4 Strategies for Getting Unstuck

The past few months have been filled with dilemmas both big and small, and I’ve found myself struggling to find solutions to them on several occasions. While the process of figuring out how to move forward with something can be frustrating, discouraging, and even exhausting, there are a few strategies I’ve stumbled on recently to help me get unstuck and get back on track quickly.

#1 Be persistent.

Fortunately, in every one of the situations I’ve had to resolve recently, not finding a solution was not an option. Although I would have loved to give up and declare a stalemate, I knew that wasn’t possible without accepting consequences I wasn’t willing to take, so I had to stick with them until I figured out a way to move forward.

Whatever problem you’re facing, trust that there must be a way to work through it and get to the other side.

#2 Stop avoiding it.

Although I’m pretty good at not procrastinating most of the time, when it comes to solving tricky problems, I’m one of the worst procrastinators. I want to take breaks, surf the Web, and call anyone and everyone I think might be available to chat. I’ll delay and avoid until I’ve wasted the majority of the day.

With one particular issue I had to figure out recently (which I had already postponed for nearly two months), I finally decided that I simply would not allow myself off the hook until I worked it out. I paced a path through my house and thought I’d never get through it, but eventually, the strategy worked, and I was very satisfied with the outcome.

Allow yourself breaks when you absolutely need them, but if you’re anything like me, you probably know when you really need a rest and when you’re just procrastinating. It won’t work 100 percent of the time, but there are occasions when not allowing yourself off the hook can really pay off.

#3 Work in reverse.

In the recent month or so, I decided to hire a couple of interns, in the hope of finding motivated and talented people I could add to my team permanently. I started the process of locating prospects through several university job posting boards, as well as a few privately-owned sites, but the pool of potential new hires was slim.

At first, I was a little discouraged, and in an effort to fine-tune my job postings, I started searching for terms like “what interns do” and “how to be a good intern” and began stumbling on blogs of actual interns who were exactly the type of candidates I wanted: aggressive, enthusiastic, eager, etc. Of course, these interns were already more than busy, but I started paying attention to the people who were commenting on their blogs, and it turns out, many of them were considering doing internships. As I followed the links back to their owners’ sites, I started finding unique, highly talented and motivated students who were perfect candidates for the job.

Instead of going more traditional routes for solving particular problems, try to think of other ways you might connect with the solutions you need.

#4 Pay attention to what’s right in front of you.

My latest dilemma was figuring out what to write for today’s post. I had been so busy with solving the other issues, I hadn’t backlogged ideas for this week’s article. After thinking on possibilities for nearly two hours, I finally said to myself, “I’m stuck,” and then it hit me: that’s it! I could have saved myself two hours, if I had only paid attention to what was right in front of me.

When you feel like you’ve searched high and low to find a solution, ask yourself if you’re missing the obvious. Turn to the resources immediately available to you, like pulling from past experiences or relying on your network of business contacts, family, and friends. Many times, the answer is not that far away.

What tricks do you use for getting unstuck and solving challenging problems in your business?

Photo by Flickr user Mariano Kamp, licensed under CC 2.0

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