The Rut: What to Do When You’re Losing Momentum
By Naila Tariq
When first starting your business venture, everything is exciting. You’re heading full steam ahead into the unknown, filled with ideas and enthusiasm, ready to take on hurdles and break barriers.
Progress is fast. You’re making considerable gains. Everything feels easy.
Then, inevitably, you hit a plateau. Things slow down. Maybe – quite likely – you experience a failure of some sort.
During these times, it’s understandably difficult to keep up your spirits. You might start to feel discouraged and unmotivated. The doubts creep in: “Am I really cut out for this?”
“What if it was all a mistake?”
“What’s the point of putting the work in if I’m just going to fail again?”
“Nothing is changing. I’m stuck.”
Breathe. This is okay. It’s normal. More importantly, it is temporary. Every entrepreneur has been there, and will be there again no matter how successful they become. It’s simply part of the experience.
That doesn’t mean that when you do hit a snag, you lose yourself in depression and just wait for it to pass. There are actionable steps you can – and should – take to help you not only get out of it faster, but also turn it into a learning experience.
Define the problem
Okay, so you’re in a rut. What does that mean? Are you not making as many sales? Has client interest waned? Is there a flaw in your product that you can’t seem to fix? A piece of code you’re stuck on? Or are you just feeling burned out and exhausted?
Maybe you need to change your marketing strategy, or ask for advice, or just take a short break so you come back more energized. Figuring out what it is that’s causing the halt in progress is the key towards solving the issue and moving on from it.
It also means you will have a better sense of the kind of obstacles that get to you, so you can learn to watch for them and avoid them wherever possible.
Sometimes all you need is a little perspective. Take a look back at where you were when you first started out and see how far you’ve come. Acknowledge and celebrate the goals you’ve already achieved, the successes you’ve had so far (no matter how small you might think they are), and the lessons you’ve learned along the way.
Once you realize the full extent of your progress, you’ll feel more confident about moving forward.
It also helps to jump forward and take a look at what’s to come. What goals for the future have you set? Meetings with clients? Events? Make a game plan on how you can make the most out of whatever lies ahead; give yourself things to look forward to once you’ve overcome this particular obstacle or low period.
Learn something new
Knocking your head against the same problem over and over rarely ever helps solve it. So why not take a break and invest your time in learning a new skill? Often, letting your mind focus elsewhere allows your subconscious to continue working on a solution; by choosing to learn something new you can give yourself a “Eureka!” moment and expand your skill set at the same time.
No entrepreneurial journey is smooth sailing all the way. There will be rough seas and stormy weather, and days when the sea is flat and there’s no wind blowing. But take the right steps and you’ll come out the other side a better entrepreneur, with more experience to get you to your goals.SEE ALL STORIES