Cat LeBlanc

Ever experienced entrepreneur’s block?

It’s like writer’s block, except it involves your whole business.  With entrepreneur’s block, you know that you need to make progress, but you can’t seem to figure out what your next step is.

So you end up doing nothing.  Welcome to stucksville, population you.

Most of the time I find that this sort of block is rooted in fear and resistance.  Business owners tend to find themselves in this quagmire when the next steps they need to take feel big or scary for some reason.  Maybe you know that you need to build your list, but building your list requires putting yourself out there with guest posts or interviews, and that feels scary.  Or maybe your next step has to do with launching a product, but you’re stuck in fear that no one will buy – so you never even take the first step of outlining the product.

What you need to force yourself out of this situation is action: take whatever you think is the next step forward to resolve your problem. Even if you don’t know what the full path is take the next step. Taking one step takes you one step away from stuck. Then you figure out the next step, and the path becomes clearer.

But this can be easier said than done, can’t it?  I like to suggest the following baby steps to my stuck clients as a way to take action – when you don’t know what action to take.

1. Ask yourself: What COULD I do to move in the right direction?

Often if you ask open enough questions you get great answers from your brainy self, so it’s a great idea to sit down and make a list.  You can give yourself a set number (like 50 or 100 things you could do – make it a little challenging) or a set period of time, like saying you’ll write for 10 minutes straight.

Give yourself a period of time to work it out but don’t allow it to become too long.

Once you have your list of things you could do, you can organize it a couple of ways.  You could put the steps in logical order.  For example, you can’t send out a newsletter or build until you set up an account with a company like MailChimp or Aweber, so setting up the account would logically come first.

You could also organize the list by the time needed to complete each task; then, if there’s something you can tackle in 5 or 10 minutes, do it and cross it off. That kind of immediate gratification of getting something done is very powerful.

If things still feel murky, move on to step 2…

2. Ask a trusted advisor who actually leads his or her life how you want to lead yours as to what the best next step could be.

We’ve all got our business heroes, coaches, or even mentors that we look up to and admire.  These are the people who have been down this road before you, and so they’re likely to be able to give you good guiding advice.

If your Dad has led a very traditional life and doesn’t get your whole entrepreneurial lifestyle, he’s probably not a good person to ask for advice! Ask someone who understands where you want to go.  If you have a coach or a mastermind group, this is a perfect opportunity to get some direction.  If you have a business hero that you admire from afar (as in, someone you follow, but don’t have a personal relationship with) ask yourself, “What would _______ do?” Scour their blog posts and old newsletters to see if they’ve talked about your particular issue.

And if that doesn’t work, move to step 3…

3. Take action (ANY action).

In the end you have to do SOMETHING to find out what the next move is. If you are literally at a crossroads and can’t work out what to do, and no advisor/coach is making it any easier (What!?), then go ahead and do something because only by doing something can you get more information to know if you are on the right path.

This is actually usually my first course of action: I do first and worry if I have to adjust later.  Do I make mistakes? Sure I do! But at least I’m making forward progress; mistakes are opportunities for learning, after all.

What about you?

Have you ever found yourself in stucksville?

What did you do to get yourself out?

Please share your experiences and suggestions in the comments below so that you can be the expert who helps someone out of their sticky stuckness!

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  1. April on June 30, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Great post Cat!! I can totally relate to the topic! Thanks for the great tips, you are SO EXACTLY right!! I’ll get started NOW!! :)

    • Cat LeBlanc on June 30, 2014 at 12:13 pm

      YES! Go for it! and thanks for commenting :-)

      Cat x

  2. Michelle Sears on June 26, 2014 at 3:53 am

    Hi Cat. Yes I’ve definitely been in stucksville before and the longer it last the harder it is to get out of it. But for me it’s ACTION. I must force myself to take action or else I’d be there forever. Any action that moves me forward, even if it’s small, gets me out of that dreaded place. Unfortunately, I seem to be in and out of stucksville but at least I know what works to get me out. Wish I know what it was that keeps me going back! I’ll work on figuring that out the next time I visit stucksville. 

    • Cat LeBlanc on June 26, 2014 at 9:22 am

      Hi Michelle, it sounds like you are moving forward, then getting stuck, then managing to move forward again. It likely the whole new level, new devil thing. You are learning and growing and anything that is hard has us consistently hitting up against the edge of our comfort zone even if it is getting larger. It sounds like you are doing a good job of moving yourself forward each time :-)

      Thanks so much for commenting!

      Cat x

  3. Lisa Robbin Young on June 26, 2014 at 1:07 am

    I like the “What could I do?” question. I also ask myself “What do I have access to to help me with that issue?” Because sometimes it’s hard to know what to do, but it’s easy to start taking stock of what’s in your bag of tricks to see if something in there can help move you.

    • Cat LeBlanc on June 26, 2014 at 9:18 am

      Great point Lisa! Thanks for adding that! Cat x

  4. Julia on June 25, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    I feel at times, getting stuck is part of the process. It helps you to be mindful of first steps. Seeing things granularly and thoughtfully crossing each step until reaching the end result is productivity and is a right move to getting it all done. The process is what creates good work.

    When you’re stuck just ask yourself “why you’re overwhelmed” and then look for ways others can help you get started. Or get going. Or finish.

    • Cat LeBlanc on June 26, 2014 at 9:17 am

      Thanks for commenting Julia. I think different people have different paces and of course some will spend more time mulling over the next step than others. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. As long as you keep moving, that’s the important thing!

      Cat x

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