8 Reasons you’re stuck
#1. No vision – day to day urgencies create a fog that obscures future objectives and opportunities.
#2. Waiting for perfection – perfection is the enemy of progress.
#3. Lack of prioritization and delegation – the belief that you have to touch or do everything is a ball and chain.
#4. Complacency – your own complacency, more importantly the complacency of those close to you.
#5. Fear of opinions – over-concern about what others think is a snare that creates timid leaders.
#6. No Urgency – Kottner believes the #1 reason projects fail is lack of urgency.
#7. How-focus – focusing on “how things get done” more than on “what gets done” paralyzes progress.
#8. Success – Success makes some people feel they know enough. Problem is you don’t know what you don’t know.
Why do people get stuck?
What is your experience with online seminars/training?
If you have questions about my G5 Leadership experience, feel free to ask, I’ll respond.
Thank you for being generous to leadership community. I sincerely admire your effort to communicate important message.
All the reasons given are true. However, I really like point number 2, 4 and 5. I completely agree that perfection is enemy to progress. Most of the time we know more than others but hesitate to demonstrate thinking that we are not perfect and also thinking that others might be knowing better. And the fact may be opposite. When other has expressed his knowledge then we start judging ourselves and think we could have done better than others. Waiting for perfection creates fear and the way to overcome is to act. We should not worry if things are not in order, next time there is greater chance not to repeat the same mistake, but the person who does not try waiting to be perfect, will never learn because he fears the negative perception created by others in case of mistake.
Complacency provides psychological comfort but ultimately kills. Complacency is the enemy to excellence. Complacent person is satisfied in his knowledge and never tries new. Complacent people pulls people, society and organizations back and prevents creativity and innovation. The perhaps best way to deal with complacent person to hold him accountable and responsible. Fear of opinion is again the enemy to success. It comes when we become judgmental about people. And also people who fear taking opinion of others have low tolerance power because they are not mentally prepared to take negative feedback. They always like to listen positive about themselves. The other factor why people do not want to take opinion of others is cognitive inertia. People struggle with their own behavioral pattern. And it takes longer time to overcome it.
I believe that most of the time people stuck because they are not open to accept their weaknesses. They know it but avoid to accept it publicly. The way to overcome resistance is to accept it.
Thanks for your kind words.
You left another helpful comment. Thanks for adding value. Here’s what I’m taking with me
Have the courage to act or you’ll be stuck. I also think we get stuck when we continually compare ourselves with others rather than our own passion and perspective.
I hadn’t thought of complacency as “psychological comfort.” I think there is truth there.
Your last paragraph really hits home. Hiding weaknesses holds us back! Powerful truth.
Best to you,
Ajay is a featured contributor on Leadership Freak. He’s a teacher from India. Read his bio: http://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/ajay-gupta
Why do people get stuck?
Good morning Dan and LF Community,
It will be no secret to you, Dan, from previous correspondence, and now for any reader to know that I am admittedly, in many ways, STUCK. I started at my current employer 16 years ago with the attitude of “I’m turning 30, I am going to be ferocious in my approach to making this awesome.” Now that I am closer to 50 than 30, my approach is more docile than ferocious. Whereas my spouse and I had been making definitive plans for me to pursue my writing/editing in a more “full time” way, his recent downsizing has changed our plan. Not unlike Aron Ralston, author of Between a Rock and a Hard Place (about being trapped between a boulder and a mountain and having to amputate his hand to escape) and subject of an upcoming feature film, I started off on an adventure and inadvertently found myself trapped in a situation that will be very difficult to get out of! But if I had to summarize my reason for being stuck (and to cycle back around to your question), it all starts and ends in my head, my heart, and my psyche.
Coincidentally (or maybe not), my personal blog today is about “the job I would absolutely not want to do”: http://waytenmom.blogspot.com/2010/10/what-is-my-dirty-job.html
I prefer to think Paula that you are building up momentum for a big move. 😉 If not nuclear engineer, have you given thought to quantum physicist? Maybe a stretch job later.
