HUGH CULVER

Five tactics that will help you quit stalling and get started on your next project

Updated to Habits, Productivity on December 30, 2022.

It’s been a tough month. Not tough like, bad – tough because I have so many goals and at times feel like I don’t have traction.

Like I’m spinning my wheels…getting nowhere.

What about you?

Do you sometimes feel it’s impossible to move ideas forward or get team members fired up?

Just over two years ago, I had an idea to launch an online speaking school. I’d put on conferences, boot camps, blogged, written ebooks all about the crazy world of public speaking, but never a large-scale online school.

And then you can guess what happened…

I started making lists. Lots of them.

Lists about topics I wanted to include. People I would reach out to. Technology I needed to figure out. Making lists is a great way to feel good about doing nothing.Making lists wasn’t the problem.

I hadn’t built an online course like this before and every day I had new questions, new worries, new parts to learn about.

I was stalling—the project wasn’t moving forward.

Maybe you’ve had the same experience with:

  • hiring your first assistant
  • purchasing new software
  • reorganizing your team
  • buying a new car
  • moving offices
  • planning a trip
  • losing weight
  • writing your first book
  • renovating your house
  • finding a new life partner

The punch line is I did launch BOSS – the first year with super-star speaker coach Jane Atkinson, now on my own. Fast forward two years and we’re ramping up for our third season and looking forward to working with an even bigger group of international speakers who want to grow their speaking business.

In this post, I want to share what I did. In fact, what I do every time I get stuck. It’s 5 steps, but you can treat them like a buffet – add them to your plate as you wish.

1. COLLECT DATA

Here’s a tricky one. Yes, you need to be informed to make good decisions. You can also hide out in the library learning and never move forward. That’s why I create a fact-finding deadline.

With BOSS, I gave myself one week. I had one week to ask around, make lists, look at the competition and after that, I need to build the course and enroll people.

If you are stuck, it could be you just don’t know enough. Give yourself a deadline and commit to making at least 3 phone calls each day to learn from others. People love to feel smart – you just need to reach out and ask for their advice.

2. REACH OUT

People are generous. They also love to give advice. One of the fastest ways to get traction is to simply ask for help. In the last month, I’ve been reaching out once a week to experts for advice.

I’m working on expanding our BlogWorks service into new markets and need to learn more about building online sales funnels. I could either try to figure it all out on my own – buying courses, reading ebooks, watching videos, or make a few phone calls.

People love sharing advice – take them up on it – it’s a win/win.

3. REMOVE OPTIONS

Quick – what’s the next number in the sequence 2, 5, 8? Is it 9, 11 or 13?

One way to solve this is mathematically, but it’s much faster to use the process of elimination (the answer is 11). The same approach can be used to get traction.

When I was completing my book, Give Me A Break I couldn’t decide between getting a publisher or self-publishing. So I reached out to book publishing experts, authors and publishers, got advice and decided to eliminate working with a publisher.

I still didn’t know all I needed to know about self-publishing, but by removing one big option I’d moved forward.

If you’re stuck, start removing options. The fewer options the easier it’ll be to see the path you need to start moving down.

4. TAKE A STEP, ANY STEP

If you’re anything like me (poor you), you worry a lot. I worry about debt, hurting someone, or looking like a fool (that horse has already left the barn).

The reality is most of our worries never happen. In fact, according to a study at Cornell University as much as 85% of our worries never happen.

As Mark Twain quipped “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.”

When you take any step forward you begin to build momentum. Small at first, that single phone call to ask for advice or email to request an interview is all it takes.

I’ve discovered that people are far more generous with their time and ideas than you might think – you just need to ask.

5. THINK BIG PICTURE

Put life in perspective.

Whatever I decide, it’s highly unlikely I’ll hurt someone, get arrested, lose tons of money, or go out of business.

Sure, I care about results and don’t want to lose money. But, I’m always better getting started and learning, than doing nothing and worrying.

I wrote more about positive thinking and what really works in this post.

Action promotes more action. Now quit stalling and get started.

 

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders, losses, and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can.

Tomorrow is a new day; let today go so you can begin tomorrow well and serenely, with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense. Each new day is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on yesterdays.“ – Emerson writing to his daughter