Having a routine can be a good thing. It can improve and reinforce skills as well as increase efficiency and productivity. When routine begins to creep into other parts of your business, though – smothering creativity, vision and motivation – you can find yourself and your business stuck in a rut. If that sounds familiar, it’s time to take steps to get unstuck and back to moving forward.
Identify where you’re stuck
The symptoms of being stuck are easy to spot. Every day feels the same. Revenues are flat or falling. The number of new inquiries or clients are doing the same. Maybe your design work feels more on autopilot than inspired. Your business has become just another task rather than an exciting challenge.
Examine your source of being stuck. Have you become complacent, willing to accept whatever business comes your way, rather than going after the business you want? Are you afraid you aren’t good enough to attract the clients or projects or fees you want? Or that you might fail if you step out of your comfort zone and try something new? Are you just too enmeshed in the day-to-day operations and demands of the business to get a fresh perspective, explore a new vision, or seek new sources of inspiration? Or are you so overworked and exhausted that you just don’t have the energy to undertake anything new?
Strategies to get unstuck
The first step to getting unstuck is to realize that whatever is holding you back is likely something that is under your control. It may not be easy to overcome your fears, to boost your self-confidence or to undertake a new venture, but you can do it. These are things you have control over! Think back to when you started your business and all the challenges you’ve overcome since. You have the ability to plan, to learn, to shift your mindset, and to act in order to bring about positive change.
You’ll find it’s easier to change if you minimize the risk. Don’t try to make a big change all at once. Pick the one or two things that seem to be your biggest obstacles and focus on those. Make small changes and see what results you get. Test out new approaches or strategies. Keep a journal to record your progress. Small gains will give you the confidence to take on other, bigger challenges.
If you’re feeling exhausted or uninspired, then take some time away from the business to rejuvenate and reignite your passion for design. It could be something as simple as taking in an exposition at a local museum, art gallery, or crafts fair. Does your battery need more of a recharge? Then plan a weekend trip to reconnect with nature or, better yet, an extended vacation to somewhere you’ve not visited before to immerse yourself in another culture. A change in perspective will prompt a change in mindset and stimulate your thinking so you can return to your business with new eyes and a renewed sense of purpose.
Getting stuck can become a vicious cycle of stagnation and frustration that you can’t see your way out of. Don’t hesitate to get help. A business or leadership coach can show you alternatives and guide you toward the path that will lead you to a new vision, growth and greater success.