While you may be stuck, it seems you do have a sense of urgency which is great.
Is your resume up to date? (even though I love my work, I update at least x2 a year and regularly scan job options) Are you ready to jump? I would imagine you have most if not all of the 8 stuck identifiers that Dan listed well in hand.
Very perceptive questions, Doc. Honestly, neither my spouse nor I can figure out our ninth grader’s Algebra 1 problems so anything with the word “nuclear” or “physicist” may be out!
Your points are well taken about the resume and being ready to jump. That is why I immerse myself in things I love and people I admire/enjoy/respect at every opportunity. Positive energy.
Thank you for the reply!
Great post, Dan. You nailed it.
#1 and #3 probably affect me most as a mother. I never know sometimes what will hit me sideways that I had not planned on. If I don’t have a plan in place each day/week/month, it’s hard to get far. #3 is a big one, because there are a lot of things moms can’t delegate. And then I have work on top of “regular mom stuff.” But the kids are getting older, and guess what – that means they help more too! 😉
When it comes to delegating with my volunteers, I’m getting better about having a vision not just for the end goal as a “team,” but for each player’s part. This helps me delegate more and I’ve come to wonder if it’s connected to the reason why most people have trouble delegating.
#2 is more of a personality thing. I like to give my entire focus to things. This is a strength, but can also be a weakness when I put something off, or take too long, so I can do it “right.” A basic example might be my obsession with a hat design for a cancer patient. Will they really be any less blessed if a couple stitches were off? Or the 50 promo freebies I need to hand make for a juried show coming up. I have a specific vision in mind, but may not have enough time or resources to do. If I get frozen over “perfection,” I might not have my required entry donations in time. Even work done “incorrectly,” or in smaller bites still bless us and those around us. And all too often when we’re frozen over “incorrect,” it is simply due to a perspective, not necessarily a truth. Stagnation on the other hand, never blesses anyone. Motion is always a key, as motion tends to beget motion. “Just do something,” is important when we start feeling stuck so we can make a shift.
I’d add that attitude (and perspective) is another way we get stuck though. For instance, when I was a child, I hated math, because it was hard for me. And every time I had math homework, it took me longer and longer to do, because I had firmly planted in my mind that I hated math and it would never be interesting. One night, an elderly lady my family was friends with babysat my brother and I. I ended up telling Mrs. Leonard how much I hated math. She listened to me and then she told me a story about how she hated math when she was little too. And how her father told her that it’s often the things that are difficult for us in life that we need to pay attention to. That if you dedicate some time and focus on what you don’t like and aren’t good at, you might just find that it turns into your strength instead. Almost like a hidden destiny. She didn’t lecture me. She didn’t even spend a lot of time on the subject. And I have no idea how her words got through to me, but they did. My perspective shifted. Soon math was not a weakness. I was every bit as strong in math as I was in language arts. Within about 4 years, I went on to represent my school in a national mathematics competition.
I was stuck. And the main thing that really changed everything was my attitude and perspective.
We see this with our son as he struggles with dysgraphia and a newly discovered vision deficiency. He will freeze and break down before he’s even started. In the car last night after taekwando he realized he only had 2 hours left to finish homework and reading before the new Myth Busters show would be on. We love Myth Busters here, but he knows he has to be done with homework. He burst into tears with his mantra “I’ll never make it.” It’s hard for kids who have hurdles to overcome, especially less common ones. I let him cry a little and then pointed out the thoughts he was planting, before he had even started or even looked at the homework he had left to finish. I talked to him about not focusing on “I can’t,” but on problem solving and figuring out “how can I make this work.” Doubting the while, he did pull himself together and decide what his order of tasks would be and what he would tackle first. To his surprise, he discovered that the homework was much easier than he expected. Not only did he finish everything in time for his favorite show, but finished with 20 minutes to spare.
Attitude and perspective can make or break us.
