I met my friend Bud 16 years ago, which means I know him well enough to detect when he is feeling stuck. We originally met when I first started my dry-cleaning business. Since Bud is a successful entrepreneur and does very well with his own dry-cleaning and lawn-mowing businesses, he served as an excellent mentor for me, and we quickly became friends.
While we built our friendship, I learned a lot about Bud as a person and business owner. When it came to running his companies, Bud’s No. 1 issue was that he had become too comfortable. He makes great money, and although he has wanted to sell the dry-cleaning company for a long time, it has literally supported his family for the last 20 years. He now feels trapped by the business. Can you relate?
Remember the Truth About Why You Feel Stuck
I know I can seriously relate with Bud’s situation, because I felt the same way in the dry-cleaning business. During that time, I made a good $125,000 per year profit and always had some side hustle that jacked that number up a bit to give my family and me a very comfortable living. I thought long and hard about selling that business; it was what I had known for 10 years.
The problem was that no matter how comfortable I was, I was still dying inside a little every day by owning that business. Eventually, I accepted that the business simply wasn’t for me.
Remember That You Are an Entrepreneur
If you’ve ever felt trapped by your business, the worst thing you can do is stay. As entrepreneurs, we’re built to take risks. You can’t trap yourself and expect to thrive. You have to challenge and push yourself in order to generate ways you can make this world a better place — and make a ton of money doing it. The problem comes when you’re so close to everything that you can’t see the forest for the trees … or when you think you have all the answers.
In owning several of my own businesses the last couple decades, I’ve discovered that finding the answers to the plethora of questions associated with life and business is easy. The real problem is that those answers are often not the ones we actually want.
People often ask me for advice regarding their own “stuck” feelings, but when I give them the answer they need to hear — that they should leave — I’m hit with excuse after excuse. They’ll talk about the lifestyle they don’t want to give up, excessive fears, or self-limiting beliefs they have of starting fresh. But even after relaying all their excuses, they rarely tell me the answer I gave is the wrong one.
Sometimes you’re going to find that you have to fix two other issues in order to fix the one plaguing you the most. If that is the case, don’t delay. The sooner you fix those two other issues, the sooner you can tackle the main problem.
Remember What Is Most Important
Occasionally, you have to be willing to sacrifice today for tomorrow. Tomorrow isn’t promised, so don’t neglect your kids and marriage and all that is good in your life for the mere hope of a better tomorrow. You may have to do stuff you don’t like for a while, but it will help you solve the problems you need to solve faster.
Finally, as an entrepreneur, you have to be willing to take risks every now and then. You have to be willing to lay all of it (okay, most of it) on the line when necessary. You need to have the drive to dig deep and work hard for a while.
If you take nothing else from this article, at a minimum take this: If you’re stuck right now, you owe it to yourself, your family, and your employees to get unstuck ASAP.
Here’s What You Do
If you’re stuck and need to solve an issue, here are a few steps to try.
- You need time and space to clear your head. Take a day to unplug and allow yourself to dig deep into what the issue is. Make sure you are crystal clear on what is making you feel stuck; it sucks to solve the wrong problem.
- Brain dump all the solutions you can generate. If you have a partner, mentor, or business-savvy friend, ask them to help you. Whatever you do, don’t put a limit on the number of plausible answers to your issue.
- Using the information you came up with during your brain dump, start to piece together the best solution.