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People Are Stuck and Here is Why

I encourage all of you to display these three reasons on your office window, wall, or whiteboard. Each time you catch yourself uttering something you know is mere BS, identify the specific category you fall into.

Lord if there was one thing I hate is people who complain and get stuck for a long period and organisations are full of these people. Of course, we all complain or get stuck from time to time but how long we do that is what matters. 

There are various ways people get stuck, with three prevalent trends among senior leaders. Now they drive me bonkers - when they play "I am powerless". No, you are not! Probably you are just doing one of these. 

Reason #1 for getting stuck: Focus on things you cannot control. 

It's frustrating how often I hear excuses like, "The reason we're struggling is because the sun is shining." It's not what you cannot control that hinders your results in business, relationships, or life; it's the things within your control that you choose to ignore. Pointing fingers is easier than self-reflection or taking action. I love hotel leaders when we have problems with the service and during the meeting, they say "Yes, that's because the bathroom tiling needs changing." LOL! Just hear yourselves will ya?

Reason #2 for getting stuck: Focus on things that you don't have. 

Similar to the first reason, fixating on what you lack is a convenient excuse for failure. It's lazy to justify inaction with what you don't have. Instead, acknowledge the gaps and ask yourself if you genuinely need those things to succeed. If yes, figure out how to obtain them. If not, explore alternative paths. There are millions of ways of making things happen you are just focusing on the one thing that justifies your inability to see other options, and there you are stuck!

Reason #3 for getting stuck: Focus on the past or the future. 

The reason I hate and disagree with therapy is because it constantly drags you back in the past. No, Linda, we don't always have to understand the past to be functional, productive, or even successful in the present. People spend years looking backwards, feedback and annual appraisals do the same and I cannot stand them. People LOVE talking about the past in all areas of life.

Reminiscing about the good old days at work, where everyone's favourite topic is, "We used to do it this way" or the classic, "Back in my time..." Because, you know, everyone is just dying to hear about the glory days. Spoiler alert: Nobody cares. No one's interested in your trip down memory lane, how you did things in your previous company or your expert analysis of how things were done ages ago. Things change, and it's time to move on. Keep parroting that outdated narrative, and you'll find yourself stuck in a time warp. Trust me, the rest of us who are trying to move forward don't want to be dragged back into the past. Embrace the present, adapt, and save the history lessons for another time.

Focusing too much on the future with no actions also yields no results. Have a vision for the greater future, have a goal for the next year or so, and plan for the next week and tomorrow. Imagining, dreaming, and wishing with no action will leave you exactly where you are. Look at what you can do today so your life will be a little bit better in 6 months. Not in 10 years! It's too long and have zero control over it. Today to a year. That's a good strategy which will get you all the way to the end of your life.

Looking at these three areas, two commonalities emerge: you hand over your power, and you falsely believe the solution or problem lies externally. It's not that someone took your power – you willingly gave it up. The solution to your problems lies within you because that's all you can control. You are the one hindering progress and attempting to shift blame onto others.

You are stuck because you don't take accountability, responsibility and action. It is not your boss who is stopping you from doing things it is your inability to find a way to get your boss to understand what you want to do and why. Work on that and you will see magic. Focus on what you can do! 

So leaders, if you find yourselves stuck with a project, a plan, or a KPI ask yourself the question, "I am focusing on the things I don't have, on the things I cannot control or in the past or the future?" In each case, you are pointing fingers and not doing what you are hired to do; Making shit happen! Anything less than that will not cut it. Is it sometimes hard? Hell yes! But don't get stuck there, use your knowledge, skills, expertise, experience or your personality to make it happen. At the end of the day, you were hired for that. 

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