Seven Keys to Get Out of a Rut

admin, 24 December 2013, No comments
Categories: Top7 or 10 Tips
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Rut — a routine procedure, situation, or way of life that
has become uninteresting and tiresome… And not
surprisingly, unprofitable.

They say a rut is a shallow grave with two open ends. The
good news (good news?!) is that the ends ARE still open,
which means if you act fast, you just might out of it. How
do we get into these ruts anyway? Who would voluntarily lie
down in that grave, shallow or otherwise?

Dr. Edward Debono suggests that thoughts are pathways
literally “etched” in our brain as electrical connections
that get strengthened each time we think them — thus
limiting our mental options. Just like cow paths. It all
begins when one of the cows wanders home from the field
along a new path. Being cows, others naturally follow,
nicely beating down the grass. The next evening our intrepid
cow is a bit less bold, and follows her own freshly trampled
path, fellow cows in lockstep behind her. And so on, night
after night, widening the path into a footpath, which over
time becomes hardened into a dirt road.

More time passes and the road is paved into a street, then
an avenue, a two-lane highway, and ultimately an interstate.
By the time you come roaring up the onramp in your shiny
SUV, your direction is all mapped out in front of you.
There’s no way to turn, and no where to go but towards the
next exit.

If you want to chart a fresh direction you are going to have
to grab the steering wheel and give it a hard, gut-wrenching
yank to the right. And so it is with your thoughts and
actions. Repeating them a few times all but insures you will
comfortably repeat them indefinitely unless you take
deliberate – possibly disruptive — action to do otherwise.

Here are 7 rut busters I use with my business coaching
clients that you can apply immediately to get yourself and
your business out of a rut.

    Shift your mindset from self to customer. Most business
    people think of themselves first. They craft product and
    service offers from their own perspective and consider
    themselves the beneficiaries of their actions.

    While that’s not wrong, to get out of your rut do this: put
    yourself into the mind of your customer. Who are these
    people anyway? What are they concerned about? What are they
    trying to accomplish?

    If you were your customer, what would you think of that new
    product, marketing campaign, or mail piece? Are you selling
    your wonderful “stuff”, or are you providing them tangible,
    meaningful benefits. Ask, “If I were the customer, would I
    care?” And if not, consider, “What WOULD I get excited
    about?”

    Shift your mindset from customer to client. A customer is someone who buys your goods or services. The original
    meaning of client is entirely different: someone who is
    under your care and protection.

    Now that’s a switch, isn’t it? If they’re customers, your
    goal is to get them to buy something. But if you were to
    think of them as under your care – would you approach your
    business from another angle? How would you take care of
    them? How would you “protect” them? What new programs would
    you want to implement immediately?

    Revisit your vision. Whenever I feel like I’m in a rut I
    return to my vision and I do 2 things. First, I make sure it
    still inspires me and that it is pointing me in the
    direction I want to go. Once sure, I put pen to paper and
    rewrite it. Not just once, but over and over. And I keep
    writing until I can’t write it anymore because I’m jumping
    up and down with a new idea I must do something about right
    away.

    Conduct a Survey If you don’t know what to do next, ask
    your clients. (They are clients, aren’t they?) Conduct a
    survey about anything that interests you. Ask them what’s
    bothering them. Ask them what they’re stuck on. Ask them
    what they like about your company and what they’d like you
    to do next. Ask them about new features, or new products, or
    new services.

    If you’re not happy with your current customers, conduct a
    survey among the kind of people you’d like to have as
    customers. And, if you can’t do that, conduct a survey
    online. Write an attractive search engine ad, promise
    something of value, and drive people to a survey page. Ask
    them anything you like – the answers will almost always
    provide you with a neat mind-shift.

    Focus on building your strengths and dump your
    weaknesses. From the time we are little children we are
    taught to better ourselves by working on our weaknesses.
    This is often both frustrating and fruitless, and certainly
    not as much fun as practicing our strengths.

    Try this on: What if you focused 100 percent of your energy
    on being world-class in those few things at which you are
    already very good, and out-tasked or outsourced those things
    at which you were mediocre. Imagine if you never had to face
    any of those things again and could spend all your time
    doing the good stuff. Would that change the way you felt
    about your business? Would that bust you out of your rut?

    Not if, but how. Think of that wild and crazy idea you
    had recently. The one where you said to yourself, “That
    would be great, but there’s just no way.” Well, I know
    there’s no way – you just said so — but if there was a way,
    what would it be? Answer that question as if you believed it
    was possible – probable even — and then get busy making it
    real. That’s power, you know — turning your vision into
    reality. Talk about a breakthrough!

    What are you willing to sacrifice? Some important things
    are more important than other important things, and trying
    to keep all those plates spinning in the air saps your vigor
    for the ones that truly matter. Dissipated energy – lethargy
    — is one of the reasons we lie down in that rut in the
    first place, and dropping a few of those plates can really
    help things break loose.

    So let go. Make the sacrifice. Clear your plate and give up
    some of those precious things you’ve been holding on to.
    Focus your vitality on plans which will really rock your
    world. Ruts? Who needs ’em.

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