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Lead­ers, cre­atives, and writ­ers like you often get stuck. Frozen. Not sure what to do next. You’re unclear why you’re doing what you’re doing. Your head isn’t in its usu­al place. You can call it writ­ers block or ‘being unproductive’—but either way—there are com­mon rea­sons why we get stuck.

Being stuck sucks

When you’re stuck, you feel frozen. Rather than tak­ing a break to get some fresh air (lit­er­al­ly and metaphor­i­cal­ly), I find myself try­ing to “trudge through the murky waters” until I’m able to make some­thing hap­pen.

This almost nev­er works. I sit in my chair feel­ing stuck. I waste time. Have you ever been there?

Lying to ourselves

We tell our­selves that what we are doing isn’t good enough. We believe this sto­ry, this lie, that our cur­rent sit­u­a­tion, mate­ri­als, loca­tion, or what­ev­er isn’t good enough.

Social media and the web doesn’t help. We see oth­ers’ per­fect desk set up, and we want that. We see an announce­ment for a new lap­top or phone, and we want that. We want what the com­pa­nies want us to want. They’re real­ly good doing that. They get us. But they steal our cre­ative band­width.

We tell our­selves that if we had this or that we’d be able to make our BEST work. Which makes the work we’re doing right now not look so glam­orous. We tell our­selves once we save up and get that THING—then, THEN we’ll start mak­ing stuff that’s awe­some.

Start preaching to yourself

If you’re going to lev­el up and start get­ting the work done, you’ll need to preach to your­self. In oth­er words, you’ll need to tell your­self hard things you need to hear, even if you don’t want to hear them. This takes dis­ci­pline because its easy to avoid this step.

[share­able cite=“Josh Mitchell”]If you’re going to lev­el up and get work done, preach to your­self. Tell your­self hard things you need to hear, even if you don’t want to hear them.[/shareable]

Give yourself the WHO CARES TEST

When you use the So What, Who Cares Test, you’ll start to find what it is that’s trip­ping you up. Ask your­self, So what? Who cares? Your answers will be (1) no one, (2) some­one that mat­ters, (3) some­one that does­n’t mat­ter, or (4) your­self.

  1. No one cares. Get over it. This is a detail or sil­ly thing that doesn’t mat­ter. Move on. Lit­er­al­ly, no one cares.
  2. Some­one that mat­ters cares.Some­one that mat­ters’ is some­one who is direct­ly relat­ed to your project mov­ing for­ward and has a say. Stake­hold­ers, investors, men­tors and advi­sors are all peo­ple that might mat­ter. If you are in busi­ness with your hus­band, he has a say. If he’s not involved with your busi­ness, he doesn’t. That doesn’t mean you don’t love or care about your spouse, it just means they do NOT get to make deci­sions about your busi­ness and project. If some­one that mat­ters cares about some­thing trip­ping you up, TALK TO THEM. Let them know their stance is trip­ping you up. Rene­go­ti­ate if pos­si­ble. Be clear. Make the call soon­er than lat­er. Move on.
  3. Some­one that DOESN’T mat­ter cares. Peo­ple that don’t mat­ter are the haters. They’re not impor­tant to your project, don’t under­stand what you’re doing, and that’s OK. Move on. Austin Kelon says, ‘don’t feed the trolls.’
  4. You care. Ask your­self, am I car­ing too much about this aspect? Can I move on? Is this going to bring the whole project down? Fig­ure out how much you’re will­ing to care as soon as pos­si­ble. Make the change that’s need­ed. Or not. Move on.

The fol­low­ing list is not exhaustive—but are some WHO CARES ques­tions you can use to trig­ger pres­sure points in your project.

Who cares about your emotions...

  • Who cares that you’re feel­ing sad?
  • Who cares if you’re hav­ing a bad day?
  • Who cares that you got offend­ed?

Who cares about your project...

  • Who cares if things didn’t go as planned?
  • Who cares if you’ll need to make a tweak or change?
  • Who cares if some­one else needs to take over and lead?
  • Who cares about this project any­way?

Who cares about your physical location...

  • Who cares if you do your work from home?
  • Who cares if you work in a cof­fee shop?
  • Who cares if you do your work in your car?
  • Who cares that you’re not in Nashville?
  • Who cares that you’re not in Hol­ly­wood?
  • Who cares you don’t have inter­net?

Who cares how original you are...

  • Who cares that this has been done before?
  • Who cares what peo­ple are going to say?

Who cares about your website platform...

  • Who cares if you’re using Word­Press?
  • Who cares if you’re using GoDad­dy?
  • Who cares if you’re using WIX or Wee­bly?
  • Who cares if it’s hard to edit?
  • Who cares if it’s tak­ing too long to make changes?

Who cares about social media...

  • Who cares how many fol­low you have?
  • Who cares if some­one says some­thing stu­pid in the com­ments?
  • Who cares if you get offend­ed?
  • Who cares which plat­form you use to share con­tent?

Who cares about design...

  • Who cares what font you’re using?
  • Who cares what col­ors you’ve picked?
  • Who cares if the pic­ture isn’t at the per­fect res­o­lu­tion?
  • Who cares if there’s a spelling mis­take?
  • Who cares if it says Pow­ered by Square­space at the bot­tom?
  • Who cares if it didn’t turn out exact­ly as you had hoped it would?
  • Who cares what peo­ple might say?
  • Who cares if no one likes it?
  • Who cares that some­one else came up with the idea first?
  • Who cares it took you 3 months (or 5 years) to write your eBook and peo­ple still think it sucks?

Who cares about the software...

  • Who cares if you’re using 1997 Microsoft Word to write your nov­el?
  • Who cares if your soft­ware isn’t the lat­est ver­sion?
  • Who cares if there’s a new soft­ware com­ing out next month you’ll need?
  • Who cares if you don’t have the absolute best?

Who cares about equipment...

  • Who cares which micro­phone you’re using?
  • Who cares which lap­top you’re using?
  • Who cares that it’s the most expen­sive [thing] out there?
  • Who cares where you bought it?
  • Who cares how cool it looks?

[reminder]What goes through your brain when you’re stuck? What have I left out on this list?[/reminder]

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