nothing happens.”
Founders like to control outcomes. This is the trap of micromanagement. Or, there is a fear to delegate, less it not get done well. In this area you burn out because you simply can’t juggle everything themselves. This actually massively impedes growth.
4. “I don’t feel fully engaged, and I’m not hitting the potential I know I have”
Founders feel apathetic. Or you have some major fears holding you back. You feel trapped/bored/complacent. Days go by and things aren’t moving forward, and then you feel guilty.
This can continue for as long as the company can support having no movement, which is often longer than people think. That said, it’s a slow, painful process of energy contraction…
Now, each of these areas of stuckness has an antidote. Another side to the coin. If you flip it, you can kickstart growth again and shed off the weight that’s keeping things from progressing.
Here are the 4 antidotes, each in the same order as above.
1. Impact Planning – “I feel calm yet engaged knowing that what I am working on is what’s most important”
You’ve defined, and learned to define at every stage how to prioritize what work truly creates the most impact in your business. You are able to plan this – as well as communicate it to others clearly and simply.
Progress, when this is balanced, is no longer a question mark. It is clear that the right things are happening and the results you're seeking are playing out in real time. You can relax because you see that what should happen, is happening.
2. Putting Work on Autopilot – “I just freed up a ton of time back in my schedule for higher leverage work”
In this area you have made what works in your business easy to replicate.
By creating and developing a *process* for what works, you can shave off hours of time and stress. You take what works in your business and you turn it on autopilot. You capture the templates that produce quality outcomes, and you increase the reliability and quality of your work.
This takes unconscious knowledge in your business and makes it conscious.
3. Design and Delegate – “My team does it better than I could. Now 1+1 = 3”
To your surprise, after properly delegating what works to your team, your business is reaching *better* outcomes without you there. Freedom from micromanagement is built on trust, and trust is what scales an organization.
If you’re an entrepreneur and you want to sleep well at night, or go on vacation, this area is the key.
4. Fun and Profit – “I can’t believe I get paid for this, and this is actually FUN.”
In this phase, personal and company growth is fun, not something to dread. You feel the effects of the other areas and you are able to appreciate what is being built, be present with yourself and your team, and somehow the growth/profit comes in easier than the struggle of previous phases.
Thriving as a founder comes from leaving obligations and the “should/have to do” and moving towards the area of “I want to, this is fun, and interesting.”
So how does this shift happen? How do you flip an area from stuckness to growth?
The key for each area is deceivingly obvious.
I can say it but it might not fully register. You’ve probably read dozens of books on these topics, but still no change has happened.
That’s because to shift stuckness into growth… you need to make an actual change to how you do business.
You can read that again, and try and find the wisdom in it. It still might not register.
The point is, in each of these four areas you are perpetuating your stuckness by repeating yourself.
Each week, you continue to plan and react the way you always have… never prioritizing and sequencing (and then doing) the work that truly matters.
Each week, you continue to not formalize processes that make your business successful and free up your time.
Each week, you keep yourself from delegating. You don’t commit to passing off work to your team that would give you time back.
And each week, the same stresses, same dreads, and same obligations continue.
You stay where you are because you continue doing what you’ve become comfortable doing.
And that comfort is costing you time, money, growth, and experience. It’s costing you fun and enjoyment.
To find renewed growth, you need to change the habits and patterns that you’re in which keep you stuck.
You need to take steps, action, and make moves that you aren’t comfortable doing.
Again, deceivingly simple.
The repetition of actions (or non-actions) are leading you to achieve the same results.
The ability to act in new ways, at your own frontier… in unknown areas you aren’t proficient in. This is how you will kickstart growth again.
It’s not easy, otherwise it would be obvious and there weren’t be any friction to starting.
I can even describe it to you today, and it’s likely that we fall right back asleep. And another week or month goes by the same…
If you want change, you need to change.
As always, hit me up if I can help. One reason coaching is a good form factor is that it allows someone to help you assess your repetitions, and help you identify the steps forward - while teaching you a process to do it for yourself.
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