Stuck? Brainstorm a list of ways to get unstuck

“Personal power is the ability to take action.”
~Anthony Robbins

If you feel your career is going nowhere, it could be because you are doing the same things you have always done.  In other words, you’re in a rut.  While asking others their advice can be helpful, often you already have the answer.  You just need to get it out of your head and make it actionable.  Here’s how.

  1. Get a sheet of paper.
  2. List the issue, problem, or question at the top.
  3. Create a minimum number of ideas you need to come up with (make it high).  I recommend at least 20.
  4. Alternately, set yourself a time limit and see how many ideas you can come up with during that time.  Note: My experience is that I generate many more ideas setting a minimum number rather than setting a time limit.
  5. Write down everything that comes into your head.
  6. Don’t edit.  You’ll do that later.
  7. When you get stuck, go back to what you have written already, see if you can come up with sub-ideas of those you’ve already captured.
  8. See if you can come up with opposites.
  9. If you reach your goal number and still have ideas, try to come up with 10 more. Add in blocks of 10. For example if you get 31, force yourself to try and come up with 9 more to make it an even 40.
  10. Once your brain hurts from thinking of so many, start editing.
  11. Go through the list and remove any where you cannot think of two action steps to get you started with that idea.
  12. If your edited list is not at least 10 long, brainstorm more ideas.
  13. Now sort your list most favorite to least favorite.
  14. Take the top item, come up with an action you can do, today, to move you toward that idea and start working on it.

As you read this post, you may have been thinking “that it seems too simple.”  It isn’t.  I have used this on numerous occasions to help myself out of a rut.  I’ve also seen others use this advice and move themselves forward.  However, there is one secret ingredient that makes this work.  Step 14 is the critical piece.  I know lots of folks that make lists of things they would like to do, or should do.  I know fewer people who have made the leap from thought to action.  Yet those that leap have been happier and often much more successful. It is the leap that makes all the difference.

So, make your list, close your eyes, take a deep breath, tap your heals together three times, and take the leap!

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