“I know that I need to do something, I’m just not sure what to do?” This statement came from a business owner that I recently started working with. They explained the challenge that they have been trying to identify what the next step forward was for them. They knew that they were a bit stuck in no-man’s land and were afraid of doing the wrong thing, hence why their business results had started to plateau and slide downward.
When you are feeling a bit overwhelmed it can be easy to bury your head or escape from the pressure (who hasn’t gone to the movies to “tune out” for a while!) The challenge can be that by constantly delaying what needs to be done and taking action around it, most of the time the problem will not go away. In fact it generally makes things worse, which can lead to even less options for you to consider.
In my Native American training I have been taught that if you ever get lost in the bush you need to stop and take a moment to mentally regroup. Just over 20 years ago I was on my honeymoon with my beautiful bride in South America. We were in the jungles of Bolivia and had become separated from the guide and the rest of the group. To make matters worse, a large jaguar had been spotted in the area (which is why the guide was carrying a gun for protection). As we realised that it was getting closer to nightfall, we both had to fight the panic that was rising in our minds.
As I calmed down the first thing that came to my mind was “What is your next step?” It was not, how are we going to survive? It was not that we might starve to death (or be eaten by the jaguar). It was, what activity do we need to take to move out of this situation. After 6 hours of wandering we were able to make our way back to a main trail and return to the camp. It certainly made our honeymoon an adventure!
Too often we forget that life and business can be an adventure and the highs and the lows are what keeps it real. However if you are stuck in one place, it is hard to move anywhere.
Identifying Your Next Step:
- Identify what you have. When we were lost in the jungle we talked through what resources we had with us. We also reflected on the wisdom and training that we had learnt in the past. Remember what your strengths are and that you have been in similar situations in the past.
- Ask what would others do? It can be useful to ask yourself “What would someone else do in this situation?” I remember asking myself what would Stalking Wolf (Apache Scout & Medicine man) do if he was in the same situation. This helped me gain perspective and wisdom, even if he wasn’t there. This can also provide you with a range of solutions that you may not have noticed or realised.
- Take the first step. Identifying a number of options is important, however the most critical part is taking the first step. Action will often precede clarity and by creating momentum moving forward new opportunities and answers will often present themselves. Also remember that you do not need to be perfect, it is about moving forward and adapting.
Far too often we let uncertainty and fear get in the way of us thinking about our next step. It is better to identify your next step and start moving, rather than remaining stuck. So what could you be hesitating on? Is there something that you should be doing, but have been avoiding?