What To Do When You’re Stuck

What’s On My Mind

Today’s content applies to just about everything in life!

I can get stuck.

​Stuck about how to be helpful to someone.

Stuck about how to approach a problem.

​Stuck about what I should write about in today’s newsletter.

​Getting stuck happens a lot to all of us.

​With the biggest priorities.

​And the smallest tasks.

So what can you do?

​What works every time?

Start small.

(Teaming Alert: Tell your colleagues now that your production might double next week after reading this!)

Lots of researchers have documented something called Psychological Momentum, but my favorites are Drs. Seppo Iso-Ahola and Charles Dotson at the University of Maryland. Maryland has a long history of fantastic human performance research.

Their study, Psychological Momentum: Why Success Breeds Success, is a good overview because it documents many prior findings while going deeper.

Here are my three biggest takeaways from studying Psychological Momentum:

  1. Psychological Momentum is REAL.​Our emotions are driving whether we feel like we crushing it or being crushed.

    Emotions aren’t logical. Yet many times, they’re running the show. Dad-blasted emotions!
  2. For me at least, Psychological Momentum seems to be all or nothing. 

    When I feel like I’m crushing it, look out. I’m on a roll.

    But when I feel like I have setbacks in one area, they seem to creep into everything else.

    Feeling like I’m winning accelerates everything.

    Feeling like I’m struggling permeates everything.
  3. We have more control over Psychological Momentum than it might seem. 

    This was my big a-ha as I read the research.

    We can control a big chunk of Psychological Momentum!

​So how do you do it?

You’ve guessed it: start small.

Pick the tiniest piece of the project to be a win.

My wife Becky says it this way–set your expectations as low as you can.

Then cut them in half.


Are you stuck on how to reach out to a client?

Start with documenting things you know they like.

​Are you stuck on what speech to write for the big conference?

Start with writing down trends in the industry.

Are you stuck on how to convince that big client to hire you?

Start by writing down how you can best help them, then think of an investment you can offer aligned to that need. (Give-to-Get!)

Reframing the goal to be smaller does two things for me. Sure, it gets me going. That’s what the research shows works.

But for me personally, it also takes the pressure off.

I think that’s half the battle.

​Keep moving forward in the direction of the larger goal.

​Take the pressure off for obtaining the big outcome weighing on you.

​We have a mantra at BIG: Think BIG, Start Small, Scale Up.

​It’s how we think about our own momentum.

And it’s what we teach growth leaders in our marquee leadership training GrowBIG Leader Training.

Doing this daily and embedding it into your leadership coaching can create a Winning Team Mentality and a culture of growth. Not only with yourself but with entire teams.

Back to you.

​What big priority do you have that’s seems stalled?

​What is the tiniest task you can do to get going in the direction you want?

​What element of that can you do in 5 minutes? Maybe 1 minute?

Do that.

​Right now.

​That’ll get you moving forward–and in the direction you want.

​Doesn’t it feel good?

Think BIG, Start Small, Scale Up.

Keep moving.

​And in the direction you want.

Isn’t that half of what life is about?


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