Have you ever gotten stuck on a project? Have you ever felt stuck in life? Live long enough and you’ll become stuck over and over and over again.
College students get stuck in their majors or studies. Young adults become confused in their careers. Tenured professionals know better than all the meaning of stuck—when day-in-and-day-out takes on a meaning you can comprehend only from excessive years of 9-to-5-ing it.
I don’t have the silver-bullet answer, but I have what I think is the ultimate question to ask yourself when you get stuck.
The light bulb really must have lit up in his mind…
First, let’s talk about mindset. Thomas Edison once claimed, “I never perfected an invention without thinking in terms of how it would benefit others.”
Most people I coach become stuck because inspiration is perishable and their motivation dissolves thanks to boredom, routine, and the lack of meaning they attach to their work.
The most common (not exclusive) reason this occurs is because they question what they should “do with themselves” instead of wondering how they can serve others.
This inside-out approach causes them to center on what to do to make their own lives easier. The true rewards, in all senses of the word, come from thinking in the opposite direction.
Instead of wondering what you can do, think about what you were meant to do—to serve others.
Drive through the intersection of Purpose Street and Helping Others Avenue…
I’ve interviewed just shy of twelve thousand people in my life. I’ve found the happiest (and typically most successful) people have two things in common.
First, they have undying love for what they do. There is “pull power” toward a great cause.
It makes no difference when they struggle along the way because these bumps pale in comparison to their larger, more meaningful goal or purpose.
Focusing on that significant purpose is what carries you through the tough times. Those stumbles are simply part of the process—never distractions or endpoints.
Second, whatever they do contributes—greatly—to the benefit of others. Don’t dismiss this.
I recognize many of you work to earn money to feed your kids. This mindset often leads to becoming stuck. Even if you have a family, you can still find a vocation with purpose.
From another perspective, you might think I just want to be happy and do it for myself. Well, you might be happy for some period as you progress at whatever trade you practice. But, I guaran-damn-tee it, you’ll face challenges soon enough that will make you question your desire.
Your calling to help others is what carries you through. It’s what squashes those challenges as you brush them aside as mere annoyances.
Are you listening?
Currently, I’m working around the clock so I can manage my current business and augment it to benefit many more than I can reach in person.
If I focused solely on making my life easier, these additional products and services would stink. It’s that simple.
It’s so important for me to understand what my community wants; I surveyed them a few weeks ago. I wanted to see what they wanted from me.
They told me they wanted something other than I planned. Ouch. In a matter of a few days, it was clear I needed to blow up my approach and reframe it to what they said they needed.
I didn’t even contemplate the decision to do this. If I did, it would be a clear indication I was dong what I wanted instead of they needed.
While this is a personal example, this message stands. When you get stuck, the ultimate question to ask yourself is…
How can I help others by doing what I love to do?
The most important part is not to get discouraged because you don’t know exactly how to make it all happen yet. You simply need to take one step at time and gain momentum, then more motivation, then take the next step, and so on. Before you know it, you will have helped many!
As always, I love to hear from you: What do you do when you get stuck?