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I want you to think of a goal you have, your boss has given you, or that you think you should do, which you are stuck on. Just pick one. Are you thinking, “This is impossible,” “I don’t know how to get started,” “I’ve never done this before,” “I already have so many other things to do,” or “I don’t know if I want to do this,” “I’ll get it started tomorrow”? Let’s get you unstuck. Do you have a goal in mind? Great!

Now that you have a goal in mind I want you to close your eyes and imagine yourself in the future. Think of who you are when you have achieved the goal. What will it be like? How will you feel? What does that successful result look like? Go there in your mind and let it sink in.

An IT goal might look something like this.

Success!  You and the team implemented a new product.  It’s in production.  Employees know how to use it.  It follows the company standards and branding.  It is a good design.  The quality is good.  The people who use it are happy.   Employees are happy.  Developers are happy.  It’s easy to maintain.  It’s ongoing maintenance costs are low. GO YOU!

Go ahead and enjoy that future moment for a minute.

Next, have a conversation with your future self.  You can ask her, “When you were in my shoes, back when you were stuck, what did you do first?” 

You’ll be surprised how good your future self is at advising your current self.

Then, keep asking her good questions to map out the plan.  Here are some you can borrow if you want.

  • How did you decide what you wanted to do?
  • How did you make it a good design?
  • How do you know it’s good?
  • How did you make sure the team understood the goal?
  • How did you ensure good quality?
  • Did you make sure it meets the customer’s needs? How?
  • How did you find out about the customer’s needs?
  • What got in your way?
  • What else got in your way?
  • How did you solve it?
  • What do you wish you had known when you were in my shoes?

Through this exercise, you will identify many obstacles that might come up, and you will also come up with the strategies you can apply to get past the obstacles in your way. Definitely write them down.

Every barrier you think of (and you will think of them) – will be a problem to solve – will turn into a strategy to solve it – becomes an action on a plan – results in an outcome you achieve.

Every strategy will be associated with a key outcome you want to achieve.

Next, identify the one thing you know you can do as a next step that will move you towards the goal. Plan the actions, and put them in the order you will do them if you can. Then, schedule this week’s activity on your calendar at a specific day and time. When that time comes, go ahead and do it. Then, when you are done, look at the plan and pick the next activity to move you forward. Put that on your calendar too.

If you do this, it will move you past stuck. Your successful future self knows you can do this and will gently guide you past the “This is impossible,” “I don’t know how to get started,” “I’ve never done this before,” and “I already have so many other things to do,” “I don’t know if I want to do this,” “I’ll get it started tomorrow.”

Let me know how it goes.

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