Great introspection and examples Julia! Thanks! I like how you crafted your observations about #2. Reminded me how we can get stuck in any of the realms…thinking, feeling or doing. Locking into one too much to the exclusion of the others, creates tunnel vision and limits options and just gets us more stuck…or at least so it seems.
Kotter is de man! Thanks for bringing his perspectives into this discussion Dan.
Regarding ‘no vision’, probably could include shifting vision, conflicted vision or ‘vision de jour’ coupled with #6 no urgent vision.
#6, urgency has multiple levels…what is urgent to leadership may not be urgent to line staff…unless well and repeatedly presented and aligned by leadership. Still a sense of urgency gets us in gear.
Remember Pirates of the Caribbean with Jack Sparrow running to the ship through the beachfront water with the natives in hot pursuit…or Indian Jones also being chased…that is urgency.
How do we craft, perhaps less intense, but equally as essential that sense of urgency those we lead and in ourselves… and how to maintain that urgency.
Which does overlap with #4 complacency and has undertones of fear of change, ‘we always have done it this way’ (response might be, ‘that is why we have the problems/challenges we have now too’.) Complacency and not too far removed only deeper, entropy are both very sticky. They both need a plan with a back up plan and a back up to the back up…
Responding to the online seminars question….variable. We again are in the baby steps of free flowing connectivity world-wide, often limited by bandwidth secondary to content. Content is limited to what we have always done…whoops. Basic powerpoint slide shows with minimal narration variation from the slides do help me gain my full 8 hours of REM sleep. One of the best points of ‘live’ conferences is the networking opportunities and the face to face interactions. Online seminars sans face to face or more immediate flow of communication are not really communication, rather they are 95%+one way information distribution…with time at the end for Q&A. An online seminar that would nurture a TED presentation approach and then evolve an interactive give and take would be very stimulating. Pose a concept or question…talk amongst yourselves. The World Cafe model morphed electronically would be another variation to consider. A series of questions and small group discussions, lather, rinse, repeat several times.
44 over my 300, will stop my rant now.
Great subject Dan, from which we can learn what we must avoid in order to GET READY, not get stuck!
Why do people get stuck?
As you said I like and agree with all 8 reasons mentioned by you. I can add one more inability to make decisions. The fear of responsibility and courage of making decisions in any area of our lives can make some people stuck.
What is your experience with online seminars/training?
From online I try to learn, to study and to understand ways of thinking which help me to have a clear and more open “vision” of business. Training for me is even when I write or I read a good article from Harvard Business Review, or from smart blogs like Leadership Freak or Kate Nasser, or other useful blogs and sites from my country also.
It is becoming a passion for me reading good articles, which are inspiring and deliver valuable messages.
I thought for a while, after reading your post, which of those reasons I could pick as number 1 for my personal experience… but heck that’s hard.
Instinctively, I’d pick #2: waiting for perfection really is something devastating to do most of the times!
One of my favorite topics is “why people get stuck”. I think your list is pretty complete with “waiting for perfection” and “fear” glaringly true for many many people.
If there is one to add to this list, it would be lack of confidence. I suppose you could put that in the “fear” category, yet I think it deserves a separate focus. Many times people can’t identify a particular fear that stops them yet overall they lack the confidence that they will succeed.
Great post and I will RT it on Twitter.
thank you so much for great posts. i learns a lot from it though i read them a little bit late. i do share to some patients and discuss to amature friends. god bless!
If you are in the medical field (patients?), I imagine you deal with people who are stuck AND challenged by physical/emotional problems. Best of luck to you dealing with that – the Leadership Freak community is full of good ideas and support; hope to see you back here!
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Forgot to add a stimulating link related to #5 Fear.
Each month, Ishita Gupta and crew publish an online magazine called Fear.less that deals with fear from a multitude of angles.
Some pretty overwhelmingly amazing stories of people who have transformed or overcome fear into a positive life experience and it is a spectrum of world experiences. Great graphics, well laid out and it will make you think…and feel.
Here’s the link: http://fearlessstories.com/
Thanks for the link Doc. I’m adding it to my interesting reads!
It all boils down to over-thinking everything.
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